uring a quiet gathering on January 16 the family of Hasani O’Gilvie, a University of Toronto student who was violently detained in the summer of 2021, spoke to the press about the ongoing nature of their case. The family spoke about how attitudes shared by members of the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and City Hall have changed very little since the incident.
Hasani O’Gilvie was not in attendance, as even two years after the incident, he is still reeling from the physical and emotional trauma that he suffered at the hands of TPS officers.
Christine O’Gilvie and Kenneth O’Gilvie, the victim’s mother and father, were present on behalf of their son along with David Shellnutt — O’Gilvie’s primary legal representative — who spearheaded the event.
“Mr. O’Gilvie, through no fault of his own, was seriously injured physically and psychologically during an August 12, 2021 interaction with police officers. It’s difficult to imagine how haunting it must be, to find yourself face down on the ground piled on by three officers,” said Shellnutt in his opening statement to the press.
During the incident, O’Gilvie was pinned by TPS officers, repeatedly tasered and had an officer's knee crushing his neck for the duration of the incident. It wasn’t until O’Gilvie’s I.D. was secured — without a warrant — that TPS officers realized he was not the individual they were pursuing of suspected criminal activity.
Shellnutt noted to the media that body camera footage of the incident does exist, however, it is currently being withheld by TPS, further addressing how the official statement released by TPS brazenly contradicts the events of August 12, 2021.
“The O’Gilvies have made every effort to use police accountability procedures to seek justice for what happened. Despite several of Mr. O’Gilvies’ complaints being found to warrant a hearing, including unnecessary use of force, the OIPRD [Office of the Independent Police Review Director] has delayed the hearing of this matter to the earliest date being February 2024,” said Shellnutt to the press.
This then resulted in Shellnutt filing an appeal with TPS, which was then contested, locking all parties involved in a six-month delay.
In October of 2022, Shellnutt reached out to Mayor John Tory and Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw, in an effort to put a spotlight on the ongoing incident.
Shellnutt and the O’Gilvie family has yet to receive any correspondence from either office.
As a result of rampant police misconduct, city negligence and roadblocks set by internal review bodies, the O’Gilvie family is suing Toronto Police for over $1.6 million.
Due to injury and trauma sustained during the August 2021 incident, O’Gilvie has undergone numerous forms of physical and psychological therapy. His studies were dropped immediately after the incident and he has only recently returned to them, strictly in the form of online classes.
The victim’s family hopes the lawsuit will recoup the costs of ongoing medical care and make up for studies abandoned due to trauma inflicted by police. The O’Gilvie family continues to press their case, despite municipal powers preferring to allocate additional funding for police services.
When asked about the recent budget increase of over $40 million for additional police funding, the victim’s mother, Christine O’Gilvie told The Hoser:
“It was like a slap in the face, we’re giving them more money to brutalize us, rather than putting the money where the communities need it.”