Monday, 1 February 2016

Police officers who lie

I have personally run across two police officers who gave false testimony against me in court. The first one was a Toronto Police Service cop who testified that I never served him with a summons when in fact, I saw him actually reading it seconds after I gave it to him. I got my revenge. I filed a complaint against him and subsequently, his promotion was held up for five years. The second cop was employed by the Halton Police Force and he testified under oath that he never read my complaint against him which prompted him to charge me with a minor offence. I got my revenge a second time. I waited until he reached the rank of chief of police then I filed a complaint against him for perjury. I testified against him at his hearing and he was subsequently dismissed from the police force without his pension.

When police officers lie in court, it is typically used in a criminal trial to "make the case" against a defendant who the police believe to be guilty when irregularities during the suspect's arrest or search threaten to result in an acquittal. It has broader meanings. It also can be extended further to encompass substantive misstatements of fact for the purpose of convicting those whom the police believe to be guilty, or even to include statements to frame an innocent citizen who is not guilty.

Police officers who stray from the truth by embellishing their own testimony particularly when no evidence contradicts them; it is a form of police corruption.

There seems to be little doubt that this malevolent practice occurs everywhere and it is not limited to just a few countries.

In the early 1990s, the Mollen Commission peeled away layers of falsehood in the New York City Police Department, including false statements by police officers on warrant applications and lying to establish probable cause for stopping and searching vehicles. However this problem wasn‘t just limited to any one area or police department in the United States and elsewhere. The problem has become so acute that juries nationwide and worldwide routinely expressing skepticism about law enforcement testimony, such as drugs found in plain view ( requirement to seize them) and crimes not really committed.

Some members of the Los Angeles Police Department who have been known to lie in court say that the practice of lying in court is referred by them as joining the liars' club.

Within the last few years, police departments in Los Angeles, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Denver, New York and in other large cities in the United States have suffered scandals involving police officers lying under oath about the evidence they are giving in court.

I've come to believe that thousands of law-enforcement officers worldwide commit perjury every year when testifying about drug and other arrests.

In Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court of the United States held that prosecutors are required to notify defendants and their attorneys of any favorable evidence to the defendant, such as that a law enforcement official involved in their case has a proven record for knowingly lying in his or her  capacity as a police officer in another trial.

The rest of this article is going to be about police officers lying in Canada.

A Toronto Star (Canada’s largest newspaper) investigation has learned that police officers nationwide have been accused by judges of outright lying, misleading the court or fabricating their evidence. Further, their perjury  has little consequence to these officers, particularly in provinces such as Ontario where up to recently, there was no policy requiring a prosecutor or police force to investigate the crimes of perjury committed by those police officers.

Responding to the Star series, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (ACP) said the justice system should report courtroom misconduct to the officer’s force. The ACP also said that the justice system should report police officers who are found by judges to have lied, misled the court or fabricated evidence.

 The Association’s spokesperson, Timothy Smith said, “If a judge perceives that an officer has not fulfilled his oath of honesty, a judge should report it to a police service. The national association would naturally support mechanisms that would ensure [that] this happens.”

The comments come after a coast-to-coast Toronto Star investigation that found more than 120 police officers have in the past been accused by judges of courtroom deception since 2005. Despite those accusations of perjury those police officers have gone unpunished. The national chief’s spokesperson also said that the Toronto Star’s series caught the attention of the entire law enforcement community and the public the police serve.”

The spokesman also said, “The issue raised by the Star runs absolutely counter to why we in policing choose to make a career out of this profession. While we do not feel that this issue is at all prevalent, we recognize that even a single instance can damage the reputation of policing overall.”

Meanwhile, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, headed by Waterloo Region Chief Matt Torigian, said if the provincial government in Ontario was to consider requiring prosecutors report such conduct to police forces, the Association would participate in those discussions.

It is indeed unfortunate that there has been so little oversight of the problem of police officers perjuring themselves in some jurisdictions in Ontario since the police forces did not know that some of the judges had ruled that the officers testifying in their courts had misled their courts.

British Columbia seems to be the only province in Canada with a formal reporting system in place. If a judge criticizes the truthfulness of a police witness’ evidence or testimony, the prosecutor is expected to report it to a senior crown attorney. The prosecutor can then recommend to the police force that it investigate alleged misconduct.

Internal investigations into recent recent cases in the City of Toronto   were started after the Toronto Star brought the courtroom misconduct findings by a judge to the Toronto Police Service’s attention.

The chair of the civilian oversight Toronto Police Services Board, Alok Mukherjee, told the Star that he was troubled by this “serious issue” and wanted something done to stop the lies from eroding the public’s trust in his police force.

Mukherjee also said, “There must be a formal mechanism through which the prosecutor’s office notifies the force and the police board whenever negative findings are made about an officer’s credibility”

Elaine Flis, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Attorney General John Gerretsen, says there is no plan to make it a formal policy. But Flis said “Where a judge raises perjury in relation to a witness, the trial Crown will refer the matter to his or her superiors.”  Flis also said that it is important that when prosecutors hear something they suspect to be perjury, they [should] pass it on to the police force for investigation.

Toronto defence lawyer Reid Rusonik, as well as other sources in the justice system and many Star readers, say it is an easy, sensible fix.

He also said, “The Star’s investigation has only uncovered the tip of the iceberg of the problem. It shouldn’t fall on (news) reporters to sit in every courtroom every day and then make complaints when they hear a judge make an oral finding of dishonest police testimony,”

Rusonik has in the last few years exposed police fabrications in more than a dozen cases across the Greater Toronto Area in which six such perjury’s by police officers  led to the acquittals of clients charged with crimes.

He also said, “It must be incumbent on the Crowns (prosecutors) to report every such finding to an independent investigator. The Crowns know full well how to get perjury prosecuted. You wouldn’t believe how quickly some of them will charge a civilian witness caught lying.”

Unfortunately at the Toronto Police Service, its spokesman, Mark Pugash has been dismissive of the Star series and has said that the articles ‘cannot be taken seriously.” Well, they have been taken seriously—very seriously.

Let me give you an example of a Toronto Police Service police officer who testified in a Toronto courtroom recently.

Visibly nervous with papers shaking in their hands, Toronto police officers Jay Shin and Joseph Tremblay testified under oath that they stopped Delroy Mattison's Chrysler Intrepid on the afternoon of July 18, 2011, because they allegedly saw him using a cellphone which is against the law while driving a vehicle.

The stopped him and began searching in Mattison's trunk. I don’t know why they chose to search his trunk if he was only stopped for illegally using his phone while he was driving his vehicle. in any case, they discovered in the trunk  a stainless steel .357 Smith & Wesson revolver and 31 bullets.

Mattison, who had a previous conviction for armed robbery and he was actually was on his way to a drug deal. Under the law, these officers needed a legitimate reason to stop and detain Mattison. They could have one if Mattison was using his cellphone while he was driving. However they also needed a legitimate reason to search his trunk and they didn’t have one. Without one, they would never have found the gun and bullets.

Further, they never seized a cellphone or noted the existence of one in paperwork filled out at the scene. That night, a third officer snapped photos of the impounded Chrysler's interior and none was showing a cellphone.

“Officers Shin and Tremblay were untruthful about seeing Mr. Mattison using a cellphone,” Justice Nancy Backhouse ruled. She tossed the evidence out, saying, “This court must dissociate itself from this serious and deliberate state misconduct.” Mattison subsequently walked free.

Judge Backhouse was trying to send a message, one being repeated by concerned judges in courtrooms across the country: Police dishonesty makes a mockery of the courts, undermines the public's trust in the justice system and must be condemned. There was little evidence anyone waS listening then

A nationwide Toronto Star investigation shows judges are frequently finding that police officers lie under oath. The dishonesty comes with little consequence to the officer, particularly in provinces such as Ontario where there is no law or policy requiring a prosecutor or police force to investigate the courtroom conduct.

One Toronto police officer, Detective Scott Aikman, has twice been accused of being untruthful by judges in different cases. The story of Aikman, and his two cases crumbled,

Although some police officers may believe it is acceptable for them to lie so that they can take guns and drugs off the street, the Toronto Star as suggested and rightly so that the cost of the deception to community safety across the country is high.

The following suspects have walked free after officers lied in court: an accused pimp of a teenage girl, possessors of child pornography, a major ecstasy manufacturer operating out of a Scarborough house, members of an international data-theft and fake-credit-card ring, marijuana growers, and drug dealers carrying loaded handguns. If the police offices hadn’t lied in their testimony, these people may have been convicted of their crimes they were accused of.

Further, judges have discarded as evidence at least $40 million worth of cocaine, meth, ecstasy and weed in recent years. Some suspects were freed following police lies and continue to get in trouble with the law.

One of the biggest prosecutions in Toronto involved Chuck Wan Leong who was accused of operating an ecstasy lab in his two-storey brick house. Police found $16-million worth of ecstasy, methamphetamines and ketamine in the basement of his house.

In that case, Justice Nola Garton after listening to the testimony of Detective Robert Worthman who works in York Region said, “The detective’s testimony was inconsistent, inaccurate,” “exaggerated, almost inconceivable, an embellishment, misleading, nonsensical and patently absurd.”  The judge subsequently tossed the evidence against Mr. Leong who then walked free.

As direct results of the judge’s accusation of perjury, Detective Worthman has been charged by his police force with deceit and discreditable conduct. Both charges can result in him being dismissed from the police force.

There are many judges who have concluded that many police officers really  do lie in court to cover up their shoddy and illegal investigation techniques, excessive force, and racial profiling.

The majority of the cases reviewed by the Toronto Star involve police officers who, out of laziness, overzealousness or poor training, violated laws that are supposed to protect suspects from abuse of police power by claiming that they found damning evidence and then lied to cover up their flawed investigations.

It's the cover up that kills. These crooked cops have already forgotten what happen to the late President Nixon when he attempted to cover up the wrongdoings of what some of his people did in the Watergate scandal.  

One judge said that police officers often have a difficult job finding evidence on known criminals and they usually know who the criminals are but some of the police officers play hunches to bust suspects, then they make stuff up to make their investigations appear legitimate. He also said that the police officers will then end up lying on the witness stand. That's just a reality.  He said, “We (judges) know this happens. We talk about it all the time.”

While police officers can randomly stop vehicles to check vehicle safety or a driver's paperwork, they must otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe an offence is being committed to stop a car, detain a person or search a house. However mere suspicion is not enough.

Suspicion was all the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Brian Sprott had when in January 2009, on a rainy night in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.  Sprott and his partner sat in their unmarked vehicle and watched a suspected drug house on Dewdney Trunk Road. Then, on a hunch, they followed Chris Xiong after he pulled out of the driveway. What they then do was a drug investigation and not because Xiong was speeding.

The Mounties stopped Xiong and found 12 individually wrapped, $40 crack rocks, three cellphones and more than $800 in cash. Sprott testified at trial that he stopped Xiong for speeding.

The alleged speeding, as well as Sprott's claim that crack rocks fell onto the pavement when the suspect exited the vehicle, gave the Mounties their reasonable grounds to arrest him.

But Sprott had earlier testified during a preliminary hearing that he intended to detain Xiong before he allegedly sped from the house. The Mountie was asked if his answers at the preliminary hearing were true and he answered rather strangely, “At the time, they were true.'”

Judge Kerr said in response Sprott’s testimony, “Constable Sprott appeared evasive and uncomfortable when questioned on this point.” On the witness stand, the Mountie, who didn’t issued Xiong a speeding ticket, shrugged while he awkwardly grinned.

Judge Kerr also said, “There is a legitimate public interest in having police officers provide their evidence to the court in an accurate and careful manner.” The judge slammed the officer's “flip-flop testimony” and ruled that there was no legitimate reason to stop Xiong's car and then he tossed the evidence and let the suspect walk.

There is a famous case that took place in the State of Florida in which a cop pulled over a black man who was driving down a street. He explained in court that most black people ae committing crimes so he presumed that the man he pulled over had committed a crime. He ordered the man to open his trunk. Inside the trunk was the body of a young woman. The black man was immediately arrested and charged with the murder of the young woman. When the judge learned that the cop had no justifiable reason to stop the driver and order him to open the truck of his car, he threw the case out and the black man walked out of the courtroom as a free man.

Sprott could have saved himself and his police force the embarrassment if he did proper police work, such as continued surveillance of the house or car.

These bogus traffic stops and warrantless searches have led to needless prosecutions that have tied up the taxpayer-funded courts and put alleged criminals back on the street.

It brings home the point that it is better to let a guilty man go free than to imprison a man who was initially wrongfully detained. For a court to accept the perjured evidence of a dishonest police officer in such a situation is to bring the concept of justice into disrepute.

Though the judges in these cases recognize that such large seizures of drugs, loaded guns and “highly reliable” proof of other serious crimes cry out for a trial on the merits, they find that police misconduct is the greater sin.

Angered at police lies in his courtroom, Justice Peter Hambly explained his difficult decision to stay charges against two men accused of operating a $16-million marijuana grow-op in Niagara Region.

Justice Hambly said, “For the people involved in it to go unpunished leaves a sense of betrayal in hard-working, law-abiding people. If police lying is tolerated by the courts, they will soon lose the respect of the community. His decision is being appealed—probably by the cop so that his credibility will not suffer. Good luck on that probability.

 Some of the words judges have used to describe police evidence and testimony are “lie,” “fabricate,” “evasive,” “absurd,” “ridiculous,” “subversive,” “disturbing” and “pure fiction.”

Two officers, one in Victoria, the other a Toronto detective, have each misled the court in two separate cases.

 The chief of a suburban Winnipeg police force was charged with perjury and his police force taken over by the RCMP after he allegedly lied to cover up details of his former partner's role in a fatal drunk driving accident.

 In several cases, officers assaulted a suspect, then they began their cover up by charging their victim with assaulting and obstructing police. Some of these victims were guilty of nothing more than a bad attitude.

Racial profiling, and the subsequent police deception meant to hide the police misconduct from public view, cost the citizens of 100 Mile House, British Columbia the prosecution of Zai Chong Huang in which 57 marijuana plants were found in his Dodge pickup by RCMP Constable Berze.

Berze testified that he stopped Huang's truck because it had been swerving in its own lane. The judge was aware from other testimony that Berze had been following Huang for many kilometres before he stopped Huang’s truck for the alleged swerving. For this reason, and because of the words of Berze's when he questioned  Huang after the arrest, the judge concluded that the  so-called swerving was a “pretext,” and that Berze likely saw Huang at a gas station earlier in the night, noticed he was Asian and assumed that he was involved in organized crime.

Judge Elizabeth Bayliff said in her ruling, “Constable Berze was being untruthful with the court.” Subsequently she dismissed that charge against the accused man.

The Toronto Star found as many as 28 cases since 2005 that involved a total of 34 Toronto officers that had been determined by judges to have misled their courts when testifying in court.

Toronto Police Services Board chair Alok Mukherjee told the Toronto Star that he has raised the issue with senior police officials and has been met with “a certain frustration and defensiveness.” They'll say, ‘The officer was being diligent and the judge was more interested in the Charter rights of a criminal than the fact that the officer found a gun, and they (judges) let that person go.'” Mukherjee added, “I have some degree of frustration because I believe judges should be listened to.”

In a combative letter to the Toronto Star, Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash equated the language used by judges in the cases reviewed by the Star to “throwaway comments unsupported by evidence.” He said (to the Star), “You either don't understand, or you don't want your readers to understand the fundamental distinction between a judge's comments and a judge's rulings,” Pugash continued. “Without an understanding of such a basic point, your story cannot be taken seriously. A judge can comment on anything he or she wishes. Such a comment, however, does not amount to a finding of guilt (on the part of the police officer). The criminal justice system works on evidence, on examination, cross-examination and decision. It does not work on throwaway comments unsupported by evidence.” unquote

Hey dummy. When a police officer testifies in court, what he says is evidence and when the officer lies in court after giving his evidence, the judge has every right to comment on the evidence that he has heard from the mouth of the lying police officer just as he or she comments on the evidence of other witnesses.

Pugash said the onus is on defence lawyers, prosecutors and judges to report their concerns over an officer's testimony to police for investigation. Despite his previous statement, he is right in this one.

The cases in the Star study showed that judges painstakingly reviewed and deconstructed the facts, testimony and physical evidence presented in court and subsequently concluded that the officers had lied when they testified in court.

When confronted with police dishonesty, judges are reluctant to call police lying by its name—perjury and instead they choose innocuous language when assessing flawed officer testimony.

“It's difficult to accuse someone who works so hard in the public interest of misleading the court,” said a Ontario judge interviewed by the Star.

Years ago I represented a young offender in court who was charged with assaulting a police officer during a city-approved protest by spiting in his face. He swore in his affidavit that she had spit in his face and he had done no wrong to deserve that assault. Unfortunately for the police officer, another protester had taken a video of the incident. In the video, the young woman charged by the police officer was originally pushed into that police officer by another police officer.  The arresting officer then grabbed her by her neck. That is when she spit in his face. When the prosecutor saw the video I had brought to him, he immediately took her file in hand and with a big black marker, placed a big black mark across the file and told me that he was withdrawing the charge. The young woman’s family then sued the police department and the officer.

Some police lying cannot escape the spotlight, especially when video or audio tells the unadulterated truth.

Video shots by civilian eyewitnesses exposed the lies of two Calgary officers who beat Jason Arkinstall while he was handcuffed and then charged him with obstructing, threatening and assaulting an officer.

The video, shot after 3 a.m. on August 31, 2008, the weekend of a tattoo convention, showed Constable Brant Derrick smacking Arkinstall in the back of his head and throwing him head first and onto his stomach in a police van's rear caged compartment. Arkinstall was thrown with such force that his flailing legs almost hit the van roof. “In an obvious burst of anger,” Judge Terry Semenuk said, Derrick slammed the van’s doors on Arkinstall's leg.”
Judge Semenuk acquitted Arkinstall of threatening Constable Derrick. The other two charges were dropped before trial. The officers, the judge said, were “unreliable and not credible.”

In court, before Constable Derrick knew the video even existed, Arkinstall's lawyer *Mattison) asked him in cross examination if he struck Arkinstall before throwing him into the van and slamming the van doors on Arkinstall’s legs. Constable Derrick replied “It didn’t happen.”

Mattison later said outside the courtroom, “The officers fabricated their stories. They did as they felt. They lied. “They go to school for training. Someone should ensure the police are not breaking their own code.”

Several Niagara Regional Police officers in Ontario stood on the roadside, watching as a man allegedly leaned out the passenger window of a passing SUV and hollered “Hey, baby!” which was a taunt directed at the several cops nearby. They did not like it, this sass from Michael Parsons, who was aa local man with a history of police run-ins.

What happened next became the focus of a civil trial in 2009. The police said they properly stopped the Jeep to investigate why Parsons was halfway out the window when he shouted. They said they then subdued Parsons, who was aggressive that night and known to police for his history of violence, guns and drugs. Parsons said he was beaten and Tasered for no reason.

Justice C.R. Harris said portions of the officers testimony were “not forthright,” “evasive for self-serving reasons,” and finally, “Their testimony was in some instances pure fiction.”

Two officers in one cruiser sped after Parsons on the December night in 2003, and, less than a kilometre east on Highway 20, also known as Lundy’s Lane, they stopped the white Jeep Cherokee, driven by Parsons’ then-fiancĂ©e Terri Lynn Ryckman. Three other officers in two cruisers arrived moments later.

Parsons testified that one of the officers pulled him from the Jeep and put him in a “rear naked choke hold” with an arm around his throat, another behind his head and a knee in his back. Such a choke hold is illegal. Parsons said that while restrained in a roadside ditch he felt the “pain of shocks” in his scrotum, and the Tasering “just kept going and going.” Then, he said, he was handcuffed and Tasered some more. He was screaming in pain all the time. He estimated he was Tasered 10 to 15 times.

Here is what the police who testified said really happened. Officer Michael Woodfine, who pulled over the Jeep, and Officer James Tallevi, who tangled with Parsons, testified their suspect came out of the vehicle “animated and angry,” confronted Officer Tallevi while standing in a boxer’s stance and holding an unknown object in his hand, grappled with Tallevi, pushed him down in the ditch, straddled him and started throwing punches.

Tallevi said he tried to restrain Parsons but did not place him in a choke hold. Woodfine said he Tasered Parsons three times to protect his fellow officer, the last shot to the crotch. He said that Parsons was not Tasered after he was cuffed and charged by Tallevi with assault police and resisting arrest.

Tallevi never recorded in his notes that Parsons had lunged at him and did not explain to the court why he didn’t put that crucial information in his notes.

As to Woodfine’s testimony, he said that it was the first time he had used a Taser in the line of duty, testifying that it was a “pretty significant” event in his career as a police officer. Though he denied Tasering Parsons 15 to 20 times, the judge noted Woodfine “surprisingly” never provided the court with data from the device’s recording mechanism that indicates the exact number of times it was fired and for how long.

The two officers’ stories crumbled when another police officer (Dino Cirillo) testified that in the moments before the struggle began, Parsons had his hands up, a cell phone visible in one of them, when Tallevi “immediately” went toward Parsons and put his arm around his throat before tumbling in the ditch. Cirillo realizing that he had just ratted on his fellow officers later tried to backpedal from some of this testimony.

After Parsons was taken to jail (where he would spend the next five days, lying on his bed that was only a mattress on the floor, Woodfine issued the SUV driver Ryckman a $100 ticket for her window tint being too dark.
The presiding judge, Harris said two of the officers “lost recollection” of certain events that night for their own convenience.” He again used the words “pure fiction” to characterize Tallevi’s testimony that he felt threatened by an object concealed in Parsons’ hand.
After reviewing all of the evidence, Judge Harris found the officers had no reason to stop the Jeep. The judge also ruled that Tallevi put a choke-hold on Parsons. Judge Harris also ruled that Woodfine had used his Taser without justification and shocked Parsons after he was already handcuffed.

He further said that none of those officers was threatened by Parsons, nor were any of them in any danger from him. Judge Harris wrote in his ruling. “It was in fact Mr. Parsons who was in danger from them. Their “troubling and offensive” conduct should shock and sadden the community.”

Subsequently, the criminal charges against Parsons were never pursued by the crown prosecutor and subsequently withdrawn in court. Later a civil court awarded Parsons and Ryckman $70,000 in damages.

Unfortunately, none of the officers faced an internal disciplinary investigation into the assault, false arrest, false prosecution or courtroom conduct as what took place in the civil court. The Police Department said the officers underwent ethics re-training.

More than two years after the civil ruling, Parsons, then 31 and an entrepreneur, said: “The judge knew the police were lying and he called them on it. It’s becoming something the courts aren’t going to tolerate anymore. Their conduct in court is often misleading.
He further said, “The judges are doing their best to weed these guys out. (But) what is the public going to do about it? If they’re going to lie in court, they should be charged. Police officers should be held to the same accountability as citizens. They’re not lawmakers, they’re law enforcers.”

His statement was right on point.

Just recently, a veteran Hamilton, Ontario police detective who encouraged an informant to plant a gun at a home so he could obtain a search warrant from a justice of the peace has been convicted of three criminal charges.

Superior Court Justice Catrina Braid convicted Detective Constable Robert Hansen, age 41, a 12-year veteran of the force, of one count of perjury and two counts of obstructing justice on January 29th 2016.

Hansen, who was originally charged in November 2012 and tried in November 2015, and up to now, he still remains out of custody and on paid suspension.

The heavy-set officer with short salt-and-pepper hair left court without comment. Hansen will return to court on May 19th for sentencing. Prosecutor Peter Scrutton indicated the Crown will seek jail time.

The Hamilton Police Service, that laid the charges, issued a release following Hansen’s conviction, saying that because there is a tribunal underway in Hansen’s case under the Police Services Act, with further charges pending, it would not comment any further on the matter.

Justice Braid found that Hansen, who worked with the Gangs and Weapons Enforcement Unit of the Hamilton Police Service encouraged an informant to plant a gun in the Hamilton residence of what the detective believed was a suspected drug trafficker who was already known to police.

The judge also found Hansen committed obstruction of justice and perjury when he provided false information in a sworn document that he put before a justice of the peace to obtain a search warrant for the Highridge Avenue home of his victim.

The plan was to plant a gun that was later discovered in a series of text messages between Hansen and the informant leading up to the May 25, 2012, search. Police failed to find a firearm at the residence. hat is interesting because it begs the question; who removed it?

In her ruling, Justice Braid said she found Hansen’s version of events “improbable and I reject his evidence outright.”

Se said I  part; “Hansen’s evidence in chief was self-serving. He stated that he never had ‘absolute certainty’ whether the gun even existed.”

Hansen testified the informant never used the words “I want to plant a gun, “ but he merely suggested a set-up. He testified he thought “set-up” meant that informant would “tee-up” information regarding a gun.

The judge also said, “I further find that Hansen deliberately embellished the facts and intentionally omitted material facts in the document to support a warrant.”

 She also said, “I find that Hansen actively encouraged the informant to plant a firearm in the suspect drug dealer’s home. The plant of evidence is a serious act that creates a risk that injustice will result,.”

Hansen testified earlier that he wanted to get the gun off the street. He intended to pick it up during the search, but not charge the homeowner. Does that make any sense at all?

In a series of texts, Hansen told the informant that the suspected drug dealer “could use some jail time.” And after discussion of the plan, the detective advised “this will get him put away for several years.”

When the informant queried whether his involvement was important, Hansen texted “it would help tons.”

As I see it, any police officer who testifies under oath and commits perjury while giving his evidence in court or swearing a false affidavit to get a warrant to search should be fired from the police force that he or she is a member of and never be permitted to work again in any other police force.

The reason is so obvious. If a police officer has been proven to have perjured him or herself in a courtroom or in any other way, that police officer’s future testimony in another trial will be so suspect, it will in all likelihood be considered meaningless. That being so, it would be pointless to have that police officer remaining on the police force since any future testimony with his or her arrests that police officer makes will be highly suspect. 

The public trust in police officers in Toronto have dropped sharply between the beginning of jury deliberations in the trial of Constable James Forcillo and the days following the guilty verdict. According to a new Forum Research poll done on January 20th, as many as 78 per cent of respondents said they trusted Toronto police officers. But, by January 29th, that number had fallen to 63 per cent. Thirty-seven per cent also said they trusted Toronto police officers less than they did a year ago.

Along with the jury finding Forcillo guilty of attempted murder in the 2013 shooting death of Sammy Yatim, recently four Toronto police officers were charged with perjury and obstruction of justice after allegedly planting heroin in a suspect’s car. Disciplinary charges were also laid against another officer in relation to a high-profile car chase last September, where an officer fired at least 14 shots into the hood of a stopped car in the Distillery District.

 It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the public’s lack of respect for the Toronto police exists since there are yahoos in that police force that should never have been hired in the first place.

About a quarter of respondents in the poll (24 per cent) think there’s less wrongdoing in the Toronto Police Service compared with other police forces in Canada which doesn’t say much about other Canada’s police services.

Unfortunately, police forces in Canada and for that matter elsewhere, have (pardon my French) real assholes serving in those police services. That is because of two distinct reasons. The first being that the recruiters didn’t do a good job making sure that some of the applicants were suitable for the role of being police officers and the second reason is that after the police hierarchy of the police services realized that they have loose cannons in their forces, they not only don’t fire them, in some instances, they actually promote them.  It is an unfortunate fact of course that those officers who joined the police service that hired them were good officers in their early years in the police service but later they succumbed to the failings of officers who are more senior than them who gave them the impression that no matter what they do, illegal of not, it gets the bad guys off the streets. It seems logical to me that the first test of determining the quality of the chiefs of police in our police services is to look with a jaundice eye at some of their police officers who serve under them and wonder why they are still police officers.     

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