OPP Police officers on security detail walk past a cruiser outside the London, Ont. courthouse during the Bandidos biker trial on Thursday April 2, 2009. The trial is hearing about the first discovery of eight bodies in what prosecutors allege was an internal cleansing of the Bandidos outlaw motorcyle gang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Dave Chidley Canadian Press
A retired staff sergeant with the Ontario Provincial Police, in an interview with CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition, has spoken out against the heavy-handed tactics he says he experienced after being pulled over by an officer of the same force on a major highway.
Michael Read of Orillia, Ont., was a police officer for 42 years — from age 19 — first in London, England, and later with the OPP. He retired from the OPP in 2003 after 33 years of service, and described for CBC an incident he faced on the road eight years later.
Speaking to host Michael Enright, Read recalled that he was driving a truck as part of his part-time job with an archaeologist. He remembers it was November, around 3 p.m., when he was pulled over as he headed northbound on Highway 400.
Read said the officer stayed for a lengthy period of time in his cruiser at the side of the road, so Read got out of his vehicle to "have a chat, to see what he wants."
That's when the trouble began. He said the officer kept shouting at him, and then three other cruisers arrived with lights flashing.
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Read was told he was a suspended driver. He was handcuffed behind his back, and then put in the officer's cruiser. The fact that Read was a former police officer himself didn't seem to matter, and he said he was told "things have changed" since he had retired.
"I was just astounded at the time. I wasn't expecting any of this, of course," Read said.
Read filed a complaint about the officer with the civilian-staffed Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), which had been in operation for two years at that time.
"They turned everything back to the OPP," he said.
The force deemed the officer to be acting according to accepted police practices. Read requested a review of the finding.
"Fourteen months later, I got a letter by e-mail from the OIPRD, indicating that they supported the OPP's decision. But there was absolutely no rationale, no reason given, as to how they came to this decision."
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