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Families, First Nation leaders to discuss Thunder Bay police misconduct at Queen’s Park

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First Nations leadership and families will gather at Queen's Park on Monday to discuss what they say has been decades-long misconduct on the part of the Thunder Bay police.

The families will be meeting with Sol Mamakwa, the MPP for Kiiwetinoong and deputy NDP leader.

A news conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 22.

The meetings come after three people with ties to the Thunder Bay Police Service have been charged since December – including its former chief of police Sylvie Hauthformer in-house lawyer Holly Walbourne and staff Sgt. Michael Dimini.

Three members of Thunder Bay Police Service -- former chief Sylvie Hauth, former lawyer Holly Walbourne and staff Sgt. Michael Dimini -- charged in misconduct investigation. April 15, 2024 (CTV News)

Can trust be rebuilt?

The Thunder Bay Police Service said it wants to rebuild trust within the community, but some have argued it's not enough.

"The allegations of the past is not a reflection of the work being done today," said police service board chair Karen Machado, in a press conference last week.

Mamakwa said people need to see a change in the way the police service operates.

“There's a lot of good words being said, but I think it's important that we need to be able to see the action,” he said speaking with CTV News on Friday.

“You know2, I think we are past the time for dialogue."

Misconduct allegations

In late 2021, the Ministry of the Attorney General asked Ontario Provincial Police to investigate allegations of misconduct involving members of the Thunder Bay Police Service.

A Thunder Bay Police Service sign. (File photo/CTV News)

As a result of that investigation, three people from Thunder Bay Police Service have been charged.

Sgt. Mike Dimini was arrested in December 2023 and charged with two counts of assault and one count each of breach of trust by a police officer and obstructing justice.

Then earlier this month, both Hauth and Walbourne were charged with obstruction, obstructing justice and breach of trust.

Walbourne resigned as the Thunder Bay Police Service’s counsel last year, around the time Darcy Fleury took over as chief of police.

Hauth was suspended in June 2022 after "serious allegations" were made by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.

An undated photo of former Thunder Bay Police Chief Sylvie Hauth. Ontario Provincial Police have arrested and charged the former Thunder Bay police chief as part of an ongoing misconduct probe. (File photo/CTV News)

Hauth became the chief of police in 2018 following a scathing report that found 'systemic racism' within the Thunder Bay police force that affected the death investigations involving Indigenous Peoples. Nine of those deaths were reinvestigated because of how poorly they were initially handed.

She resigned in January 2023 after 30 years of service avoiding a police misconduct hearing.

None of the criminal charges have been proven in court.

With files from CTV News’ Kamil Karamali and CTVNorthernOntario.ca journalist Chelsea Papineau

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