Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.



Human Rights Abuse Capital

February 17, 2011 permalink

George Mentis of CCHR once called Orangeville the human rights abuse capital of Canada. In Orangeville a death in police custody is being examined privately by the SIU, blocking the mandatory public inquest. A policeman advocating reform is being prosecuted for failing to make an arrest in a domestic violence case. In two other cases police have failed to investigate deaths. Fixcas previously mentioned the case of Jeanine Blanchette and Chantal Dubé, two young women who met through children's aid and were found dead on the premises of Dufferin Child and Family Services. The Toronto Star and Orangeville Citizen report.



Orangeville police under fire

Curtis Rutt
Sgt. Curtis Rutt stands in front of Orangeville town hall.
Peter Edwards/Toronto Star

ORANGEVILLE—These are tense times for police in this normally quiet small town. Controversy is swirling around how the police force is doing its job, pitting a decorated sergeant and community activists against the force’s chief and police services board.

Fuelled by allegations of poor training, sloppy work and mishandling of a high-profile murder case, a citizen’s group is calling for an independent review of the town’s force.

At the centre of the controversy is Sgt. Curtis Rutt, 52, a decorated officer who has suggested in a report obtained by the Toronto Star that police Chief Joseph Tomei be suspended, pending an independent review of his leadership.

In his report, Rutt accuses Tomei of providing inadequate training for officers, resulting in junior officers not conducting proper investigations before making arrests.

In December, Rutt delivered the report to the local police services board, calling for a citizen review of the force under Section 25 of the Police Services Act.

“That does not even merit a comment from me,” said Tomei.

He also pointed out that “this person is under Police Act charges and an ongoing investigation.”

The criticisms that Rutt levies against Tomei in his report relate directly to the charges is facing under the Police Services Act. Rutt has been charged with neglect of duty for not making an immediate arrest while investigating a domestic abuse allegation in February 2009, and a charge of insubordination. He has pleaded not guilty to both.

Those charges were supposed to be heard at a disciplinary hearing on Friday that was postponed at the last moment when the prosecutor called in sick. Activists who had banned together through Facebook had planned to show up en masse in support of Rutt.

Rutt declined to comment on either the charges he is facing or his report, citing breach of confidence rules.

Many locals call Rutt a scapegoat and a hero.

“He’s one of the good guys,” said Stephanie Cliche, 28, who has been circulating posters urging a review of the force. “He’s one of the ones who’s well-trained and who should be in the police force.”

Rutt won the Medal of Bravery in 2001 from then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, while he was a member of the tactical unit of Waterloo Regional Police.

Cliche became energized to join the fight to overhaul the town’s police force after her friend, Adam Sprague, 25, died while in police custody last November.

Tomei said he can’t comment on the Sprague death, other than to say it was “very sad and very tragic” and that it’s under investigation by the provincial Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

“The matter is still under investigation by the SIU,” Tomei said. “All our members are cooperating with the investigation. I empathise with the people who are awaiting results from the SIU investigation. But we have to follow due process.”

A large number of the force’s critics want the entire 39-member force for the community of 27,000 to be disbanded, and replaced with the Ontario Provincial Police.

The local newspaper, The Orangeville Banner, recently ran a poll, in which 91 per cent of 2,350 respondents supported the local police force being replaced by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Cliche and other critics have drawn up a laundry list of complaints, besides a call for answers into Sprague’s death.

Those complaints include:

  • the unsolved murder of nurse Sonia Varaschin in her home last summer. Her family reportedly learned key details of the investigation through the media.
  • the unsolved assault of photographer Shelley Loder of neighbouring Mono Township in December.
  • questions of whether police should have protected resident Heidi Ferguson, who was killed last September by her estranged husband, who then killed himself.
  • the failure to search for two missing young women, which pushed their families to find their bodies themselves in November. They had committed suicide.

Rutt and other critics have called for an independent review of the force under the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.

Dissatisfaction with the force has spawned a number of Facebook pages, including “We want answers about Adam Sprague’s passing,” which was established by local resident Damian Huckle, 42.

“Adam was a friend,” Huckle said. “I was floored with what happened.”

The civilian police commission has the power to discipline individual officers, including a chief, as well as police services board members. It can also order restructuring and other changes on a force.

The city’s mayor, Rob Adams, who sits on the local police services board said Friday he will not comment until Police Act charges are resolved.

Source: Toronto Star

Police inquiry supporters turn heat up on council

police support section 25 inquiry
SUPPORT for an inquiry into the affairs of the Orangeville Police service has spread through the ranks of its uniformed officers. A sign calling for a Section 25 (1) inquiry under the provincial Police Services Act was seen on a police cruiser.

A large contingent of irate Orangeville residents gathered at Monday’s town council meeting to voice their support for an external investigation into the Orangeville Police Service.

Meanwhile, 16 of the service’s front-line, uniformed officers have signed a petition and presented it to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC), voicing their support for a probe under Section 25 (1) of Ontario’s Police Services Act.

The residents were also seeking a statement from council for, among other things, reports of low morale in the service and numerous complaints of unlawful detainment and alleged abuse by officers.

They were also parlaying their support for Sgt. Curtis Rutt, an officer facing disciplinary hearings who put forward the Section 25 (1) request in December.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting on behalf of the advocacy group Citizens to Reform the OPS, Damian Huckle said: “The catalyst for this group’s rapid and continued growth and activity was the in-custody death of Adam Sprague.

“But the concerns were already mounting prior to Adam’s death and have continued to do so.”

Mr. Sprague was arrested Nov. 10 and placed in a police cell. He died in the early hours of Nov. 11 and since then his death has been under investigation by the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Mayor Rob Adams responded by saying that “during the course of everyday living, we put our faith and trust in our police services, and we take that protection for granted.

“So Adam Sprague’s death is made even more tragic by the fact that it happened while he was in police custody.”

He also stated that regulations in the Police Act prohibit him, council and the Police Services Board from publicly commenting on the matter.

In the case of Sgt. Rutt, who was suspended for neglect of duty after refusing to make an arrest he deemed unlawful, Mayor Adams said he was similarly not in a position to speak on it.

“As well as the ongoing hearing, it would be totally inappropriate for me, or anyone else on council, to comment on a personnel matter where charges have been laid.”

“With all due respect,” replied Mr.

Huckle, “you have one hell of a personnel problem.”

Information obtained by this paper showed that the group’s call for a Section 25 (1) investigation is backed by the 16 officers who signed the petition.

The petition, and an accompanying letter, was sent directly to OCPC chair Murray Chitra and to Ian Davidson of the Solicitor General’s office. According to sources, both received the letter by courier on Jan. 27.

The process circumvented the regular procedure of taking complaints to the town council and Orangeville Police Services Board (PSB).

“The PSB, town council and the OPS administration were not supplied a copy of the letter for two reasons,” said a source involved in preparing the letter. “Firstly, the PSB and town council have stated since the beginning that they stand behind the Chief and believe that the only problem is Rutt himself, which is clearly not the case.

“Because of this, there was no point in supplying either town council or the PSB with a copy of the letter, as all faith in them was lost.”

The Police Services Act requires that the chief of police conduct a parallel investigation into the death of Adam Sprague, to review the policies or services provided by the police force and the conduct of its police officers and to report findings to the Police Services Board.

So far, pending further investigation, one officer has been suspended in relation to his conduct at the time.

Section 10 of the Coroners Act of Ontario requires an inquest to be held whenever a death occurs to someone while in police custody.

The provision specifies: “Where a person dies while detained in and on the premises of a detention facility ... or a lock-up, the officer in charge of the facility or lock-up shall immediately give notice of the death to a coroner and the coroner shall hold an inquest upon the body. 2009, c. 15, s. 6 (4).”

The Act also specifies that when a coroner is informed “that there is in his or her jurisdiction the body of a person and that there is reason to believe that the person died in any of the circumstances mentioned in section 10, the coroner shall issue a warrant to take possession of the body and shall examine the body and make such investigation as, in the opinion of the coroner, is necessary in the public interest to enable the coroner ... to collect and analyze information about the death in order to prevent further deaths in similar circumstances. 2009, c. 15, s. 7 (1).”

Although traditionally such inquests were held as soon as possible after the death, the SIU probe has had the effect of postponing the cell death indefinitely, to the point where no date for one has been announced.

There is also the fact that the cost of a Section 25 (1) inquiry is borne entirely by the municipality, a point that Mayor Adams brought up at Monday’s meeting.

“We need to re-affirm that we have faith and confidence in the external agencies that are investigating this matter,” he said.

Source: Orangeville Citizen

Addendum: A hearing for sergeant Rutt will take place Wednesday, February 23 in Orangeville. Here is an invitation from Facebook.



Hearing for Sgt. Curtis Rutt

Public Event

Wednesday, February 23 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Town Hall, Broadway, Orangeville
Created By  
We want answers about Adam Sprague's passing., Damian Huckle

More Info

This is the re-scheduled final hearing for Sgt. Curtis Rutt. Both prosecutor and defense summarize their final arguments, so lot's of details will come out.

I hope this will give people some background on why it is important for us to show up in support of sgt. Curtis Rutt!! The man is a hero....

From the Orangeville Citizen:

In the case of Sgt. Rutt, documentation obtained by this paper indicates a discrepancy between OPS procedure policy in the case of domestic disturbance calls and those in the Criminal Code.

The charges against Sgt. Rutt stem from an incident where he did not make an arrest and was charged with neglect of duty for not doing so.

According to Orangeville police procedure: “In all cases of domestic violence where reasonable grounds that an offence has been committed exists, the officer shall lay relevant charge(s), including but not limited to an assault, breach of bail/parole/peace bond, criminal harassment, etc...”

Section 495 of the Criminal Code, on the other hand, states: “A peace officer may arrest without warrant (a) a person who has committed an indictable offence or who, on reasonable grounds, he believes has committed or is about to commit an indictable offence; (b) a person whom he finds committing a criminal offence; or (c) a person in respect of whom he has reasonable grounds to believe that a warrant of arrest or committal, in any form ... is in force within the territorial jurisdiction in which the person is found.”

In the parlance of acts and/or procedural policy, “shall” translates into “must,” while “may” tends to indicate a degree of discretion and consideration of circumstances.

This paper has obtained a copy of a March 18 letter to Julie Schlister, manager of the policing standards section of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services from Cst. Bill Morrison, then president of the Orangeville Police Association.

In it, Ms. Schlister is asked to “please find attached a copy of the Orangeville Police Service Procedure – Domestic Violence Occurrences/LE- 024.

“We, as an association, have some concerns that the aforementioned procedure that was completed by our Service in 2000 by our previous chief of police, has some areas that are not pursuant to the Ministry guidelines and the Criminal Code...”

The letter goes on to say: “Section 7(d), the wording restricts the officer to a ‘shall [...] make every effort to locate and arrest the suspect.’

“This is in obvious conflict with s. 495 of the Criminal Code where it uses the words “may arrest”.

We understand the Ministry guidelines for the mandatory laying of charges when reasonable grounds are present, but the officer is still obliged to follow the authority in section 495(1) and the limitations in section 495(2) of the Criminal Code.”See More

Source: Facebook

Addendum: When Ian “Damian” Huckle led a group urging reform of Orangeville's police, the cops knew what to do. They arrested him.



Citizen seeking police reform gets arrested

Damian Huckle
Damian Huckle.

An outspoken proponent of an independent review into the actions of Orangeville police recently found himself behind bars, facing several charges.

Ian “Damian” Huckle was arrested on Feb. 20 and charged with sexual assault, disobeying a court order, mischief under $5,000 and three counts of assault. He was released on bail earlier this week.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Huckle is one of the founding members of the Facebook group We Want Answers About Adam Sprague’s Passing — he has since been removed as an administrator and from the group as a whole.

He was also instrumental in launching a petition signed by about 2,000 people calling for an independent review into the operation of Orangeville Police Service (OPS). Sprague died in an Orangeville jail cell on Nov. 11.

Less than a week before his arrest, Huckle addressed town council as a member of Citizens for OPS Reform, seeking council’s support for the involvement of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC).

“He’s just one person. There’s several people out there in the community that are genuinely concerned about what’s going on,” commented Tim Callaghan, Sprague’s uncle, who has also publicly called for an investigation into the operation of OPS. “There is still a strong interest by the taxpayers of the town of Orangeville that they want results, they want answers.”

Source: Orangeville Banner

Addendum: Sgt Rutt was cleared of the charges against him. So is he in the clear? Nope. The cops just found something else to charge him with.



Rutt cleared of two charges; new ones laid

Curtis Rutt
Rutt tribunal. Sgt. Curtis Rutt leaves Orangeville town hall accompanied by his wife, Debra Anderson, and daughter, Olivia, following a Police Services Act tribunal hearing Thursday morning (March 17).
By Richard Vivian

Supporters of Sgt. Curtis Rutt broke out into tears this morning (March 17), when he was cleared of neglect of duty and insubordination charges laid under the Police Services Act (PSA).

The Orangeville officer was charged in relation to his handling of a domestic violence complaint in 2009. While Rutt believed there were no grounds for an immediate arrest, Staff Sgt. Dan Maloney, who handled the internal investigation into what transpired, felt there was.

Following seven days of hearings spread out over nearly a year, Hearing Officer Supt. Karen Noakes of York Regional Police found Rutt “not guilty,” stating the evidence presented wasn’t “clear and convincing” enough to warrant conviction.

“He based a decision on the information he had at the time,” she said.

Not without criticism, she added, “Sgt. Rutt should have taken additional steps” to move the investigation forward and inform the complainant an arrest wasn’t made.

As for the insubordination allegation, Noakes stated there was no evidence presented to support the prosecution’s claim Rutt was required to file a supplementary report about a conversation he had with the accused.

Maloney declined to comment on the verdict as he left Orangeville town hall where the proceedings were held.

Outside the council chambers, Rutt’s daughter read from a prepared statement, with her father at her side.

“It’s quite obvious that this whole matter was a complete and utter abuse of the process, wasting everyone’s time and taxpayers’ money,” Olivia Rutt said. “Their persecution against my dad has cost the Orangeville taxpayers more money than the salaries of all town councillors combined.

“The taxpayers should be furious.”

The sergeant has become a controversial figure in town the past few months, following his request for a Section 25 review into the management and operation of Orangeville Police Service.

In a lengthy document delivered to the police services board and town council back in December, he called for an investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC). Following a lack of response by the above parties, he then filed his request with the commission itself.

The request cites specific examples of what Rutt believes to be wrongdoing on the part of officers and management, alleged abuses of authority, poor morale within the force and more.

So far, his request has not been acted upon.

“I’m urging the police services board and the mayor not to further hide behind my father’s charges as an excuse not to call for a Section 25 review,” Olivia Rutt said, pointing to Noekes’ statement that at least one officer who testified against Rutt has an “incorrect” understanding of their legal authority to make an arrest.

“This underscores the need for a ... Section 25 review by an independent organization like OCPC.”

It’s not over for the embattled Sgt. just yet when it comes to a PSA tribunal. Just yesterday, five new charges were laid against him — three for discreditable conduct and two for neglect of duty — in relation to a citizen’s complaint made in April of last year.

Rutt declined to comment on the latest round of charges.

According to a news release from Orangeville Police Service, they are the result of a citizen’s complaint to the Special Investigations Unit and a “parallel” investigation conducted by York Regional Police at the request of Chief Joseph Tomei.

Rutt was placed on administrative suspension with pay.

The tribunal in that matter is scheduled to begin on April 27 at 11 a.m., inside the police station on C Line.

Source: Orangeville Banner

The SIU has completed its internal investigation of police conduct in the death of Adam Sprague. They concluded, no surprise, that the police did nothing wrong.



Protest over death of Adam Sprague
Protesting:. In the wake of Adam Sprague’s death, protesters gathered outside Orangeville town hall in December, calling for an independent investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission into the happenings at Orangeville Police Service.
Banner File Photo

UPDATE: No criminal charges will be laid against an Orangeville police officer in relation to the Nov. 11 jail cell death of Adam Sprague, the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) announced Wednesday (April 20).

Family members declined to comment immediately following the report’s release, referring all questions to their lawyer, who couldn’t be reached by The Banner’s print deadline.

“This makes me so sick to my stomach it is unbelievable! Adam would have been able to get medical attention if he wasn’t being caged up like a wild tiger,” a person identified as Amy Hunter-Belic posted on the Facebook page We Want Answers About Adam Sprague’s Passing. “If this happened in a home there would have been charges laid.”

Sprague, 25, was arrested on a provincial offences violation — a relatively minor charge — on Nov. 10 and kept in jail overnight. He was found dead at 7:41 a.m. the next morning; according to the SIU investigation, Sprague's death fell somewhere within the previous three hours.

A post-mortem investigation revealed he died of a drug overdose, officially cited as “acute oxycondone toxicity.” Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

“The subject officer was in charge of the prisoners in the cells that evening, and it is clear that he did not ensure that Mr. Sprague was physically checked,” SIU director Ian Scott said in his announcement, noting the Criminal Code charges considered include failure to provide the necessities of life and criminal negligence causing death. “In my view, the omissions of the subject officer do not support either charge.”

The SIU has been under the gun in recent months for failing to lay charges against police officers. An investigative series published in The Star last fall found the SIU laid charges after only 95 of at least 3,400 investigations during its 20-year history. Of those, only 16 officers were convicted of a crime, and only three were sent to jail as a result.

A local man, who has identified himself only as Kevin, claimed to have been in the neighbouring jail cell to Sprague the day he died and publicly reported he tried unsuccessfully to get the attention of officers after he overheard Sprague in distress.

“The audio recording of the cell activities that night does not disclose any utterances from other prisoners that would have put staff on notice that Mr. Sprague was in distress,” Scott noted. “Further, the dispatchers who were monitoring the cell videos thought that the decedent was sleeping.”

While no criminal charges have been laid, a parallel police investigation is underway and the SIU subject officer, Sgt. Chris Dryden, remains on paid suspension pending the outcome.

“It’s really a sad situation, especially given the cause of death being what it is,” Orangeville police chief Joseph Tomei said, explaining the current investigation may result in Police Services Act charges and identify policy issues that need to be addressed.

“We will release the results of our investigation once it is concluded,” he said, adding he hopes to receive a final report on the matter within weeks. “Sooner than later. It’s not going to be as long as the SIU — that’s for sure.”

Sprague’s death remains the subject of a mandatory coroner’s inquest, which typically takes about two years before it begins and may take two more years to be completed.

Spurred by Sprague’s death and disputed allegations of misconduct within Orangeville Police Service made by Sgt. Curtis Rutt, several local residents have been calling for an Ontario Civilian Police Commission review of the department.

Those calls have so far gone unanswered.

Source: Orangeville Banner

Addendum: The Orangeville Police Service has handed out a penalty in the death in custody of Adam Sprague. Officer John Kennedy will work 24 hours without pay.



‘Unlawful arrest’

Officer ordered to work 24 hours without pay in case of jail cell death

Adam Sprague
Adam Sprague.

The events leading to the jail cell death of 25-year-old Adam Sprague began with a concern for his safety.

Orangeville police Const. Jon Kennedy responded to a public complaint that a woman was in previously forbidden contact with another man on Nov. 10.

When Kennedy arrived at the Orangeville home, he met with the woman and a heavily intoxicated Sprague.

“Mr. Sprague was intoxicated, unsteady on his feet and unable to speak without slurring his words,” Bill MacKenzie, Kennedy’s attorney said during a Police Services Act (PSA) tribunal held at Orangeville town hall on Wednesday (Oct. 26).

The woman was arrested. The property owner, who was not to have contact with the woman, did not explain to police why Sprague and the woman were at his home.

“(The property owner) didn’t know what was going on,” MacKenzie said.

According to his lawyer, the property owner’s ignorance raised Kennedy’s concern for Sprague’s wellbeing.

“There was a safety concern Mr. Sprague couldn’t take care of himself if he wandered onto public property,” MacKenzie said. “(Kennedy) was not sure if anyone at the home was able to take care of him.”

Kennedy decided Sprague’s level of intoxication warranted arrest, despite the fact he was on private property.

The officer noted Sprague was about “five or six” steps from public domain prior to entering police custody.

Following his arrest, Sprague died of a drug overdose while in a holding cell at the C Line police station early in the morning of Nov. 11.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) launched a probe into the jail cell death. In April, it announced no criminal charges would be laid against the officer investigated; Kennedy was one of the SIU’s witnesses.

“Kennedy admitted the arrest on private property was unlawful,” prosecutor Ian Johnstone said during the tribunal.

Kennedy was served with PSA charges for unnecessary exercise of authority and discreditable conduct in May. The first charge was dropped in September. He officially pled guilty to the second charge on Wednesday.

PSA Hearing Officer Superintendent Morris Elbers ordered Kennedy to serve 24 hours of unpaid duty, as well as complete a training program assigned by Orangeville Police Service (OPS) Chief Joe Tomei.

The defence and prosecution submitted a joint statement recommending the penalty.

“It was probably a difficult situation that day, and it certainly got more difficult,” Elbers said. “Hopefully you’ve learned and will shed guidance to other members of the service.”

Kennedy, a six-year OPS veteran, has no previous incidences of formal discipline. Elbers said he understands the constable believed he was acting in good faith during the arrest.

“This is a blip on a radar screen,” Elbers said noting Kennedy still has a lengthy career in policing ahead of him. “You will learn from your mistakes.”

Before delivering his order, Elbers offered Kennedy the opportunity to address the discreditable conduct charge. Kennedy declined.

A mandatory coroner’s inquest, which typically takes about two years before it begins and may take two more years to be completed, will also be held.

Source: Orangeville Banner

Addendum: The vendetta against Sgt Curtis Rutt ends in August 2013 with his resignation from the Orangeville Police Service.



Rutt resigns from OPS, alleges ‘personal vendetta’ by chief

Orangeville Police Sergeant Curtis Rutt has resigned from the force, alleging he was constructively dismissed as part of a “personal vendetta” by Police Chief Joe Tomei.

(No claim has been filed and none of the allegations has been proven in court.)

In a news release running to more than 2,000 words, Sgt. Rutt said he submitted his resignation to the chief on Wednesday of last week.

“I also submitted it to the hearing officer, Superintendent (retired) Maurice Elbers. Superintendent Elbers then adjourned the hearing sine die, meaning the hearing is adjourned without a day on which to appear or assemble again.”

He said he took the action intending to follow through with the long-running Police Act hearing, “as I am confident that the Prosecutor, Ian Johnstone, has not proved, on clear and convincing evidence, that I committed any of the Code of Conduct offences as alleged.

“The allegations against me came as a result of my submission of a request for a Section 25 Review to the Orangeville Police Services Board, and it criticized the way in which Chief Tomei was managing the Orangeville Police Service. Chief Tomei hired Mr. Ian Johnstone to prosecute me, and hired retired superintendent Maurice Elbers to pass judgment on me. Despite this appearance to some would consider a reasonable apprehension of a biased hearing, I felt that I fared quite well in refuting all of the prosecution evidence.

“I was preparing to take the stand on August 28 and provide my full testimony, explaining in detail every bit of information I had compiled to submit the request for a Section 25 Review. But, on August 14, 2013, I was contacted by a friend from Fergus whom I had assisted in a minor court situation in Guelph court. She indicated to me that while she was preparing her two young children and her family dog to go out for a walk, a black, unmarked police vehicle screeched into her driveway scaring her family.” Two OPS officers had exited the vehicle and demanded that she speak with them. Under protest, she had allowed them access to her home, “where they sat at the kitchen table and recorded her answers to their questions.”

He said he was told that during that meeting she was warned not to let him (Sgt. Rutt) represent her “in any way because I had not ing she was warned not to let him (Sgt. Rutt) represent her “in any way because I had not sought out permission to do so from Chief Tomei.”

He said he met the next day with Deputy Chief Wayne Kalinski “and told him about the complaint I had received from my friend. I also told him that I felt [one of the OPS officers] was acting under higher direction and that this retaliation against me has become intolerable. Reluctantly, I told him that I will give my two-week notice to retire from the Orangeville Police Service. I then submitted to him, in writing, my notice that I will retire as of September 1, 2013.

“The next week, I received a letter from Chief Tomei indicating that, despite the fact that I submitted my resignation, they have initiated an investigation into my conduct. This meant that they had full intention to continue to harass my friends whom I’ve helped out by providing legal advice regarding simple traffic matters. I told Deputy Chief Kalinski that I have never received any money from providing any legal information and that not one matter had anything to do with the Orangeville Police Service. He told me he did not agree with serving me this letter from Chief Tomei, but that he had ‘lost the argument’ against doing so.”

He said that as a result of the chief deciding, a week prior to him taking the stand and testifying as to his request for a Section 25 Review, to direct a senior officer “to harass members of the public who are friends of mine under the pretense of a further investigation, and then go on to make further unfounded allegations against me, it became quite clear that I was being constructively dismissed.”

The sergeant said that he had continued to upgrade his legal education, attending a private college to obtain his paralegal diploma, “at no time during my term of suspension, where all powers as a police officer had been stripped from me, did I ever work as a paralegal or give legal information to any member of the public involved with any criminal or quasi-criminal allegation or issue that would involve the Orangeville Police Service.”

“Pursuant to this alleged investigation it became apparent to me that Chief Tomei and another OPS member were using the pretext of this investigation, to not just harass me in a continuing pattern of behaviour which sees Chief Tomei use the powers of his office to engage in personal attacks against his employees, but now to harass an innocent member of the public.

“It should be evident to all concerned that in the midst of this hearing Chief Tomei has now served a message he will continue to use police officers to intimidate me, and to harass members of the public he considers to be associated with me. I cannot stand by while Chief Tomei continues to use the taxpayers’ money not just to engage in a personal war against me, but now innocent members of the public.”

Asserting that his request for a Police Services Act inquiry into the OPS had never been investigated properly, he added:

“As this unfortunate personal vendetta by Chief Tomei against me has been played out we have seen ridiculous amounts of money wasted that would have been far better utilized engaging in upgrading police equipment, training and safety procedures; the very concerns I have had from the get go. It disheartened me to read the words of the Mayor a few weeks back telling the press he had no idea where the money was coming from being expended to engage in the proceedings against me.”

Suggesting it was obvious the Mayor must know, he added: “It is now clear Chief Tomei was going to use his office to keep attacking me and if he has to harass innocent members of the Orangeville community to do this, he would. I could not allow this escalation to sully the good name of the people of Orangeville.

“It has also become clear to me that Chief Tomei would have done everything in his power and to continue to be given unlimited access to taxpayers’ money as the Mayor continues to play ignorant to force me out of my job.”

Without elaborating, Sgt. Rutt said he plans to “use my new-found respect for the integrity of the law to ensure that Chief Tomei is held accountable for the actions he has engaged in to date. I will be reserving the right to pursue a constructive dismissal action against the Orangeville Police Service, and venture outside the tribunal process to other appropriate legal arenas to demand a full accounting of the money spent carrying out a vendetta against me.”

Chief Tomei confirmed Wednesday that he had received the resignation letter at the hearing but said a transcript of the hearing will establish that the resignation itself prevented the hearing from continuing, since the Police Services Act (PSA) requires such hearings to be against active police officers.

He said the sergeant initially said he was resigning as of Sept. 1 but later timed it as August 28 and ultimately as “forthwith.”

The chief also confirmed that the OPS had been investigating reports that the sergeant had been acting as a paralegal, noting that the PSA bars any police officer who is under suspension with pay from doing any such activity, whether or not he is being paid for it.

As to other matters raised in the news release, Chief Tomei said, “I don’t know how to respond,” in the absence of legal advice on whether he has grounds for suing for libel or defamation. “I’m in a bit of a quandary.”

Source: Orangeville Citizen

Human rights abuse capital of Canada