Stacy DeBungee Death Investigation: Disciplinary Proceedings Commence Against Thunder Bay Officers
April 13, 2021
At 8am EDT on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, Thunder Bay Police Service officers Shawn Harrison, Shawn Whipple, and Susan Kaucharik will make their first appearance in disciplinary proceedings under the Police Services Act relating to their conduct in the investigation into the 2015 death of Stacy DeBungee, an Anishinaabe man from Rainy River First Nations. The matter will be live streamed on YouTube: www.youtube.com/thunderbaypolice.
Following an investigation into complaints of misconduct made by Stacy DeBungee’s brother, Brad DeBungee, and by then Chief of Rainy River First Nations, Jim Leonard, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director concluded in 2018 that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the officers had engaged in serious misconduct: neglect of duty by all three of them, and discreditable conduct – specifically, discriminatory conduct relating to Stacy DeBungee’s Indigenous status – by two of them.
Wednesday’s appearance represents the first step in this next chapter of Brad DeBungee’s quest for transparency and accountability in relation to his brother’s death and treatment at the hands of the Thunder Bay Police Service. For a long time, it was uncertain whether Police Services Act proceedings would be commenced against the officers. Adjudicator Lee Ferrier, acting in place of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, confirmed in a decision dated February 17, 2021 that the Chief of Police could serve the officers with notices of disciplinary proceedings. Wednesday represents the first appearance in these proceedings.
Chief Sylvie Hauth of the Thunder Bay Police Services has designated Lynda Bordeleau, a partner at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall, to be the prosecutor. Chief Hauth has designated Superintendent (retired) Greg Walton to be the Hearing Officer (i.e. decision-maker).
Falconers LLP has the honour of representing Brad DeBungee in these proceedings.
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)