Nishnawbe Aski Nation Speaks Out Against Racism
and the Ontario Provincial Police

O.P.P. and Racist Attitudes - Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation NAN is outraged by the slap on the hand discipline for a police officer. The policeman received a temporary demotion after it was revealed he distributed a crime-scene photo of an injured aboriginal man over the Internet in October, 2000. NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy said the force's response to the incident reinforces the widely held belief in the OPP that Indians are not people, and that racism is tolerated in the force. A police tribunal ruled the dishonourable conduct by Constable Maurice Lalonde of the Kenora OPP damaged the reputation of the force in Northwestern Ontario. Constable Lalonde was demoted to a second-class constable for nine months. What did he do that caused such a controversy? He sent a photograph showing cuts and bruises to Lloyd Sakakeep, of North Caribou Lake First Nation's face with a caption reading "never eat your steak with a knife."


April 11, 2002

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief says the penalty imposed on OPP Constable Maurice Lalonde is ridiculous.

Thunder Bay - Grand Chief Stan Beardy reacted today to the news that an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer who circulated offensive and racist emails has been given nothing more that a 9 month demotion of one rank.

"I am always shocked when the impact of racism and hatred are minimized this way. Constable Lalonde claimed he did not know that the individual in the picture was an Aboriginal person. If that is actually true, then, at the very least, this case involves gross disrespect for the dead."

After reading the hearing decision, the Grand Chief noted that, " It seems like the OPP were more concerned about the negative impact on the police force's reputation than the damage this kind of systemic racism causes to its victims."

The Grand Chief noted that a minor penalty, such as this, is not much of a deterrent to future acts of racism and it does not address the overall problem of racism that must exist inside the organization for the email to be circulated in the first place.

For more information contact:
Stan Beardy, Grand Chief, NAN
(807) 623-8228

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