[The following story appeared as a sidebar to What does the force do with a wayward Mountie? by Brian Hutchinson in the National Post on Dec. 12, 2009.]
The Mounting Mountie misconduct
Brian Hutchinson, National Post, Dec. 12, 2009
In response to a National Post request for information, the RCMPs Adjudications Directorate in Ottawa this week released 84 internal adjudication board decisions rendered across Canada from January 2008. The decisions rely on witness testimonies, admissions of fact and proof of misconduct, and include sanctions against individual Mounties. Brian Hutchinson summarizes 12 of the 84 adjudication board decisions and a summary of one decision under appeal.
HQ DIVISION: OTTAWA
In September 2005, off-duty Constable Michael Dudas entered a McDonalds restaurant drive-through lane and instigated an angry verbal exchange with three young pedestrians placing an order in front of him. In what an RCMP adjudication board called a sudden and violent attack, Const. Dudas left his truck, grabbed one of the young women and punched her in the face. She fell to the ground where she lay bleeding profusely. Four of her teeth were fractured as a result of the attack. The constable returned to his truck and left the scene without offering any assistance to his victim. He pleaded guilty in provincial court to common assault and received a suspended sentence with a one-year probation order. In June 2008 the RCMP adjudication board docked him 10 days pay. Const. Dudas remains on active duty in the National Capital Region.
C DIVISION: MONTREAL
In September 2006, a female passerby witnessed a constable openly masturbating in his unmarked police vehicle. The constable was supposed to be conducting surveillance in a counterfeiting investigation. According to a March 2009 RCMP adjudication board decision, the constable simply smiled at the passerby and kept on masturbating. The passerby called the municipal police. The constable received a summons to appear in court on the matter. A diversion agreement was reached with the Crown Attorney of Quebec on the basis of psychological assessments, says the adjudication board decision, adding that the constable was determined by doctors to be fixated on auto-eroticism and compulsive masturbatory activity caused by stress. The RCMP docked him 10 days pay and recommended that he receive professional counselling. He remains on active duty in Montreal.
HQ DIVISION: OTTAWA
Civilian ballistics expert Stacey Chernowak admitted in April 2007 to manufacturing and possessing a submachine gun with silencer, and to importing and possessing a Chinese-made variant of an AK-47 automatic rifle, both prohibited firearms. The two weapons and 12 ammunition magazines were discovered housed in plastic tubes, in a wooded area near Sudbury, Ont. Mr. Chernowak also admitted to possessing seven unregistered firearms. The ballistics expert kept a total of 44 firearms inside his apartment.
In April 2008, he pleaded guilty in court to five Criminal Code offences and received a conditional nine-month prison sentence. In November 2008, an RCMP adjudication board decision found that he had considerable health problems, both mental and physical and at times was suicidal. Mr. Chernowak was docked a total of 17 days pay and was recommended for transfer and continued professional counselling. He remains on active duty in the National Capital Region.
E DIVISION: BURNABY, B.C.
In June 2007, an off-duty constable collided his car into another vehicle, which flipped over and landed on its side. The driver of the second vehicle suffered a fractured collarbone. The constable did not offer the injured person assistance; instead, he drove home. On-duty RCMP officers attended his home and found him in a state of impairment. The constable attributed this to consumption of pain relief medication that contained alcohol. In March 2009, he was docked 10 days pay. He remains on active duty in the Lower Mainland.
HQ DIVISION: OTTAWA
After drinking a few beers in a pub with another off-duty officer in October 2005, an inspector drove his Pontiac Sunfire onto a restricted access roadway reserved for public transit buses.
An Ottawa transit officer directed him to pull over. The inspector flashed his RCMP badge at the officer and said, Im on the job. The inspector was allowed to drive away. The transit officer then observed the Sunfire veering to the edge of the restricted roadway. He directed the inspector to pull over again. The officer suspected the inspector was intoxicated and that he had lied about being on the job. Ottawa police were called and the inspector provided a breath sample, which indicated a warn for his blood alcohol level. The inspectors drivers license was suspended for 12 hours. He was sanctioned in August 2008 and docked five days pay. He remains on active duty in the National Capital Region.
(The inspector had previously admitted to seven allegations of disgraceful conduct while acting as officer in charge of the RCMPs Montreal drug section. These related to sexual relations he had with female Mounties taking undercover courses while he was an instructor, and efforts he made to disrupt a subsequent investigation into the matter. He was sanctioned in 2004 and was suspended for 55 days. He was also docked 25 days pay and was barred from training undercover agents.)
O DIVISION: NIAGARA FALLS
Over a six-month period in 2007, a sergeant made 53 cash advance withdrawals using his RCMP-issued American Express charge card. The unauthorized withdrawals were made at casinos and other gambling facilities in Canada and in the United States; 27 were made while the sergeant was on duty. In May 2007, an RCMP accounting services employee warned him not to make cash withdrawals for personal use. Ultimately he did not heed the warning.
In April 2008 he admitted to using the cash advances (approximately $4,900) to gamble. He also admitted that he used RCMP vehicles to attend casinos and other gambling establishments while on duty.
In a July 2008 adjudication board decision his sanction was forfeiture of eight days pay. It was not determined that the sergeant had effectively dealt with his gambling problem, the adjudication board advised. The sergeant was transferred to Vancouver where he is assigned to 2010 Olympic Winter Games security duty.
(Two other RCMP officers were sanctioned in 2008 for using RCMP-issued American Express cards to make unauthorized cash withdrawals and using the cash to gamble inside casinos. The most severe sanction was forfeiture of seven days pay.)
D DIVISION: SAINT LAZARE, MAN.
A forensics expert constable was called to help investigate a double homicide on August 25, 2007. After attending the scene she gave a primary investigator her investigation notes; these indicated that the murder weapon, a .22 caliber rifle, was found at the scene and that it was unloaded. The same day, the constable turned over the rifle to an exhibit custodian. It contained two live rounds of ammunition.
One week later, the constable produced notes from a second notebook. These indicated she had discovered one live round inside the rifle.
The constables superior questioned her about the blatant discrepancy and asked why she had used two notebooks. The constable lied that her first notebook had been contaminated with blood at the murder scene.
The constable then turned over her first notebook to an exhibit custodian. It was smeared with red paint. She eventually agreed that she smeared the red paint on her first notebook to simulate dried blood. In January 2009 she accepted a voluntary removal from her position as a forensics expert. She also accepted a transfer.
HQ DIVISION: OTTAWA
On October 11, 2007 Constable Guy Jacques abandoned his security unit post at Rideau Hall and left Governor-General Michaelle Jean and her family without an RCMP security presence. Const. Jacques left Rideau Hall in an RCMP vehicle and played hockey for one hour. He then drove to a cemetery, then a hospital and later disrupted and caused the delay of a Gatineau Police Service surveillance and search operation by driving through a targeted area about 20 times. In a separate infraction, Const. Jacques used his RCMP-issued cellphone to make personal long-distance calls to his girlfriend, friends and family members. He was sanctioned in April 2009 and was docked a total of seven days pay. He remains on active duty in the National Capital Region.
K DIVISION: PICTURE BUTTE, ALTA.
In May 2005, the constable left a threatening voicemail for his estranged wife, an emergency room nurse who lived with their disabled daughter and their son. In his message, the constable said today is the first time I have woken up without wanting to kill you, or words to that effect. He also harassed his estranged wife by text-messaging her incessantly over an eight-month period. The constable was found to have made inappropriate police computer queries about his estranged wife and about individuals associated with her. In June 2008, the constable was docked a total of 21 days pay and it was recommended that he seek professional counselling. He now works from the Gleichen, Alta detachment.
E DIVISION: LOWER MAINLAND, B.C.
While on vacation with his family in June 2007, a constable entered a hospital in Washington state and asked for prescription drugs used for anxiety and panic disorders. He refused to identify himself to hospital staff. He said he worked for the Government of Canada and was involved with international anti-terrorism enforcement. The constable said if he did not leave the hospital with prescription drugs he would miss a meeting. In that case, he said, buildings could be blown up and other bad things could happen.
Staff found him to be very confused and perhaps intoxicated. When local police arrived to deal with him, the constable identified himself. He was released into the care of his brother.
Two days later in Surrey, B.C., the constable knocked on a womans door and identified himself as an RCMP officer. His head was bleeding and he was unsteady on his feet. He was also described as sniffling and sneezing profusely. He asked the woman a number of inappropriate questions about her house, including its value and its contents. The woman felt threatened by the constable. At a co-workers urging, she called police the following evening.
Both incidents were related to the constables addiction to prescription drugs including pain medication, an RCMP adjudication board decided in January 2009. He was ordered to forfeit four days pay and it was recommended that he continue to receive professional counselling. According to the adjudication board decision, the member has recent prior discipline for similar conduct which also involved police intervention. The constable remains on active duty in the Lower Mainland.
E DIVISION: KUGLUKTUK, NUNAVUT
Off-duty one day in September 2006, a constable drove around Kuglutuk in his RCMP cruiser, looking for an 11-year-old boy who had allegedly assaulted his nine-year-old stepson. The constables wife was also in the police vehicle, along with the stepson and an infant son. The 11-year-old was spotted and the constables wife left the cruiser and grabbed him. She then invited her son to punch the 11-year-old, which he did, striking him on his left cheek, his nose and his stomach. The 11-year-old was bloodied. The constables wife and her son returned to the police cruiser and the constable drove away without offering assistance to his wifes assault victim. In 2007, the constables wife pleaded guilty in court to assault; the constable was not charged. In March 2008, an RCMP adjudication board sanctioned the constable. He was docked four days pay. He remains on active duty.
E DIVISION: NORTH VANCOUVER
While on duty over four days in September 2002, two constables exchanged dozens of offensive messages using RCMP mobile workstations. The messages contained profanities, sexually explicit comments, disparaging comments about co-workers, a desire to use improper force and one racially insensitive comment. One exchange referred to sex with goats. During a relevant time period, one of the constables was training an RCMP cadet. An adjudication board decision in 2004 ordered the members to resign; otherwise, they would be dismissed. Both members appealed and in 2006 then-RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli dismissed their appeals. The Federal Court of Canada ordered the commissioners decision set aside and more adjudication board hearings took place. In January 2009, both members were sanctioned and each was docked 10 days pay. Both members had received prior informal discipline. They remain on active duty in the Lower Mainland.
E DIVISION: LOWER MAINLAND, B.C.
In February 2005, a constable attended a Super Bowl party at a suburban Vancouver residence. According to an RCMP adjudication board decision written in January 2009, the constable had sexual intercourse with an unconscious adult woman who had been drugged at the party. The board determined this was a sexual assault.
In the investigation process the constable acknowledged that what he did was wrong and was an infidelity but he denied it was an assault. He claimed the intercourse was consensual and that the woman was conscious while it transpired. The adjudication board rejected this. There was no consent. She had been drugged ... His decision to take advantage of a woman in this state demonstrates a fundamental flaw in his character that renders him unfit to perform the duties of a police officer, the board found.
The board described the constable as an alcoholic attached to the RCMPs Greater Vancouver Drug Section. The board noted that according to his supervisor, the constables struggle with alcohol addiction ... has never affected his work. The board added that he has taken steps to address his addiction and that he is not the man he was in February 2006 ... His one act of misconduct, however, is so serious that he cannot be retained as a member.
The constable was ordered to resign from the RCMP; otherwise he would be dismissed. The constable has appealed the order to RCMP Commissioner William Elliott. He remains suspended with pay.