Ottawa

Calls for police union head to resign over alleged slur

Ottawa police say they've notified provincial investigators about allegations the head of the city’s police union was captured on an audio recording using a sexist slur to describe a member of the city’s Black community.

Ottawa police notify OPP investigators after audio recording shared on social media

A file photo from 2016 shows a group holding a "Justice for Abdirahman Abdi" banner in a march on Elgin Street. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Ottawa police say they've notified provincial investigators about allegations the head of the city's police union was captured on an audio recording using a sexist slur to describe a member of the city's Black community.

The slur is heard on a recording shared on social media. CBC has not been able to verify the authenticity of the recording.

But police have forwarded it to Ontario Provincial Police investigating Matt Skof, the president of the Ottawa Police Association (OPA), an Ottawa Police Service (OPS) spokesperson said in an email to CBC News on Friday.

The OPP previously launched an investigation into Skof over another recording and charged him with breach of trust and obstruction of justice in January 2019.

Ottawa police were provided with a link to the recording Friday after it was posted on social media, said Const. Martin Dompierre. Dompierre said the OPP has been notified about the recording.

The OPS's own Professional Standards Section would also be addressing the matter, he added.

"There is an active OPS investigation by the Professional Standards Section that is awaiting the completion of the criminal portion of this investigation," Dompierre wrote.

"The PSS investigation will review all recordings related to this file (including this latest one) to determine whether there have been any violations of the Police Services Act or OPS policy."

No comment from Skof

In a statement, Skof said he would not comment.

In its own statement, the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition said it was calling for Skof's "immediate resignation and termination" for the alleged comments, which they allege were made in the aftermath of the 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi at the hands of Ottawa police.

The statement was co-signed by 14 other groups in the area.

Dompierre said Ottawa police had reached out to the woman referred to in the recording to update her on what was being done and "offer support."

"We also want to make it clear to her that the language used in this latest published recording is offensive, reprehensible and unacceptable under any circumstance," Dompierre said.

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