• By: Dan Donovan

Why haven’t the OPS constables who assaulted Roxanne Carr been charged?

There are a lot of good police in this country. That is a fact. But there are also a lot of bad ones and the growing phenomena of the preponderance of police brutality and frankly, stupidity in Canada are reaching critical proportions. In Ontario, we have a weak kneed, wishy-washy politician styled Attorney General who is afraid to confront police about wrongdoing in the province, even when it is blatantly obvious.  Ottawa Centre MPP and Ontario Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi allowed the police and Crown Attorney’s offices to provide special treatment to Constable Daniel Montsion when he was charged with manslaughter and two other criminal offences in the unnecessary, brutal, vicious and violent beating of Ottawa resident Abdirahman Abdi last summer. Then, Yaqvi said nothing when the Crown announced on July 12 that Constable Montsion will not be tried until February 2019, almost two and half years after the killing. Naqvi doesn’t seem to comprehend or understand the concept or principle that justice delayed is justice denied. However, Ontario’s Attorney General certainly has his priorities.

With the many problems in policing, in  the courts and in  justice system in Ontario, Naqvi’s office sent out a media advisory toward the end of June about an important announcement he would be making on June 26th.   Turns out it was as doosey. He wanted everyone to know about the important work he was doing about ticket scalpers he wanted to share  info regarding the forthcoming Ticket Sales Act, to be tabled this fall to stop scalpers and others from reselling tickets at inflated prices. “We want to make sure we put rules in place that can withstand the changes in technology,” he proudly stated. Good to know that Naqvi is so concerned about all of us paying too much for tickets to the Tragically Hip and Drake, and that this is at the forefront of his priorities. It provides the best reason yet as to why he and his government have become a tragic joke with the electorate.

Naqvi didn’t hold a media event or press conference to say why he allowed Constable Daniel Montsion to be given special treatment and not appear before a bail judge, or why it is acceptable for the trial to be held two and a half years after the killing, or why Ontario taxpayers are paying Montsions’ full salary during this entire period, even after he has been criminally charged.   He didn’t hold a news conference to share his concerns on the racist wristbands the Ottawa Police Association is selling to support the criminally charged Montsion who apparently, in their eyes, is a victim.    Tell that to the family of the dead man he killed.

Most troubling is that Ontario’s Attorney General  has yet to do anything to hold the Ottawa Police Service or Ottawa Police Services Board accountable in light of a ruling last Friday by Superior Court Justice Sylvia Corthorn that awarded  Ottawa resident Roxanne Carr a  $254,000 judgment against the Ottawa police for her wrongful arrest and breach of rights stemming from an incident in 2008.  Because of  the judge’s blunt and damning  decision, Constables. Michael Adlard, Richard Marcil and the six other Ottawa Police officers involved in the incident should have been arrested following the ruling and charged with criminal assault and assault causing bodily harm, and all should have been immediately suspended.

Naqvi should have also called for an outside investigation of the Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (OSIU)   which had “reviewed the case and cleared all  officers involved of any wrongdoing.” Clearly there is a cover-up going on here. What makes matters worse for the Police, the Ottawa Police Services Board and the Special Investigations Unit  is that Justice Corthorn  was able to make her forthright and clear decision based on video evidence and testimony of witnesses. Yet the  Attorney General has done nothing. The Ottawa Police Chief has done nothing. The Ottawa Police Services Board, chaired by the rabidly inept Eli El Chantiry along with his board of police misconduct apologists, has done nothing.

In her decision, Justice Corthorn outlined how eight Ottawa police officers used excessive force and breached Carr's Charter rights during and after her arrest on August. 23,2008. As the record shows, officers from two Ottawa police cruisers showed up to her rental home that day and asked her to leave. When she refused and allegedly "lunged" at one of the officers, she was forcefully detained on the ground. In the process, she suffered two broken bones in her right wrist, according to the judge's ruling. Carr was charged with assault, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and mischief after the incident. The Crown withdrew the charges in 2011 after video footage of her treatment in the police cellblock was made public. Corthorn rejected Constable Adlard’s “shifting account” that he feared Carr, whose rent was paid up and was entitled to be there, was about to lunge at him (he lied). Judge Corthorn ruled Carr had every right to be at the home as a rent payer, and that her arrest was unwarranted and she also ruled that Carr was unlawfully searched when she was lying face down in the cellblock. Once in a holding cell, Constable Richard Marcil and other officers stripped her of her clothing on the pretext that Carr, who by now had two broken bones in her wrist, was suicidal and had tried to tie her shirt around her neck. Carr denies this profusely.(The police lied again) Four officers then removed her clothing. She was given a suicide suit, but it didn't fit her. Carr threw the suit into the hallway as instructed, and was left naked in the cell for more than two hours before being given a larger suit. While at the  Ottawa police headquarters Carr was dropped on the ground causing her head to hit the floor. Constable Marcil also wrapped a belt around her arm, causing severe pain.  Carr was dragged to a cell where Marcil, special constable Melanie Morris, Const. Cindy Cybulski and Sgt. Steven Desjourdy stripped her. Carr was then assaulted in the cell.

Incredulously, Sgt Desjourdy, was  involved and charged in the police abuse case regarding the mistreatment and beating of another  innocent woman, Stacy Bonds, in September 2008.  A judge stayed an assault charge against Bonds after ruling her arrest was unlawful. She was later awarded a settlement. In that matter, the police at first denied and then tried to cover up their actions in her brutal beating in a jail block  until they were caught red handed in court when video testimony was released showing them viciously beating Bonds. 

In her decision, Judge Corthorn accepted that Carr had two fractures in her wrist, and scrapes and bruises on her head, shoulders legs and foot as a result of the force used against her, and that the incident had inflicted traumatic stress on her. Corthorn said that “I find that the indignity and humiliation experienced by Roxanne in that setting warrants compensation”, adding that "I find that conduct of the officers who left Roxanne naked in the holding cell for over two hours was high-handed and a marked departure from the standards of ordinary behaviour," the judge wrote. In one of her many comments about the police behaviour in this incident, she noted that “Constable Adlard's failure to take a measured approach and his decision to take a forceful, if not confrontational approach are such that his conduct fell below the standard of care."  Corthorn  said that “my intention in awarding damages under this heading is that of deterrence of future Charter breaches of this kind."

Superior Court Justice Sylvia Corthorn ruling requires a response by the Attorney General and other authorities overseeing the police to hold them to account for their actions. The victim, Roxanne Carr is being awarded over a quarter million dollars in taxpayer funds to pay damages for the incompetence, poor training and brutish and ignorant behaviour by some officers in the Ottawa Police Service.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is not doing his job and is by default sending a message that it is OK in Ontario for an innocent woman to be brutalized by the state without consequence. He  must demand  an external independent  review of the SIU investigation that “cleared”  the constables when a judge found the exact opposite. He   should insist  that the Ottawa Police Chief   suspend all eight constables immediately, pending an external investigation.  He must demand accountability from the Ottawa Police Services Board for yet another display of incompetence involving their duty to properly oversee the Ottawa Police Service and ensure proper professional standards and conduct are upheld at all times. Ottawa Police Constable Michael Adlard and the other  “constables”  who brutalized  Roxanne Carr after her 2008 arrest and who violated her with their  abusive treatment in the police cell block, all of which was videotaped, are not fit to call themselves police or wear OPS uniforms. In doing  nothing, Attorney General Yaqvi is sending  a strong message that  police misconduct is acceptable, even when a Superior Court Justice calls the police out and says they are basically colluding and lying.