White Canadian cop convicted of beating black teenager

Montreal (AFP)

A Canadian court convicted a white police officer Friday of beating a young black man in Toronto in 2016, in a highly anticipated judgment as Canada faces its own reckoning on systemic racism.

Michael Theriault, who was off-duty at the time of the attack, was charged with his brother Christian of aggravated assault and obstruction of justice after beating Dafonte Miller and hitting him with a metal pipe.

Michael Theriault's verdict was highly anticipated in Canada, where protesters like these in Montreal earlier this month have demonstrated against racism in recent weeks
Michael Theriault’s verdict was highly anticipated in Canada, where protesters like these in Montreal earlier this month have demonstrated against racism in recent weeks MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE AFP/File

Miller, then 19, lost the use of an eye in the attack on December 28, 2016.

A judge from the Ontario Superior Court found Michael Theriault guilty of a lesser charge of common assault, while his brother was acquitted.

Both men had pleaded not guilty and said they acted in self-defense, claiming Miller was robbing cars prior to the altercation.

The ruling comes against a backdrop of demonstrations denouncing racism and police violence as part of widespread protests over the killing of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Theriault is due to be sentenced on July 15.

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