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Toronto police tribunal orders cop be fired for violating public trust

Police tribunal says Const. Douglas Jason Holmes should be dismissed within 1 week, unless he resigns first

Const. Douglas Jason Holmes, a police officer who worked in Toronto Police Service's 52 Division, is set to be fired after a police tribunal hearing found he “violated the public trust by not living up to his oath of office on multiple occasions.” (Nick Boisvert/CBC)

A Toronto police officer who has been the subject of multiple cases of misconduct in the workplace, including an incident where he was found guilty of assaulting a cyclist, is set to be fired.

The police tribunal found Const. Douglas Jason Holmes, employed by the force since 2008, "violated the public trust by not living up to his oath of office on multiple occasions."

In a March 26 ruling, police tribunal hearing officer Insp. Susan Gomes said Holmes should be fired.

"For six counts of discreditable conduct and two counts of insubordination that Const. Douglas Holmes is guilty of; I order Police Const. Douglas Holmes dismissed from the Toronto Police Service within seven days from this date of judgment unless he resigns before that time," she wrote in her ruling.

Holmes' lawyer, Sandy Khehra, said in a statement he is reviewing the decision to "consider the merits of any appeal" and wouldn't confirm if Holmes has yet resigned.

The ruling said Holmes was, in one instance, alleged to have used "profane, abusive or insulting language or were otherwise uncivil to a member of the public." That incident happened while Holmes was off-duty and stopped a cyclist for riding their bicycle the wrong way on the street.

In another instance, while on-duty with 52 Division, Holmes stopped a cyclist for running a red light as he was monitoring a protest. In her ruling, Gomes wrote that the cyclist refused to provide identification, and during the arrest Holmes pushed the cyclist to the ground, breaking his collarbone and his right big toe.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) later investigated the case and pressed charges. Holmes was found guilty of assault in April 2019 for using "considerable force from behind." As a result, he received a suspended sentence and one year probation.

Holmes filed disability claim in 2019

Holmes filed for disability through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in November 2019, and he hasn't been on-duty since.

Following his disability claim, Holmes sent multiple text messages and emails to co-workers using "disparaging and insulting" language over eight days in December 2021. He also used "inappropriate and insulting" language on March 22, 2022 in an email sent to a Toronto Police Service supervisor. Holmes admitted to this before the tribunal, pleading guilty.

Lawyer David Butt represented Const. Holmes during his tribunal hearing, but has since stopped representing him. (LinkedIn)
Lawyer David Butt represented Const. Holmes during his tribunal hearing, but has since stopped representing him. (LinkedIn)

David Butt, who represented Holmes at the tribunal hearing but no longer represents him, agreed with the prosecution that Holmes should not work as a police officer anymore. However, Butt asked Holmes be demoted rather than dismissed, so he can remain on disability.

Butt argued Holmes was suffering from 12 separate health issues linked to work events that began in 2013. His lawyer said Holmes was exposed to HIV at work, suffered from mental health issues in relation to his 2019 assault charges and had an alcohol dependency which he completed treatment for at CAMH.

The prosecution agreed that disability may have "to some degree contributed to his behaviour," but said it did not cause his misconduct.

Gomes agreed with the prosecution in her decision.

"The totality of the misconduct in nature, volume and duration does not align with demotion," she said.