Has fighting among justice officials obscured a death in police lockup?

 

When an official story doesn’t ring true, a journalist with good instincts sometimes decides to tug at the loose threads—and keep tugging until the story unravels.

Thank you to Bill Turpin for continuing to tug the threads of the official story about a 41-year-old Spryfield man who died in the Halifax Police lockup one year ago last Friday.

Official non-story is more like it. The province’s Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) has been investigating the man’s death, but neither it nor the Halifax police will say what happened—or even reveal the dead man’s name. This last omission constitutes an extraordinary and protest-worthy level of secrecy. One full year after a man died in police custody under circumstances warranting investigation, no one in authority has the decency to dignify him with a name.

Unusual secrecy often masks malfeasance. Turpin has tugged threads long enough to have developed a theory about why the case is dragging on. His thinks the man’s death has been caught up in a pissing match between SIRT and the Public Prosecution Service over a previous case in which prosecutorial dawdling allowed a dirty cop to go free—much to the dismay of his honest colleagues.

The cop was charged with theft, breach of trust, and obstruction of justice following an investigation that SIRT Director Rodney Ron J. MacDonald detailed in an unusually terse and blunt report after the prosecution decided to drop the case owing to its own untoward delays.

Take a moment to read Turpin’s latest post, then follow the links he provides to connect the background dots. If his theory is correct, the Minister of Justice needs to step in and insist on a resolution to the investigation, and a decent level of respect for the deceased. Not to mention accountability for those who let a dirty cop go unpunished.

Reporters for what’s left of our mainstream media might want to dig into this sorry tale as well.


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