Dafonte Miller, a 19-year-old black youth, was attacked last December in Whitby, Ontario by Toronto constable Michael Theriault, leaving him with broken bones and a serious eye injury. Theriault was out of his jurisdiction and off-duty when he attacked Miller. Theraiult was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and public mischief, and suspended with pay.
Durham Regional Police originally arrested the victim, charging him with theft under $5,000, two counts of assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon, and possession of marijuana, but all charges were withdrawn after a pretrial hearing on May 5.
Miller is awaiting surgery to remove his eye, which was hanging out of his head after Theriault beat him with a steel pipe about 3am on December 28, 2016. Miller’s nose, jaw, and wrist were also broken. Julian Falconer, Miller’s lawyer, said that Miller and two friends were confronted by two men who started chasing them with a steel pipe on Erickson Drive in Whitby. Miller’s friends escaped. Falconer said that Miller frantically banged on the door of a home on Erickson Drive that night, looking for help, and the home owner witnessed part of the beating.
Falconer called the attack “one of the most vicious, senseless excesses of force I have ever seen by a police officer.”