Tuesday, December 22, 2015

REFLECTIONS ON THE DUNPHY TRAGEDY

It has been a little less than nine months since injured workers advocate Donny Dunphy was killed in his home by a member of former Premier Paul Davis's protective unit.

Last week saw some new developments. 

Newly minted Justice Minister Andrew Parsons confirmed the new Liberal Government will hold an inquiry but it can not start until after the police investigation is finished.

The RCMP followed-up with an update on the investigation and provided a time-line of sorts. They issues a statement indicating that their investigation will be completed by February at which time the report will be handed over to  "an outside investigative service for an independent review". Many feel the RCMP have been in a conflict-of- interest since the get go and should really not be doing the investigation.

Than Const. Joe Smyth, the shooter, broke his silence for the second time since the shooting. He told the CBC that "there is significant value in the public inquiry process". The public also learned that the 15-year veteran police officer was reassigned to the criminal intelligence unit.

The CBC unveiled that Dunphy's gun was loaded and found on the floor of his house.

Frankly, I do not know what to think of Smyth's two public communications since the shooting. Is it proper that an active police officer who is at the center of a politically sensitive on-going police investigation communicate with the media at all? it would appear highly improper that a member of the force under investigation by the RCMP with regard to a fatal shooting would be making any kind of statement, to staff, fellow workers and certainly not the public

Dunphy's family has been through hell and back again trying to glean information on just what happened that resulted in the death of Donny at the hands of one of the former premier's bodyguards and one time co-worker on the force.

I understand that we, you, society as a whole, need to have confidence in our police force. Incidents like this must be examined, scrutinized, reviewed and studied.  The investigation feel like it is taking too long but we have to remember that there is nothing routine about this shooting, or what brought the lone cop to Dunphy's door that fateful Easter Sunday. 

We do not know what happened over these 15 minutes that changed the demeanor of the conversation to the point where a rifle was allegedly pointed at the officer. 

We still do not know why. what was obviously not a threat. became the basis for a member of the Premier's security detail to travel to  Mitchel's Brook on Easter Sunday.
Public trust is too important to leave anything unexplained.

I have said from the start that an inquiry will be difficult for everyone involved, but it is a necessary part of police accountability, oversight and integrity.  

Such a review should not be considered an indictment of the RNC, but an integral component of ensuring confidence in our justice system. 

One last thought, how long does it normally take for the RCMP to investigate a fatal straightforward shooting? 




1 comment:

Bob Butler said...

Peter, you bring to light many facts that all point to a question of fair justice in this case, the shooter is walking around saying what he wants, when he wants to everyone while his employer and the rest of the blue bloods hide behind a awfully long investigation. That is so absurd, I can only assume that his lawyer is giving him advice on how to botch his eventual trial for what appears on the surface to be cold blooded murder. As time goes on, and witness testimony gets more blurred and forgotten, the public will eventually get some kind of report on a report on an investigation of an investigation of a police assisted suicide.