Windsor Police officers not guilty of discreditable conduct
Cheif will implement new policy in light of decision
Windsor Police officers Patrick Keane and Paul Bridgeman have been found not guilty of discreditable conduct.
Staff Sgt. Keane and staff Sgt. Bridgeman were facing charges of discreditable conduct stemming from a complaint made by a Windsor doctor.
Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan accused the two of trying to back him into a corner, pressuring him to drop charges he laid against police.
The adjudicator overseeing the Police Act hearing said the evidence was not there to prove the two staff sergeants tried to engage in a police cover up.
"I’m glad it’s over. I can get back to work," Keane said.
Keane maintained he was innocent from the beginning.
"Our behaviour and our actions and our investigative decisions have to be accountable to this community at all times. I’m proud to be a Windsor Police officer," he said.
The adjudicator also said Windsor Police should enact new policies to make sure nothing like this happens again. His suggestion included police not have meetings with defence lawyers without the presence of a police superintendent.
"On the face of it, it seems like a reasonable one," Kean's lawyer Glen Donald said of the suggestion.
Acting police chief Al Frederick likes the idea and said it's new policy, effective immediately.
"When we're one of the persons involved or one of the organizations involved in the incident, then we're not objective," he said. "We're not third party though. We're involved."
It all started in April 2010. The doctor was arrested outside of Jackson Park Medical Centre after an incident involving Det. David van Buskirk.
The doctor ended up with head injuries, a broken nose and a detached retina that required surgery.
Police charged him with assaulting a police officer and he went to a lawyer.
Abouhassan said he did nothing wrong. He wanted the charges against him dropped and he wanted to press charges against the detective.
The doctor said on two separate occasions he was approached through his lawyer by the staff sergeants.
He said Bridgeman and Keane were trying to strike a deal.
If he agreed to back off and not proceed with charges against the detective, police would withdraw charges against Abouhassan.
Bridgeman's lawyer, Andrew McKay, said there were "frailties" in the evidence.
"These are very seasoned officers who have a tremendous reputation. To have this cloud over their head ... it’s been stressful. It’s been very difficult for them," McKay said.
Jason Dejong, head of the Windsor Police Association, said the hearing has been difficult on the department.
"It’s obviously had an impact on the police service with all the media coverage," he said. "I hope it will be equally reported that these officers were found not guilty."
An assault charge against Detective Van Buskirk is still before the courts.
Police eventually dropped the original charge against the doctor.