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Toothless inquiries have provided an airing of the injustices and frustrations within the community. Beyond that, not much changes…

Kevin Tokarchuk Inquiry

Police hearing will be private

Chief Jack Ewatski

The details of an internal squabble between Winnipeg police Chief Jack Ewatski and six officers involved in a controversial murder investigation will be kept private.

Provincially appointed arbitrator Gavin Wood announced yesterday an arbitration hearing next month will be held in-camera.

Both sides were concerned the identity of a police informant would be revealed, along with personal details about the officers.

The hearing, which is scheduled to start Aug. 31, pits Ewatski against six unnamed cops involved in the ongoing investigation of an apparent gang hit on Kevin Tokarchuk in May 2003.

Eight cops were put on administrative leave by Ewatski in the weeks following the murder amid allegations they had information in July 2002 about a plot to kill Tokarchuk but failed to warn him or his family. Two of the cops have since retired.

The remaining six have since been reinstated after an Alberta Crown prosecutor cleared them of any criminal wrongdoing.

Last month, the officers filed a grievance through the police union against Ewatski.

Note: Gavin Wood was hired by Pat Turenne to administer mediation in David Turenne's estate. Pat Turenne, as executrix of Turenne's estate, has failed to fulfil her duties. She did not pay off debts promptly. She did not pursue fraudulant credit card purchases made on David Turenne's credit card after his death. In fact she has stonewalled any avenues which might lead to the truth about her brother's death.

Instead she has relentlessly prevented Monique Turenne and her children from gaining access to money from the state: dental care, university fees, normal expenses. Pat Turenne also went to the media and told them Monique Turenne was receiving large amounts of money, something which was never true and served only to smear Monique Turenne in her efforts to clear her name through a proper trial in Canada.

Ontario police review Tokarchuk report

Kevin Tokarchuk

WINNIPEG - An internal police review of the murder of Kevin Tokarchuk is now in the hands of an external police organization.

Twenty-four-year-old Tokarchuk was shot to death in his family's garage one year ago today in what police described as a gang-retribution killing. Days after his death, it was revealed police knew about a plot to kill him, but didn't warn the family.

An internal investigation followed. Seven officers were put on paid leave for seven months; another officer retired during the investigation. The officers were eventually cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

This week, the Ontario Provincial Police began reviewing a report on Tokarchuk's murder by the Winnipeg Police professional standards unit, which has spent the last year investigating how officers handled the tip about the murder.

Winnipeg Police Chief Jack Ewatski says he has not read the report.

"Certainly I have a level of information that is appropriate for me to have at this point in time," he says. "I would prefer to see the finished product."

Family anxious for answers

Police say Tokarchuk's shooting was related to the murder of a Hells Angels associate exactly one year earlier. Tokarchuk's brother, Daniel, has been charged with that killing. Kevin Tokarchuk had no connection to organized crime.

Kevin's mother, Diane Tokarchuk, says she is anxious to get answers. "I worry about everyone's safety," she said in an e-mail about the anniversary of the murders.

Chief Ewatski says he doesn't know when the OPP will make any recommendations.

"We're not going to put any timelines on it. I don't want them to think they are under any time constraints," he says. "I'm sure they will do a very thorough analysis of the investigation. It will take as long as it takes."

Ewatski won't commit to releasing any information to the public after the OPP's review of the report is complete.

"The family will be briefed relative to what our investigation has turned up and any other aspects regarding that. We owe that to the family."

Provincial officials had said they would conduct their own external review of the case, but a spokesperson for Manitoba Justice now says if the OPP review is comprehensive enough, the department will not do its own review.

No one has been arrested or charged with the shooting of Kevin Tokarchuk.

Cop snitch called for
To solve Tokarchuk murder

Homicide detectives need a gangster to become a police informant if they're ever going to solve the one-year-old Kevin Tokarchuk murder investigation, says a friend of the victim's family. "Until they (police) get someone to roll over, I don't think we've got much of anything," Jack McLaughlin told The Sun yesterday. "And the loyalty among gangs is much better than what we have among people."

One year ago today, Tokarchuk, 24, was gunned down in the garage of his family's home at 363 Churchill Dr., in Fort Rouge.

The May 12 slaying coincided with the one-year anniversary of the 2002 shooting death of 25-year-old Hells Angels associate Trevor (Boss) Savoie -- for which Tokarchuk's older brother, Daniel, is awaiting trial.

It is widely believed Tokarchuk's death was an eye-for-an-eye revenge killing carried out by someone associated with the outlaw motorcycle gang and its underlings.

"But they've got no proof. I've been able to find nothing," McLaughlin said.

"There's some rumours around that maybe the guy that did it is already dead, but there's nothing to substantiate it."

Witnesses told police they saw a man riding a motorcycle in the area about the time of the shooting.

Shortly after the slaying, a group with ties to the Hells Angels was allegedly seen at Savoie's grave site, toasting it with champagne.

No arrests have been made in the case, which remains under investigation, said Winnipeg police spokeswoman Const. Shelly Glover.

Tokarchuk's mother, Diane Tokarchuk, declined to say yesterday whether she was hopeful about an eventual arrest in the mysterious case.

"We're just waiting to see what happens," she said, adding it's been a tough week with the first anniversary of the slaying. "It's everything all over again."

Police still face allegations that an informant warned them about the planned gang hit in July 2002. The family claims neither they nor Tokarchuk were ever told about the murder plot.

Eight cops were placed on paid administrative leave last May and June, but they have since been reinstated or have retired.

An Alberta Crown prosecutor cleared all officers of any criminal wrongdoing.

Now an external review is being conducted to determine if any disciplinary action is warranted.

"The completed Winnipeg Police Service internal investigation has been provided to the Ontario Provincial Police for their independent review to determine thoroughness, objectivity and completeness of the investigation," Glover said.

Tip about killing forwarded to higher-ups: officer

WINNIPEG - For the first time, the officer who received a tip about the murder of a young Winnipeg man is telling his side of the story.

Twenty-four-year-old Kevin Tokarchuk had no connection to organized crime when he was was gunned down in his family's garage in the spring of 2004.

Police say the shooting was revenge for the murder of a Hells Angels associate exactly one year earlier; Tokarchuk's brother, Daniel, has been charged with that killing.

Shortly after the shooting, Winnipeg's police chief revealed that officers had been warned Kevin could be killed, but they didn't tell him or his family. Eight Winnipeg police officers were put on paid leave during an internal investigation of the situation.

Recently retired Det. Sgt. Jeff Bellingham is one of the officers who received the tip. Though he won't talk about the murder, in an e-mail to CBC news, he says the information received regarding Kevin Tokarchuk was forwarded on through the chain of command.

"If I were to assume the responsibility of following up on all information which I had received, I could very well end up utilizing the majority of my time investigating home invasions, bank robberies, murders, etc.," he writes. "One has to have confidence in his supervisors that appropriate action would be taken."

Manitoba's justice minister has ordered his own independent review of the situation.

The Winnipeg police internal investigation is still ongoing; it's unlikely the report will be made public. Bellingham and seven other officers have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

Full text of E-mail from retired Det. Sgt. Jeff Bellingham to CBC on the Tokarchuk tip

... The information provided regarding Mr. Tokarchuk was indeed serious, but it was only a small portion of the information we received, which included the most serious of criminal activities.

As a drug unit supervisor and investigator, my mandate was to investigate crimes associated with the production, distribution, and proceeds of illicit drug related activity. It is a regular occurrence to receive information relating to crimes of a differing nature, and that information is subsequently passed on to the unit tasked with investigating those crimes.

The same is true if for instance a homicide officer received information in regards to drug trafficking. That officer would not investigate the matter, he would pass the information on to myself, and it would be my responsibility to assess the information and take appropriate action.

Drug trafficking in Winnipeg is rampant and there are but a handful of officers assigned to investigate those matters on a full time basis. If I were to assume the responsibility of following up on all information which I had received, I could very well end up utilizing the majority of my time investigating home invasions, bank robberies, murder's, etc.. Not only would this be contradictory and have a negative impact to my assigned function, I would be criticized by the units responsible for investigating those offenses.

The other factor that has to be addressed is the protection considerations of a source who is providing information. It is our legal responsibility to protect the identity of a source as best we can.

If for instance I received information regarding a home invasion, and began investigating and making inquiries regarding that specific offence, I would ultimately be revealing that not only does the source of that information have an intimate knowledge of that offence, it is also someone who is involved in the drug subculture.

Those two factors combined could either immediately identify the source of the information, or narrow the possibilities of who the source may be to a dangerous level. The limited size of Winnipeg, and persons involved in its criminal underground, dictate that source information has to be handled with the utmost of care.

The simple fact is that the information received regarding Mr. Tokarchuk was forwarded through the chain of command, and one has to have confidence in his supervisors that appropriate action would be taken. If this was an incident and information specific to a drug trafficker, it may ultimately have been my responsibility to address the matter and ensure appropriate action was taken.