Insp. Periversoff and Race Based Policing Part 1

by Gary McHale - The Regional

January 26, 2011

Recently Insp. Periversoff stated he had not read Christie Blatchford's book, wouldn't accept a free copy and wouldn't comment on the book.

Prior to the book release Periversoff had emailed me stating, "...  two-tier policing has never existed, nor has this so called race-based policing that you describe. As a professional police officer who has served various communities in Ontario with investigative excellence, honour and devotion to public safety and to serving the citizens of Ontario, I am offended at this description painted of the serving officers of Haldimand County. Secondly, OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino is a man of honour, integrity and outstanding vision, work ethic and leadership, without exception.  Commissioner Fantino has done more for the people of Ontario, in his various capacities, than anyone could hope to do..."

Contrary to Periversoff's view, OPP Association President Karl Walsh stated, “I got numerous calls from members [OPP Officers] who will tell you that they were petrified of the repercussions of acting...  they've got all these examples of people on the ground who have already been persecuted, disciplined, had repercussions career-wise... I still don't understand why we took different approaches to law enforcement in Caledonia... I can't forgive them for a lot of the approaches they took to this and I think numerous officers got unnecessarily injured, I think people from the general public got unnecessarily injured, I think everybody that was involved in this suffered injuries that could have been avoided had they just stuck to their training, stuck to their policies and stuck to the law. You know, the law doesn't discern colour of skin or ethnic background, and it's not supposed to. Justice is supposed to be blind.”

Court documents reveal that Insp. Periversoff was in command at the height of the lawlessness in 2006. The remainder of this story are the minutes of the Haldimand Council in-camera meeting on May 23, 2006:

"Due to the unsuccessful removal of the Argyle Street barricades, the ensuing damage to the hydro transformer and resulting blackout, Council expressed their growing concern with the ability of the Provincial and Federal Governments to reach a peaceful resolution to this occupation.

Discussion took place regarding the action required to ensure the safety of the community in view of the escalating violence and tension.

It was noted that both the Caledonia Alliance Community Group and the Hagersville Chamber of Commerce supported a request for military intervention as it was felt that the actions of the protesters were a threat to the residents.

With respect to the damage to the transformers, it was clarified that on May 22, 2006 Hydro One workers did go to the site for a quick assessment. These workers have since asked for a police escort to initiate the repairs on site.

Council discussed the need for military intervention or the assurance that the OPP had both the equipment and manpower to handle the situation.

Mr. Steve Beatty, Senior Emergency Management Officer, Emergency Measures Ontario [At the time Julian Fantino was the Commissioner of Emergency Measures Ontario] joined the meeting at this time at the request of Council.

Mr. Beatty advised that if Council was considering asking the Province for military intervention, they must clarify exactly what they wanted the army to do and on what basis this request was being made.

With respect to the process and timing of such a request, Mr. Beatty advised that the Province would ask the Federal Government, who in turn would respond within hours. It was noted that the Province would pay the costs.

Council cited the need to restore law and security and remove the barricades. In view of the moratorium, it was felt that the protesters should be removed from the land.

It was noted that as a result of the escalating violence and hydro outage, some residents were moving their families out of the area for their safety, while others were afraid to leave their homes.

Mr. Beatty was advised of the impact of the continuing blockade on the Highway 6 By-pass and the rail line. It was noted that the line is used for shipping and receiving raw materials at the Nanticoke Industrial Park. In particular as chlorine is normally received by rail to treat the water, there were now both environmental and safety issues arising. The five accidents on McKenzie Road were noted.

Concern was expressed with the OPP's role and actions to date and position that they would not go onto the site again to remove the protesters.

Mr. Beatty left the meeting at this time.

At the request of Council, Inspector Periversoff [Acting Haldimand Detachment Commander] joined the meeting to discuss Council's growing concern with the need for military intervention.

He clarified that the military will only be called in if the capabilities of the OPP cannot deal with situation. He felt that the OPP were not there yet. He noted the dynamics and tension and their mandate to contain the situation.

Council expressed frustration with the double standard of law enforcement. It was felt that the OPP actions were not working and making matters worse. Council questioned if the OPP were prepared to do what is required.

Inspector Periversoff maintained that this is a land claim issue and that progress was still being made and negotiations still ongoing to get blockades opened. With respect to law enforcement investigations were ongoing in all areas, as well as the transformer fire.

The Inspector was advised that Clyde Powless had given a pre-warning of the hydro action.

Although Council felt the OPP seemed to be in a reactive mode, the Inspector stressed the OPP were doing their job, however not as fast as everyone wanted. He noted accountability lies with the Federal Government.

David Peterson, Special Envoy for Premier, advised that a tentative agreement had been reached to have the barricades down today around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. He noted that removing the barricades on Argyle Street is a symbol of peace by Six Nations. He stressed the need for moderation and felt there was no advantage to calling in the military. At 2:15 p.m., Mr. Peterson announced that the barricades

were removed from Argyle Street. Council was further advised by staff that hydro had been restored to the north side of the river in Caledonia. Mr. Peterson left the meeting at this time.

Council concluded that they would take no further action at this time with respect to a request for military intervention."