Lawyer calls police misconduct 'systemic' problem
Published Tuesday, November 30, 2010 6:37PM EST
A high-profile criminal defence lawyer says police misconduct has been a systemic problem over the 30 years he's been practicing law.
Lawrence Greenspon is representing an Ottawa woman who filed a civil lawsuit against Ottawa police, alleging she was mistreated and injured while in custody.
The lawsuit filed by Roxanne Carr names eight police officers, including Special Const. Melanie Morris and Sgt. Steven Desjourdy who are being investigated by Ontario's Special Investigations Unit for the treatment of Stacy Bonds.
In a surveillance video documenting Bonds' treatment, Morris is seen kneeing Bonds. Desjourdy is later seen cutting off her shirt and bra with a pair of scissors.
While Greenspon says police misconduct is a problem, the police chief says Greenspon has never contacted him to discuss his concerns.
But as a lawyer, Greenspon says he can't just pick up the phone to complain to the police chief about issues involving his clients. Instead, he has to deal with police lawyers.
A video showing Bonds' treatment while in custody has led to public outrage and questions about police abuse of power.
However, the police chief says the case does not reflect the entire police force, and some officers are being unjustly criticized.
"In this case here, people are saying things that my officers don't appreciate -- and to be fair -- things that I don't appreciate. We do a ton of great work in this city," White said.
He adds many officers feel their integrity is being questioned, and they don't deserve to take all the heat.
White met with leaders of the police units on Tuesday. Over the next two days, deputy chiefs will also meet with members of Ottawa's six police platoons.