Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The best scandal to hit Winnipeg since Douglas-king-Chapman?

Good Day Readers:

The first question that jumped out at CyberSmokeBlog upon reading veteran Winnipeg Free Press crime-court reporter Mike McIntyre's article (below) is why didn't he identify those named in the lawsuit? So you're left to speculate. Here goes:
(1) Statements of claim once registered and filed become public domain. Since Mr. McIntyre obviously had access to said document it hadn't been sealed which in and of itself would be extraordinary. The other option is redacted names which again would be beyond unusual to say the least. Best guess? Prior to breaking the story extensive talks took place between senior WFP management and it's legal department. IF the case makes it to trial and the allegations were shown to be false, the newspaper could potentially be sued for defamation

(2) Since the actions of the three officers named in the suit are currently under internal investigation is there something in the department's regulations preventing their identification unless or until they're found guilty?

Either way the Winnipeg Free Press should have explained its reason(s) for not naming those in the statement of claim otherwise rightly or wrongly it leaves the impression the officers are receiving preferential treatment.

Chief Clunis on the hot seat

It stands to reason it would be in the best interests of the police department's senior administration to settle the lawsuit out-of-court because once the subpoenas starting flying the dirty laundry gets washed in public. Since the plaintiff, a sergeant/supervisor, is asking for "unspecified financial damages" one would think an attempt to do just that will happen. Besides, it would come out of taxpayers pockets. Should the trial go forward, here's a sampling of some of the interesting questions that could be asked in court:

(a) What did you know, when did you know it and what did you do about Chief Clunis and your senior administrators?

(b) Are officers able to freely roam police and Manitoba Public Insurance data bases willy-nilly for personal information on other offices or is there a tracking system in place?

(c) Who was the real estate agent who gave the supervisor and lower level officer with whom he was having an affair use of a high profile local official's home? Who's home was it?

(d) What were those "explicit photos" found on the female officers phone (shades of the Douglas Inquiry)?

(e) Are there any checks and balances so an officer can't go AWOL while on duty?

(f) The actions (decision making) of the plaintiff-sergeant the evening Tina Fontain was apprehended within days of her murder?

(g) Plus God knows what else would emerge if there's a trial!.

The Winnipeg Police Service brass had better hope it can contain the damage by finding a way to make the lawsuit go away. Failure to do so will take what is alleged to have happened out of their control and the realm of an internal investigation they'd be much better positioned to control. It could really rock their new over-priced police headquarters the cost of renovations to which are already under RCMP investigation.

Clare . Pieuk

Investigated cop suing police, fellow officer

Mike McIntyre
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A veteran Winnipeg police officer who is the central figure in an internal professional-standards investigation is now suing his employer along with the husband of a female officer he got caught having an affair with - who also happens to be a cop.

Court records show the supervisor has filed a statement of claim in Court of Queen's Bench, seeking unspecified financial damages from the Winnipeg Police Service, the City of Winnipeg and his male co-worker. None of his allegations has been proven, and no statements of defence have been filed.

The supervisor is claiming he was repeatedly harassed after the female officer's husband found out about the affair, which began in early 2012 and ended in late 2013. He claims the co-worker had others follow him and used police computers to search out personal information about him. He is suing the police service and the city, claiming they are liable for the actions that happened under their watch.

As the Free Press reported last week, the supervisor is currently the subject of an ongoing police probe surrounding his relationship with the female co-worker. Sources told the Free Press he has been warned he could face dozens of internal charges.

The supervisor was initially accused of sexually harassing the lower-ranked female officer over a lengthy period of time. But he has apparently taken the position it was a consensual affair.

Still, investigators are probing whether the sexual relationship occurred when the two were on duty. There are also allegations the pair left work early, without authorization, and that they failed in their duty to disclose particulars of their affair, especially when they began working together in the same unit in early 2013.

As a result, another supervising officer who oversaw the time sheets is also being investigated. That patrol sergeant may also face internal charges.

There are also claims the pair may have been allowed into the home of a high-profile local public figure - through a mutual friend who works in real estate - and that explicit photos of the woman were taken inside. The public figure would have had no knowledge of his residence being used. Those photos apparently surfaced during a forensic examination of the woman's phone as part of the harassment review.

Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis held a news conference following last week's Free Press story but wouldn't make specific comments about the internal investigation. He called it a "human resources issue."

"I will also say that with any organization with over 1,900 human beings, there will be human resource issues that are investigated or addressed appropriately," said Clunis.

Clunis also disputed links to the ongoing Tina Fontaine homicide investigation.

The same police supervisor who has now taken legal action was also on duty the night two officers had contact with Tina just hours before the at-risk missing teen was last seen alive.

Last month, Clunis announced he'd launched a formal investigation after discovering the pair - a field trainer and a recruit - had contact with the teen in the early-morning hours of August 8. Clunis said the pair had stopped a vehicle driven by a man, but Tina was allowed to go on her way despite being listed as a high-risk missing person.

Clunis said the two officers were on administrative leave. He wouldn't say whether they searched Tina's name in the computer system or knew who she was. He gave no other details.

Sources have told the Free Press the two officers identified Tina at the scene but took no action.

The implication is if they had taken her off the streets that night and returned her to a safe place, perhaps the deadly chain of events that followed might have been prevented.

As well, their only action against the driver was to ticket him for suspended driving and detain him in the drunk tank. He was not charged with impaired driving, which is viewed as another breach of procedure.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 21, 2014 A3


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