Thunder Bay police chief charged with breach of trust
5-month OPP investigation results in criminal charges against J. P. Levesque
Ontario Provincial Police have charged Thunder Bay police Chief J. P. Levesque with breach of trust and obstructing justice.
The OPP launched an investigation in January at the request of the RCMP, according to a provincial police news release issued Tuesday.
The investigation was referred to the OPP's criminal investigation branch, according to the release.
Levesque, 53, is on medical leave, according to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board. His lawyer says Levesque, a police veteran of three decades, is seeking "ultimate vindication."
A statement issued by the police services board on Tuesday afternoon, just moments after the OPP issued its release, said: "The public can be assured that the members of the Thunder Bay Police Service will continue to serve and protect our community.
"We have full confidence in Deputy Chief Hauth and our senior command staff to lead TBPS through this challenging time," the board's statement said.
OPP are releasing few details about the investigation and the police board said it has "to date limited information regarding the nature of the charges."
In a separate case, Thunder Bay police are also facing criticism for their investigations into the deaths of two Indigenous teens. Josiah Begg, 14, and Tammy Keeash, 17, were found dead in a Thunder Bay river within days of each other.
Ontario's civilian police oversight body launched an investigation last year into the way Thunder Bay police treat the deaths of Indigenous people.
Levesque's lawyer, Brian Gover, said in a written statement to CBC News:
"J.P. Levesque is a person of outstanding good character. He is known in Thunder Bay, the surrounding area and throughout the policing community as a thoughtful, progressive and compassionate leader. As a police officer, Mr. Levesque has served the people of Thunder Bay in an exemplary manner for 30 years including as chief of police since July 2011. Mr. Levesque looks forward to fully responding to the allegations against him, and to his ultimate vindication."
Levesque is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Thunder Bay on June 13.