[Hpn] [ocap] Kanehsatake: Community appeals for resolution ignored

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 13 May 2004 19:49:40 -0400

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "OCAP" <ocap@tao.ca>
Kanehsatake: Community appeals for resolution ignored

 May 13, 2004
 Community's repeated appeals for legitimate policing body and resolution
Martin, Gabriel seem intent instead on forcing a violent confrontation in
 The portrayal of the community of Kanehsatake as lawless and opposed to
policing is greatly disturbing because it is so patently and blatantly
untrue.  On the contrary the community and Council have been calling
repeatedly for policing, with the simple and entirely reasonable
qualification that it be delivered in a nonprofessional and non-partisan
 Community opposition to those amassed under the direction of Ed Thompson
stem from concerns, not related to the issue of policing in general, but
from the personal qualifications of these officers, or lack thereof. 
Considerable question has been raised with respect to inadequacies in
weapons training, standard police training, let alone whether some of them
are even police officers at all.  A number of these officers are
understood to be under investigation for ethical breaches or other
professional misconduct.  Individuals on this force from Kahnawake and
Akwesasne are not wanted in their own communities and are stated to be a
risk to peace and stability.  One such officer, Larry Ross, was directly
involved in an unplanned and botched operation that led to the paralyzing
of a Kanehsatake community member five years ago, who died this week as a
result of the injuries he sustained.  The force's own chosen media
spokesperson, Mike Stalk, was himself recently fired from the Kahnawake
Peacekeepers and is currently facing charges for allegedly assaulting his
former colleagues.  Richard Walsh, another man personally hired by James
Gabriel, was found to have 16 convictions in the last twelve years ranging
from fraud to impersonating a police officer, to possession of a
prohibited weapon.  Despite this, Gabriel unilaterally equipped him with a
police badge, uniform, restricted weapons and paid him in excess of
$100,000.00 out of the community's budget.

It is difficult to imagine a community anywhere in Canada that would be
prepared to allow such a questionable group of characters to set up shop
on such an important and integral matter as policing, nor would it ever be
expected of them.  Neither should it be expected of Kanehsatake.
And indeed the community has been calling for proper policing, and would
have it long ago were in not for political interference predominantly by
James Gabriel that has been tacitly and, at times, actively supported by
the Provincial and Federal Governments.  While James Gabriel would be
quick to make allegations that Kanehsatake former Chief of Police Tracy
Cross "has connections to organized crime," his personal history simply
does not support such false and misleading statements.  Tracy Cross is one
of a select few formally trained Mohawk Peacekeepers, with approximately 8
years of policing experience.  He previously served for the Canadian
Military and underwent two separate tours of duty.  He is also an ordained
Minister in the Church - hardly the qualifications of a man likely to be
"soft on crime."  While Tracy Cross may have refused to allow the
Kanehsatake Police Force to be used as a political tool by James Gabriel,
he maintained peace, stability and lawfulness in the community of
Kanehsatake.  A state of affairs that was corroborated by the Kahnawake
Peacekeepers who were in charge of policing in Kanehsatake from January to
March of this year.  They found little if any criminal activity during
that time and absolutely no evidence of the existence of organized crime,
grow operations or a burgeoning drug trade.  Their observations, like
Tracy Cross' before them, were that the allegations made by James Gabriel
had no merit whatsoever.  Quebec Public Security Minister Jacques Chagnon
himself personally stated that he observed no law and order problems
during his recent unannounced visit to the community.
 If Mr. Gabriel is to be so irresponsible as to repeatedly reject plans for
peaceful resolution and refuse any and all communication that might assist
in calming tensions, the Prime Minister should seriously question his
continued public support and evergrowing financial expenditure to back
this man, not to mention the involvement of his own personal media
consulting firm.
 Paul Martin spoke of a new era in the Government's relationship with First
Nations communities.  Here he is presented with an opportunity to
demonstrate that under his leadership resolution can be found according to
the needs, wishes and best interests of those communities.  He would be
sadly underestimating the people of Kanehsatake if he feels he can call an
election and waltz through the campaign, all the while supporting a man
whom the people voted out by way of referendum over two years ago.
 For more information, contact:  Chief John Harding at (450) 479-8373 or
(613) 827-1404

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