Crash kills police officer who shot native protester at Ipperwash
The former Ontario Provincial Police officer who killed a protester during a native occupation at Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995 has died in a car crash.
Kenneth Deane was scheduled to testify within weeks at the judicial inquiry into the death of Dudley George.
Police said on Sunday that Deane was killed Saturday when his vehicle was hit by a tractor-trailer near Prescott in eastern Ontario.
They said Deane, 45, died at the scene.
George's brother, Sam George, told the Canadian Press that he was afraid Deane's death would leave unanswered questions at the inquiry.
Deane carried the rank of acting sergeant and was a police sniper when he shot George on Sept. 6, 1995.
A group of native protesters, including George, had occupied the park two days earlier as part of a long-running land-claims dispute.
The police said they had no choice but to draw their guns because the protesters were armed. The protesters said the opposite, that they were unarmed and that police used unnecessary force.
There has been controversy ever since about whether Mike Harris, who was then Ontario's premier, pressured police to clear the park by force rather than wait for a court order or other steps to evict the protesters.
Harris has consistently denied the allegation, including during his recent testimony before the Ipperwash inquiry.
- FROM FEB. 20, 2006: Harris says he wouldn't change Ipperwash response
In 1997, Deane was convicted of criminal negligence causing death after a court ruled he did not have a "reasonable belief" that George was armed.
He later resigned from the force.
The Ipperwash occupation marked the culmination of a long dispute over land seized for an army camp during the Second World War and not returned to the natives after the war.