Friday, August 28, 1992

Gay Abbate

Inquiry flays police integrity

'Serious mismanagement' shown in misconduct cases, report says

TORONTO -- A provincial report severely criticizes the Metro Toronto Police force, its chief and its police commissioners for the manner in which internal investigations are handled -- particularly the case of former constable Gordon Junger.

"The inquiry has revealed serious mismanagement on the part of Metropolitan Toronto Police in the handling of alleged misconduct by members of the force... We doubt that the problems associated with [two cases studied] are unique," says the report, released yesterday.

The 130-page documents follows an 18-month investigation by the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, the governing body for the province's police forces.

The inquiry was prompted by a controversial agreement approved by Chief William McCormack in 1990, covering the resignation of Mr. Junger, then 29 and a nine-year veteran of the force. The officer had been charged with possession of hashish and implicated in a sex-for-pay scandal.

The deal called for Mr. Junger's resignation in return from the force's agreement to drop all charges against him, destroy all evidence and give him a letter of reference. He accepted the arrangement and resigned on March 1, 1990.

The report states that the commission "cannot state too strongly our disapproval of the agreement," and concludes that it considers the arrangement "highly improper."

It says the actions of the police "demonstrates a tremendous lack of integrity," and it poses this question: "If a police force would act dishonourably to get rid of one of its own officers, can the public count on it to act honourably in cases involving civilians?"

The commission 'cannot state too strongly our disapproval of the agreement'

Frank D'Andrea, who headed the inquiry, said yesterday he hopes the 24 recommendations will help prevent similar cases.

Metro police had launched a sting operation in December, 1989, after Franklina (Roma) Langford, then a prostitute and Mr. Junger's lover, complained to police about his conduct as an officer. In the fall of 1989, the two had operated the Pleasure Can Be Yours Escort Service.

Mr. D'Andrea said that although the report is critical of the police force, it is not anti-police. "To the extent that the report says, 'You know what? Everyone, but everyone, is to be treated equally before the law,' that can't be an anti-cop sentiment."

The report's message to the rank and file, he said, is that "there are no secret deals; there are no sweetheart deals; everyone is equal."

Mr. D'Andrea said he believes that a police officer who goes to work and "works his dangerous shift each and every day of the week, a very dedicated officer with integrity and scruples, cannot feel very good about the sorts of risks he's required to take on a regular basis while someone like Junger is getting the kind of treatment he got."

The inquiry would not have been necessary, the report states, if the Police Services Board had used its authority to uncover the facts about the case and if the chief of police, after he learned the details of the resignation agreement, had not kept them from the board.

"If the Metro Police Services Board had reacted differently in April, 1990, when circumstances of the resignation of Gordon Junger first came to light in the media, this inquiry need never have taken place.

"Had the force been less defensive and the board less complacent at the outset, the public would have been assured that the issues were addressed."

The report is highly critical of the internal affairs unit, which investigated the allegations against Mr. Junger.

"It is disturbing that the response of the internal affairs unit, which signed the agreement on behalf of the chief, has been to continue to deny any error," the report states. It notes that the unit's written submission to the inquiry defends the conduct of its members as being "appropriate, just and fair."

The clause in the agreement that called for evidence to be destroyed should have "set off the alarm bells" for anyone who saw it, Mr. D'Andrea told reporters.

"As a lawyer, I worry about the destruction of evidence, something which is sacrosanct and shouldn't be destroyed," he said.

The inquiry found that no report of Mr. Junger's arrest was ever made, although one is required under the force's rules.

The report also states that, on the basis of the evidence it heard, the police force has shown a tendency to treat cases involving errant officers as an in-house problem rather than as a matter of public concern, that expediency took precedence over principle in an effort to rid the force of a bad apple, that accountability for police discipline and civilian review has been compromised, and that sufficient consideration has not been given to victims of police wrongdoing.

The report found it extremely significant that not one member of the force has been reprimanded in connection with the Junger affair.

The inquiry also investigated the police handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against Constable Brian Whitehead, who pleaded guilty at a 1990 disciplinary hearing and was reduced in rank to a first-class constable from a sergeant.

A woman working as a prostitute, identified in the report only as Jane Doe, alleged that on Nov. 7, 1989, an officer had extorted sexual services from her by threatening her with arrest.

The inquiry heard from more than 30 witnesses between October, 1990 and last March. It is expected to cost more than $1-million.

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Last modified: February 14, 1999

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