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Lawyer calls Cornwall Police response to systemic discrimination arrest

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On July 21, the Cornwall Police Service (CPS) issued a press release regarding a video circulating on social media, showing sergeant. Dave MacLean and two other officers involved in a physical altercation with an individual during a July 14 arrest.

He said an investigation into the officers’ conduct, under the Police Services Act, was ongoing. That remains the case, police said on Tuesday, after a Cornwall-based solicitor issued a statement on behalf of his client on Monday afternoon.

Neha Chugh from Chugh Law Professional Corp. released a press release on Monday, calling Cornwall Police’s official statement on the matter “vague and an attempt to distract the public from the truth of the situation.”

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Chugh explained that the individual involved in the altercation, whom she identifies as KD, denies resisting arrest.

“It goes far beyond any appropriate use of force,” Chugh said. “Secondly, it’sergeant in 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, wrote a letter… denying the existence of systemic racism in the police.

“Fast forward to almost exactly two years later and this exact officer has his arm around the neck…of a young trans person. It is so reprehensible. The whole situation, starting from his letter, up to today’s date, I see as a failed EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) PSC initiative.

MacLean’s 2020 letter, which he shared on social media before it was published, has been updated to add a note reflecting only his views on the George Floyd issue. In response, former Chief Danny Aikman issued a letter stating “Mr. MacLean’s letter is from the perspective of a police union and many of the opinions expressed do not represent the position of the Cornwall Police Service. In particular, they do not reflect our core values ​​of professionalism, of integrity, respect and empathy.

At the time, members of the Coalition for Unity, Respect, Equity and Equality for All (CUREA) of Cornwall, of which Chugh is one of the founders and directors, issued a letter titled ” Dear Sergeant MacLean: Your apology rings hollow in the wake of systemic racism.” MacLean was President of the Cornwall Police Association at the time of his position.

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Chugh’s statement does not identify the other two officers who are seen in the video assisting MacLean.

According to Chugh, KD came to Canada as a landed refugee of Bengali origin from Malaysia. The 18-year-old is a transgender person of color and receives ongoing support from the Children’s Aid Society.

Since the altercation with MacLean, Chugh said KD has been receiving trauma counseling, along with their younger brother, who was present at the time of the incident. Chugh said CCTV was requested from the Shoppers Drug Mart on Second Street East in Cornwall where the arrest took place and that KD had lawfully questioned why they were being held prior to the altercation, 18 seconds of which was captured on video.

The video shows MacLean with his arm on KD’s throat, calmly asking him to bring his hands back and stop resisting before moving to bring KD’s arms behind them. The other officers come into frame to help halfway through the clip. KD is heard saying “I didn’t do anything” and crying throughout the clip.

The music video ends before KD is seen handcuffed or removed from the area. The person who posted the video said the incident happened on July 15 and also said those involved were all under the age of 18. The video and post do not provide any information about what was happening before filming began.

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On Tuesday, after Chugh’s press release was received by the CPS, it was reiterated that Chief Shawna Spowart stressed that the CPS is committed to being fully transparent with the communities it serves and asks for patience during that the investigation continues. Additionally, it was stated that “CPS employees have completed several training sessions, adopted a diversity lens applied to all internal policies, designated an officer to investigate and track all hate-motivated incidents ”, among other initiatives.

Since 2020, the CPS has continually strived to become an organization that prioritizes equity, diversity and inclusiveness, and that understands the communities we serve and their lived experiences.

“It is the policy of CPS to provide the most comprehensive services possible in a timely, fair and equitable manner to all persons, without discrimination based on race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, or disability contrary to the Human Rights Code of the person of Ontario; accord fair and equal treatment before the law to every community and every individual without discrimination on the above-mentioned grounds; maintain a respectful and cooperative relationship with all communities, recognizing their racial, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, thereby fostering the kind of community support that is essential to keeping a safer community together; and, to maintain a discrimination-free workplace for all members, to ensure that the organization is free from bias and reflects the racial diversity of the community,” a CPS statement read Tuesday.

At the time of this article’s publication, KD has not been charged with anything.

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