Thread Tying the City of Thunder Bay’s Troubles

Amid probes into police racism, the Ontario Provincial Police have charged Thunder Bay Mayor, Keith Hobbs, with obstruction of justice and breach of trust.

Julian Falconer, who represents the First Nations complainants behind the systemic racism investigation of the Thunder Bay Police Service (“TBPS”), stressed that the accused should be presumed innocent. But he says there is a thread tying the city’s troubles together. “Obviously, in circumstances where a city’s mayor and chief of police are criminally charged, it speaks volumes to the level of dysfunctionality,” said Falconer. “When political leadership don’t face a true test of accountability by the public, when the local media do a terribly poor job of holding political leadership accountable … it’s almost inevitable that leaders run amok.”

Surrounding this the Chief of Police, J.P. Levesque, was also charged in May with breach of trust and obstructing justice, and the TBPS and Thunder Bay Police Services Board are currently under separate investigations.

The systemic review of Ontario’s police watchdog was prompted by complaints surrounding the drowning death of Stacey Debungee in 2015, which followed three First Nation leaders from Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, and Rainy River First Nations in 2017, forming a Northern Alliance to address the public safety crisis in Thunder Bay.

In the News

Cloud darkens over Thunder Bay as mayor charged with extortion amid probes into police racism     National Post, July 21, 2017

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs, wife and 1 other charged with extortion    CBC, July 21, 2017

OPP charge Thunder Bay mayor, two others, with extortion    Toronto Star, July 21, 2017

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