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Toronto police officer who assaulted cyclist, sent ‘insulting’ messages to superiors dismissed for misconduct

A police constable has been fired from the Toronto Police Service (TPS) after being found guilty of eight counts of misconduct in connection with several incidents over a four-year period, including the arrest of a cyclist in 2017 in which he was later convicted of assault causing bodily harm.

According to police tribunal documents, Insp. Susan Gomes, who presided over the hearing, ruled that Const. Douglas Holmes will be dismissed from TPS within seven days unless he resigns before that.

Gomes said Holmes “violated the public trust by not living up to his oath of office on multiple occasions as he had sworn to do.”

Holmes was facing six counts of discreditable conduct and three counts of insubordination stemming from his interactions with two cyclists and several TPS officers. Gomes found him not guilty of one count because of an error.

Holmes pleaded guilty to eight of the nine counts.

The documents posted online Wednesday provided a detailed account of the misconduct and what transpired during the hearing.

The first incident occurred in 2017. Holmes, who was working at 52 Division, investigated a cyclist for running through a red light along the waterfront. After the cyclist refused to provide identification, Holmes arrested him, pushing him to the ground. The cyclist suffered injuries, including a broken clavicle, as a result.

Holmes was charged with assault causing bodily harm and, in 2019, was found guilty. He received a suspended sentence and a year of probation.

The second incident involving a cyclist occurred in 2018 when he was already facing charges for the first incident. While off duty, Holmes became involved in a verbal altercation with a cyclist. After identifying himself as a police officer, Holmes was “insulting and uncivil” toward the cyclist.

“In both cases regardless of one being off duty and the other being on duty they take place in a public setting where additional eye witnesses were involved observing, providing statements and or calling 911 in response to the escalation of the altercations. Internal reputational damage was incurred in this matter,” Insp. Gomes said in a written ruling.

The remaining incidents occurred in 2021 and 2022 while Holmes was on sick leave. According to the documents, Holmes sent “disparaging,” “inappropriate,” “insulting,” and “rude” text messages and emails to a number of superior officers on separate occasions.

In one instance, Holmes emailed an officer with Professional Standards and called her a “low life” and a “c–nt.”

“There is no excuse for PC Holmes’ misconduct. As a result of PC Holmes’ collective behaviour resulting in this misconduct the reputation of the Toronto Police Service has already been damaged. It only stands to increase if PC Holmes is not appropriately held accountable for his actions,” Gomes wrote.

The tribunal also considered that at the time of the misconduct, Holmes was suffering from health issues, which he said stemmed from work-related events, including his conviction.

Ultimately, Gomes found that Holmes’ disability did not cause his misconduct.

“His actions were a choice. He made many choices of which have consequences,” she said in her ruling.

Even though he submitted that Holmes should never work as a police officer again, his lawyer asked the tribunal for a demotion as a penalty.

“The totality of the misconduct in nature, volume and duration does not align with demotion,” Gomes said.

“It is about upholding the oath, serving the community appropriately, maintaining the public’s trust and confidence in the police and holding PC Holmes accountable for his actions.”