Second degree murder charge could have chilling effect on Canadian Police

OTTAWA, Feb. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - The decision to press a charge of second degree murder against a Toronto Police constable engaged in the lawful execution of his duties will have a chilling effect on police across Canada, warns the President of the Canadian Police Association, Mr. Tom Stamatakis.

"There is absolutely no doubt or question that it is appropriate for the events of September 29, 2010 to be investigated and reviewed, and for us to learn from this tragic incident," said Mr. Stamatakis. "However, if our officers are presented with a situation where they could be facing a murder charge following the use of equipment and tactics that have been approved by oversight authorities, there is no doubt that would have a negative impact on our ability to protect our communities in dangerous circumstances."

Mr. Stamatakis' comments came in reaction to the news that charges against Toronto Police Constable David Cavanaugh had been upgraded from manslaughter to second degree murder, following the events that transpired during a police search that led to an arrest on firearms related charges.

"Further, I find it highly irresponsible for defence counsel, Mr. Julian Falconer, to attempt to try this case in the media, with allegations that have not been proven in a court of law, and that lack context regarding how the events on that evening transpired," said Mr. Stamatakis.

"This is a serious case, and it needs to be addressed without public grandstanding.  Constable Cavanaugh has a record of making significant contributions to his community, and the least we can afford him right now is to let this process play out in court, in front of the appropriate authority," said Mr. Stamatakis.

The Canadian Police Association (CPA) is the national voice for 41,000 police personnel across Canada. Membership includes police personnel serving in 160 police services across Canada, from Canada's smallest towns and villages as well as those working in our largest municipal and provincial police services, and members of the RCMP, railway police, and first nations' police personnel.


For further information:

Michael Gendron
Media Relations Officer
(613) 299-6516

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