HomeDomesticOttawa police officer pleads guilty to misconduct for Freedom Convoy donation

Ottawa police officer pleads guilty to misconduct for Freedom Convoy donation

An Ottawa police officer who twice donated cash to the Freedom Convoy — together with the day after the police chief declared the occupation of metropolis streets illegal — has pleaded responsible to misconduct.

Const. Kristina Neilson pleaded responsible Thursday morning to a single depend of discreditable conduct underneath the Police Companies Act for donating cash to the convoy on Feb. 5.

Up to now, she is the one Ottawa police officer who has confronted any formal prosecution for involvement within the convoy or its occupation.

In accordance with the agreed assertion details of the case, learn into the document by prosecutor Angela Stewart, Neilson first donated to the convoy on Jan. 23, which was the day after “a whole bunch of automobiles fashioned convoys and travelled throughout Canada to converge in Ottawa at Parliament Hill.”

These automobiles had been “joined by hundreds of pedestrian protesters,” who created a “full blockage of the world surrounding Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa.”

That “blockade” was in place from Jan. 28 till Feb. 21, Stewart stated.

Officer admitted to donating cash

Neilson donated $55 on GoFundMe, which was considered one of a number of on-line fundraising platforms that organizers of the convoy used to “elevate cash to start out and proceed the occupation.”

These fundraisers collected tens of millions of {dollars}, Stewart stated.

On Feb. 4, GoFundMe “flagged the Freedom Convoy as an occupation,” Stewart stated, and the platform deemed fundraising for such an occupation was in violation of its phrases of service. It froze or refunded all the cash.

In response, different Freedom Convoy fundraisers popped up, together with one on GiveSendGo.

Const. Neilson turned proper round and re-donated the cash to a different fundraising platform as quickly as she obtained a refund.– Angela Stewart, Prosecutor

On. Feb. 4, former Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly, Neilson’s boss, known as the demonstration an “illegal occupation.”

GoFundMe refunded Neilson’s first donation on Feb. 5. However that very same day, she donated one other $55 to the GiveSendGo fundraiser, Stewart informed the listening to. That donation, too, was finally refunded by the second fundraising platform on March 25.

“Between Feb.18 and Feb. 20, a large-scale joint operation involving municipal and provincial police companies from throughout Canada, in addition to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, arrested organizers and protesters, eliminated parked automobiles, and dismantled blockades from Ottawa streets,” Stewart informed the listening to. “By Feb. 21, many of the protesters and automobiles had been cleared at substantial price to taxpayers.”

The pressure’s misconduct unit was alerted to Neilson’s donation, Stewart stated, and started their very own probe. 

Neilson herself admitted to creating each donations throughout her interview with investigators. 

The Ottawa police misconduct unit was alerted to Const. Kristina Neilson’s donation, and started their very own investigation.  (Olivier Plante/CBC)

Convoy ‘wreaked havoc,’ and donations extended it: prosecutor

“The Freedom Convoy wreaked havoc on town of Ottawa for weeks and weeks in 2022 … each the convoy and regulation enforcement’s strategy acquired a excessive diploma of native, nationwide and even worldwide media protection,” Stewart informed the listening to.

“The Ottawa Police Service and all ranges of presidency finally deemed this convoy to be an unlawful occupation. The impact of fundraising was to delay it. It was very, very expensive for taxpayers to pay for the clearing of those automobiles and the protesters.”

The general public expects law enforcement officials to “uphold the regulation and never make donations to an illegal protest,” Stewart stated.

“As an alternative of drawing the plain conclusion that making a donation to the convoy may be problematic,” Stewart stated, “Const. Neilson turned proper round and re-donated the cash to a different fundraising platform as quickly as she obtained a refund. And the second donation was made the day after the chief of police had declared the convoy to be an unlawful occupation.”

Ottawa Police Affiliation highlights officer’s service to pressure and navy

Neilson was employed by the Ottawa Police Service in 2012. Earlier than that, she spent 12 years within the navy, Ottawa Police Affiliation labour consultant Pat Laflamme informed the listening to.

She achieved the rank of grasp seaman and was deployed on three operational excursions — one in Afghanistan, two within the Persian Gulf, he stated. 

“Throughout her time with the navy, she specialised in small arms weapons, demolition and drill.”

Laflamme highlighted her three medals and that she is a volunteer with a charity group who has acquired inner and exterior commendations for her conduct as an officer.

She is a central division patrol officer “who’s revered by members of her platoon, in addition to her management crew,” Laflamme stated.

Officer to forfeit 40 hours’ pay 

In a joint submission on penalty, each the defence and prosecution are asking for the officer to forfeit 40 hours of pay and to take part in a restorative justice part. That part, if carried out as meant, would see members of the Ottawa group meet with the officer and clarify how her actions by donating to the occupation affected them and the companies they supply.

“It is a novel state of affairs nevertheless it’s one which requires critical condemnation of the conduct,” Stewart stated.

The prosecutor highlighted related instances of officers dealing with self-discipline for making “unhealthy judgment calls whereas off responsibility” however known as the details of this case “unprecedented.”

Neilson has no earlier document of police misconduct. She informed the listening to she had “nothing right now,” to say.

A written determination can be launched within the case on an undetermined date.

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