Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More issues with the TRU

OPP officer demoted for defacing flag
Admits incident on Chippewa reserve
Constable will lose $12,000 in wages
Feb. 28, 2006. 05:15 AM

ORILLIA—A former member of an elite Ontario Provincial Police emergency response unit was demoted yesterday and will lose about $12,000 in wages for defacing a First Nations flag and then conspiring with other officers to cover up his actions.
Const. Ron Heinmann, a first-class constable and a 17-year veteran of the force who was found guilty last year at a police disciplinary hearing of discreditable conduct and deceit, will return to work immediately.
His demotion under the Police Service Act by hearing adjudicator Bob Fitches is to third-class constable for six months and to second-class constable for three more months. The demotion will result in a pay cut.
Heinmann, who has been suspended from duty with pay since shortly after the incident at the Chippewa of Thames First Nation on Jan. 11, 2004, admits he drew a black X on a Mohawk flag after a standoff at a home on the reserve, but denied his actions were racist.
Chippewa of Thames Chief Kelly Riley called the defacing of the flag by members of the OPP's Tactical and Rescue Unit (TRU team) from Barrie, Ont., "disgraceful." He said it showed "a lack of acceptance" by OPP officers of the verdict in the death of Dudley George during a standoff with police at Ipperwash Provincial Park.
"I think that when they saw the flag, they reacted with anger and that's kind of scary," Riley said in a phone interview from the reserve, 70 kilometres southeast of Ipperwash.
Provincial Judge Hugh Fraser, ruling that Dudley George, 38, was unarmed when he was shot by TRU Sgt. Kenneth Deane, found Deane guilty of criminal negligence causing death in April 1997. Deane was killed in a traffic accident on Saturday.
The 17-member Barrie TRU team was disbanded after the flag incident, four of its members resigned and eight others received penalties ranging from informal discipline to demotion.
The TRU team was later reformed and now operates out of OPP headquarters in Orillia.
In the 2004 incident, the OPP Barrie unit was called in to assist First Nations officers on the Chippewa reserve after reports of shotgun blasts.
A standoff ensued outside the home of Aaron Deleary, who later surrendered and was charged with weapons offences.
When the TRU team entered the house, Heinmann defaced the flag and a poster of a Mohawk protest at Oka, Que.
During a hearing in May, Heinmann's lawyer said his client's actions were not racist.
Testimony was also heard that TRU team members conspired in secret meetings held in a church to cover up the incident.


sly said...

His actions are anti-social; if the police are to have any credibilty whatsoever he should be dismissed.

Jennifer said...

If the OPP wanted credibility, they would have disbanded the TRU altogether after they shot Dudley George.
I watched that movie on the shooting of Dudley George on CBC a couple of weeks ago, it was heart wrenching.