OCPC Appeal Decision Upholds Demotion of Thunder Bay Police Constable for Misconduct

3D render of a police line tape against defocussed background

Constable Peter Haase’s Appeal Dismissed in Misconduct Case

Thunder Bay – NEWS – Constable Peter Haase of the Thunder Bay Police Service saw his plea for leniency dismissed, upholding a demotion for misconduct. The appeal followed his guilty plea to charges of discreditable conduct, insubordination, and unlawful or unnecessary use of force.

Guilty Plea and Penalty Decision

On February 15, 2023, Constable Peter Haase pleaded guilty to discreditable conduct, insubordination, and unlawful or unnecessary use of force, contrary to various sections of the Code of Conduct outlined in Ontario Regulation 268/10, pursuant to the Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15. Just six days later, on February 21, 2023, the Hearing Officer, Superintendent M.P.B. Elbers (retired), issued a penalty decision with reasons.

The penalty decision ordered Constable Haase to be demoted from his position of First Class Constable to Third Class Constable immediately for a period of four months. Following this initial demotion, upon completing the four months, Constable Haase would be elevated to Second Class Constable for a period of twelve months, and upon completing the twelve months at Second Class Constable, he would return to First Class Constable.

Appeal Dismissed

Constable Haase appealed the imposed penalty, seeking a more lenient outcome. However, the appeal has been dismissed.

Background of Misconduct

The charges against Constable Haase stemmed from his interaction with an Indigenous civilian, identified as J.F., in downtown Thunder Bay on the morning of January 2, 2022. Constable Haase and his partner, Constable Young, believed that J.F. had been in the company of a wanted male and had evaded the officers when he saw their vehicle approach.

During the encounter, Constable Haase shouted profanities at J.F., grabbed him by the jacket and left bicep, and pushed him against a bus shelter wall while demanding his name. Despite J.F. providing his name, Constable Haase failed to inform him that he was not detained and had no obligation to speak to the officers.

Another aspect of the misconduct was Constable Haase’s failure to activate his own body camera during the interaction, violating Thunder Bay Police Service Policy. He also failed to report the camera’s non-activation, further contributing to the insubordination charge.

This case raised concerns, especially in light of the strained relationship between the Thunder Bay Police Service and the Indigenous community.

Prior Disciplinary Findings

Constable Haase had two prior disciplinary findings before this case. In December 2019, he received a disposition of 24 hours and retraining for insubordination after mishandling a carbine rifle, resulting in an accidental discharge. In July 2021, he received a disposition of 72 hours and retraining for discreditable conduct after disclosing police information to a landlord for personal reasons.

Penalty Hearing and Disposition

During the penalty hearing, the Respondent sought Constable Haase’s dismissal, emphasizing the seriousness of the misconduct and its impact on the Indigenous community’s relationship with the police. In contrast, Constable Haase sought a penalty of 144 hours of forfeiture along with remedial training for “Indigenous issues.” He also argued for the principle of progressive discipline, highlighting J.F.’s lack of complaint against him and his positive progress report from a treating psychologist.

Despite Constable Haase’s appeal, the decision to demote him stands, underscoring the importance of accountability and maintaining the trust of the community in law enforcement agencies.

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