Ontario Ombusman Andre Marin had several criticisms of Toronto Police actions in the killing of Sammy Yatim, and of their subsequent statements regarding the issue. He and the Toronto Police have a “history”, and Marin seems permanently angered at the disrespect shown to the Special Investigations Unit by them and by other Ontario police services while he was the head of the SIU.
More recently, a person using the handle “Joeymayo12” expressed his support for the Toronto Police by sending a number of tweets saying that Marin was a “card-carrying member of Al-Quaida”, (I’m not sure what brought that on, Yatim was Christian, not Muslim), and saying on another occasion that “You sir are a complete douche bag! Why don’t you stick your big French nose up your a** instead of business it doesn’t belong.”
How ungrammatically delightful. Then again, this came from a police officer with the rank of at least Detective Sergeant, perhaps even Detective Inspector. Who are we humble mortals to pass judgment on such an impressive and powerful public servant…
In any event, that was enough to get Marin going. Very likely using options not available to us ordinary members of the public, Marin determined that the anonymous social media sniper was Durham Regional Police Detective Constable Scott Dennis, and outed both him and his surprisingly high earnings.
Other than a few more acrimonious exchanges, that should have been the end of it, but this is the police we are talking about, and logic, decency, and even the facts, can be in for a very rough ride whenever the “Boys in Blue” feel a need to protect their good name.
Unfortunately for Marin, the officer he “outed” was an innocent third party; the social media account had been opened by another, more senior police officer, who fraudulently misrepresented himself as Dennis.
Marin refused to apologize to Dennis until he was provided with solid proof of this, (quite wisely, in my opinion), but once that proof was supplied, his apology was both gracious and prompt. However, as we shall see, the Durham Police Chief, Mike Ewles, was anything but gracious.
Bearing in mind that Marin acted in good faith, and identified the wrong person as the result of a deliberate and possibly criminal impersonation of Dennis by a third party, Ewles still had no difficulty in saying that he found it “troubling” that the Ombudsman “would rush to judgment”.
And to add insult to injury, “Ewles-the-sock-puppet” as the Toronto Star’s Rosie DiManno calls him, also ruled out the possibility of any criminal charges being laid against the officer responsible, before the investigation even commenced!
Marin’s one possible error was in identifying Dennis publicly, rather than providing the information to Ewles. And revealing Dennis’s salary was maybe not a bright idea, even though that information is publically available. But then again, it’s a pretty solid bet that Marin’s past experiences with the police have given him little confidence that anything constructive would be done unless he forced the issue, which he probably has done, as it turns out.
In my opinion, Det. Constable Scott Dennis should commence a civil action against the officer who impersonated him, once all the wheels stop turning.
And as Rosie DiManno put it in her story “Who’s the tweeting twit on Durham’s police force?” yesterday, “An impulsive ombudsman who called out the wrong twitter troll is unfortunate – A municipal police force that hides the identity of the alleged true culprit whilst demanding apologies – from the victim – is unhinged.” (Emphasis in the original).
See “Who’s the tweeting twit on Durham’s police force?” here.