Tuesday March 28, 2023
By Wendy Gillis
This is the second time Const. Christopher Hominuk has faced discipline over remarks captured on police video.
Toronto police Const. Christopher Hominuk, seen here in a June 14, 2011, file photo. TANNIS TOOHEY / TORONTO STAR
Hours after a 2021 fatal shooting in Toronto’s west end, a longtime Toronto police officer remarked to another cop at the scene that a “Somalian guy did it” or “at least ... Black guy” — a caught-on-camera utterance that led to the officer’s guilty plea at a disciplinary hearing Monday.
It was the second discreditable conduct plea Const. Christopher Hominuk has made at the Toronto police tribunal in the last decade, both times for utterances captured on police video.
According to an agreed statement of facts entered into evidence Monday, Hominuk, who is assigned to Etobicoke’s 23 division, was among the first officers to investigate the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Jovahn McKnollys at Westown Plaza, near Dixon Road and Islington Avenue. The shooting happened after an incident inside a Somali restaurant, in a Somali neighbourhood and the victim was of Somali ancestry, the document states.
“In light of all of this, Officer Hominuk drew an inference and remarked to another officer: ‘Somalian guy did it ... or at least ... Black guy,’” the statement of facts reads.
“It was an attempt at humour designed to lighten a tense situation,” the document said.
A police document filed in the case last year that outlined the allegations said the comments were discovered by a colleague listening to body camera footage while preparing court disclosure.
According to the document, Hominuk said the remark was “inappropriate” and apologized during an interview with Toronto police professional standards. He acknowledged a comment regarding the ancestry, colour or race “could be construed as offensive” based on the protected grounds set out by the Ontario Human Rights Code, the agreed statement of facts said.
It’s not clear what penalty Hominuk will face; a spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service said the tribunal will release its decision at a later date.
Gary Clewley, Hominuk’s lawyer, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Officers found guilty of professional misconduct under Ontario’s Police Services Act can face consequences ranging from a reprimand to dismissal.
In a 2011 criminal case, Hominuk was granted a conditional discharge after being convicted of threatening bodily harm for remarks he made threatening to Taser a handcuffed man in the genitals.
“I’ll f---ing Taser you. If you are lying to me, when I get back to the station, I’m Tasering you in the f---ing nuts,” Hominuk said.
In that instance, Hominuk’s comments were found by a senior officer reviewing the in-car video footage.
In the criminal case, a judge accepted medical evidence that his comments had been uttered because of a diabetic condition that can cause irrational behaviour and anger. Hominuk told the court he had not eaten for several hours before his shift and was sleep deprived.
He was placed on probation for nine months. He also later pleaded guilty to discreditable conduct and was demoted in rank for a year.