• By: Dan Donovan

Cancer Among Us

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS), Ottawa Police Association (OPA) and the Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB) are cancers that must be treated before the affliction causes irreparable and even terminal damage to the democratic principles and the quality of life in Ottawa. Make no mistake about it, this twisted trio has badly lost its way and has killed the credibility, trust and respect the three organizations once shared with the citizens of our great capital. The majority of Ottawa police constables have integrity and do a fine job.

However, there is a disturbing number of police who behave like thugs, break the law and face no consequences. The OPSB is supposed to govern the OPS. As a direct consequence of years of OPSB incompetence, we have a crisis in policing like no other. There have been more than 70 criminal charges laid against Ottawa police officers since 2012. These include driving under the influence, theft, fraud, assault, sexual assault, spousal abuse and now manslaughter. Astonishingly, not one OPS officer has been fired or terminated, despite being charged. A fish rots from the head down and there is no more rotten a fish than Eli-El Chantiry, the Chair of the OPSB. El Chantiry is so out of his depth, he believes his main role to be the chief apologist and appeaser for police wrongdoing. Councillors Allan Hubley and Tim Tierney are such timid, lame OPSB members that a Carleton criminologist, so disgusted with their behaviour at meetings, has named them RS1 and RS2 (Rubber Stamp 1 & 2). (And yes, if you pronounce it quickly enough it sounds as though you are saying: Arse. But I digress.)

Not one of the members on the OPSB has any legal, criminal, justice or even policing experience. They are either politicians, former politicians, consultants or come from the social sector. The Ottawa Police cajole them or, if pressed, push them around. Their impotence in holding police accountable for misconduct is the root cause of what led to the tragic, violent death last summer of Abdirahman Ismael Abdi – a citizen beaten to death by Ottawa constable Daniel Montsion. Even before the Abdi killing, these board members were known to joke at meetings and make inappropriate comments about citizens raising genuine concerns about the growing propensity for police misconduct in Ottawa. Then there is the Ottawa Police Association, a self-serving cabal type cult that believes it is above the law because the members wear a uniform. They have never seen police misconduct they can’t defend or excuse. Matt Skof, their cerebrally challenged president came up with the idea of having OPS constables purchase and wear bracelets with constable Montsion’s badge number on one side and the words “united we stand” on the other to show support for, “this member of our family.”  This after Montsion was charged with three criminal offences including manslaughter.

The OPA doesn’t care that these bracelets not only contravene the Police Services Act of Ontario and send a clear message “to the rest of us” that their interpretation of their role is to serve and protect themselves first. It is also troubling that over 1200 police were stupid enough to purchase the bracelets, showing firsthand the putrefaction and poor judgement that has set in with everyday members of the force. Police who somehow can’t process that by wearing the bracelets they are calling into question the very veracity of the judicial system that separates us from banana republics. Most troubling is that they don’t seem to get that constable Montsion is not the victim. He is the perpetrator. The victim is Mr. Abdirahman. The OPSB should be replaced by the province – in the public interest – and a supervisor (former judge) brought in until a new and qualified board can be named. We should all be very worried.

Challenge the police if you see them wearing the bracelet. Get the badge number and report it.

Don’t let this cancer spread.