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Dudley George

Dudley George pleaded for 'rights'

Dudley George

FOREST, ON - Native activist Anthony (Dudley) George was shouting at police to respect native rights just before he was fatally shot, the inquiry into his death has heard.

"He was saying, 'We have native rights here!'" Mike Cloud, 39, of the Stoney Point band, testified yesterday.

"He was trying to make them listen," Cloud told inquiry lawyer Derry Millar.

The inquiry before Mr. Justice Sidney Linden heard that a breakdown in communications left the Ontario Provincial Police with no way of knowing whether Stoney Point natives planned to attack nearby cottages after they occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park in a protest over burial grounds on Sept. 6, 1995.

"There would be no way for someone to know you wouldn't be going to take the cottages next, since you didn't communicate that with anybody?" OPP lawyer Mark Sandler yesterday asked Dudley George's cousin, Clayton (Kocomo Joe) George.

"Yes," Clayton George, 35, replied.

Under questioning by Tony Ross, a lawyer representing some of the Stoney Pointers, Clayton George said there was no dialogue between the natives and police the night of the shooting, other than obscenities.

"Any bullhorns? Any loudspeakers? Did they have that?" Ross asked.

"No," Clayton George replied.

Clayton George said he was standing nearby when an OPP officer fired the sub-machinegun that killed Dudley George, 38. Seven police officers had opened fire on the Stoney Point natives.

The inquiry continues today.


Rock sparked fatal shooting
Inquiry explores death of native protester killed by cop

FOREST, ON - A single rock thrown in anger was the catalyst for a dramatic escalation in police activity that ended in the shooting death of native protester Dudley George, the Ipperwash inquiry heard yesterday. Stoney Point resident Stewart (Worm) George testified he threw the rock at a departing car driven by Gerald (Booper) George after the two exchanged words on Sept. 6, 1995.

George said he was angry at the Kettle and Stoney Point band councillor, who had referred to Stoney Point natives occupying Camp Ipperwash as "animals" in a letter to a local newspaper.

After his car was dented, Booper George reported the incident to the provincial police, who were massing in large numbers outside the park and set up roadblocks.

Somehow, George's family lawyer Jackie Esmonde told the inquiry, that incident grew into a rumour of a car being pelted with rocks and hit with baseball bats.

Hours later, a provincial police riot squad marched on the park and in the ensuing clash Dudley George was killed by a police sniper.

The inquiry, now in its fourth month, is probing the circumstances surrounding Dudley George's death and will recommend ways to prevent similar violence in the future.

Stewart George, 54, was a friend and first cousin of Dudley's.

They occupied the park believing it was native land that contained burial sites, including an uncle's grave lost and likely destroyed by heavy equipment, he said.

On the night of Sept. 6, he said, police had marched as a group to the entrance of the park, where an officer kicked his dog.

"I remember the cop saying, 'Why, what are you going to do about it?' "

The officer opened a steel baton and hit him on the shoulder. Stewart George said he struck back with a pickaxe handle, hitting the officer's shield and helmet.

As the riot squad and natives fought another band councillor, Cecil Bernard (Slippery) George approached police to mediate but was surrounded by a group of officers and beaten.


Ipperwash occupation just a start

FOREST, ON - The occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park that led to the 1995 shooting death of native protester Dudley George was part of a plan to reclaim a much larger area, the Ipperwash inquiry heard yesterday. Stoney Point resident David George said some natives viewed the park's reoccupation as a step in taking back ancestral lands from Ravenswood to Pinery Provincial Park, an area covering about 20 kilometres along Lake Huron.

Under cross-examination, George said natives were frustrated negotiations to officially return Camp Ipperwash stalled after they peacefully reoccupied the army base in 1993.

He said the group felt justified in moving onto the adjacent provincial park because its original surrender and sale was arranged by a "shifty" Indian agent.

Jennifer McAleer, a lawyer representing former Ontario premier Mike Harris, asked George what the next step would have been if his cousin hadn't been killed.

"If you had your way, would you then continue to take more land?" she asked.

"If I could, yea, I'd take it all back," George replied.

The inquiry is probing the death of Dudley George, 38, shot in a violent clash with OPP officers at the park on Sept. 6, 1995.

The natives had moved into the park two days earlier, citing the presence of a sacred burial ground.


Shotgun mystery unravels

A lawyer says the OPP used the weapon as a smokescreen at the Ipperwash inquiry

FOREST, ON - The mystery of the "bastard blaster" sawed-off shotgun unravelled at the Ipperwash inquiry yesterday in what George family lawyer Andrew Orkin said showed the Ontario Provincial Police had made a shameful attempt to create a smokescreen. Native witness David George, one of the occupiers at Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995 when Dudley George was shot by an OPP officer, told the judicial inquiry the shotgun was his.

Last month in the inquiry, a lawyer for the Ontario Provincial Police Association introduced pictures of the firearm, along with photos of a .22 calibre rifle, triggering a storm of protest from lawyers for aboriginals, who called the move "inflammatory."

Yesterday, the actual weapons were obtained by the commission and handed to David George, who testified the shotgun was definitely his and the rifle was probably his as well.

He told the inquiry he had written "bastard blaster" on the side of the gun because he had seen a reference to one in a comic book.

"I thought it was funny," he said, adding he used the gun for goose hunting.

But George said he had stored the guns at his grandfather's trailer and had never had them at the Ipperwash Park occupation.

He later learned they had been stolen and the perpetrator was expelled from the nearby army base, which the natives had taken back from the military.

Outside the inquiry, Orkin yesterday said the weapons are "absolutely remote" from the events that took place in the hours and minutes leading up to the killing of George by an OPP officer.

"Nine years later, the OPP have not managed to produce evidence of weapons in the hands of the demonstrators.

"There is endless evidence that there were no weapons in the sworn testimony of all of the people that were there.

"The only people who said there were weapons there have been judicially found to be liars and conspirators, namely the police snipers."

Orkin said the OPP introduced the photos of the guns at the start of the inquiry into the shooting of Dudley George as a smokescreen to cover their lack of evidence.

"Yes, a man who was at the demonstration once owned those weapons, but here are the important facts -- they were found elsewhere, in another community, in a dumpster, a long period of time after the shooting," Orkin said.

"I am suggesting only a desperate police force would now come up with those so long after the fact and would only do that in context of First Nations people. This amounts to a slur," he said.

Earlier yesterday, a police surveillance tape shot in 1993 was shown that included scenes of the natives who had occupied the army base, the former Stoney Point Indian Reserve, which was taken from the natives in 1942 under the War Measures Act.

In one segment, Dudley George spots the camera and starts waving at it.

Yesterday, the inquiry heard David George's account of the occupation of the park and its casual start.

A second cousin of Dudley George, he testified there were OPP officers sitting on a picnic table when he and other natives moved in.

"They said, 'How is it going, nice day.' "

It was a similar reception from Ministry of Natural Resources staff when he and others were checking out the maintenance building at the park, he said.

"I just said, 'Hi, how is it going.' I said we are going to check out this building. They didn't care. They said, 'Sure, go ahead.' "

But the situation changed in the evening when his uncle, Roderick George, gave police 10 seconds to leave the park and started counting down, George said.

When Roderick George got to three and the police hadn't moved, he smashed the rear window of a police cruiser with a stick, David George said.


Inquiry told of rocks tossed at cops

FOREST, ON - Pointing to police being pelted with rocks and a flare, the lawyer for former premier Mike Harris yesterday challenged native claims they only wanted "a peaceful little demonstration" when they occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995. "You were attacking them with physical force when they weren't attacking you," lawyer Peter Downard said to native witness Marlin Simon.

Simon disagreed, saying natives never threw any rocks until a police cruiser rammed a picnic table protesters were sitting on. Later, more rocks were thrown and officers were hit after police used pepper spray on the protesters, he said.

"It was just in retaliation," Simon testified.

The clashes happened Sept. 5, 1995, one day before native protester Dudley George was killed by an OPP officer at the park.

The provincial judicial inquiry, under Justice Sidney Linden, is investigating the killing and what can be done to prevent similar situations in the future.

Yesterday, Downard pressed Simon on his earlier testimony that the natives only wanted to draw public attention to their claim to the park.

Downard suggested the park occupiers' real intention was to take over the park and they never planned to give it back to the government.

"Not no more," agreed Simon.

Simon was also asked about the protesters taking park picnic tables for firewood and using gasoline from the park's tank after they took over.

He said the picnic tables were in rough shape and, as for the gasoline, "it was there so we might as well use it."

Simon, who has been on the witness stand for five days, was also grilled about a warriors' society set up in 1993 by the natives who took over the army base, an area that had been the Stoney Point reserve before it was seized by the Canadian government in 1942 under the War Measures Act.

Simon said the warriors, which included both men and women on the base, were really peacekeepers and their role was to help with the children and take care of the elderly, chopping wood for them and other chores.

The warriors were also involved in fundraising so leaders could attend meetings, he said.

The only military component of the warriors' society was that they were living on a military base, he said.

Repeatedly asked for the names of the men in the warriors' society by the Ontario Provincial Police Association lawyer, Karen Jones, Simon said he didn't have their names.

"You lived with these people a number of years on a very small area on the base. I suggest you were very close to these people. How is it that you can't remember their names?" Jones asked.

"I don't know," replied Simon. "In the winter time, there would be a few of us -- in the summer, more people."

When the park was occupied by the natives, the group included veterans of other native protests, including from the violent standoff in the United States at Wounded Knee, Simon said.

He said none were from Oka, a confrontation in Quebec five years earlier where a police officer was killed and the Canadian military was called in to end it.

Simon also testified yesterday he would have used a gun if there had been one available the night Dudley George was shot and killed.

"I would have that night," Simon said.

But Simon has maintained during hours of cross-examination that none of the natives had firearms when police marched on the demonstrators in the dark.


Inquiry told of beliefs of natives

Experts describe traditional native practices in a forum

FOREST, ON - Traditional native practices were the focus here yesterday at a forum arranged by the Ipperwash inquiry into the shooting death of native protester Dudley George. Hosted by aboriginal elders and other experts, the two-day indigenous knowledge forum is designed to educate the commission and other participants about the beliefs of aboriginal people.

The only topic off-limits is the inquiry itself.

Carole Pelletier is descended from a long line of medicine people. Born at Stoney Point shortly before it was expropriated in 1942 by Ottawa, she said the reserve's woods are rich in wild ginseng, spikenard, golden seal and other healing plants.

Band councillor Bonnie Bressette said the residents of Kettle and Stoney Point are still relearning the old knowledge authorities tried to erase as "all wrong" by sending native children to residential schools.

But some things couldn't be stamped out, she said, including a spiritual tie to ancestors and a deep respect for land.

"To others, land means money, it's an investment. But with us . . . it means life for the next seven generations."

The forum opened with drum songs and prayers for about 100 people seated in a circle in the ballroom of the Forest Golf and Country Hotel.

The forum was to continue today.


Aboriginal healing forum wraps up on bitter note

FOREST, ON - An aboriginal forum convened to build cultural bridges ended on an angry note yesterday when a native teacher said he doesn't forgive whites for stealing his land. Bruce Elijah, a spiritual teacher from Oneida of the Thames, said aboriginal people were systematically pushed aside by Europeans who brought smallpox, alcohol and a Bible "based on lies."

"I'm told I need to work on forgiveness. I've got a ways to go on that one," Elijah said. "But I will never, ever forget what my people have sacrificed."

The two-day forum was arranged by the Ipperwash inquiry as a way to promote understanding and healing.

The inquiry is examining the 1995 shooting death of native protester Dudley George.

Elijah, the final presenter, said governments in Canada and the United States broke every treaty ever signed with First Nations.

For their generosity and trust, he said, 15 million aboriginal people living east of the Mississippi at the time of Christopher Columbus were nearly wiped out.

"Your churches . . . your military did away with our people."

An uneasy silence grew when Elijah, speaking at the Forest Golf and Country Club, predicted natives will rise up and take back the land within seven generations.

But it will be done peacefully, not by arms or a coup, he added.

"If you teach people the truth, they will take it upon themselves to use it in a good way."

The Ipperwash inquiry is probing the circumstances surrounding the shooting of George by an Ontario Provincial Police officer in 1995 after a group of natives occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park, citing the presence of a sacred burial ground.


Ipperwash tapes to be released when 'relevant'

FOREST, ON - The judge overseeing an inquiry into the police shooting of a native protester in 1995 says audio evidence native leaders described as "explosive" will not be made public just yet.

Justice Sidney Linden delivered the decision Tuesday at the Ipperwash inquiry in this southwestern Ontario community near the park where Dudley George was shot and killed by a provincial police officer.

"When it is determined that the evidence on the audio recordings are sufficiently relevant, Commission, counsel will enter the recordings as evidence and they will be made public before this inquiry at that time," Judge Linden ruled.

Releasing the tapes now could "result in a wholesale dumping of documents into the public realm without a real opportunity to evaluate their significance," he noted from a submission opposing the release.

Judge Linden also said releasing the tapes could result in the evidence's being argued in the media rather than at the inquiry.

"And that is not a process that I wish to contribute to."

Mr. George's brother, Sam, said he was disappointed by the decision.

"We brought it forth trying to help the truth get out perhaps a little earlier, but we'll continue to work to make sure it does come out," he said.

Aboriginal leaders have said the tape explains why the police officer opened fire.

"We've known for a long time that there are still people that want to delay the truth from coming out and that's really too bad," Sam George said.

Judge Linden stressed that the audio tape will be released, but he gave no indication as to when that might happen.

George family lawyer Andrew Orkin said he is glad the judge made it clear that the tapes will be made public.

"This was a debate about timing," Mr. Orkin said. "We're absolutely determined to continue the work that was begun more than eight years ago in making sure that this information reaches the light of day."

The shooting of Dudley George on Sept. 6, 1995, ended a 48-hour standoff over native rights to the land, which contains an aboriginal burial ground.


Judge delays release of tapes in Ipperwash inquiry

FOREST, ON - So-called "explosive" audio tape evidence in the death of Ontario native protester Dudley George will not be immediately released to the public, a judge in the Ipperwash inquiry has ruled.

Justice Sidney Linden said releasing the two audio recordings now could fundamentally alter the nature of the inquiry process.

He said it would be "premature and inconsistent ...to disclose it to the public before it has been introduced in its proper context through the hearing process."

Liden said the tapes would be introduced at the "appropriate time" and those connected to the recordings would be called as witnesses.

"The audio recordings are not secret. They will be introduced in this inquiry and thereby will be made publicly available," he said.

Chiefs of Ontario had brought forward a motion for the tapes to be released immediately, calling the information they contained "explosive," and saying they would help explain why George was killed during a native protest in Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995.

An inquiry is looking into events surrounding his shooting.

OPP officer acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane was convicted of criminal negligence causing death in the unarmed native protester's death.


Inquiry chief nixes tapes' release
Justice Sidney Linden says the Ipperwash recordings will be made public later

FOREST, ON - A bid to immediately release two "explosive" audiotapes at the judicial inquiry into the shooting of native protester Dudley George ran into a brick wall yesterday. Justice Sidney Linden dismissed all motions calling for the tapes to be made public immediately, but emphasized the material will be released later at the inquiry.

"The parties to the conversations on the audio recordings, as well as the parties mentioned in the discussions, will be called as witnesses," Linden said.

"These witnesses will be called in a manner and at a time to be determined at the discretion of commission counsel and consistent with the duty of commission counsel to present evidence in a balanced, orderly and logical fashion," he ruled.

Lead commission counsel Derry Millar said the tapes probably won't be released by the inquiry until after Christmas.

In calling for early release of the tapes, Sam George, a brother of Dudley's, had said the recorded conversation showed why his brother died in September 1995.

Yesterday, George said he will continue to campaign for the truth to come out despite the ruling.

"We have known for a long time there are people who want to delay the truth coming out," he said.

"But we are OK, we are still determined and we are still going to move forward. We are going to work to get the truth out, no matter what it takes."

The tapes reportedly contain a conversation between a senior Ontario Provincial Police officer at Ipperwash Provincial Park and a colleague at Queen's Park on the day Dudley George was killed by an OPP officer during a confrontation between police and natives.

Linden said releasing the material immediately could fundamentally alter the nature of public inquiries and make it more important for participants to argue their cases in the media rather than at the inquiry.

"That is not a process I wish to contribute to," he said.

Peter Downard, lawyer for former Ontario premier Mike Harris, said Linden's decision on the tapes was "very well reasoned . . . We have to do this matter one step at a time and not get particular pieces of the story blown out of proportion."

And Chiefs of Ontario lawyer Bill Horton, who made the application to release the tapes, said Linden had ruled against him for "very carefully stated reasons."

"I think it is a good exercise of his discretion," Horton said, pointing in particular to Linden's argument that evidence needed to be heard in context.

"That is certainly something we are going to want to see with respect to First Nations witnesses as well," Horton said.

The issue of context erupted later at the inquiry yesterday when the lawyer for the Ontario Provincial Police Association tried to cross-examine native Marlin Simon about a statement given after the shooting by OPP acting superintendent John Carson.

Objecting to the questioning, Horton said the statement had nothing to do with Simon and was an attempt to "cherry-pick" documents the police association wanted out. Carson's statement should be treated in the same way as the audiotapes, Horton said.

The police association's cross-examination of native witnesses at the inquiry was attacked by aboriginal lawyers at the inquiry last month when a fuzzy photograph of a man carrying an object was introduced along with photos of firearms. One lawyer called the photos "bogus."

Justice Linden cautioned OPPA lawyer Karen Jones to ensure her questioning was fair and didn't cross the line. Some questioning had, he said.

Yesterday, George family lawyer Andrew Orkin warned the inquiry he was concerned about a notice from the police association it intended to delve into the criminal record of native witnesses. If so, Orkin said he'd have to call evidence about the systemic criminalization of native people in Ontario.


Ipperwash natives jolted by shooting

FOREST, ON - A native who occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995 never expected police to open fire on protesters, killing one and wounding others, a judicial inquiry heard yesterday. "Figured dragged off to jail would be the worst thing," Marlin Simon, 31, testified.

Part of the original group of natives to take over the park, Simon said he was returning there after dark Sept. 6, 1995, when he saw a school bus push a dumpster aside and enter a gate followed by a car.

Simon said he parked his car, got out and saw a group of people loading someone into a car. It was Dudley George, who had been fatally wounded.

The police had retreated from the area, he said.

Later that night, one of the natives in the park placed a phone call and told the group: "Everybody, Dudley has just died, Dudley is dead."

Simon said the news shook him.

"I was pretty confused and angry," he testified.

Simon described a night of fear after the shooting as the natives waited for a second police attack that never came.

"We didn't have any guns or anything; we couldn't defend ourselves," he said.

Their fears increased when Bonnie Bressette, a Kettle and Stoney Point band councillor, arrived to get women and children out of the army camp next to the park.

"I thought . . . the cops are coming to do something again," Simon testified.

He said women and kids were afraid to go with Bressette through police lines, fearing they would be arrested and jailed

Simon testified he was involved in burning down a campground store with gas after news of George's death.

Asked to explain why, Simon said it seemed to be the only thing of value in the park.

"If we destroyed it, then the province and the cops wouldn't feel they wanted it so bad," he said.

Under cross-examination by George family lawyer Murray Klippenstein, Simon told the inquiry he owned his first firearm at 14 and had shot rabbits, squirrels and other game, including deer at 300 yards.

But when Klippenstein asked how skilled native hunters would have performed if they chose to fire at officers in formation, there was a chorus of objections.

Tony Ross, who represents Simon and some other residents at the former federal army camp, said it was clear Simon was a good shot.

"He can take down a squirrel, which is a little smaller than a police officer. Everybody knows what would happen," said Ross.

Simon was also cross-examined about the "picnic table confrontation" the day before the fatal shooting of George.

Simon had testified a group of natives were sitting on picnic tables in a parking lot outside the park when an officer drove up and told them to leave. They refused and the officer jumped back into his cruiser and rammed the picnic table with people on it, he said.

Simon said when a group of officers approached after the incident they were carrying telescopic batons and one taunted the natives, saying, "I just want to try this one out."

The inquiry adjourned yesterday until Oct. 12 when Justice Sidney Linden is to release his decision on when a tape -- called "explosive evidence" -- will be released.


Ambulances delayed, says George witness
Two lay wounded at Ipperwash Woman arrested trying to call 911

FOREST, ON - A schoolteacher testified she was "appalled" that ambulances appeared to be delayed from treating the wounded after Anthony (Dudley) George was shot and a teenager was injured in a confrontation with police.

"That's what I was appalled at," Marcia Simon said of the sight of the ambulances, which were parked at an OPP roadblock, about a five-minute drive from Ipperwash Provincial Park.

Simon, 58, a Stoney Point band member, told a public inquiry that the ambulances appeared to be barred from treating native people who were hurt during a late-night confrontation with the OPP at the park the night of Sept. 6, 1995, when George, her cousin, was shot dead.

Simon, who at the time was a high school teacher in London, said she saw the ambulances while she was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, after being arrested while trying to call 911 to get emergency help.

"I had tried to put a call through requesting help at Stoney Point, knowing that people had been shot and they were just parked there at that roadblock," she said.

She said she was released by the OPP the following morning but never given a reason for her arrest.

George, 38, was fatally shot by an OPP officer outside the park on Lake Huron.

Marcia Simon's son, Marlin Simon, 31, testified that he owned between eight to 10 rifles, which he used for hunting.

"Mr. Simon, did you ever point your gun at a person?," commission counsel Susan Vella asked.

"No," he replied.

"Or at a vehicle?," Vella asked.

"No," Simon continued.

She asked if he had ever seen Dudley George point a firearm at a police officer or member of the military between the spring of 1993 and September, 1995.

"No, never," he replied.

An OPP officer was convicted of criminal negligence causing death in 1997 after a judge found that officers lied in their reports and in court and that the native people were unarmed during the confrontation.

Stoney Point band members, including Dudley George, had moved into the park in September, 1995, saying they were protecting sacred Indian burial grounds.


Ipperwash seizure no surprise: protester

The Dudley George inquiry hears that police were forewarned by natives who intended to peacefully occupy Ipperwash park

FOREST, ON - Native protesters had warned the Ontario Provincial Police and park staff for months that they were going to seize the provincial park, the Ipperwash Inquiry heard yesterday. Marlin Simon, 31, one of the natives who occupied Ipperwash park in September 1995, said police were told, during meetings with the group that had already seized the adjacent army camp, that the park would also be taken over.

"We always told them when we met with them that 'Yeah, we are going to take the park over,' " Simon testified yesterday at the judicial inquiry into the shooting of Dudley George.

George was killed by an OPP officer during a confrontation between the OPP and natives occupying the park on Sept. 6, 1995.

Simon said he had been told by his grandfather about native burials at the park and he wanted to put a stop to the site being used by campers.

"People were camping and parking and drinking on that place we considered sacred," he said.

The group deliberately waited until after Labour Day so campers would not be caught in the occupation, he said.

"It seemed there would be less of a chance of a violent confrontation happening when the park was closed and no one was in there."

Simon said the idea of moving into the park had been discussed by the natives for years, but the decision to go in was made on Sept. 4, 1995.

"People were sitting around having coffee at the kitchen one day. People said, 'The park is closing down. Are we going to go in there or not?' People said, 'Yeah, sure.' "

The intent was to have a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to their concerns, Simon testified.

Simon was questioned closely about the use of guns by the occupiers of the army camp, which had been the Stoney Point reserve before the Canadian government seized it in 1942 under the War Measures Act.

In the criminal trial of OPP officer Ken Deane, who shot George, a judge ruled the natives occupying the park were unarmed.

Simon testified he owned .22-calibre rifles, shotguns and high-powered rifles for hunting and had used them both during the day and at night at the army camp, but kept them stored at the Kettle Point reserve.

He said Dudley didn't own a gun, but had hunted with him and was a good shot.

Simon said he never saw Dudley point a gun at another person.

In earlier testimony at the inquiry yesterday, Simon's mother Marcia Simon said she saw ambulances parked at the side of the road a few kilometres from where police shot natives.

She said she was appalled to see the ambulances had apparently been kept from going to help the wounded.

Earlier that night, she testified she was arrested by police as she tried to place a 911 call for ambulances from a public pay phone.

The inquiry today is scheduled to move behind closed doors to discuss whether an audio tape should be made public.

The tape has been described as "explosive" and apparently contains a conversation between a police officer at the Ipperwash park protest and someone at Queen's Park.


OPP had guns on me, woman tells inquiry
Tried to get apology, teacher testifies

Incident followed Ipperwash shooting

FOREST, ON - The Ontario Provincial Police never apologized for pointing shotguns at a schoolteacher and an unarmed grandmother the night native activist Anthony (Dudley) George was shot to death, a public inquiry was told yesterday.

"I tried to get one," schoolteacher Marcia Simon, 58, told lawyer Brian Eyolfson, who represents Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.

Simon earlier told the inquiry the shotguns were levelled on her and her elderly mother shortly after George, 38, was fatally shot by an OPP officer on the night of Sept. 6, 1995, at Ipperwash Provincial Park on Lake Huron near Sarnia.

She and her mother, Melva George, were at a phone booth near the park, where Simon was pleading with the operator to send an ambulance, when the confrontation occurred.

"Even if they offered (an apology) now, it's too late," Simon continued. Her mother died four years ago, she said.

Under often-heated questioning from lawyer Karen Jones, who represents the Ontario Provincial Police Association, Simon said she didn't see natives brandish a tire iron, walking stick, fenceposts, baseball bats or crowbars, or threaten officers by saying they had guns trained upon them in the days before the shooting.

She also told Jones she didn't hear automatic gunfire coming from the park on Sept. 5, 1995. The Stoney Pointers had occupied Ipperwash park, saying they were protecting sacred burial grounds.

Simon added that if natives did threaten police by saying that they had guns, they likely were just trying to scare them.

"I think they were pulling their legs," she said. "They're playing on their perceptions of us - that we have been portrayed as terrorists."

Mr. Justice Sidney Linden is probing the shooting death of Dudley George on Sept. 6, 1995, when seven OPP officers opened fire on unarmed natives at the park. That same night, another native man was beaten until his heart stopped, but he was later revived.

The judge's mandate includes drafting suggestions for avoiding similar violence in future.

Under questioning by Jones, Simon dismissed the suggestion she struggled with police when she was arrested while trying to call 911 immediately after the shooting of George, her second cousin.

"I remember being knocked over the hood of the car and then onto the ground and being handcuffed with plastic handcuffs," Simon said.

She added her mother was terrified and police wouldn't let her use sacred medicines and pray.

She told Eyolfson the night of Sept. 6, 1995, preyed upon her mother's nerves for the rest of her life.

Simon said she fully supported a move by Stoney Point natives in 1993 to take back their land adjoining Ipperwash Provincial Park, which had been seized by the Canadian military in 1942 to make way for a military base.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Jewish Congress Ontario Region issued a statement yesterday condemning the "hateful actions" of whoever painted a swastika near a spot where members of Dudley George's family routinely park.


Release all documents, not just tape: Harris team

Ipperwash inquiry head will hear arguments on making the 'explosive' recording public now

FOREST, ON - Former premier Mike Harris's legal team is taking an all-or-nothing approach to the release of an "explosive" audio tape at the Ipperwash inquiry into the fatal shooting of native protester Dudley George. Disclosed this month to lawyers at the inquiry but kept under wraps from the public, the tape reportedly contains a conversation between a senior police officer at Ipperwash Provincial Park and a colleague at Queen's Park the night in 1995 that George was shot by an officer.

Sam George, a brother of Dudley's, has said the tape shows why his brother died.

Lawyers for natives at the inquiry have described the contents as "explosive."

Peter Downard, a Harris lawyer, said yesterday the former premier isn't opposing release of the tape now.

But if Justice Sidney Linden, heading the judicial inquiry, rules the tape should be released, Downard said he will ask that all documents immediately be made public.

"In our view, this early disclosure (of the tape) is being sought so that the case can frankly be argued in the media," Downard told The Free Press. "If that is where the case is going to be argued, we have to have a reasonable opportunity to refer to all evidence to respond to that and show what we think is the reasonable view of what really happened here."

In preparation for the public hearings, commission staff have obtained more than 5,000 hours of audio tape and thousands of documents.

Asked if making all documents available at once would be practical, Downard said: "We would just have to do our best to manage it."

Lawyers for the Chiefs of Ontario are spearheading the drive to have the tape released now rather than later in the inquiry.

Linden has set aside tomorrow afternoon and Thursday morning to hear submissions behind closed doors on the request from the 17 parties represented at the inquiry.

In yesterday's cross-examination of former London high school teacher Marcia Simon, the inquiry heard starkly different accounts of what happened to her on the night of Sept. 6, 1995, when Dudley George was killed.

Simon has testified that her sons were part of the native group in the park when police started shooting. She said she drove to the nearby hamlet of Northville to call for ambulances to pick up the wounded.

A tape of her 911 call was played Friday. Police could be heard shouting in the background, "Don't make a move lady" and Simon responding, "I'm just talking on the phone. Get the gun out of here."

Seconds later, police could be heard ordering her to get on the ground.

In the most emotional testimony to date, Simon has said she thought police were going to execute her and her elderly mother.

She said she was thrown to the ground and handcuffed, her glasses knocked from her face and the contents of her purse tossed around the parking lot by police.

Yesterday, the lawyer for the OPP Association, which represents rank-and-file provincial police officers, showed Simon a series of statements from police contradicting her evidence.

Quoting from the statements, OPPA lawyer Karen Jones suggested that police had warned Simon repeatedly to hang up the phone, that she was told ambulances had been called and that she resisted arrest so strenuously, it took two officers to subdue and handcuff her.

Simon said the statements weren't true.

She also disputed police statements that her elderly mother was calm and co-operative during the arrest.

"I could hear her hysterically screaming in the background when I was being knocked to the ground," Simon said.

Jones also told the inquiry that police statements stated the teacher was informed she was being arrested for failing to stop for police and that she was read her rights twice.

Simon has maintained she was never told why police were arresting her, and has insisted the claim that she was read her rights is false.