by Gary McHale - The Regional
July 29, 2009
In general, the public is unaware of an OPP document called The Framework which stands for A Framework For Police Preparedness For Aboriginal Critical Incidents. The OPP rarely admit that this document exists but it has appeared in various legal cases. The document was submitted to the Ipperwash Inquiry as proof that the OPP has made changes on how to deal with Native protesters.
According to Commissioner Fantino's testimony commanders are trained on the Framework and most officers are required to read it. Although Fantino testified that this document is NOT OPP Policy, Supt. John Cain signed an affidavit to be used in court regarding Edward's landfill site which stated, "The Framework is the OPP's strategic and operational policy for dealing with such disputes." Supt. Cain goes on to say, "the Framework was drafted over the course of several years and received approval as a formal Police Order in Jan. 2005."
Mr. Fantino testified that the OPP function using this same Framework towards Native and non-Native people. However, the evidence clearly shows this is not true. First the Framework quotes from section 25 and 35 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms - both refer to Aboriginal rights which I would only state that these sections do not give Native Protesters the right to violate the criminal code of Canada. The document never quotes from section 15 or 27 of the Charter - s. 15 makes it illegal to discriminate against a person based on their Race and s. 27 states, 'This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.'
In Canada, the police and Government cannot pick and choose which sections of the Charter they will agree with.
Although Frantino claims the Framework is applied equally by the OPP towards all sides in Caledonia, it is clear by the Commissioner's own testimony that Native Protesters are treated with respect and with sensitivity regarding their concerns while non-Native Protesters are shown contempt and are belittled.
Although Native protesters have come from all over North America in support of the occupation on DCE, it is only non-Natives that are called interlopers, outsiders, agitators etc. The OPP have arrested numerous Native Protesters from B.C., NY state and from Northern Ontario while only claiming that non-Natives have agendas and incite violence etc. While Fantino has met with Native Protesters numerous times and they have his cell phone number, he also admitted he has never met with non-Native Protesters.
Fantino has made it part of his mission to inform the public that the OPP has spent $500,000 to police Gary McHale while refusing to tell the public that since I have been banned from Caledonia the cost to police the on-going occupation is $800,000 per month based on numbers posted on the Ontario Government's website and testified to in court. Prior to my involvement in mid-2006, it cost the taxpayers approx. $2.5 million per month to police the occupation. This is not the cost to police all of Haldimand County but merely the cost of policing issues related to DCE. Since Feb. 2006, the taxpayers have spent over $70 million on policing Native occupiers in Haldimand County and this doesn't including buying DCE or the cost of negotiations - the total bill to taxpayers is now over $110 million. Millions more if you add in court.
What affect does the Framework have on individual officers who witness crimes being committed? Anyone who has seen the video from Doug Fleming's protest against the illegal smoke shop on Dec. 1, 2007 has seen numerous Native Protesters assaulting about a dozen different OPP officers. Not only has the OPP never laid any assault charge against a single one of these Natives, Commissioner Fantino, according to his court evidence, ordered the assaulting a Police Officer charge against Clyde Powless to be dropped. So far, the Crown has run interference when private citizens attempt to lay these charges against Native Protesters for assaulting OPP officers.
In one case, Clyde Powless was pushing two officers around. Fantino was shown the video and asked whether that was appropriate behaviour and he replied that in some circumstances it was - the same video was the basis of a Superior Court order for criminal charges against Mr. Powless for assaulting a police officer. When Fantino was shown the video of Mr. Powless attacking me and knocking me to the ground, he testified he couldn't tell if it was an attack or not. This video was used in court and Mr. Powless plead guilty to assault.
In another video Mr. Powless is seen grabbing Officer Moses by the neck and shaking him but again no charges. According to the videos Mr. Powless assaults about 10 officers in three separate events on Dec. 1, 2007 without one charge for assaulting a police officer filed by the OPP.
It should be noted that Supt. Cain's affidavit stated that a Native Protester had been charged with assaulting a police officer from this event. Based on other statements by Supt. Cain, he is referring to Clyde Powless assaulting an OPP officer - contrary to Cain's affidavit the charge was never filed.
Three different OPP officers become concerned by Mr. Powless' 'very vocal' and 'very agitated' statement, "if they want to see the road closed I'll show them what that's all about." In fact, the OPP knew for over 30 minutes that Mr. Powless was going to order the hydro tower pulled out across the road. An Officer has testified that later Mr. Powless was yelling, "Get their gun belts, you cops are ours".
Just to remind the public, Fantino wrote Mr. Powless a character reference to be used in court because he is 'peace-maker' in Caledonia. From this one event the OPP charged with Mr. Powless with assault and mischief, later a Superior Court Judge ordered four more charges, assaulting police officer, assault causing bodily harm, being a member of a riot and obstructing police.
Although the public is told individual officers are just following their own discretion, one officer did testify, 'basically [from] the command staff down, the OPP would follow guidelines set out in the Framework in dealing with the OPP's response to incidents involving Aboriginal people."
This officer was directly asked whether this document influences his discretion and he answered that it does. He was asked how the Framework has affected his 'personal use of discretion' at various rallies 'regarding Aboriginal people'. He stated it has made him more 'cautious, where under different circumstances I would react a certain way to - as an example, an assault happening in front of me..."
The officer further states that he is 'very cognizant' that he 'was dealing with a Native person.' When directly asked, "Does this document [the Framework] not direct you, as an officer, to enter into talks versus laying charges?", his answer was, "I would say my understanding of this document is that, to the best of our ability, we are to, as a, as a police officer, to definitely try to - on a one-to-one level or however you want to put it - to do our best to negotiate, as opposed to another situation somewhere else, where I would probably make an arrest; I would say that is a fair statement".
Race Based Policing is a Fact and it is outlined in the Framework which officers are under orders to obey. Police discretion based on top down orders is not police discretion - it is racism.