Native leader slams police over 'racist' e-mails

CTV.ca News Staff

Aboriginal leaders are calling for harsher penalties after Ontario police officers had their pay docked for three days for circulating e-mails that mocked natives as drunken criminals.
The five officers, who work for Peel Regional Police, were reprimanded and ordered to undergo sensitivity training following the incident, which occurred in late 2005.

The e-mails were “certainly inappropriate and could be viewed as offensive,” Constable Craig Platt, a spokesman for the police department in the region west of Toronto, told The Globe and Mail Tuesday.

One of the e-mails circulated included a song called ‘Native Rap,’ which describes aboriginals robbing liquor stores, punching old ladies, “curb-stomping Whities,” slapping women and shaking babies.

Bob Goulais, a spokesman for the Union of Ontario Indians, said the disciplinary action, which followed a six-month investigation, is too light and will do little to deter racism.
Goulais, who represents 43 native bands, said the incident is “disturbing” and the officers should be dismissed.

“These are people in direct positions of authority,” he told The Globe.

“There are implications with how they deal with first nations people when they actually meet them on the street.”

Platt said the investigators traced the path of more than one offensive e-mail, which led to the disciplinary action against the five officers.

The officers did not write the material themselves, Platt said.

Platt said the officers were not suspended after investigators weighed several factors, which included their previous conduct and the type of materials sent.

Their identities are being withheld because they were not charged under the Police Services Act.

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