Two Durham Regional Police officers have been charged under the Police Services Act for their alleged involvement in a satirical video posted to YouTube in January.
The sworn police officers depicted in the video are both facing a charge of discreditable conduct.
Sgt. Mike Glennie’s disciplinary hearing has already started, according to a statement from the police service released Wednesday.
A second officer — referred to only as a Detective Constable in the news release — will face a hearing on April 15.
“At the commencement of the public hearing, his name can legally be released,” the statement said.
The police force’s longstanding policy has been to keep secret the names of officers charged under the act until they appear at a public hearing. In the event that the charged officer resigns, the defence is granted a publication ban, or an informal settlement is reached, the officer’s name would never be released.
The third is a civilian special constable, to whom the Police Services Act does not apply. “His discipline is being managed by internal policy and his name will not be released as he is not subject to the PSA,” the statement said.
Police officer Paul Grigoriou and special constable Harold Tasson appeared in the video alongside Glennie. The Durham force said at the time that the three officers in the video were the only members under investigation.
Durham Police Chief Mike Ewles triggered an internal investigation into the video after it showed up on YouTube, calling it “disrespectful” and “embarrassing.”
But Glennie, in an interview with Oshawa Express, said the video was meant to stay “in house.”
“It was designed to uplift and create humour to the employees of that unit,” Glennie told the Oshawa paper cash advance loans.
The goofy 64-second video, fashioned after a high-drama Hollywood trailer, depicted three officers stopping at nothing to get out of cellblock duty. They apply for transfers, only to have them denied, after which words flash across the screen: “3 officers on a quest for freedom/ Will discover there is no escape/ From cellblock.”
Toilet paper is meted out at a jail cell; a mask-wearing constable mops up what appears to be a blood-smeared bathroom.
“Forced to serve prisoners/ This summer/ How far will they go for freedom?” the text reads.
One officer runs down a hallway with what appears to be a Taser pointed at the camera. Another does snow angels on the hood of a car. They mimic Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s now-infamous imitation of a drunk driver. They appear to wave happily to a departing U.S. President Barack Obama.
The end credits list more than half a dozen Durham police officers as well as the force’s chief administrative officer and Ford in the “Rob Ford film” dubbed “Central Cells.” It also notes: “Not made on company time.”
It’s another in a series of high-profile public embarrassments for the Durham Regional Police Service, which Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin likened to National Lampoon’s Animal House last year after receiving obnoxious, anonymous tweets in the wake of the deadly police shooting of Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar in July 2013.
It turned out those tweets were sent by a veteran Durham fraud investigator, then-detective Jeff Caplan, who used a parody account created for practical jokes within his unit.
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