THUNDER BAY – NEWS – The Thunder Bay Police Services Board says they have “confidence in the Thunder Bay Police Service”.
The Thunder Bay Police Services Board met Saturday to discuss ongoing concerns raised in recent weeks.
The Board states that they “Remain united in our goal to end systemic racism within the Thunder Bay Police Service and provide leadership in rebuilding trust with our Indigenous communities.
“Dialogue is paramount to achieving these goals.
“The Board is committed to building on the work that is already underway, to instill trust and transform the Thunder Bay Police Service”.
The Thunder Bay Police and the Police Services Board remain mired in a whirlwind of accusations in particular Human Rights Tribunal complaints filed by Board Member Morriseau and a growing number of current and retired officers.
Human Rights Tribunal Complaints
These concerns include allegations brought to the public from Board Member Georjann Morriseau in a press release issued last week. That release included a copy of the Human Rights Tribunal Complaint filed by Morriseau.
Morriseau filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, Chair Kristen Oliver, Secretary John Hannam, Chief Sylvie Hauth and Holly Walbourne with HRTO on October 22, 2021.
The following is from Ms. Morriseau’s complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal. None of the allegations have been proven, and the Human Rights Tribunal has not heard the complaint yet:
“Ms. Morriseau is a Member of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board. Subsequent to her filing, Ms. Morriseau was subjected to reprisal and retaliation by the named Respondents, Chair Kristen Oliver, Secretary John Hannam, Chief Hauth and Holly Walbourne, and by Members Bill Mauro, Michael Powers and Roy Pelletier.
“At the November 2021 Board meeting and again at a Special Meeting of the Board on December 2, 2021, Chair Oliver and Secretary Hannam put forward a motion to have Member Morriseau removed from the Board by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission due to alleged conflict under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act on October 19, 2021 when a report from the Chief regarding Member Morriseau was put forward and for allegedly providing confidential information from that Board meeting to the Globe and Mail.
“The Board as a whole is well aware that only Members can assess their own conflicts and declare same, that only financial interests are covered by the MCIA, that only members of the public can complain under the MCIA application process, that applications can only be adjudicated by the Superior Court of Justice, and that Board Member Morriseau did not filed her HRTO complaint in which she claims human rights damages as of October 19, 2021, in response to information provided at the October 19, 2021 meeting including the Board’s knowledge and acceptance of an illegitimate criminal investigation brought against her in retaliation for protection of Indigenous rights to equal police services.
“The Board is well aware that Member Morriseau only filed her HRTO complaint in response to the report of the Chief provided at that meeting and discovering therein that the Board knew from December 2020 forward that the Chief had authorized a production order on Member Morriseau’s phone and put her under OPP investigation to cover for the leak of race based information from Sergeant Michael Dimini to the Thunder Bay Courthouse Inside Edition Facebook page and to deflect from her calls for accountability regarding the Broken Trust report of the OIPRD and the report of the Honourbale Murray Sinclair for OCPC.
“The Board and its legal counsel ignored our complaint and opinion on regard to this retaliation, providing no response. In August 2020, Member Morriseau was approached by an unknown officer in public and wearing a mask who disclosed to her a disturbing text message to Sergeant Dimini from Bryan Webster that was received by yet another officer on a recycled Thunder Bay Police Services phone.
“The message related to the ongoing leak of confidential TBPS information to the arguably racist facebook page. The investigation of the leak was a regular feature of the Chief’s report to the Board. Member Morriseau’s HRTO complaint details the interrogations she was then put under by TBPS regarding the identity of the unknown officer, for purposes of TBPS misconduct and criminal investigations into the unknown and other officers with access to the text message, but not the leak itself. In those interrogations, TBPS and Holly Walbourne kept proposing the same names of officers to Member Morriseau though she was clear it had not been them – she knew them and would have recognized both President of the Thunder Bay Police Association, Colin Woods, and Detective Jason Ryback, the Senior Officers’ Association negotiating representative.
“TBPS obtained video footage from HomeSense to try to identify the unknown officer. Member Morriseau then mentioned to Detective Ryback that he had been repeatedly named as the officer in HomeSense and that she had told them it was not him. As a result, she had her phone targeted and was put under OPP investigation for breach of trust by Chief Hauth, with the Board’s approval.
“The report referenced in the Globe and Mail article is the basis of and included in Member Morriseau’s filed HRTO complaint, which she did not provide to the Globe and Mail and which is a public document. There was no basis for complaint on the false allegation made. The other Board members supported Mr. Hannam and Chair Oliver in the continued effort at a later Special Meeting of December 2, 2021 despite our warning that it was without legal merit, a lack of any investigation and their obvious desire to punish Member Morriseau for filing of her HRTO complaint by having her removed from the Board due to OCPC investigation per the Police Services Act Code of Conduct for Board members.
“At this meeting, the remainder of the Board and its legal counsel also asserted to Member Morriseau that she could not speak to her lawyer or share anything with her lawyer from Board meetings, even though it related to her HRTO complaint and ongoing discrimination, harassment and reprisal for having made complaint. Further, Members Mauro, Powers and Pelletier decided without a formal vote on the Motion to pursue OCPC to look into the allegations put forward by Chair Oliver and Secretary Hannam in an effort to have Member Morriseau removed from service under OCPC investigation and to generally prevent her from seeking legal advice in regard to the ongoing discrimination, harassment and reprisal by the named Respondents and Board subject of her complaint. The Board Members did so without any prior communication with Member Morriseau or her legal counsel.
“Starting on December 1, 2021, Chief Hauth and Holly Walbourne directed briefings to officers of the Thunder Bay Police Services in which they were told all HRTO complaint allegations reported in the media were false and that anyone who spoke of the matters would be subject to prosecution under the Police Services Act. They directed threatening witnesses to Member Morriseau’s complaint as well as separate HRTO complaints by Constables Kelly Wash and Kerry Dunning.
“The complaints by Constables Walsh and Dunning, filed in late October and early November 2021, also revolve around Sergeant Dimini allegations of serious misconduct under the PSA and criminal conduct at a call out scene on November 24, 2020. Those allegations involve illegal entry, illegal search, illegal detention and illegal arrest by direction of Sergeant Dimini. Despite objection raised by Member Morriseau and her legal counsel to the threats to officer complainants and witnesses by the Chief and Holly Walbourne , the Board provided no response and took no action or investigation. As in the case of the text message from the Courthouse Inside Edition to Sergeant Dimini seeking ‘more good intel’, this matter did not result in any action taken by TBPS or the Board upon complaint of serious misconduct and criminal conduct.
“Around the same time as the threats directed in officer briefings, Sergeant Dimini filed a harassment complaint with the Board, naming the Chief and Deputy Chief. The Deputy Chief had been looking into the above noted complaints regarding Sergeant Dimini as well as those of multiple other officers and civilians. Sergeant Dimini asserted harassment on this basis.
“Although no offer of an investigation was made by TBPS or the Board to Member Morriseau, Constable Walsh or Constable Dunning when the Board was in receipt of the HRTO complaints prior to service by HRTO, the Board readily agreed to hire a third party investigator to look into the Dimini complaint, Bernardi Law.
“Bernardi Law speedily provided partial investigative notes to the Board in mid-December which indicated she had gathered enough evidence to support investigating the Deputy Chief but not the Chief. She did not ask to speak to Member Morriseau. She did want to interview Constable Dunning but was unable to due to our concerns of the related OCPC and OPP investigation request put in on Member Morriseau and Constables Walsh and Dunning’s behalf, that the investigation was on the same allegations were already before HRTO and his personal health status. She did not reach out to Constable Walsh who was now retired.
“The partial assertions provided to the Board were from Sergeant Dimini, Ms. Walbourne and others. In mid-January the Board met and received the sexual harassment complaint of TBPS counsel, Holly Walbourne, who is also a named Respondent in Member Morriseau, Constable Walsh and Constable Dunning’s HRTO complaints. She alleged that she had a conflicting relationship with Sergeant Dimini and that she was being harassed by the Deputy looking into complaints regarding Sergeant Dimini upon which she had provided legal advice to the Chief.
“She further claimed that she was being excluded from meetings held by the Deputy on that basis. At this time, there were now a further 5 HRTO complaints filed against the Chief, Holly Walbourne and the Board by officers and civilians of TBPS. No investigation was offered to them by the TBPS or the Board.
“The Board however determined to suspend the Deputy Chief on the basis of the Sergeant Dimini and Holly Walbourne complaints on January 28, 2022, without Bernardi Law speaking to any officers or civilians who had made complaint regarding Sergeant Dimini or the Chief and Holly Walbourne regarding covering up his misconduct and criminal conduct or Member Morriseau or her legal counsel. Sergeant Dimini obtained the woman’s contact information during a service call and had started to solicit her for a romantic and or sexual relationship.
“The woman contacted Allison Scott, who she knew for many years, to inquire about Sergeant Dimini. Allison Scott informed the woman that Sergeant Dimini had a live in partner who worked at TBPS as a civilian, that he had been involved with others and that there were many allegations against him for bad conduct. The woman in turn declined Sergeant Dimini’s advances and he then began to harass Allsion Scott. As soon as Deputy Chief Hughes was suspended, the Chief and Holly Walbourne directed Allison Scott be informed that her complaint was without merit and not deserving of an investigation. They then directed she be served with notice of investigation for harassment against Sergeant Dimini.
“The suspension was decided in a meeting in the absence of Member Morriseau and the fact of or the reasons for the suspension were not communicated to her. She became aware of the suspension from the media reports and Board minutes. Those minutes indicate that the Deputy Chief was suspended upon the complaints of Sergeant Dimini and Holly Walbourne and the partial investigation of same on the specific basis of risk to ongoing investigations, risk of a toxic work environment, the self-evident need to suspend in face of the allegations made, and the inability to separate the parties in the workplace.
“The Board undertook this action less than a week after the Solicitor General confirmed in correspondence to us and a public announcement that she had directed an OCPC investigation into our complaint of December 1, 2021 which outlined the misconduct and criminal conduct allegations against Sergeant Dimini and the related cover up allegations against the Chief, Holly Walbourne and the Board by Member Morriseau, Constables Walsh and Dunning and further officers and civilians of the TBPS. OCPC has alleged that the Chief and Holly Walbourne were dishonest with the Board and OCPC regarding the content of our HRTO complaints, that TBPS had abused authority in regard to Member Morriseau and officers regarding investigations and internal discipline and that they had colluded with the Deputy Chief to lie to OCPC upon inquiries being made. Despite the extraordinary and numerous allegations against Sergeant Dimini and Holly Walbourne in numerous filed HRTO complaints, the OCPC and later announced OPP and SIU investigations into their conduct, neither the TBPS leadership nor the Board sought to investigate any allegations against or suspension of the Chief, Holly Walbourne, Sergeant Dimini or Staff Sergeant Snyder though the same and far greater risks exist in their context than in the questionable harassment complaints of Dimini and Walbourne and a vacuum of any real investigation.”
The Police Services Board, in a media release state: “We continue to have confidence in the Thunder Bay Police Service. We recognize members of the Thunder Bay Police Service, who are showing a commitment to transforming the service while serving their community.
“We support these efforts in addition to the ongoing commitments to provide more training, knowledge, and skill development for members of the Service.
“The board recognizes that the journey of rebuilding trust with the community takes time.
“It requires us to acknowledge the errors of the past, and the hurt it has caused, while focusing our efforts on the work set forth in our Strategic Plan, which includes working towards:
• A Healthy & Supported Workforce
• Sustainable Community Policing
• Restored Reputation & Relationships
• Build for Transformation