The Ontario Special Investigations Unit has taken over the investigation of the Stacy Bonds case. The Ottawa police “internal investigation” is now history. And so is the likelihood of any quick resolution of the matter.
The SIU is notorious for finding in favour of the police 97% of the time. It also takes months, even years, for it to complete its dubious work. And even in the exceedingly rare cases when it does support the victims of police brutality, it cannot penetrate the Blue Wall, in good part because the fix is inevitably in.
So the Ottawa police are off the hook for now.
Chief Vern White had options. This did not include, however, suspending without pay the officers involved in the brutal assault on Bonds. That, as a reader correctly informed me, would have been illegal—contrary to Section 89 of the Ontario Police Services Act.
However, in a case as egregious as this, surely a mere review of the video-tape, and the opportunity for the officers to provide their lame-brained excuses for brutalizing an innocent citizen, would have been all the “internal investigation” required.
Those officers should have been criminally charged. They should have been fired. End of story. But now the SIU has its grubby mitts on the case, it’s pretty well game over for any positive outcome for Bonds, unless she decides on a civil suit.* (If she does, I’ve already received pledges of contributions to a legal fund.)
Anyone remember Junior Alexander Manon? He was a Black youth in Toronto, who died this past May as a result of what many consider to be an act of murder by several Toronto police officers. The SIU has been “investigating” ever since.
But the Ontario Attorney General’s Office is also involved in this travesty up to its wattled neck. It is strongly supporting the attempted prosecution of Bonds on a trumped-up charge of assault against the police, who were, of course, the ones who brutally attacked her. Indeed, as it turns out, the prosecutor in the case was shown the video well before the trial, but decided to press on with her further victimization.
This on-going saga has attracted front-page coverage by the Ottawa Citizen, which has also weighed in with a couple of blistering editorials, and run an equally scathing op-ed by law professor David Tanovitch questioning the Crown’s decision to proceed with the bogus charge.
With respect to the latter, we might gain some insight from a telling remark by University of Ottawa law professor David Paccioco:
Prosecutors would likely feel pressure to oppose an application to stay proceedings because of an abuse of process by police, Paciocco said, because “it’s going to impugn the integrity of the police officers.”
And, after all, we can’t have that.
- UPDATE: I am reminded by reader (and lawyer) Nbob that Bonds does have another option. “It would be open to her to lay a private information and, if process is granted those involved would face criminal charges (e.g. assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement).”