Google cooperating with Peel cops
Google will cooperate with a Peel Regional Police search warrant in the hopes of identifying an anonymous emailer who sent death threats to a Mississauga couple from inside their children's school...
Ashoak Grewal, 38, is hopeful Google's cooperation will help find the person responsible for emailing death threats to him last year from Oscar Peterson Public School.
Google will cooperate with a Peel Regional Police search warrant in the hopes of identifying an anonymous emailer who sent death threats to a Mississauga couple from inside their children's school, the Internet giant said today.
"Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with valid legal requests. We take user privacy very seriously, and whenever we receive a request we make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying," a Google spokesperson said, refusing to comment on the specific request. "Generally speaking, that means a request must be in writing, signed by an authorized official of the requesting agency, and issued under an appropriate law. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it."
Although Google has agreed, in principle, to turn over the information, the wording in legal documents has caused delays, according to a court source.
The News reported Tuesday that Peel Police have served a warrant on Google recently and officers are hopeful the records will lead to an arrest in the year-old case.
Ashoak and Katrina Grewal, whose kids used to attend Oscar Peterson Public School, remain frustrated that no arrests have been made in the case, more than a year after the disturbing e-mails were reported to police.
Ashoak, 38, said tonight he hopes the co-operation from Google helps bring closure to his and his family's ordeal.
"I hope it's the final piece to help make an arrest in this case," he told The News. "For my kids sake, and for my family…my kids' lives can return to whatever you call normal now. They are in fear."
The first threat, sent to the Grewals near the end of September 2011, stated: “When you can be caught alone, you are going to get the worst beating of your life. Not only that your two kids and wife are now targets watch them close because they are going to die before you do you will suffer pain beyond your dreams.”
More e-mails followed with a final message arriving the second week of October 2011. It described Grewal’s daughter and threatened to harm her.
Grewal, who teaches at Stephen Lewis Secondary School, has complained about race relations at Oscar Peterson. His children no longer attend Oscar Peterson after Ontario's Superior Court ruled earlier this year in favour of the Peel District School Board’s original decision to remove the children from the school and transfer them to a different location.
Director of Education Tony Pontes said the action was taken for the children’s own safety.
Both children now attend another school in Peel.
Peel Police Sgt. Pete Brandwood confirmed that the e-mails were sent from a computer at the Churchill Meadows school.
"To date, detectives have not made any arrests in this case. The file remains open and active, and the investigation continues," he said. "If more evidence becomes available, officers may be able to determine the direction of the case based on the nature of the information."
Police don't know whether the anonymous e-mails were sent by a student or teacher.
"Police have not identified suspects or narrowed down to a list as far as we know," said Peel Board spokesperson Brian Woodland, who added the investigation is being taken seriously.
Brandwood didn't get into investigative tactics, but a prosecutor familiar with the case confirmed to The News that police and the Crown Attorney's office recently served a search warrant on Google's corporate headquarters in California.
The investigation has determined the anonymous e-mails were sent from a website owned by Google. The warrant asks that Google turn over registration and other information associated with the anonymous e-mails. Police are waiting for those records.
Meanwhile, after a racially-charged altercation between Grewal and a teacher at Oscar Peterson, the board commissioned an independent third-party report in 2010. It revealed a history of race-based issues among the staff there, some of whom were described as being “resistant” to change as the ethnic demographics of the community have evolved.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 905-453-2121, ext. 1133.
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