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After reading the Book by Candis Mclean, the facts are so compelling that an independent review expected if we are going to continue to call this a democracy. The total disregard for the evidence and the shameful treatment of Hartwig and Senger is embarrassing to all Citizens of Saskatchewan.
Woodrow Leippi, Kronau, Canada
Excellent, thought provoking
This meticulously researched and readable book convincingly shows an injustice occurred in the rush to judgment regarding the death of Neil Stonechild, a 17-year-old who died of exposure in November 1990 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In an inquiry a decade later, two Saskatoon Police Service officers unjustly lost their reputations and careers.
Compelling evidence gathered by Candis McLean which was available to the Saskatoon Police Service, the RCMP which investigated when the case was reopened and to other justice system sources shows that the two officers never had any contact with the youth but they were fired anyhow on the grounds that they did not enter the contact in their notebooks.
This book shows a disturbing lack of impartiality in the Saskatchewan justice system, a disregard for the principle of justice of everyone regardless of their color, ethnicity or work, that should concern every Canadian. A must read of everyone who wants to preserve the Canadian justice system.
REVIEW ON www.chapters.indigo.ca
Both Sides of Stonechild Case Mark Anniversary
SASKATOON – A feast of remembrance and the launch of a new book on the case both marked the 25th anniversary of the death of an aboriginal teenager found frozen to death on the outskirts of Saskatoon.
Neil Stonechild’s body was discovered five days after some in the community believe he was taken on a so-called ‘‘starlight tour’‘— the name given to a quick and dirty way for police to handle troublemakers by leaving them on the outskirts of the city.
A judicial inquiry found that Saskatoon police constable Larry Hartwig and his partner Brad Senger had the 17-year-old in custody the night he was last seen alive in 1990.
No charges were ever laid, and Hartwig and Senger maintained that Stonechild was gone by the time they arrived at an apartment building to investigate a disturbance complaint.
Jason Roy, the friend who testified he saw Stonechild screaming in the back of a police car, took part in a special feast of remembrance on Wednesday night at St. Thomas Wesley Church.
Across the city at the same time, author Candis McLean launched her new book “When Police Become Prey.”
Hartwig said he believes the book provides a case for his innocence.
He told reporters the inquiry excluded and manipulated evidence in order to pin Stonechild’s death on him and his partner.
“The fact is I did not encounter Neil Stonechild that night, I did not arrest him, I did not beat him up or drop him off somewhere,” Hartwig said. “I believe this public inquiry was used to validate claims and perceptions that police were killing aboriginal people in order to appease certain groups.”
Hartwig has been pushing the Saskatchewan Department of Justice to reopen the inquiry and have an out-of-province team look at the evidence again.
The department confirmed by email that it has received requests over the past few years to reopen the matter, but said it respects the findings of Justice David Wright and the 2004 commission.
Wright, who is now retired, declined to comment on Wright’s accusation, saying: “The facts speak for themselves.”
Hartwig said being fired from the police force after the inquiry crippled his spirit anddamaged relationships in his family.
“It’s destroyed my life, my hopes and dreams, the hopes and dreams of my children,”Hartwig said. “I lost a relationship with one of my children over this. It’s destroyed my soul.”
Hartwig accused Roy of lying about what he saw, but Roy said he remembers the night clearly.
“I’ll always stand behind my story,” Roy said. “I’m up for the challenge and my perspective is never going to change. I know what happened — I was there.”
McLean’s book launch was originally supposed to have been held at the McNally-Robinson book store in Saskatoon, but the events co-ordinator cancelled the event out of respect to Stonechild’s friends and family.
Instead, the launch took place at the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Centre.
At the news conference on November 24, 2015 one of the disgraced officers, Larry Hartwig, spoke about the “investigation” into Neil Stonechild’s death. In less than 10 minutes he explained the timeline of events that would have had to have occurred for Jason Roy’;s allegation to be true. Some of these events were ignored by those acting on behalf of “justice.” Four media sources were present and they all agreed that it is impossible for Hartwig and Senger to have encountered Neil Stonechild and beat him up within a critical 7 minute time frame that is critical to this case but ignored by the RCMP, the Public Inquiry and subsequent hearings. If they couldn’t have encountered him and beat him up, then it is also impossible for the other alleged events to have occurred that evening. Such as the alleged “handcuff” marks that can just as easily be dis-proven.
What does this say about the RCMP who spend 3 years “investigating” this case? What does this say about the exclusion of critical evidence by them? What does this say about our “justice” system that is willing to sacrifice two well respected police officers known for their strong moral and ethical values? Using a Public Inquiry as a substitute for a trial? One where the “suspects” have no ability to call evidence, defend themselves, and no way to clear their names?
Such a justice system corrupts the very principles that the law is supposed to be based on.
Quelling hype puts career on hold
By Tara Merrin
The Calgary Sun, June 17th, 2007
It takes a lot of courage for a journalist to admit error. It takes even more strength for one to begin a mission to right that wrong. But, that’s exactly what Calgary-based reporter Candis McLean did.
In 2005, she put her career on hold to unravel the web of contradictions behind the so-called Saskatoon “Starlight Tours” — the alleged practice of police dropping off Native people in isolated areas to freeze to death.
A year earlier, when the story broke suggesting two police officers, who had recently dropped off a Native passenger on the outskirts of town, may have had something to do with two others found dead in the area, McLean jumped on the story.
“I came out with all journalistic barrels blasting against those police. I could see the facts all very clearly within about five seconds — it was too much to be a coincidence that there would be two bodies found out there where these guys dropped off an Aboriginal person.”
McLean, along with just about every other journalist covering the story, believed the hype created by “a small special interest group,” who she now feels misled the public.
Now, after two years of sweat, tears and a good dose of humility, she has completed her controversial documentary, When Police Become Prey.
The film features the first interviews with former Saskatoon senior constables Dan Hatchen and Ken Munson, who were convicted of unlawful confinement for dropping Darrell Night off roughly 30 minutes walking distance from where they believed he lived.
“After interviewing many Aboriginal people, including Aboriginal police officers with the Saskatoon service going back as far as 1952… I began to investigate further. “What I found out … was frightening. If two officers with 18 years exemplary service could be sentenced to eight months in jail for not harming anyone, it could happen to you and it could happen to me. So I quit my job to devote two years to making this documentary.”
Journalist says she wants to clear innocent policemen
by Ann Harvey in Yorkton This Week, May 9, 2007
Candis McLean’s passion for justice is bringing her back to her home town with a story of injustice in Saskatchewan. It’s a disregard for two men’s rights that the journalist says she hopes her home province and Canada will refuse to tolerate.
She discovered it while working for Western Standard, a fortnightly newsmagazine based in her current home Calgary, Alberta, and says she feels compelled to bring it back to her friends in her first home.
Initially, while writing for the Report newsmagazine, she joined many Canadian journalists by writing a scathing condemnation of the Saskatoon Police Service and constables Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen. The two officers who were accused of dumping and Aboriginal man, Darren Night, far from his home in cold weather on the evening of Jan. 28, 2000 – what media have called a Starlight Tour.
Her critical story was published Oct. 2, 2001.
After an RCMP investigation. the constables were charged of unlawful confinement and served six months in jail, which included one foiled attempt on Munson’s life.
Then, she’d moved on to the Western Standard and decided to do a follow up story. “Ken Munson was not too keen.” The policeman said he family was just getting back to normal and he didn’t want to upset them again, McLean said.
The journalist was so nervous she got her husband to go with her. “I thought to myself: ‘I’m going to meet a monster and I’m not going alone.'” Munson must have had the same feeling. “He brought his wife to the interview.
“We met at a coffee shop and talked. Just listening to his involvement with his job and how much he had cared about Aboriginal people, I thought something strange is going on.”
Back in Calgary she began investigating, interviewing people – many of them Aboriginal – whose statements contradicted everything that had been written and made her determined to tell the real story.
“They were two of the best cops in Saskatoon. They didn’t have a racist attitude at all.”
One Aboriginal woman, an apartment manager who called police to a noisy party, said when the Munson and Hatchen arrived alone, she feared for their safety. They surprised her, quietly going into the party, making jokes and laughing and getting it shut down in minutes with no trouble or animosity.
“That was the way they dealt with people. They got people laughing and they got people on their side.”
The apartment manager became their friend and invited them to visit and have sandwiches on Thanksgiving. “That’s the kind of friendships that Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen had with Aboriginal people. I heard it again and again.” In one case, a young Aboriginal man said that without Munson’s friendship he would be dead or in jail.
More investigation revealed that Night had made his complaint two weeks after the constables had dropped him near an apartment complex he said was his home. In between that time he had made a call to 9-1-1 in which it was clear he had no fear at all of police. That 9-1-1 call was not allowed in evidence at the trial. But, despite the fact that Night changed his story three times, his evidence was accepted.
Also when Night complained about having been dropped off, he got the number of the police car wrong. The two officers could have ignored it, but instead volunteered the information that they he had been in their car, an indication of lack of guilt.
The RCMP who investigated the incident never checked the constables’ statement that Night had said he lived at the apartment complex and it was disregarded in court. McLean learned Night had, in fact, lived there for a time and was at time frequently hanging out with relatives and friends there.
The evidence became so compelling to McLean that she quit her job and devoted the next two years to more investigation and production of a 90-minute video, When Police Become Prey.
Starlight tour documentary raises questions
Bronwyn Eyre, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Jan 29, 2011
The video, When Police Become Prey, focuses on the case of constables Dan Hatchen and Ken Munson. They were sent to jail when found guilty of illegally confining a Saskatoon aboriginal man, Darrell Night, following a series of incidents that began -Hatchen and Munson claim -when Night attacked their police vehicle on the night of Jan. 28, 2000, by banging on the cruiser and cursing at them.
In the video, which took McLean two years to research and produce, Hatchen and Munson -speaking out for the first time -tell a substantially different story from the one that unfolded in the media.
Detail by detail, interview by interview, McLean builds an arresting defence, complete with new evidence and testimony on several fronts.
A signal example is a profanity-laced 911 call from Night that was not allowed into evidence at the trial. Had it been, the two police officers might well have been exonerated.
The call -in which Night claimed two “whites” had tried to run him over earlier that evening -was made four days after Hatchen and Munson allegedly took Night on a so-called “starlight tour” south of the city.
During the call, Night made no reference to any wrongdoing by Hatchen and Munson. That allegation came days later, after Night said a traffic officer suggested he make a formal complaint against them.
Initially, Night said he thought he remembered the number of the Hatchen-Munson police cruiser. It was wrong, but the officers, who could have remained silent, volunteered the information that they were the ones who picked up Night for creating a disturbance. “We were charged because we came forward,” Hatchen says in the documentary.
Another vital item of evidence not heard at the trial came from the resident manager of the Clancy Apartments, who says she would have confirmed Night was living there if the investigating RCMP had asked.
That information would have given credibility to Hatchen and Munson’s claim they dropped Night off, suitably clothed, to walk off his anger over the 3.2 -kilometre distance to the apartments.
Night instead walked to the Queen Elizabeth Power Station, where he called a cab. The cab driver later testified he took Night to his sister’s house where, he concluded, Night wanted to party.
Space doesn’t permit discussion of numerous other aspects of the McLean video -such as the testimony of Alice Kelsey, an aboriginal woman who tells how Munson sometimes bought groceries for her and her son Don when they were short of money.
Don himself says he probably wouldn’t be alive today were it not for Munson. “He’s like a father I never had.”
McLean -who initially assumed Hatchen and Munson were capable of committing deadly “starlight tours” -says she quit her job in order to make this video, once she interviewed the two officers in Saskatoon.
In the video, she also builds the case that the Naistus and Wegner deaths were not the result of police drop-offs. And she says the Stonechild inquiry was “an even larger travesty” than the Hatchen-Munson trial.
Another inquiry into the starlight tours allegations is unlikely. But When Police Become Prey ought to be played on television or shown at a local theatre. Saskatoon should see this video.
This is the press conference with Candis Mclean that was held on Tuesday November 24, 2015 at the ARMY, NAVY and AIRFORCE VETERANS CLUB, 359 1st Ave. North in Saskatoon.
Our special customer Mrs. Dunn was also very pleased to get her signed poster and copy of the book.
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