4 Quebec Canada Police Officers With Suspected Connections To Organized Crime Arrested

June 17, 2012

QUEBEC, CANADA – Four Quebec police officers were arrested and released this week in connection with suspected ties to organized crime.

Two officers from the Montreal police force were arrested Thursday, one day after two Longueuil policemen were taken into custody.

Several reports Thursday said the officers were arrested and questioned in connection with an attack on a Montreal officer in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico two years ago.

Montreal police won’t comment on the arrests.

One officer was reportedly suspended without pay, and the other one will be reassigned to administrative duties, said CBC reporter Lauren McCallum.

The Longueuil officers were arrested on Wednesday, questioned and released.

Authorities “don’t know as of yet if there will be any criminal accusations,” said Longueuil police spokeswoman Nancy Colagiacomo.

The South Shore officers have been suspended with pay, pending the investigation.

They are both in the early 30s, and have between five and ten years’ experience on the force.

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Windsor Ontario Police Officer Det. David Van Buskirk Pleads Guilty After Brutally Beating Blind Doctor

April 29, 2012

WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA – CBC News has obtained video that shows a Windsor, Ont., police officer beating a doctor who is legally blind.

Det. David Van Buskirk, who attacked Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan on April 22, 2010, pleaded guilty Thursday to assault causing bodily harm.

Video cameras at the Jackson Park Health Centre captured the beating, although much of the physical altercation is slightly out of frame. Afterwards, Van Buskirk wrote in his report that the doctor “”immediately reached out and grabbed my throat and pushed me backward.”

In pleading guilty, Van Buskirk admitted that Abouhassan “did not strike him at all.” He also confirmed that all of the doctor’s reaction “was in lawful resistance to being assaulted by the accused.”
David Van Buskirk has pleaded guilty to assault.David Van Buskirk has pleaded guilty to assault. (CBC News)

Julian Falconer, the lawyer representing Abouhassan, told CBC News that “in the face of denials by this officer and allegations that my client attacked, I think it’s essential that the public see this.”

Abouhassan, who is legally blind, suffered a broken nose, bruised ribs, a torn eyelid and detached retina in the beating.

Adding insult to injury, he was subsequently charged with assaulting a peace officer following the initial investigation by Windsor police, including Det.-Sgts. Paul Bridgeman and Patrick Keane.

Bridgeman watched the video between eight and 10 times before endorsing assault charges against Abouhassan, according to the office of the independent review director.

Both Bridgeman and Keane were charged with discreditable conduct for trying to prevent Abouhassan from filing criminal charges against Van Buskirk. Both were later exonerated.

Falconer said this case is the poster child for the failure of the police disciplinary hearings and a huge embarrassment for Windsor police.

“This was a vicious beating of an innocent doctor-turned-cover-up-turned-conspiracy, pure and simple. And our discipline apparatus couldn’t do a thing about it,” Falconer said.

Abouhassan has filed a lawsuit seeking more that $14 million in damages from the Windsor Police Department, seven of its officers and Smith, the former chief.

Van Buskirk is due to be sentenced on the assault charge Wednesday. Acting police chief Al Frederick has reserved comment until then.

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New York State Police Troopers Titus Taggart, Jeremy Smith, And Michael Petrits Suspended Amid Investigation Into Parties That Included Canadian Prostitutes

April 28, 2012

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – An internal investigation into alleged misconduct has led to the suspension of three State Troopers.

A State Police press release says Titus Taggart, 41, allegedly organized parties that may have involved the promotion of prostitution. The alleged incidents happened when Taggart was off duty. Taggart is assigned to Troop T in Buffalo, which patrols the Thruway.

A NYS Police spokesman in Albany confirms for 13WHAM News that Taggart’s father, Arthur, was a 34-year veteran of the State Police who retired in 1997 as a Colonel who served directly under two past superintendents.

Two troopers who are assigned to the Troop T Henrietta barracks have also been suspended without pay.

Jeremy Smith, 34, and Michael Petritz, 33, are accused of misconduct. A State Police press release says they were not involved in organizing the parties.

The suspensions are the result of an internal investigation and the NY State Police spokesman added that a parallel criminal investigation is also underway. He would not comment on the status of any other investigations by outside agencies. The spokesman was unaware how many Troopers could be caught up in the ongoing investigations.

Numerous media reports have cited sources that claim the women involved were brought into Western New York from Canada.

Criminal charges have not been filed.

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Study Flops As Scientists Can’t Find Males Who Haven’t Seen X-Rated Material

March 27, 2012

CANADA – Scientists studying the effects of pornography fell at the first hurdle – after failing to find a man who had not viewed X-rated material.

The researchers were comparing the views of men in their 20s who had never been exposed to pornography to regular users.

But Professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse, of Montreal University in Canada, said: ‘We started our research seeking men who had never consumed pornography. We couldn’t find any.’

Although hampered in its original aim, the study was then changed to examine the habits of men who regularly used porn.

It found single young men viewed such material on average for 40 minutes three times a week, compared with those in relationships, who watched it 1.7 times a week for 20 minutes.

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Canada Thought To Be Too Dangerous For Visit By Bush Era War Criminal Dick Cheney – Speaking Engagement Canceled

March 13, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA – Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney canceled a Canadian speaking appearance because of security concerns sparked by demonstrations during a visit he made to Vancouver last fall.

Cheney was scheduled to talk about his experiences in office and the current American political situation at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on April 24.

But Ryan Ruppert of Spectre Live Corp. said on Monday that Cheney and his daughter Elizabeth had begged off through their agent.

“After speaking with their security advisers, they changed their mind on coming to the event,” Ruppert said. He said they had “decided it was better for their personal safety they stay out of Canada.”

Last Sept. 26, Cheney was forced to stay holed up in the Vancouver Club for seven hours before it was deemed safe for him to leave. Demonstrators blocked the entrances and at one point scuffled with police.

Cheney critics accuse him of endorsing the use of water boarding and sleep deprivation against detainees while serving in former President George W. Bush’s administration.

Before the Vancouver event, Human Rights Watch urged the federal government to bring criminal charges against Cheney, accusing him of playing a role in the torture of detainees.

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Out Of Control US Homeland Security Agency Refuses To Allow Canadians With History Of “Mental Illness” To Vist – 9.6 Million Canadian Records Now Available To US Law Enforcement

September 10, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – More than a dozen Canadians have told the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office in Toronto within the past year that they were blocked from entering the United States after their records of mental illness were shared with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Lois Kamenitz, 65, of Toronto contacted the office last fall, after U.S. customs officials at Pearson International Airport prevented her from boarding a flight to Los Angeles on the basis of her suicide attempt four years earlier.

Kamenitz says she was stopped at customs after showing her passport and asked to go to a secondary screening. There, a Customs and Border Protection officer told Kamenitz that he had information that police had attended her home in 2006.

“I was really perturbed,” Kamenitz says. “I couldn’t figure out what he meant. And then it dawned on me that he was referring to the 911 call my partner made when I attempted suicide.”

Kamenitz says she asked the officer how he had obtained her medical records.
A document completed by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer says that at a secondary inspection at Pearson airport in Toronto, it was ascertained that Lois Kamenitz had ‘attempted suicide in 2006,’ and a medical clearance would be required for a further attempt to enter the United States.A document completed by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer says that at a secondary inspection at Pearson airport in Toronto, it was ascertained that Lois Kamenitz had ‘attempted suicide in 2006,’ and a medical clearance would be required for a further attempt to enter the United States. Sarah Bridge/CBC

“That was the only thing I could think of,” she says. “But he said, no, he didn’t have my medical records but he did have a contact note from the police that [they] had attended my home.”

Stanley Stylianos, program manager at the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, says his organization has heard more than a dozen stories similar to Kamenitz’s.

The office has also received phone calls from numerous Canadians who have not yet had encounters with U.S. customs officers, but are worried that their own mental health histories may cause security delays while travelling south of the border for business or family trips.
‘This is an issue’

“We get calls from people who have concerns about being stopped because they know this is an issue,” Stylianos says.
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So far, the RCMP hasn’t provided the office with clear answers about how or why police records of non-violent mental health incidents are passed across the border.

Brad Benson from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says medical records aren’t shared between countries. However, “if you have an arrest record, Canada would share that with us,” he says.

If a police encounter includes information about mental health, Benson says front-line officers can use it.

“Mental illness is actually under our law as a reason that you may not get admitted,” he says. “The issue is always going to be: could someone be a danger to someone [else]?”

According to diplomatic cables released earlier this year by WikiLeaks, any information entered into the national Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database is accessible to American authorities.

Local police officers take notes whenever they apprehend an individual or respond to a 911 call, and some of this information is then entered into the CPIC database, says Stylianos. He says that occasionally this can include non-violent mental health incidents in which police are involved.

In Kamenitz’s case, this could explain how U.S. officials had a record of the police response to the 911 call her partner made in 2006, after Kamenitz took an overdose of pills.

RCMP Insp. Denis St. Pierre says information on CPIC not only contains a person’s criminal record, but also outstanding warrants, missing persons reports and information about stolen property, along with information regarding persons of interest in ongoing cases. It also can contain individuals’ history of mental illness, including suicide attempts.

The database contains anything that could alert authorities to a potential threat to public safety and security, and all CPIC information is available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, St. Pierre says. There are a few exceptions, including information regarding young offenders, which is not available to American authorities.

“If a person is a danger to themselves and the police are dealing with that person in another jurisdiction … it’s valuable information, knowing that perhaps this person may harm themselves,” St. Pierre says.
9.6 million records

According to an RCMP website, the CPIC database stores 9.6 million records in its investigative databanks.

The RCMP and U.S. law enforcement agencies provide reciprocal direct access to each other’s criminal databases in order to stem the flow of narcotics and criminal dealings into North America, according to the WikiLeaks cable.

When asked about the sharing of police information for security purposes, Kamenitz says the government is “obviously not considering what the impact of that can be and how much that can alter a person’s life.”
Stanley Stylianos, program manager for the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, says Canadians should be outraged that people’s mental health information is shared across the border.Stanley Stylianos, program manager for the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, says Canadians should be outraged that people’s mental health information is shared across the border. Sarah Bridge/CBC

“Police may have attended my home,” says Kamenitz, “but it was not for a criminal matter; it was a medical emergency.”

Kamenitz notes that suicide isn’t a criminal offence in either country.

“It speaks to the myth we still hold,” Kamenitz says, “that people with a mental illness are violent criminals.”

At less than five feet tall, with a debilitating form of arthritis that makes it impossible for her to complete daily tasks like cooking and dressing without assistance, Kamenitz says she is hardly a threat to U.S. Homeland Security.
‘I am not a criminal’

“I’ve been battling not only anxiety and depression but also chronic pain since my teen years,” Kamenitz explains. “I am not a criminal.”

Kamenitz was eventually allowed to board a plane to Los Angeles, four days after missing her initial flight. But in order to do so, she had to submit her medical records to the U.S. and get clearance from a Homeland Security-approved doctor in Toronto, who charged her $250 for the service.

Benson says the response from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers in Kamenitz’s case was fairly typical. “Now that the note from her doctor is on her records,” he says, “I wouldn’t expect her to have any more problems.”

Included in the Homeland Security forms Kamenitz was required to fill out were questions about whether she had a history of substance abuse and whether she had diseases, such as AIDS or tuberculosis.

“These are private and personal medical records that I’m now handing over to a foreign government,” she says.

After years of private therapy and help from doctors at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Kamenitz says the border incident felt unjust.

“It was discrediting all the efforts that [I had] made to recover.”

Stylianos says Canadians should be outraged that people’s mental health information is shared across the border.

“It is an intensely private matter for many individuals,” he says.
‘You can’t control it’

Stylianos says his organization is lobbying for this information not to be included in the CPIC database or shared with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of a routine border screening process.

“Once that information gets into the American system, you can’t control it,” he says.

According to the same diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, which included data from 2004 and 2005, Americans believed that despite the open database sharing, “Canada’s strict privacy laws” have limited the timely exchange of information between the two nations.

In the 10 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the two countries have struggled to come to an agreement on how best to police the border.

The administrations of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama are in talks over a perimeter security deal that would include further cross-border intelligence-sharing as part of a joint border security strategy.

In an Aug. 29 news conference in Toronto, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told reporters that the privacy rights of Canadians remain top-of-mind during discussions about cross-border law enforcement programs.

“Our sovereignty cannot and will not be compromised,” he said.

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Regina Provincial Canada Judge Dennis Fenwick Sentences Man To Just 6 Years In Prison After Raping His Teen Daughter And Fathering Two Children With Her

May 4, 2011

REGINA, CANADA – In August 2004, a 12-year-old girl came into the Regina General Hospital in advanced labour, giving birth to a son the following day.

Hospital staff became suspicious both because of the girl’s young age and because she didn’t provide the name of the father.

Rumours began swirling that the father of the baby was also, in fact, the girl’s father, and so began a police investigation that resulted finally on Tuesday in a six-year sentence for the father on a charge of sexual assault.

The 45-year-old man -who can’t be named to prevent identifying the victim, who is his biological daughter -entered the guilty plea Tuesday at Regina Provincial Court in relation to assaults on the girl that eventually resulted in the birth of that child and a second just over a year later.

Judge Dennis Fenwick -referring to the offences as “reprehensible” -agreed to impose the sixyear term as jointly proposed by Crown and defence lawyers.

While the girl was reluctant to tell police the truth about what had happened, Crown prosecutor Chris White said she eventually admitted her father had given her alcohol and then had sex with her, resulting in the two pregnancies. The assaults occurred between Nov. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2005, both within Regina and in other locations in the province.

White said the matter took such a long time to come to a conclusion because of lack of co-operation from the girl, her father and her father’s family -some of whom helped hide him from police for lengthy periods of time.

Police interviewed the girl again in October 2005, when she finally broke down and admitted the truth -that her father and she had sex and the pregnancy had resulted.

By that time, the girl was already pregnant again, with her second child by her father. At age 14, in December of 2005, she gave birth to a second son.

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