An adjudicator has dominated that three Thunder Bay Police Service officers who had been concerned in what was discovered to be a poor sudden demise investigation of an Indigenous man will face disciplinary proceedings.
Retired decide Lee Ferrier has granted an extension for a Police Companies Act discover of listening to to be filed towards the officers concerned within the 2015 investigation into the demise of Stacy DeBungee, 41. The listening to was held final week.
DeBungee’s physique was discovered within the McIntyre River on the morning of Oct. 15, 2015. Inside a number of hours, Thunder Bay Police Service issued a media launch to say the demise was not believed to be suspicious, and the following day, earlier than an post-mortem was carried out, police stated that the demise gave the impression to be non-criminal.
OIPRD reviewed investigation
The Workplace of the Unbiased Police Evaluate Director (OIPRD) reviewed the Thunder Bay Police Service’s investigation after receiving a criticism from DeBungee’s household and residential neighborhood of Wet River First Nations in 2016.
The OIPRD report, which was launched in February 2018, recognized a number of deficiencies within the investigation and stated that officers pre-determined that DeBungee had been intoxicated and rolled into the river.
The report discovered that officers didn’t comply with up with witnesses and pursue different leads, together with a possible deathbed confession from anyone claiming to have pushed DeBungee into the river.
The OIPRD discovered that allegations of neglect of obligation and discreditable conduct had been substantiated towards two officers. An allegation of neglect of obligation was substantiated towards a 3rd officer.
Case a ‘poster little one’ for what’s improper with policing: attorneys
Below the Police Companies Act, a discover of listening to have to be filed inside six months of the preliminary criticism being acquired, in any other case an extension have to be granted by the police providers board.
On this matter, the Thunder Bay Police Companies Board, which on the time was beneath investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Fee, in 2018 requested the appointment of a disinterested individual to listen to the matter, which led to the number of Ferrier as adjudicator.
The extension listening to was held just about final week — on Feb. 10 — following a prolonged authorized battle involving the CBC about whether or not it ought to have been open to the general public.
Attorneys for the DeBungee household and Wet River First Nation argued finally week’s listening to that the case was a “poster little one” for what was improper with policing in Thunder Bay and that the officers could not be given a move based mostly on a technicality.
Report outlined systemic racism in power
The DeBungee case led to a broader systemic overview of the police service by the OIPRD, which launched a report outlining systemic racism inside the power, notably when it got here to demise investigations involving Indigenous individuals.
The lawyer for the officers countered that it had been practically 5 years because the preliminary criticism was lodged, with the OIPRD overview taking practically two years, and that this amounted to an unreasonable delay.
In his 17-page choice, Ferrier discovered the delays had been cheap, and there’s a public curiosity in police misconduct hearings being adjudicated.