Intervening in Crisis

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 6 a.m. January 4, 2018

Drenched in a highly flammable liquid and holding a lighter is how police officers found a man along Church St., near Wellesley St.

Two men in TPS uniform
Constables Jonathan Butson and Jonathan Cohen rescued a man in crisis

Reports came in from passersby the man was seen in a bank vestibule but Constables Jonathan Cohen and Jonathan Butson found him a minute later inside a dry cleaning business – directed by citizens who saw the responding officers.

“When we looked through the window of that business, we saw him crouched with the lighter in his hand,” said Cohen, who has served in 51 Division on downtown’s east side for six years. “His back was towards us so we were able to use the element of surprise and grab him from behind.”

The man was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken by ambulance to hospital.

“What he had drenched his skin with was lacquer paint and he had even ingested some,” said Butson, who joined the Service three years ago. “He was clearly in a crisis situation.” Cohen and Butson have been partners for the last two years.

“We are happy we were able to bring the situation under control before anyone got hurt,” Butson said.

Staff Sergeant Brian Maslowski is extremely proud of the officers for intervening quickly to ensure the man didn’t suffer serious consequences.

“They did a fantastic job. This Division is clearly a challenging one for police, but the officers here are reflective of Constables Cohen and Butson who did a great job,” Maslowski said.

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