Public has right to know if police killed baby
A heavy fog lay over the stretch of rural highway on that awful morning.
As heavy as the fog that still lies over how a one-year-old baby was killed in a shooting involving police.
Undisclosed: The child’s name.
Undisclosed: Whose gun fired the fatal bullet.
Did it come from the handgun belonging to the toddler’s father, alleged to have abducted the child?
Or did it come from any of the three OPP officers who took aim at the Toyota Tundra pick-up truck, with a baby in the back seat?
Almost two weeks since an autopsy was conducted on the slain baby and still the Special Investigations Unit has little to say.
This is not quantum physics. Identifying a bullet, matching the projectile to the weapon from which it was fired, is easy-peasy work for forensics a experts specializing in fireea
“The pick-up truck is with the Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) and examination is ongoing,” SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon told the Star on Thursday. “SIU investigators are currently in the process of preparing the police-issued firearms for CFS examination.” In the process of preparing … So, the bullet retrieved from the dead baby is on its way — by snail-mail? — to the CFS.
And … crickets.
There seems to be no sense of urgency in getting this done or letting the public know.
It’s not just ghoulish curiosity; when a baby is killed, the community is both appalled and angry. The public has a right to timely answers, especially if a police officer is responsible, whether culpability rises to the level of criminal charges or not.
Was it a cold-blooded murder, infanticide or a dreadful, unintended consequence of a police dragnet gone terribly awry, flaring into a sudden hail of chaotic gunfire? Police knew there was a baby on board.
It was around 8:45 a.m. on Nov. 26 when the OPP were made aware of an alleged child abduction in Trent Lakes, northeast of Bobcaygeon. A 33-year-old man had scooped up his son in what police described as a domestic dispute involving a firearm.
There had been an urgentsounding knock at the door of a Tullys Road house owned by Tom Deciccio, recently moved to the Trent Lakes neighbourhood. When Deciccio opened the door, he saw two women — “they were distraught” — and a child about three years old.
Deciccio was initially unsure about letting strangers into his home. Except the women were clearly in distress and seeking safety.
“They called the police,” Deciccio told a reporter. One of the women explained to police hat her husband had left with their son. “The wife was really worried about the baby. She w
A while later, police arrived at the house to break the ghastly news to the child’s mother: There’d been an accident and the baby was dead.
The child had been pronounced deceased at the scene. One can only imagine the horror when police made that discovery. The father, injured in “an altercation” with police, was airlifted to hospital in Toronto, in grave condition, suffering from a gunshot wound. He died a week later. An officer was also seriously hurt.
It hadn’t taken police long to trace the truck’s location, on Sturgeon Road in Kawartha Lakes, with nearby residents describing having seen police racing past, although most assumed there had been a vehicle collision of some sort on the secondary highway. When the pick-up got to Pigeon Lake Road, OPP officers were laying down a spike-belt to halt its progress.
There was a collision between the truck and one of the police cruisers. An officer outside the car, laying down the stud belt, was struck. As of Dec. 3, the SIU reported him in stable condition.
Under immediate threat, it’s reasonable to assume that the cops feared for their lives; weapons were drawn and discharged. We’ve not been told if the father had exited his truck or if he actually fired at the officers. In the chaos of the moment, the peril of the baby may not have been top of mind. Indeed, the baby may have already been dead.
There are no easy answers. But there damn well should be some answers by now, even for an institution, the SIU, which is notorious for investigating at the pace of molasses.
The mother of the child has requested that the baby not be publicly identified. Thus the SIU will not release the name. Nor has it identified the father because a connection could be made.
We might never know. And, with all due respect to the mother’s understandable wish for privacy, that’s simply not acceptable.
The OPP won’t divulge the name of the father either. “When the SIU is involved in a case, we can’t comment until they release the information,” a spokesperson told the Star. “We don’t necessarily release names of people who die in various circumstances.”
A GoFundMe page has raised $61,440 for the mother. Although details of the family, names and photos included, are contained in the posting, the Star hasn’t been able to independently confirm that this is the family involved in the tragedy and will not yet publish the information.
Three officers who discharged their firearms have been designated as “subject officers.” Under SIU legislation, subject officers can’t be compelled to submit to interviews. That’s a wretched flaw of the legislation. Officers have the same civil rights as anybody else in Ontario. Should they?
None of the three have made themselves available for interviews yet. Fourteen witness officers have been interviewed, says Hudon, as well as five civilians. The SIU team includes four investigative officers, two forensic experts and a reconstruction specialist.
Four guns were retrieved from the scene: three OPP firearms and a handgun belonging to the father.
The crux of the matter is who killed Baby X?
here is no excuse for sluggishness or secrecy from the SIU and the CFS.
That baby is all our child now.