Retired Constable, Indian Ernie, Weighs In: Tree Men Lawsuit Launched Against O.P.P.

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I have relations in Sault St. Marie -my father, step-mother, brother, cousins, nephews and nieces.  I am originally from Northern Ontario so I read the Northern Hoot. I am a retired police officer now turned writer and a citizen like everyone else. I read the story about the businessman suing the Ontario Provincial Police officers for two million dollars with mixed feelings. I have been in situations like the way this one is described many times over the years. Multiple people with multiple stories, all agitated and yelling as I tried to sort things out. My initial response was to side with the police as the information I took from the story indicated a situation rapidly getting out of control as it unfolded.

I am not a rich man so the other part of me wanted to side with the working man. I read the story twice. As a former police officer I take biases against the police for granted, and expect it will be somewhere in the story. The lawyer representing the plaintiff comments were just what I would have expected from a lawyer representing his client in a civil suit. Some broad brushes at the police, police training and attitudes with a generalizations which would make you wonder why anyone would want to be a police officer.

The plaintiff was interviewed and given the opportunity to express his grievances. I am sure lawyers from both sides read the interview with interest. The O.P.P declined comment as the matter is before the courts now.

I read the comments section and saw some well-reasoned and thoughtful remarks. I also saw what I would say are ones that offered nothing remotely constructive. I am not a big fan of the comments section but they can be enlightening.

I will be following this story as it unfolds because there is so much more information not readily available yet. Police reports, transcripts from the communications radio traffic, and if this goes to trial -dispositions from everyone involved. What I think we all miss in the big picture is the fact we have the freedom to express our opinions and tell our stories. We have so many freedoms and with those freedoms one of the first things we forget is our responsibilities.

A reporter brought us a story. We are free to agree or disagree. Our responsibility now is to assess it and learn as much as we can as it unfolds. If there are issues, address those issues with the calm and reason we take for granted in our beautiful country. Turn down the rhetoric and let’s not keep the same impulsive and reactive emotions that caused this story in the first place to keep going.

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