PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR ‘HORRIFIED’ BY MEETING WITH THUNDER BAY POLICE SERVICE – DEBUNGEE PSA HEARING
Proceedings continue to be live-streamed here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ThunderBayPolice/live
June 6, 2022
The Police Services Act proceedings (“PSA Hearing”) against Staff Sergeant Harrison and Detective Whipple, who were involved in the shoddy investigation into the death of Stacy DeBungee, which began on May 30, 2022, in Thunder Bay, ON continued today.
This morning, the Tribunal heard evidence from Mr. David Perry. Mr. Perry served with the Toronto Police Service for 27 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Sergeant, and spent most of his career in the investigative field, specializing in homicide investigations, sexual assault investigations and child abductions. Mr. Perry is also the founding partner of Investigative Solutions Network Inc. (“ISN”), a private investigation organization. ISN worked with the Complainants, Mr. Brad DeBungee, and Former Chief of the Rainy River First Nation, Jim Leonard, to conduct an independent investigation into the death of Stacy DeBungee. This report identified several shortfalls of the investigation by the Thunder Bay Police Service.
Mr. Perry spoke about his own experience when attending the Thunder Bay Police Service headquarters with Brad DeBungee at the completion of this investigation. Mr. Perry testified that he attended the headquarters because he wanted to meet with the officers in charge of the investigation, and because in the few days he had been in Thunder Bay, Mr. Perry felt that he had found information that the officers investigating the case should have.
Unfortunately, Mr. Perry stated he was “shocked” and “horrified” with how the Thunder Bay Police officers treated himself and Brad DeBungee. Mr. Perry could not believe that the brother of the deceased was treated in such a manner. Even having left his business card with the officer they met with, Mr. Perry stated that he did not believe anyone was going to call him, and no one ever did. To this day, the Thunder Bay Police Service never followed up with Mr. Perry, his report, or his findings.
Mr. Perry spoke about his familiarity with the Ontario Case Management Model, having used it while as a police officer, as well as using it as a teaching tool during his work with the Ontario Police Training System on investigative techniques. Mr. Perry testified that in situations where you have a deceased body found in water, regardless of any clear/visible signs of trauma, given the suspiciousness of it there would be grounds to use a major case management model. However, this did not occur. Instead, the Thunder Bay Police Service investigated Stacy’s death without the use of a major case management model.
Staff Sergeant Shawn Harrison and Detective Shawn Whipple are both facing charges of neglect of duty and discreditable conduct. On the first day of the hearing, Staff Sergeant Harrison pleaded guilty to the charge of neglect of duty. Both officers have pleaded not guilty to the discreditable conduct charge. The hearing will continue this week with evidence from the officers.
Related Media Coverage:
“Disciplinary hearing into two Thunder Bay police officers wraps first week” – APTN News (Dennis Ward) – June 2, 2022
“Brad DeBungee testifies he felt police ‘brushed off’ questions about Stacy’s death” – TB NewsWatch (Doug Diaczuk) – June 1, 2022
“Former Rainy River Chief said DeBungee case was ‘gut-wrenching’ for family, community” – TB NewsWatch (Doug Diaczuk) – May 31, 2022
“Police Services Act hearing against two TBPS investigators in DeBungee sudden death opens” – TB NewsWatch – May 31, 2022
“Report on racism in Thunder Bay Police Service to be considered a ‘thought’ piece not fact in hearing of TBPS officers” – Windspeaker.com (Shari Narine) – May 31, 2022
“Hearing underway for Thunder Bay, Ont., police accused in flawed investigation of First Nations man’s death” – CBC News (Logan Turner) – May 30, 2022
“Disciplinary hearing begins for two police officers over 2015 case that exposed department problems” – The Globe and Mail (Willow Fiddler) – May 30, 2022
“Business as usual: Thunder Bay police and the damage done” – APTN News (Dennis Ward, Cullen Crozier, Kenneth Jackson) – May 27, 2022
“Police misconduct hearings set to begin in DeBungee death investigation” – TB NewsWatch (Ian Kaufman) – May 27, 2022
Related Posts on Adjudicator Lee Ferrier’s Decision and Related Hearing:
https://falconers.ca/public-proceeding-of-the-thunder-bay-police-services-board-will-determine-whether-officers-involved-in-the-investigation-into-the-death-of-stacy-debungee-will-face-disciplinary-proceedings/ (February 5, 2021)
Related Posts on the OIPRD Complaints and Findings (Individual Conduct and Systemic):
https://falconers.ca/casestudy/stacy-debungee/ (June 20, 2016)
Related Posts on the Fight Against a Secret Hearings:
https://falconers.ca/disciplinary-hearing-stacy-debungee-death-investigation-cancelled-thunder-bay-police-board-tbpb/ (April 6, 2018)
https://falconers.ca/superior-court-judge-halts-secret-hearing/ (October 4, 2018)