Police union slams Ontario ombud for wrongly accusing cop of offensive tweets

TORONTO – The police union representing Ontario’s front-line officers is slamming the province’s ombudsman for publicly maligning a Durham region detective and trying to “deflect attention” from his mistake.

Dave McFadden, the president of the Police Association of Ontario, released a statement today saying the union is “appalled” by Andre Marin’s actions and accusing him of not taking responsibility for them.

Marin publicly named a police officer he believed was behind a Twitter account using the fake name “Joe Mayo” that was directing offensive messages at him.

But the Durham police force said this week that the officer Marin identified was on annual leave at the time and did not know about the account, which investigators said was set up by a fellow officer without his knowledge or consent.

Marin said yesterday he didn’t see the need for an apology to the wrongly accused officer “at this time,” but suggested he should get an apology from the Durham police chief for the “hate mail” directed at him by one of his officers.

McFadden says Marin’s behaviour is “unacceptable,” particularly coming from someone in a position of public trust and authority.

“Mr. Marin’s approach was slipshod and his attitude is cavalier,” McFadden wrote.

“Mr. Marin, of all people, knows there is a process in filing complaints for investigation. If he had a concern, he should have followed that process. Instead, he publicly maligned an innocent person.”

Gary Hopkinson, the lawyer for the wrongly accused Det.-Const. Scott Dennis, said he is seeking a formal public apology from Marin.

The tweets from the “Joe Mayo” Twitter account called Marin a “card carrying member of Al Qaida” and told him not to stick his nose “in business it doesn’t belong.”

The tweets appeared moments before Marin was to give a news conference on the death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim in police shooting on a Toronto streetcar.

Tweets from the same account had previously been sent to a Toronto city councillor, criticizing her position on Yatim’s death on July 27.