Watchdog reprimanded for secret chats
Court rules independence in investigation of Toronto constable was compromised
Toronto—back-channel chats that led Ontario’s police watchdog to set aside its own finding of misconduct against an officer were inappropriate and undermined the integrity of the process, an appeal court has ruled.
In a decision this week, Divisional Court said the Office of the Independent Review Director had compromised its independence and ordered it to reinvestigate a complaint against a Toronto constable from scratch.
“As is emphasized by the name of the decision-maker, the Director of the Office of Independent Police Review was obliged to conduct an independent investigation and reach an independent decision,” the Divisional Court panel said in its ruling. “Here, in circumstances which belie the independence of the OIPRD, the director had undisclosed discussions with the TPS about changing his decision and, ultimately, he did change his decision.”
The case arose in April 2014 Gerry Mcneilly, the Independent Police Review Director, has agreed to reopen the investigation against Toronto police constable Chris Howes.
when Toronto police searched the Stanley family home based on a tip about the presence of a firearm. None was found. The Stanleys alleged police misconduct, including that Const. Chris Howes had stomped on one of the family member’s head or neck while they were lying handcuffed on the ground. Among other things, they alleged assault, that police deliberately destroyed their property and made racial slurs. OSHAWA, Ont.—unionized workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., staged a second work stoppage after the company confirmed it would not reconsider plans to close the facility.
Unifor said the protest Wednesday morning lasted close to two hours before it ended and followed about a five-hour sit-down at the plant the evening before.
The labour action came after union president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but came away empty-handed.
Following an investigation, the independent review director in March 2015 reported finding enough evidence to support an allegation of “serious misconduct” against Howes. The director notified the family and said the file had been passed onto police for disciplinary action.
In response, an inspector with the police service contacted the watchdog via phone and letter to complain about its decision.
Workers at Oshawa’s GM plant hold work stoppage over closure
The union has emphasized the wider economic impacts of the shutdown and released a study Wednesday putting some hard numbers to the claims.
“We’re looking at tens of thousands of jobs and a direct hit to the GDP,” Dias said in a statement. “Should GM proceed with plans to close Oshawa, the economic impact would be substantial, both in the short and long term.”
The economic analysis estimates the closure of the plant by the end of the year will result in 14,000 fewer jobs in Ontario and 10,000 fewer jobs outside the province by 2025, compared with keeping the assembly plant open.
Those would include 4,400 jobs at GM Oshawa and its parts suppliers in Ontario that would be lost in 2020 as well as lost direct and indirect opportunities from keeping the assembly plant open for an additional five years.