Mohawk police chief fired after racism remarks
Larry Hay had accused OPP, SQ and RCMP of 'deep-seated racism'
The Ontario Provincial Police have fired the police chief of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory after an internal investigation into remarks he made to a student newspaper in Belleville, Ont.
As a result of the probe, Larry Hay's appointment has been terminated, OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae confirmed Wednesday.
The Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory is about 13 kilometres east of Belleville.
Police launched the investigation after the publication of quotes attributed to Hay that accused the OPP, the Sûreté du Québec and RCMP of being racist. The comments appeared in the April 14 edition of the Loyalist College Online Pioneer.
Hay's lawyer, Michael O'Shaughnessy, said Hay plans to sue for wrongful dismissal.
The alleged racism played a role in the decision, of which Hay received notice last Friday.
"He's a long-time police officer with a sterling record," O'Shaughnessy said. "One would ask that if that had been the case with an Ontario Provincial Police officer who was not a police officer with a native Canadian band, whether or not such a drastic measure would be taken."
Rae said the OPP commissioner was the one who made the decision to dismiss Hay under the Police Services Act.
"But it was done in consultation with the Tyendinaga community, the band chief and the band council," she added.
Tyendinaga Chief Don Maracle said his community's band council was informed of the decision, but was not consulted.
He made no further comment on the case.
Hay made his controversial comments in an article about a protest at a quarry that a group of Tyendinaga Mohawks allege is on their land.
"I left the RCMP after Oka and I realized just what a racist organization the RCMP was," Hay was quoted as saying, "and I came here to learn that the OPP and the SQ (Sûreté du Québec) are no different. It's deep-seated racism, and they will do all kinds of things to show that it isn't so, but we know better."
In May, Hay launched a lawsuit against the Ministry of the Solicitor General, represented by the Ministry of the Attorney General and OPP Chief Julian Fantino, alleging:
- He was suspended without the proper consultation with aboriginal leaders that is required by law.
- The suspension was maintained despite a formal written objection by the local band council.
The allegations have not been proven in court.