May 22/98: Document from Deane's appeal contradicts OPP



Toronto Star
May 22, 1998
Peter Edwards and Harold Levy - Staff Reporters

[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]

The Ontario Provincial Police riot squad was ordered to enter Ipperwash Provincial Park the night Indian activist Anthony (Dudley) George was shot dead by police, according to a document filed in court.

That statement appears in a document filed in the Court of Appeal of Ontario by counsel for Acting Sergeant Kenneth Deane. He was convicted last year of criminal negligence causing death in George's Sept. 6, 1995, death.

The statement appears to contradict former OPP commissioner Thomas O'Grady. Immediately after the fatal shooting, O'Grady stated, "OPP personnel did not enter the provincial park and were not there to remove those individuals occupying the grounds."

George was shot to death moments after the riot squad approached the park, flanked by Deane and other heavily armed members of the paramilitary Tactics and Rescue Unit.

The new appeal document, filed by Deane's lawyer Michelle Fuerst, also appears to contradict previous sworn testimony by OPP officers in related trials.

OPP officers have previously maintained that they did not attempt to enter the park to confront Indians.

Fuerst did not return a call from The Star.

A couple of dozen Indian activists occupied the park after it closed on Labour Day 1995, saying it's located on sacred burial grounds.

According to Deane's newly filed appeal document, the orders to enter the park came at suppertime on Sept. 6, 1995 - more than three hours before the 11:10 p.m. shooting - after reports that a motorist's car was damaged on a public roadway and reports of mischief and a bonfire in a public area.

In the document, counsel for Deane states that on Sept. 6, 1995, a crowd management unit, "composed of 32 officers from two OPP emergency response teams, was assigned to enter the park."

However, in July, 1996, OPP Staff Sergeant Wade LaCroix told provincial division Judge Douglas Walker in a related trial that his orders were to move Indians back into the park but not to enter it, as the province was going to court the next day to seek an injunction allowing police to evict protesters.

In the Sept. 7, 1995, injunction hearing in Sarnia, OPP Sergeant Mark Wright testified that the riot squad only planned to clear a public roadway outside the park.

Wright testified that "...the crowd management unit's instructions were to move those individuals back into the park, and if they went into the park, that was it."

The documents filed by Fuerst in Deane's appeal of his conviction also stated that the 32 members of the crowd management unit were not told that the Indians were heavily armed.

Indians at the park have maintained they had no weapons, and no police officers were shot and no weapons from Indians were recovered.

Judge Hugh Fraser, who found Deane guilty, ruled that Deane and other officers lied about seeing Indians with guns that night.

A fellow police officer told court at Deane's trial that George was holding a stick, not a rifle, when he was shot.

"Staff Sergeant (Kenneth) Skinner did not brief (the unit) about weapons in the park," Deane's appeal document says.

Deane received a two-year conditional sentence, to be served in the community and not behind bars.

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