Officer Deane Unrepentant

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LONDON — Lawyers made final arguments November 21 at the Police Services Act (PSA) disciplinary hearing to determine whether Ontario Provincial Police officer Ken Deane, convicted of killing unarmed Native protester Dudley George, should be allowed to keep his badge.

The adjudicator, retired Toronto Deputy Police Chief Loyall Cann, will decide Deane’s fate for breaching the province’s policing code of conduct. Her decision, ranging from a reprimand to Deane’s dismissal from the police force, will be announced by year-end.

Deane was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to two years less a day, to be served in the community. Appeals to the Ontario and the Supreme Court upheld the conviction earlier this year. The Supreme Court usually deliberates for weeks or months before ruling on appeals, but it dismissed Mr. Deane’s case the same day arguments were presented.

Deane was then charged under the PSA, pleading guilty to a charge of discreditable conduct. During the three-day hearing, Deane offered the first-ever public apology to Dudley George’s family. It was not accepted as sincere. “Is he apologizing because his lawyer asked him to?” Maynard ‘Sam’ George asked.

Defence lawyer Ian Roland argued Deane is an asset to the OPP and poses no danger to the public. Deane has been the OPP explosives disposal unit (EDU) coordinator since 1997, and is also the OPP’s leading expert in biological and nuclear warfare. “It would not be in the public interest, in this day and age, to dismiss acting sergeant Kenneth Deane, given his knowledge and expertise in the area of nuclear and biological weapons,” said Roland.

“The PSA does not say committing a criminal offense, in and of itself, requires dismissal,” Roland said, urging Cann to impose “a serious and significant penalty,” since the sentencing judge did not impose the most severe sentence available. Dismissing Deane “won’t undo the damage done by the province and OPP in native–police relations,” he added.

Crown prosecutor Denise Dwyer said adjudicator Cann must weigh the discrepancy between Deane’s actions and rehabilitation. She said Deane has never shown remorse for his actions.

"How do you teach Deane to use his gun differently when he does not believe his actions on September 6 [1995] were wrong?” she asked.

In previous testimony, when asked if he violated the PSA, Deane said “My belief is that I discharged my firearm to prevent loss of life,” which shows he’s not rehabilitated, she noted. Dwyer suggested the adjudicator’s role is “To assess the damage if Kenneth Deane is to remain” in OPP service. She had asked Deane if he felt justified in opening fire. “That was my belief that night,” Deane replied. “And it remains your belief today?” Dwyer continued. “Yes it does.”

She urged Cann to assess Deane’s prospects for rehabilitation by the way he justified his misconduct. She also noted there is no evidence that Dean has enhanced the OPP image. “This flies in the face of logic.” She questioned how a police officer can be convicted of a criminal offense, suspended from regular duty, and then be considered an asset to the OPP.

Dwyer concluded “dismissal is warranted” because of several mitigating factors. She outlined five cases in which police officers were fired for misconduct — none of which resulted in death.

OPP Superintendent Rick Kotwa said the OPP cannot appeal the decision, but Deane can appeal within thirty days to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Service.

After the hearing, Roland called the provincial police force’s submissions confusing. “It’s crazy that they gave him more responsibilities in the past six years and now this,” he said. “It’s complete hypocrisy.” Never once was Deane suspended for his actions at Ipperwash that fateful night.

Pierre George, Dudley’s brother, said, “If he isn’t dismissed, there is a two-tiered justice system — one for the police and one for the Natives. He not only breached the criminal code but he also violated his own PSA. How many laws, rules, and regulations do you have to break before you get dismissed?”

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