The president of the Ottawa Police Association (the Ottawa police officers’ union) wrote a letter to the president of Carleton University demanding that criminology professor Darryl Davies apologize for statements he made critical of policing in Ontario. The police union president’s letter was obtained by the Ottawa Citizen and a story was published quoting from the letter and from an email by the union president stating that the union would be severing ties with several programs at the university because the professor’s views “taint the whole institution.”
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) submitted a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Directorate (OIPRD) that the police union president’s actions were an attempt to silence criticism of policing by using his influence as union president to exert pressure on the professor’s employer (Carleton University), and that such an attempt brings discredit upon the police force in Ottawa.
The OIPRD investigated the OCLA’s complaint and decided that it was unsubstantiated. The basis of the OIPRD’s decision appears to be that, since Professor Davies’s employment was not affected at the university, the police union president’s actions did not constitute discreditable conduct.
A copy of the OCLA’s complaint to the OIPRD, dated March 31, 2014, is available at the following link: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2014-03-31-OCLA-complaint-to-OIPRD.pdf
The OCLA’s complaint was covered in the media on several occasions, as listed below:
- “Police union president calls civil libertarians’ complaint ‘pure hypocrisy’”, Ottawa Citizen, April 1, 2014
- “Police union embargoes Carleton over professor’s actions”, The Charlatan, April 3, 2014
- “An Open Democracy”, Ottawa Citizen, April 5, 2014
- “Ottawa cop cuts ties with Carleton over class speaker”, Maclean’s, April 10, 2014
- “Watchdog investigates two related complaints against Ottawa police”, Ottawa Citizen, April 25, 2014
- “Watchdog to investigate complaint against Ottawa police union boss”, Ottawa Citizen, July 11, 2014
- “Watchdog dismisses two complaints against Ottawa police”, Ottawa Citizen, April 3, 2015
The OIPRD investigated the OCLA’s complaint, and released its Investigative Report on March 23, 2015, concluding that the OCLA’s complaint was unsubstantiated. The OIPRD’s Investigate Report is available at the following link: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/OIPRD-Investigative-Report-23-Mar-2015.pdf
 “Police union demands apology for Carleton prof’s ‘malicious, libellous’ attacks”, Ottawa Citizen, March 25, 2014.