June 4, 2008
Report slams Fantino
Say his actions against former Mohawk police chief were wrong
Posted By BY JEREMY ASHLEY
June 4, 2008
A retired Ontario public servant who served as advisor to almost a dozen
provincial attorney generals, has come to the aid of the ousted chief of
the Tyendinaga Mohawk police service.
Stan Jolly, a former senior policy and programs advisor on aboriginal
justice issues for the Ministry of the Attorney General, circulated his
41-page report into the suspension and dismissal of Tyendinaga police
chief Larry Hay to a variety of media outlets this week.
The scathing report criticizes the actions of OPP Commissioner Julian
Fantino in first suspending Hay for eight months before firing the
veteran officer for allegedly making a series of racially-charged
comments about the OPP and RCMP to a student newspaper reporter last April.
"Our desire is to try and push this issue publicly in the hope that it
can be resolved in a mutually respectful and practical way," Jolly said
from his Toronto home Tuesday.
"I think it's also an effort to try and resolve the situation without
going through the lengthy and extremely costly process of a court action."
The release of the report, which Jolly said he compiled voluntarily, was
done in partnership with Hay's legal counsel.
Hay was fired from his position as the chief of the Tyendinaga police in
January for comments he made last year to a Loyalist College journalism
student while at the scene of the native occupation of a gravel quarry
Hay, who lives on the Tyendinaga Territory, had served as police chief
of the sixth largest First Nations Territory in Canada since 2000 and is
a 19-year veteran of the RCMP.
Hay made national headlines in April 2007 when comments attributed to
him in an edition of the Loyalist College newspaper accused the OPP and
RCMP of being "racist" organizations.
In the article, published April 14 in The Pioneer, Hay is quoted as
calling the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "a racist organization" and
that he "came here to learn that the OPP and the SQ (Surete du Quebec)
are no different. It's deep-seated racism and they will do all kinds of
things to show that it isn't so, but we know better."
Within a few days after the story's publication, Hay was suspended with
pay and an internal investigation by the OPP's professional standards
branch was launched.
Eight months later, Hay was handed a letter from Fantino that rescinded
his appointment as a police officer.
While Tyendinaga Mohawk police operates as its own entity under the
jurisdiction of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, the OPP appoints,
trains and supports the service administratively. As such, all sworn
officers within the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Service are considered
first-class OPP constables.
Despite the move, Hay is still employed by the Mohawks of the Bay of
Quinte band council, which is reportedly at odds with the provncial
police agency's decision to remove Hay from his position with the service.
Jolly's review of the case states Hay's suspension and subsequent
dismissal was "clearly illegal" and contravened specific criteria under
the Police Services Act that governs First Nations police officers.
Of particular note, he said, was that the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
band council was not consulted before Hay's termination.
"The commissioner seemed to seize on that one statement and blow it out
of proportion," Jolly said of Hay's remarks to the Pioneer reporter.
At the time of the comments, "Larry wanted to maintain good relations
with the OPP, but he felt ... he was not getting the support from the
OPP detachment in Napanee that he previously received," Jolly said.
"At the end of it all, the commissioner had nothing more than those
relatively harmless but unfortunate comments to a student newspaper."
Further, the dismissal led to a deterioration in relations between the
Tyendinaga First Nations community and provincial police, he claimed.
"The action of the OPP commissioner has sent a chill through the ranks
of every First Nations police service in Ontario, and indeed across the
Jolly is hopeful the additional publicity garnered through the report's
public release will force Fantino to reconsider his decision and
reinstate Hay as an officer with the Tyendinaga police service.
"This isn't about money -- this is about the principle of the First
Nations being consulted before this kind of draconian action being taken
by the OPP commissioner."
For its part, the OPP said the Tyendinaga police service supervisor's
appointment was terminated "in consultation with the (Mohawk band)
chief, council and the community," said OPP spokeswoman Kristine Rae.