More than six years after the fatal shooting of Indian protester Dudley George, the Ontario Provincial Police officer who pulled the trigger, Kenneth “Tex” Deane, remains on the force.
And while Deane could be dismissed from the OPP as a result of a Police Act hearing now underway, he has fared well over the past six years, especially when one remembers that in 1997 he was convicted of criminal negligence causing death for shooting George. According to a recent report in the Toronto Star, Deane “has risen to become the OPP’s top bomb and anti-terrorist weapons expert.” At his Police Act hearing, Deane’s lawyer read from documents praising him for his role as an instructor at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer and training academies in Orillia and Ottawa.
Deane has never lost a single day’s pay for his role in the killing of George, which itself arose out of a brutal and unprovoked police attack on a peaceful occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park.
At the time of the Ipperwash assault, Deane was a member of the OPP’s elite Tactics and Rescue Unit. At his 1997 trial, Deane defended his firing of seven shots from his submachine gun—four at other native protesters and three at George—on the grounds that he and other police thought the Indians were armed. It has been established, however, that OPP intelligence and a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spy had established that the Indians bore no firearms.
Provincial Court Justice Hugh Fraser, the presiding judge at the 1997 trial, said Deane and other OPP officers lied under oath in claiming they thought George was armed. “You were not honest in maintaining this ruse while testifying before this court,” declared Judge Fraser.
Nonetheless, Fraser gave Deane a sentence of just two years less a day, which the OPP officer was able to fulfill by performing community service while maintaining his OPP job.
Only after the Supreme Court of Canada rejected Deane’s appeal last January, did the OPP lay a charge against him under the Police Services Act. In September, six years to the month after the police assault at Ipperwash, Deane pleaded guilty to a charge of discreditable conduct. A Police Service Act adjudicator, retired Toronto Police Deputy Chief Loyall Cann, will now decide whether to order Deane’s dismissal from the force, as urged by the prosecution, or give him a lesser punishment.
Deane’s false testimony is only the tip of the iceberg in a vast police-government cover-up of what happened at Ipperwash. The OPP claims many critical computer files relating to the police action were inadvertently destroyed. Police audiotapes and videotapes are said either to have gone missing or have never been made due to technical malfunctions. Only one OPP officer has ever admitted to the brutal beating of Cecil Bernard “Slippery” George that preceded the shooting of Dudley George and police have closed ranks to prevent identification of the officers involved in the beating. When it came to light that OPP officers had produced racist mugs and T-shirts to commemorate the police assault at Ipperwash, the force’s top brass issued an apology but took no action against those involved.