Albion Monitor /News
[Editor's note: See our previous report on this case for background]

Killer Cop Gets Community Service Punishment

by Pearce Bannon
Special to the Monitor

"He's still a murderer," yelled out Cathryn George
Cries of "murderer" pierced a Sarnia, Ontario courtroom Thursday after a judge sentenced an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer to a conditional sentence of two years less a day, to be served in the community, for the 1995 shooting death of native protester Anthony (Dudley) George.

"He's still a murderer," yelled out Cathryn George, a cousin of Dudley George, who was shot and killed by acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane outside Ipperwash Provincial Park on Sept. 6, 1995.

"Murderer," bellowed another Native supporter while spectators exited the courtroom after court was adjourned.

Deane's family and friends, however, didn't answer the yelling and earlier remained quiet while the judge explained his ruling -- a decision which surprised many of the approximately 100 spectators present.

"My brother gets laid in his grave and a guy gets sent home for jail. That's real justice," added Pierre George
Judge Fraser's decision means the 12-year OPP veteran, convicted April 28 on the charge of criminal negligence causing death, will not have to go to prison. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

As part of his sentence, Deane must perform 180 hours of community service and cannot carry a gun during the sentence. Also he cannot leave the province of Ontario without receiving permission and he must give notice if he intends to change his name or his address.

Ontario Crown prosecutor Ian Scott recommended a "substantial penitentiary sentence" and a 10-year prohibition on carrying firearms in his final argument Wednesday. But Judge Fraser didn't allow the firearm prohibition to follow Deane's sentence, saying a 12-year ban for a police officer "would be excessive."

Scott told reporters he will discuss with his superiors in Toronto the possibility of appealing the sentence.

"I did think that a conditional sentence under the circumstances was not proportionate to the gravity of the offence because a death was caused by the actions of Sgt. Deane," Scott said outside the court.

He has 30 days to file an appeal.

Inspector Michael Shard of the OPP's Professional Standards Bureau said Deane has been relieved of operational responsibilities and assigned to administrative duties. Inspector Shard said Deane's appeal of his conviction and his 12-year "exemplary" service record were factors considered by the OPP in making the decision.

However, Deane also faces the possibility of Police Services Act charges and penalties up to dismissal from the OPP.

But for Dudley George's sister, Carolyn George, Judge Fraser's sentence and the OPP's support of Deane means "it's okay to go out and kill a native."

"If we had done something like that how long do you think it would be before we would be put in jail? asked Carolyn George. "(Deane's) a cop, he gets off automatically. We figured it would probably happen.

"My brother gets laid in his grave and a guy gets sent home for jail. That's real justice," added her brother, Pierre George.

On the night Dudley George was killed, Deane was the leader of an eight man Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU) protecting a 32-man OPP riot squad which confronted about 24 Stoney Point natives outside Ipperwash Provincial Park, about 100 miles northeast of Detroit.

Two days before the shooting, Natives occupied the park as it was closing for the season claiming -- correctly -- it was built over a sacred burial ground.

After a brutal battle between police and natives, Deane shot George with his sub-machine gun because he said he saw George aiming a rifle at police.

Dudley George was the first Native to be killed in Canada this century over a land claim dispute.

Judge Fraser said Deane's "intense pride and abilities" made it "impossible" for him to admit he shot an unarmed man
In April, Judge Fraser ruled Deane knowingly shot an unarmed man then "concocted a story" to hide the fact. He also ruled that testimony by two other officers was "fabricated." On Thursday, Judge Fraser said Deane's "intense pride and abilities" as a TRU officer made it "impossible" for him to admit he shot an unarmed man.

But Deane's "excellent" professional background, lack of criminal record and evidence of his good character and integrity entered at his sentencing hearing were also considered in figuring the officer's sentence, said Judge Fraser.

He also weighed in evidence that Deane and his fellow TRU officers received information prior to the police advance on the park saying the protesters were armed with automatic weapons. Fraser ruled the natives were not armed.

"It is not for this tribunal to decide where that intelligence came from or why it was so inaccurate," he said.

Judge Fraser also questioned sending heavily armed police to confront the protesters, but added: "The decision to embark on this ill-fated decision was not Deane's."

The George family has asked for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the shooting including the Ontario government's involvement in police operations that night.

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Albion Monitor July 6, 1997 (

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