Sudbury police probe allegation against Thunder Bay officer

For the second time in less than a month the Thunder Bay police are being investigated for the way one of their officers treated a First Nations youth.

First Nations parent complained about Thunder Bay officer after incident at youth hockey tournament

Thunder Bay Police Chief JP Levesque and Inspector Don Lewis were part of a community safety meeting Tuesday night where one man spoke about his concerns about the behaviour of an off-duty officer at a hockey tournament last week. (Jody Porter/CBC)

For the second time in less than a month, Thunder Bay police are being investigated for the way one of its officers treated a First Nations youth.

OPP launched an investigation Jan. 3 after a First Nation student reported that he had been picked up by Thunder Bay police and abandoned in a rural area outside city limits.

Now, Greater Sudbury Police have been called in to investigate a complaint about an off-duty officer’s "altercation" with a First Nations boy and his father at a hockey tournament.

"I experienced, I guess, racism for the first time in my life," Kelvin Redsky said at a community safety meeting in Thunder Bay on Jan. 15.  

The meeting was organized by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation to deal with what Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler called the "broken relationship" between Aboriginal people in the city and the Thunder Bay police.

Redsky spoke during the open microphone session of the meeting. He didn’t go into detail about what happened because he didn’t want to name names, he said.

"It really hurt me when that happened to my son," he said. "And it happened from the Thunder Bay police who was off duty."

The meeting's facilitator, city councillor Rebecca Johnson, discouraged Redsky from saying any more. She interrupted him and suggested he talk to police officers after the meeting.

"I’ve done that," Redsky said. "I haven’t had anything done."

At the meeting, Redsky said Sudbury police were investigating the incident.

After calls from CBC News, on Jan. 16, Thunder Bay police issued a news release.

"The Sudbury Regional Police Service [now called Greater Sudbury Police] is investigating a complaint by a Thunder Bay parent regarding an alleged altercation involving an off-duty Thunder Bay Police Service officer," it stated.

Thunder Bay Police executive officer Chris Adams said Police Chief JP Levesque called in the Sudbury police so the investigation would be "transparent."

"The allegation is that a young man who was involved in the [hockey] tournament and his father got into an altercation with the officer," Adams told CBC News. "The officer's actions are under investigation now."

The officer in question is now on administrative duties while the incident is under investigation, Adams added.