Tag Archives: Canada

Update: RCMP Officer Convicted of Abuse and Sexual Torture of Son Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

RCMP Child Abuse Ottawa Royal Canadian Mounted Police

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer convicted of starving, beating, and sexually abusing his son has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In December of last year, I posted about a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer who had been convicted of numerous abuse-related offenses after his son escaped from a makeshift dungeon he had created in the basement of his house. On Wednesday, that officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the torture he had infilcted against his son. Critics, including a group known as “Bikers Against Child Abuse,” complained that the sentence, which likely will amount to eight years at the most, was insufficient in light of the severity and nature of the crimes involved.

At the time of his arrest in 2013, that son was described as looking like “someone from a concentration camp movie.” Despite being eleven years old at the time, he weighed just 50 pounds and had scars on his body, including those consistent with someone who had been shackled at the wrists and ankles for an extended period of time. In addition to being starved, chained up, and physically abused, the child was also sexually tortured by having his genitals burned with a lighter. Ironically, the officer worked for the RCMP’s counter-terrorism unit.

After escaping from the basement where he had been confined, the officer’s son was spotted in nearby houses attempting to get water from the faucets within the yards. When one neighbor attempted to take him home, he collapsed from the effects of malnourishment. Ottawa Police Det. Johanne Marelic and other investigators described his condition when they first saw him as “unfathomable” and “difficult to comprehend.”

During court, the officer apologized for “being a monster” to his son and attributed his actions to PTSD resulting from having been abused himself. Although Justice Robert Maranger described the charges as “horrific” and the “worst kind of abuse” while stating that he didn’t believed the officer had shown any true remorse, he nonetheless indicated that he avoided giving him a much harsher sentence (prosecutors were seeking 23 years) due to the testimony from expert witnesses about his mental state and the contention that the abuse was caused by PTSD.

The officer was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault, one each of sexual assault causing bodily harm, unlawful confinement, assault and failing to provide the necessaries of life, plus several firearms offenses. In addition, the officer’s wife (and the prototypical evil stepmother of the child) was also convicted of assault with a weapon and failing to provide the necessaries of life, but received a sentence of just three years. The names of the officer and his wife have not been released publicly per a court order to avoid identifying the child who was victimized by them.

Local News Coverage

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RCMP Officer Lies About Needing Permission to Film Police; Admits Police Parking Illegally is Wrong

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer claims that it is illegal to film him in public after being questioned about parking on a sidewalk.

The following video was shared with Nevada Cop Block by Donald Smith, who frequently films the police as he travels within Canada, via the NVCopBlock.org Submissions Page.

In the video, which was taken in  Victoria, British Columbia and uploaded to Youtube, Smith can be seen questioning an (unidentified) officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police about why he is parking his motorcycle on the sidewalk even though he would ticket citizens for doing the same thing.

Initially, the officer responds by explaining that he’s not breaking the law because police are exempt from that law. However, those exemptions are generally based on the idea that police can disregard such laws while responding to emergencies or, at the very least, while performing official police functions. Although the exact circumstances leading up to the conversation on the video weren’t given, the officer makes it pretty clear in his response that neither of those things are the case.

After some discussion of whether the officer should be giving tickets to people for parking infractions while he himself is illegally parked, the officer soon attempts to shift the subject by lying about the legality of filming in public. According to this officer, recording in public requires the permission of the person being filmed.

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Although it’s not terribly uncommon for cops not to know the laws they are supposed to enforce or for them to try and enforce laws even though they don’t actually understand them, the fact that this officer claims that it became illegal to film him in public without permission on January 1st (implying that a new law was passed) is pretty indicative that he is intentionally lying. Shortly after, the officer uses that horrible threat that police for some reason think bothers people filming them that he will also film Smith (without having asked his permission first).

(For the record, no such law was passed and it is completely legal to film anyone, including the police, in public view – even in Canada.)

Then the discussion returns to whether he should be parking his motorcycle on a sidewalk. While continuing to maintain he is exempt from such rules and clarifying that police officers can even park cars on the sidewalk if they feel like it, the officer then readily admits that such a double standard is wrong. Quite surprisingly, he then actually promises not to park on the sidewalk next time.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it and to publish it on NVCop Block.

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Alberta Canada Checkpoint (Check Stop) Refusal and Assertion of Rights

The following video post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a reader, using the (very creative) pseudonym “Sub Mitter.” It was sent in to us via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Although there was no description included with the video, it is pretty self explanatory. In the video, a man driving through a checkpoint (they’re called “check stops” in Canada) in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, where he is asked if he has been drinking and also to provide a driver’s license. He informs the officer conducting the stop that he won’t answer any questions. At that point the officer tells him to drive to a secondary inspection area.

The driver responds by asking if he is being detained. The officer says that he is and quotes a law that says he is authorized to determine if drivers have been drinking and also if they have a valid driver’s license. There’s then some back and forth about whether the police need to have a suspicion that a driver is drunk before they are compelled to submit to further investigation regarding that. Next, the driver asks if he is required to show a driver’s license without a requirement for suspicion. The officer replies that he is and the man then shows him his driver’s license.

Shortly after, and still without having answered the question about whether he had been drinking, the driver is released and continues on his way.

Date of Checkpoint: November 26th, 2016
Department Involved: Medicine Hat (Alberta, Canada) Police Service
Professional Standards Supervisor: (403) 502-8917
Department Facebook Page: Medicine Hat Police Service
Department Twitter Profile: @medhatpolice
Department Instagram Account: Medicine Hat Police Service

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If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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Ottawa Cop Whose Son “Looked Like He Was In a Concentration Camp” Convicted of Child Abuse; Sexual Assault

A Canadian Mountie and his wife have been convicted of several abuse charges including sexual assault against the officer’s son. After running away, the RCMP officer’s son was found with severe signs of having been starved and physically abused by an Ottawa Police Constable. That constable, Cindy Cybulski, initially was planning to return the son to his father and step mother until the father began talking about how difficult it was to raise a child and how he had to resort to tying up and beating the 11 year old.

That prompted her to go and look at the boy, who earlier had collapsed while walking with a neighbor who was trying to take him back to the father’s house. In addition to visible signs of current physical abuse, the boy had scars indicating he had been locked up with chains on his wrists and ankles. He was also so malnourished that Const. Cybulski compared his condition that of someone from a concentration camp movie.

Via the National Post:

“It was like a concentration-camp movie. His chest was just bones — you could see every rib,” Cybulski said.

The boy also had gouges on his wrists and ankles from his chains.

The constable wept on the stand, saying “and a minute earlier I just wanted to give him back to his dad.”

Instead, the constable arrested the RCMP officer, who along with his wife, were found guilty on Nov. 21. The father and stepmom — whose names are under a publication ban to protect the identity of the boy — are awaiting sentencing for their crimes. (The father was convicted of assault, sexual assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessities of life. The stepmom was found guilty of assault with a weapon and failing to provide the necessities of life.)

When the boy finally escaped from his family’s darkened Kanata basement — its windows were covered — he’d endured at least six months of starvation and torture. Weighing only 50 pounds, the boy was first seen trudging through knee-deep snow in backyards in search of water. One neighbour spotted him trying to draw water from his garden tap so he slid open the back patio door and filled up the starving kid’s water bottle and sent him on his way. That neighbour said the boy looked like a ghost.

The boy later showed up at another neighbour’s front door around suppertime looking to speak to her son. She told court that she hadn’t seen the boy in a year and a half.

He used to be “chubby, happy and full of energy,” she said. “He was completely changed. I couldn’t recognize him.”

The boy appeared nervous, she said, and fumbled for change from his pocket, offering it while asking if he could stay at her home for the night.

She started walking the boy back to his own home, but when the boy complained of back pain, her husband called the police.

That’s when Const. Cybulski showed up, and after coming sliver-close to reuniting the starving boy with his abusive father, she took an extra minute and spared a young boy from more torture down in a darkened Kanata basement.

I’ll give some credit to Const. Cybulski for eventually doing the right thing and arresting this Mountie and not go to far into criticizing her investigative skills by pointing out that she probably should have (and if it was any non-Hero would have) looked the kid over for a minute before the father gave her his heartbreaking story about how hard it was for him to raise a “problem child” without beating, chaining up, and sexually abusing him.

Of course, police are pretty well known for the enthusiasm with which they adhere to the old adage of “spare the rod, spoil the child.” In fact, the families of cops are at least four times as likely to be abused.

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Police Wife Writes About the “Secret Epidemic” of Police Domestic Violence

This post was originally published at the “Ms. Magazine” blog in October of 2015 by and (who was married to a police officer for 20 years) under the original title “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.” (See below for their full biographies.)

Domestic violence takes place in up to a staggering 40 percent of law enforcement families, but police departments mostly ignore the problem or let it slide, write ex-police wife Susanna Hope and award-winning investigative journalist Alex Roslin in their new book, Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. The following excerpt is adapted from their book, available on Amazon or as an eBook from their website, and is being published as part of the Ms. Blog’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month series.

According to Alex Roslin, “Police Wife” itself has more than 60 pages of appendices giving advice and resources to survivors, family and friends plus recommendations for advocates, police, governments, journalists and researchers.

In order to help survivors and others, they’ve made virtually all of the appendices available for free through their website. Here is the direct link to this extended free excerpt.

The propensity for police to abuse their wives, children, and other family members is, of course, no secret among people who read CopBlock.org. It’s rare that more than a few days go by without a report of a cop having committed domestic violence and several CopBlock Network Contributors have posted about the increased risk that entails marrying or having the bad fortune to be the child of a cop. Obviously, the habitual efforts of Good Cops to cover up the crimes of those Bad Apples, is also a large factor in its commonality.

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence

In 2009, in Utica, New York, police Investigator Joseph Longo Jr. killed his estranged wife, Kristin Palumbo-Longo, stabbing her more than a dozen times in their home, then stabbed himself to death. One of the couple’s four children discovered the horrifying scene on coming home from school that afternoon.

Police Officer Cop BlockUtica’s then-Police Chief Daniel LaBella said the killing was completely unexpected—an incident “no one could have prevented or predicted.” But Kristin’s family filed a $100-million wrongful-death suit saying city and police officials didn’t do enough about Longo’s troubling behavior before the tragedy.

Kristin had contacted police at least five times in the weeks before she was murdered, saying she feared her husband might kill her and their kids, but police supervisors discouraged her from making reports or seeking a protection order, the lawsuit said. In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge agreed that the police actions may have “enhanced the danger to Kristin and amounted to deliberate indifference.” The city settled the suit in 2013, paying the couple’s children $2 million.

The murder wasn’t an isolated tragedy. It was unusual only because it was so public and so bloody. A staggering amount of domestic violence rages behind the walls of cops’ homes, while most police departments do little about it. In the vast majority of cases, cops who hurt a family member do so in utter secrecy, while their victims live in desperate isolation with very little hope of help. Research shows:

  • An astonishing 40 percent of cops acknowledged in one U.S. survey that they were violent with their spouse or children in the previous six months.
  • A second survey had remarkably similar results—40 percent of officers admitted there was violence in their relationship in the previous year. The abuse rate for cops is up to 15 times higher than among the public.
  • Police discipline is startlingly lax. The LAPD disciplines cops with a sustained domestic violence complaint less strictly than those who lie or get in an off-duty fight. In the Puerto Rico Police Department, 86 percent of cops remained on active duty even after two or more arrests for domestic violence.

It seems incredible that a crime wave of such magnitude and far-reaching social ramifications could be so unknown to the public and yet at the same time an open secret in a mostly indifferent law enforcement community. It is surely one of the most surreal crime epidemics ever—at once disavowed, generalized and virtually unchecked.

Aptly summing up the bizarre disconnect, retired Lieutenant Detective Mark Wynn of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department in Tennessee told PBS in a 2013 story on the issue: “What’s amazing to me is we’re having this conversation at all. I mean, could you imagine us sitting here talking about this and saying, how do you feel about officers using crack before they go to work, or how do you feel about the officer who every once in a while just robs a bank, or every once in a while decides to go in and steal a car from a dealership? We wouldn’t have this conversation. Why is it that we’ve taken violence against women and separated that from other crimes?”

Domestic violence is bad enough for any woman to deal with. Shelters, many of them chronically underfunded, regularly turn away abused women because they’re full, while only about one in four incidents in the wider population ever get reported to police. Hundreds of U.S. communities have adopted “nuisance property” laws that encourage police to pressure landlords to evict tenants who repeatedly call 911 over domestic abuse, further dissuading victims from seeking help.

But abuse at home is far worse for the wife or girlfriend of a cop. Who will she call—911? What if a coworker or friend of her husband responds? Police officers are trained in the use of physical force and know how to hurt someone without leaving a trace. They have guns and often bring them home. And if a cop’s wife runs, where will she hide? He usually knows where the women’s shelters are. Some shelter staff admit they are powerless to protect an abused police spouse. Her abuser may have training and tools to track her web use, phone calls and travels to find out if she is researching how to get help or, if she has fled, where she went.

In the rare case where the woman works up the nerve to complain, the police department and justice system often victimize her again. She must take on the infamous blue wall of silence—the strict unwritten code of cops protecting each other in investigations. The police have a name for it—extending “professional courtesy.” In the words of Anthony Bouza, a one-time commander in the New York Police Department and former police chief of Minneapolis, “The Mafia never enforced its code of blood-sworn omerta with the ferocity, efficacy and enthusiasm the police bring to the Blue Code of Silence.”

It all adds up to the police having a de facto licence to abuse their spouses and children. And it’s a worldwide phenomenon that police families struggle with everywhere from Montreal to Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, the U.K., Australia and South Africa.

The torrent of abuse is virtually unknown to the public, but without realizing it, we all pay a steep price. Domestic violence is the single most common reason the public contacts the police in the U.S., accounting for up to 50 percent of all calls in some areas. Yet, a battered woman who calls 911 may have a two-in-five chance of an abuser coming to her door. Official investigations have found law enforcement departments that tolerate abuse in police homes also mishandle violence against women in other homes.

Abusive cops are also more prone to other forms of misconduct on the job—such as brutality against civilians and violence against fellow officers. We all pay as taxpayers when governments have to settle multi-million-dollar lawsuits with victims of police abuse or negligence. Police domestic violence also has close connections to a host of other problems—police killings of African Americans, sexual harassment of female drivers at traffic stops and women cops, and even more broadly, issues like growing social inequality and subjugation of Native Americans.

And police officers themselves are victims, too. Even though our society calls cops heroes, we give them little support to cope with the pressure of police work. A big part of the job is to wield power to control other people. As a result, policing attracts people who are good at controlling others or may have a craving for that kind of power—and then trains them to use their power better. Control is also the main driver of domestic violence. Is it a surprise then that so many cops are violent at home?

Support the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program today and show women fleeing domestic violence that they’re not alone.

Susanna Hope (a pseudonym for security and privacy reasons) is a Canadian professional writer who was married for over 20 years to a police officer. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

Alex Roslin is an award-winning Canadian journalist who was president of the board of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting. His investigative and writing awards include three Canadian Association of Journalists prizes for investigative reporting, a gold prize in the National Magazine Awards and nine nominations for CAJ awards and NMAs.

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