Police are still investigating police donations to the truckers' convoy

Police are still investigating police donations to the truckers' convoy

It is unclear what legal or disciplinary consequences, if any, the officers may face for donating money (on file).

Ontario police services say they are continuing to investigate members who made donations during the truckers' convoy.

In March, CBC linked about 20 current and former members of the province's police force. A list of names has also been publicly leaked, identified as alleged donors via crowdfunding site GiveSendGo.

This platform was used to support the convoy of truckers that paralyzed downtown Ottawa for nearly three weeks last winter.

At the time, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson had expressed concern that members of the police were making donations to the convoy, but said it was not his place to investigate on this issue.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) announced internal investigations into the matter, but they would not disclose the details. number of members involved or commit to making the results of the review public.

Six months later, the OPP and OPS confirm that their investigations are not still not finished.

“An internal investigation […] has been opened into this matter and it remains under investigation. The OPS cannot comment until the investigation is complete,” reads a statement from the OPS.

The investigation of the Ontario Provincial Police was supposed to wrap up in June, but it's also still ongoing, according to a spokesperson.

CBC does not name the officers, because they have not been charged or sanctioned (archives).

University of Ottawa criminology professor , Michael Kempa, believes that the investigation of individual agents is not technically difficult. On the other hand, in the context of the police workload after the convoy, the officers were overloaded.

The police force is also dealing with public pressure to produce results on a number of investigations stemming from the truckers' convoy, including hate speech, allegations of assault and assault. ;bullying.

He added that the Ottawa Police Services Board has been a low-key gatekeeper and left the police to fend for themselves to manage their priorities.

< p class="e-p">“You need an active, publicly visible watchdog that helps the police […], and pushes the police to focus on certain areas after the convoy protests,” Mr. Kempa.

Board Chairman Eli El-Chantiry declined to comment.

During the convoy, Councilor Eli El-Chantiry replaced Diane Deans as chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board (files).

According to Mr. Kempa, the forces of police are a reflection of Canadian society. Considering that approximately 30-50% of Canadians surveyed were empathetic to at least some of the trucking convoy's goals, the professor is not surprised that some law enforcement officers have in turn supported.

I don't think people will be particularly alarmed that there will be a number of police officers who made inappropriate donations after the declaration of emergency.

It is unclear what legal or disciplinary consequences, if any, the police may face for giving money.

A police intervention during the truckers' demonstration in Ottawa (archive).

Donations to the protesters were made through the site from February 2, the same day where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the protest illegal.

Soon after, the City of Ottawa and the Government of Ontario each in turn declared a state of emergency, freezing access to all funds raised on the platform for what was then called a illegal occupation by Premier Doug Ford.

For Michael Kempa, the timing of the donations will be important in determining whether or not they should be punished. Any donations made after the protests were clearly deemed illegal would be embarrassing, he believes.

“Police officers can donate to any political cause they wish, as long as it is not criminal in nature. The real concern is where are the donations coming from after the protest was declared illegal?

—Michael Kempa, Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa

It would be a glaring problem for police conduct to have donated after the Prime Minister declared the Emergencies Act on Valentine's Day, February 14, continued the professor on the law which officially went into effect the next day.

Mr. Kempa mentioned that police departments need to take the investigation of members more seriously and identify links or sympathies with extremist political groups.

Not that we expected to find huge numbers, but there are enough of them to be a problem. And it would be in the interests of law enforcement organizations to identify these issues.

“If we know a little more about this , we can actually design a strategy to deal with it.

—Michael Kempa, Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa

After matching the names of donors living in Ontario to publicly available police officer salary disclosure lists, CBC found about 60 people with potential ties to law enforcement based on information we received. x27;they had provided to GiveSendGo.

The CBC then cross-checked this information with other publicly available sources, such as postal codes, social media accounts and archived news articles. CBC was then able to match at least 26 donors with current or former members of the police: 20 with the OPP and 6 with the Ottawa Police.

For some OPS officers, CBC was able to confirm their names, and sometimes the amount of their donations, with police sources.

Protesters occupied the city center for about three weeks (archives).

CBC does not name the officers because they have not been charged or sanctioned and none of them have agreed to be recorded. Their alleged contributions ranged from $50 to over $1,000 each, and were often accompanied by a comment.

A comment read: Lord, bless these truckers and may God keep our country glorious and free!

Repeated attempts to contact members of the police who appear to have donated to GiveSendGo have been largely unsuccessful. Only a retired Ottawa police officer told CBC he had donated $100.

In another case, a police officer from Ottawa #x27;Ottawa appears to have donated $50 in his son's name. He also wrote a comment that read: When I play hockey, I would like to see my dad smile. Thank you for fighting for our freedom.

With information from CBC

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