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Globe and Mail
Posted on 05/26/06
[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]
Two weeks after a lawyer for the OPP told the Ipperwash inquiry the force was "shocked and appalled" by T-shirts appearing to celebrate the deadly 1995 police operation, a souvenir pin -- allegedly distributed to police recruits on the eve of graduation in 2000 -- has surfaced, bringing with it the potential for even more embarrassing revelations for the force.
The pin bears the symbol of the Ontario Provincial Police's tactics and rescue unit (TRU) along with the 6595 badge number of Ken Deane, the sergeant convicted in the killing of Dudley George, said Julian Falconer, who represents Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.
"This is offensive in the extreme," the lawyer said in a telephone interview yesterday.
He said he obtained the small gold pin through an intermediary from a 2000 OPP graduate of the Ontario Police College, someone he declined to name.
Mr. Deane, who died in an automobile accident this year, was convicted in 1997 of criminal negligence causing death in the Sept. 6, 1995, shooting of Mr. George, one of a group of Stoney Point band members who had occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park.
"It's a form of hero worship, and it's offensive because someone died because of his criminal conduct," Mr. Falconer said of the pin.
He said that the recruits who would have been given the item as a significant symbol of police culture are the officers who are now on the front lines of protests like the Caledonia standoff near the Six Nations reserve.
A photograph of the pin, the latest police souvenir to surface of the ill-fated deployment of the riot squad and the tactics and rescue unit, was entered in evidence at the inquiry yesterday during the testimony of TRU member Constable James Irvine. The inquiry has been told T-shirts and mugs commemorating the operation have been distributed among some OPP officers.
"This certainly reinforces the fact that we don't have the whole story and items that are apparently widely distributed are a secret to the inquiry," Mr. Falconer said.
Ontario Provincial Police Association lawyer Ian Roland said in a telephone interview yesterday that he knows nothing of the pin.
This week, Mr. Falconer and lawyer Peter Rosenthal, representing some occupiers and George family members, requested that Commissioner Sidney Linden order the OPP to require all officers to surrender any memorabilia associated with the Ipperwash operation.
Mr. Roland opposed the motion and reiterated his position yesterday in an interview. "One, there's no need for it and two, he [Mr. Linden] doesn't have the power to do it, he doesn't have the jurisdiction."
Mr. Linden said he would make a decision next week.
On May 11, the commission first learned there were souvenirs other than the ones investigated in an internal OPP disciplinary probe in 1997, when a T-shirt bearing a previously unknown design incorporating the TRU symbol and a broken arrow was entered into evidence.
The OPP expressed regret that that T-shirt had not been uncovered by the 1997 probe, apologized to the George family and the native community for the offensive nature of the souvenir, and announced a new internal investigation.
After seeing a picture of the T-shirt in The Globe and Mail, an OPP officer realized he had originated the design and contacted Mr. Roland, who alerted commission counsel Derry Millar. That officer will testify, Mr. Millar said last week.