|Assassin Murdered on
The police officer who shot Dudley George dies in freak car accident.
Kenneth Deane, the elite Ontario Provincial Police paramilitary officer convicted of fatally shooting Indian activist Anthony (Dudley) George, was killed on the weekend in a traffic accident on Highway 401 in eastern Ontario.
Deane, 45, was in charge of a four-man sniper team late at night on Sept. 6, 1995, with the job of escorting the force's crowd management unit, or riot squad, as it marched toward about three dozen protestors outside Ipperwash Provincial Park.
Police marched on the park at night two days after Stoney Point Indians occupied the park, saying it contained sacred burial grounds. Their claims were later supported by documents released by the federal government.
Deane, nicknamed "Tex" by colleagues, was expected to be called as a witness next month at the Ipperwash inquiry before Mr. Justice Sidney Linden in the town of Forest, near the now-closed park.
The mandate of the inquiry is to probe events surrounding George's death, and to draft recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.
"He did wrong, but the family has always said that he shouldn't be the scapegoat," George family lawyer Murray Klippenstein said.
"The family thinks the inquiry can still do its very important job very well," Klippenstein said.
The inquiry has heard 101 witnesses since it began hearings in July 2004.
Sam George, Dudley's brother, said in an interview yesterday that he felt bad when he heard of the death, which happened on Saturday afternoon during a whiteout on Highway 401 near Prescott.
"Any life lost is a tragedy," Sam George said. "I feel badly for his family."
Deane is the third police officer involved in the massive police operation at Ipperwash to die in a traffic accident.
Sgt. Margaret Eve was hit by a transport truck on Highway 401 near Chatham in June 2000, while Insp. Dale Linton, the officer who activated Deane's unit that night, was killed in a single-vehicle accident near Smiths Falls in October 2000.
The OPP said that Deane was killed by a tractor-trailer at about 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Deane was driving a westbound Ford Explorer, and was attempting to steer around vehicles when he struck the back of a stopped tractor-trailer unit. A second tractor-trailer was unable to stop and struck his Explorer. Deane was pronounced dead at the scene.
A passenger, who has not been identified, was taken to Brockville General Hospital with serious injuries.
Sam George, who never spoke to Deane, said he would have been a valuable witness at the public inquiry.
"We needed to know why he thought he was there that night," Sam George said. "Who told him to go there? What he was told, and what was his mission ... Now, we'll never know."
Deane was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death in April 1997.
Provincial Judge Hugh Fraser ruled then that Dudley George, 38, was unarmed when he was shot, and that Deane's fellow officers doctored their evidence to support him.
That trial, held in the Sarnia courthouse, heard that George had a bullet wound in his right calf, consistent with him being shot in the back of the leg, and another bullet wound that punctured a lung.
`One act of negligent behaviour has totally nullified an otherwise promising career'
Loyall Cann, adjudicator
After being found guilty of shooting George, Deane was given a conditional sentence of two years less a day, to be served outside jail, plus community service. At the time of the shooting, Deane was a senior officer in the paramilitary Tactics and Rescue Unit, which carried sub-machine guns with night-vision scopes.
Deane hung on to his job for 5 1/2 years after the criminal conviction, as he unsuccessfully appealed the verdict to the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Once his appeals were exhausted, he faced disciplinary charges under the Police Services Act.
In September 2001, he told a disciplinary hearing: "I sincerely apologize to the family and friends of Dudley George and to his community for causing the terrible loss that they have been forced to endure."
However, under cross-examination, he said his apology did not mean that he admitted doing anything wrong in the park that night, when he and six other OPP officers fired upon Indian protestors.
Former OPP Commissioner Thomas O'Grady told the public inquiry last fall that he now believes that all of the Indian protestors were unarmed.
Prosecutor Denise Dwyer asked Deane at his 2001 disciplinary hearing if he felt he was justified in opening fire.
"That was my belief that night," Deane replied.
"And it remains your belief today?" Dwyer continued.
"Yes it does," he replied.
At those Police Services Act hearings in late 2001, Deane's lawyer, Ian Roland argued that, apart from Ipperwash, Deane had had a stellar 16-year career with the OPP.
Roland noted that Deane had risen since the night of George's death to become the force's top bomb and anti-terrorist weapons expert. Roland also noted that many political commentators blamed the former Conservative provincial government for the bloodshed at Ipperwash.
"Acting Sergeant Deane didn't make the decision for the OPP to be involved and cannot be held responsible for the damage that flowed from the incident," said Roland, calling dismissal a "professional death sentence."
However, when she ordered Deane off the force, adjudicator Loyall Cann, former deputy chief of the Toronto force, called Deane's conviction "the most serious" ever recorded against the OPP.
"What could possibly be more shocking to society than to have a sworn, fully trained and experienced police officer, while on duty, in full uniform, using a police-issued firearm, kill an unarmed citizen?" she asked in her 28-page ruling.
"This is further aggravated by the fact that the sworn police officer was found by the presiding criminal court justice to have concocted and fabricated his evidence.
"I find that this is one of those exceedingly tragic incidents in which one act of negligent behaviour has totally nullified an otherwise promising career," she said, ordering Deane off the force in January 2002 for discreditable conduct because of his criminal conviction.
In his April 1997 criminal trial, Deane testified that he fired after observing muzzle flashes indicating that the protestors were firing at officers, and that he saw a man in a half-crouched position holding a rifle and scanning the police.
He also gave a detailed description of the rifle.
But Deane was found guilty after another officer who had been standing close to him at the time testified that he did not see any muzzle flashes, other than his own, and that he observed "a pole or stick" in George's hand.
Deane had fired seven shots that night, four at other natives and three at George.
After losing his job, Deane worked in security with an Ontario Hydro nuclear station.
The only question remains: Who killed Deane? The Natives, or former Ontario Premier Mike Harris who ordered the original killing?