Did the OPP threaten to arrest Regional Reporter?

by Gary McHale  Feb. 15, 2012         (Sachem refused to publish story)

Last Friday I held a news conference in the Queen's Park media room regarding the illegal arrest of the Caledonia 8. Regional News reporter Kristin Kaye also came and spoke about how an OPP officer assaulted her and refused to identify himself.

At the end of her presentation she reported the following, "Last Wednesday I was phoned at my home by John Murray of the Haldimand detachment of the OPP. He tried to intimidate me into not speaking to you today [at Queen's Park] and told me if I did I'd be in a breach of the peace. As a journalist I am appalled by this because it is the ultimate in trying to silence my freedom of speech. Obviously, as you can see this did not happen."

Officer Murray has been contacted and he categorically denies he made such a statement to Kaye.

What we do know is that after the OPP read Chris Pickup's editorial two weeks ago about how a brave OPP officer pushed and swore at Kaye that Murray was assigned to look into the allegation. Murray did call Kaye a few times and tried to get her to go to Cayuga to make a statement which she refused to do. Kaye has filed a police serve complaint and when that paperwork makes it to Cayuga then she stated she would be willing to be interviewed.

The difference is that all complaints filed via the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) require the OPP to provide a written report responding to the complaint. If the officer is cleared of any wrong doing then the complainant has a right to appeal. However, if you just walk into the Cayuga detachment and issue a statement the OPP isn't required to give out a written report nor do you have any right to appeal.

I had my own experience with Officer Murray who, in December of 2007, made me a few promises in order to get my cooperation in making statements at the Cayuga police station.

He claimed he had no past dealings in Caledonia issues and that he was there to investigate anything I had to say. While I sat there speaking to Murray he could see blood on my torn shirt and that I had a black eye and bruising around my nose. Although I identified Clyde Powless as my attacker, Murray made no note of it in his notebook but did take the time to note my political statements against ex-Commissioner Fantino.

When I had Murray on the stand he claimed I did not identify who assaulted me. I asked him under oath more than once and he stated, "I'm not certain that you made mention of any other names, other than blaming the Commissioner for a rant that led to your being assaulted... I don't recall that you used any names..." When directly asked whether his testimony was based on his notes, or could he remember the event he answered, "I have very specific memories of these events."

Since the OPP had taped the conversation I was able to establish that during the 9 minute conversation I had identified Clyde Powless twice as the person who assaulted me. So let's get it straight, Officer Murray is talking to a person who has a torn, bloody shirt, black eye and bruising and that person identifies his attacker and Murray neither writes the name into his notebook nor remembers it when testifying.

This isn't the only event that surprisingly escapes Murray's recall. He promised me that during his investigation if there was evidence of a crime then he would investigate. In his notes he mentioned that a Native protester had hit an OPP officer with his vehicle.

One year later I had Officer Paul MacDonald take the stand in court who testified that he was the officer who was hit twice by a Native driver then shoved around by the driver. He testified that he wanted charges issued and that he filed a report to get charges but after a year not one person had spoken to him about this assault.

What the OPP did do was to escort the native driver and his friends through the police line and allow them to leave the scene of the crime without any charges or follow up.

Does anyone truly believe that if I hit a cop twice with my car that I would be set free? Race Based Policing is alive and well in Haldimand County.