SASKATOON - The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations says it is appalled that two Saskatoon police officers will be put back on the payroll.
Constables Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen (right) were suspended without pay last month. They asked the Saskatchewan Police commission to overturn their suspensions.
And though the commission has ruled the suspensions are justified, it says the officers deserve to be paid.
Earlier this week, Munson and Hatchen were charged with unlawful confinement and assault of Darrell Night.
Darcy McKenzie with the FSIN says today's ruling further erodes confidence in the police department.
"If the police commission were really serious about restoring public confidence in the Saskatoon police service, they're going about it in the wrong way," McKenzie says.
"We think these officers should not even be paid. They should not even be officers, so I think it sends the wrong message to the public."
In her written decision, the chair of the police commission says she reinstated the pay because Munson and Hatchen have never been disciplined before, and because they co-operated with the investigation.
The Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners will review the ruling before it decides whether to appeal.
SASKATOON - Two Saskatoon city police officers have been charged in a case that rocked the city with allegations of police racism. Const. Dan Hatchen and Const. Ken Munson were charged Tuesday with unlawful confinement and assault.
An RCMP task force has been looking into allegations police officers abandoned aboriginal men in freezing weather outside Saskatoon. Some of the men allegedly left by police, died.
The two officers are charged in connection with the case of one man who survived.
Darrell Night (right) alleged police drove him to the edge of town in January, took his jacket and told him to find his own way back. Night said he managed to walk to a power plant, where a worker helped him call a taxi.
Night's allegations led to suspensions for the two officers and investigations into the deaths of five other aboriginal men. The two officers have been suspended without pay. They will appear in provincial court in Saskatoon May 3.
The task force is continuing its investigation in the other cases.
A senior officer with the Saskatoon Police Service says most officers do not have racist attitudes, but there are a few "that make us all look bad."
"There are still certainly individuals down there that are ignorant. We still have a long way to go," the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Thursday.
"Yeah, there are a few stupid or ignorant or rotten cops, but we try to keep it in perspective."
Two officers are alleged to have picked up Darrell Night, an aboriginal man, and abandoned him in the cold near the Queen Elizabeth II Power Station in early February. RCMP are investigating the incident, as well as the discovery of the bodies of two more aboriginal men in the same area around the same time.
"I'm glad (the RCMP) is coming in. The more information that comes out, the better," said the officer. He added he had no idea these sorts of incidents had ever happened.
Veteran officers Ken Munson and Daniel Hatchen have been suspended 30 days with pay, said the officer.
He said Munson and Hatchen have worked together for a while, and generally keep to themselves.
He said none of the Saskatoon police want to believe their own officers are also responsible for abandoning the other two men and leaving them to die.
Night's complaint was initiated on Feb. 4, when he told an officer he had been taken out of town. Night recognized the last digit of the squad car, the officer said.
The next day, senior police supervisors called in the 15 or so officers who had been working on the west side the evening of the Night incident. The officers were told not to let the information leave the room, the officer said.
The officers in the three police cars with that digit were asked to come forward, but none did at that point.
But by the next coffee break, everyone in the police station knew about the meeting, the officer said. The feeling was that the supervisors had fingered the wrong pair, he said, and other officers then pressured Munson and Hatchen to come forward.
"You can't do that. You can't let someone else take your rap," the officer said.
"There certainly was a bit of pressure put on those guys.
"If someone else is going to take the blame, we won't stand for that."
Two days later, on Feb. 7, Munson and Hatchen gave police Chief Dave Scott their statements, and were suspended.
The officer said he expects rough times for the next few months for police in their dealings with the public.
"Most of us know we (the police) brought it on ourselves and we'll wear it for a while. You can't hide from it," the officer said. "But I've done nothing wrong. We have to just hold our head high."
The officer said there are some police with bad attitudes, but most police are wrongly blamed for the high numbers of aboriginal people arrested and in jail. It's a social issue related to poverty and a lack of opportunities for Native people.
"From what I see, no (officer) picks on people because they're Native. It's more that the visible street crime is committed by people that are Native. "It's just that they see the police out there."
An RCMP task force has completed its investigation into allegations that two Saskatoon police officers abandoned an aboriginal man, Darrell Night, in a field on the edge of the city in freezing weather.
The task force continues to investigate the deaths of five other aboriginal men, RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Rick Wychreschuk said Monday.
The task force has submitted its report on the Night matter to the provincial Justice Department, which will review it and decide whether charges will be laid against Const. Dan Hatchen and Const. Ken Munson. The officers are currently suspended without pay.
Because the investigation looked into the conduct of police officers, the decision on whether to lay charges will be made by public prosecutions, rather than the police, a Justice Department spokesperson said Monday. It is not known when a decision will be made.
Hatchen and Munson were suspended from the force after Night complained to police that two officers had left him in a field near the Queen Elizabeth II power plant on the western outskirts of Saskatoon in the early morning hours of Jan. 28.
Darrell Night came forward with the complaint after the bodies of Rodney Naistus and Lawrence Wegner (right) were found in the same area. They had gone missing the same weekend that Night had been left near the power station.
The incident sparked the Justice Department to appoint a special RCMP task force to investigate.
The investigation was also expanded to include the deaths of two other aboriginal men, Lloyd Dustyhorn and Darcy Ironchild, who had been in police custody shortly before their deaths, and another, Neil Stonechild, who died in 1990 under circumstances similar to those of Naistus and Wegner.