Toronto police chief seeks independent probe into missing persons investigations

Toronto's chief of police says he's pursuing an independent external review into how the force handles missing persons cases in light of the suspected murders of several men who disappeared from the city's gay village.

Mark Saunders says he hopes a review would consider the force's investigative processes and "take a hard look at systemic issues of bias of any kind."

Toronto police have come under fire in recent weeks for their investigations into missing men who are now believed to be victims of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old who is facing six charges of first-degree murder.

The force's professional standards unit launched an internal investigation related to the McArthur case on Monday.

On Wednesday, Mayor John Tory said he would support an independent external review of the Toronto Police Service's practices with respect to missing person's investigations.

Tory said the probe should look at any systemic concerns, including examination of bias contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code against any group, including the LGBTQ community.

The mayor had also called for a public inquiry into police handling of missing persons cases, a request Ontario's attorney general said the government was reviewing.

Saunders says he's been working with officials in the provincial government to "explore what independent review or reviews" are possible without prejudging current investigations or future prosecutions.


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