Sgt. Steven Desjourdy has been ordered to forfeit 20 days of pay after an internal Ottawa police hearing found he was guilty of discreditable conduct during a controversial cellblock strip search in 2008.
- Sgt. Steven Desjourdy penalty decision put off until October
- Sgt. Steven Desjourdy guilty of discreditable conduct
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Retired OPP superintendent Robert Fitches announced the decision Tuesday, choosing not to demote Desjourdy from sergeant to constable. The forfeited pay amounts to about $8,000, according to the police association.
During the decision, Fitches said Desjourdy's behaviour during a four-day period in September 2008 was "abnormal" and "atypical," and that the sergeant has otherwise shown a "level and consistency of excellence" during his career.
Four days before the cellblock incident, he was found to have misconducted himself in relation to a different intoxicated, female prisoner, Fitches said.
"I remain completely stymied by this turn of events," he said.
Desjourdy's behaviour toward both women was "completely unacceptable," he said, adding that the officer showed "poor judgement" and possible "anger issues."
Still, Fitches acknowledged that Desjourdy has been described as a "poster child for professionalism." Fitches read nearly 100 documents, including letters and reviews, praising Desjourdy.
Desjourdy has the right to appeal the decision, within 30 days, to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.
Female prisoner left half naked in urine-soaked pants for 3 hours
In September 2008, Desjourdy left a female prisoner half naked in pants soaked with urine; her shirt and bra had been cut off during a strip search after she mule kicked an officer in the cellblock area.
It took more than three hours for Desjourdy to provide her with temporary clothing called a blue suit.
He was charged with sexual assault, but was later acquitted. A police disciplinary hearing was then called, and this April Desjourdy was found guilty of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.
During closing arguments in January, prosecutor Robert Houston argued Desjourdy's testimony in the internal hearing and testimony he made under oath during a preliminary hearing three years ago was inconsistent.
Houston sought a six-month demotion from sergeant to first-class constable.
Defence lawyer Michael Edelson, who also represented Desjourdy during his criminal trial, argued there is no evidence Desjourdy brought discredit to the police service.
Edelson wanted a five-day forfeiture of pay and a reprimand.