Toronto Police won’t say how many but “multiple” Toronto police officers have been suspended with pay amid an internal investigation into corruption in the Greater Toronto Area towing industry.
Last month a single officer, Cost. Ronald Joseph was charged last month with a number of organized crime-related offences.
Investigators have alleged that Joseph, an 11-year veteran, stole at least one encrypted police radio which allowed tow truck operators to learn about collisions before their competitors and arrive at various scenes first. Not only that but the officer apparently was running a car rental business on the side to serve those whose vehicles needed towing.
At the time police said that several tow truck employees from different companies were in possession of stolen police radios and that the information was broadcasted by one driver to other tow truck drivers for a monthly fee.
The professional standards investigation that led to the charges against Joseph began in August, 2019 but a violent turf war for control of the GTA towing industry has been playing out for a lot longer.
In May, York Regional Police arrested 20 people and laid hundreds of charges as part of a joint-forces investigation dubbed Project Platinum.
At the time investigators said that they identified “several organized crime groups” working within the towing industry who were fraudulently inflating costs and, in at least 10 cases, even “deliberately causing collisions” to increase profits.
They said that the fight for control of the millions of dollars in profits from the illicit enterprise ultimately led to “murders, attempted murders, assaults and arson” with investigators identifying at least 150 different acts of violence.
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