SIU (Jon Ansell) media scrum
Police Services Act 267/10 - Section 13 (public statements)
The SIU shall not, during the course of an investigation by the SIU, make any public statement about the investigation unless the statement is aimed at preserving the integrity of the investigation
Jon Ansell (SIU) held a media scrum shortly after noon on Dec. 2, 2013 – before ANY investigation was done – and about the time our family was first notified that our loved one had been shot by police. He held a media scrum and indicated the following “police bias statements”.
Naked man ran from home
After assaulting 2 women (Why not say Alleged?)
Altercation with police
Looks like he may have been a weapon
“we have people” with his family right now …. (SIU were never with our family or even at Rouge Valley Hospital --- do the SIU consider DRP “their people” – are they one in the same?)
Michael was in Critical Condition
In fact, as we were first notified that Michael had been shot – we had no information – and were in my vehicle for approx. 2 minutes when one of my nieces called me and said…
“Aunt Joe, Uncle Mike has been shot twice, and is in critical condition… I just saw it on the news”.
During the day, while our family waited in a private waiting room at St. Michael’s hospital …we watched multiple news broadcasts of Jon Ansell discussing the unconfirmed details of Michael’s shooting and describing an assault on 2 women – my sister in law and her sister who were sitting in the waiting room with us.
We feel that Jon Ansell (Lead Investigator with SIU) – had Tunnel Vision and failed to properly look at alternate scenarios. After what was probably a 2-minute investigation, consisting ONLY of speaking with Durham Regional Police officers … and without having spoken with either Marianne or her sister, or ANY of the witnesses … he went on national TV and indicated that Michael was a wife beater.
His opinion … without any facts … meant that he was unable to partially investigate this incident and he, as lead investigator set the tone for the entire department.
We claim this investigation, from its inception, was based on a false foundation. If Michael would have survived his “interaction” with police, there would have been NO charge … this was an accusation … an allegation … Michael had a right to the presumption of Innocence by Canadian Law.
EMS: Marianne and her sister did not request and actually refused an ambulance - An ambulance was sent anyway, by DRP – and the ambulance left as there were NO injuries
* In addition, the officer’s notes from the warrantless search of Michael and Marianne’s residents indicate multiple times that there were “no visible injuries” & “no sign of struggle”. In fact, any officer that interacted with Michael’s wife and sister in law that morning, and/or entered the residence – indicated the same:
EMS call by DRP for Marianne & her sister – when asked the officer indicates no physical injuries – mostly upset:
DRP PC Jermain Griffin - FOI Statement indicates NO injuries
DRP Det. Cst. Lenarts hand written notes also indicate no sign of struggle in house
* Even, the coroner, Dr. Michael Pickup, told us in our initial meeting with him in March of 2014 that there were no marks (offensive or defensive) on Michael’s hands - and also indicated in his report that Michael had no marks on his hands indicating that he was involved in ANY altercation or that he assaulted OR hit anyone.
In the Canadian criminal justice system everyone charged with an offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
We complained multiple times about this: directly to Jon Ansell in a phone conversation on the morning of December 3rd, and in a written email to him and the director of the SIU demanding an explanation as to why an “independent” investigator would speak to press only moments after arriving on scene.
April 11, 2014 @ 9:01 am – email from Marianne MacIsaac to Jon Ansell (SIU)
Mr Ansell my name is Marianne MacIsaac I am the wife of Michael MacIsaac who was shot and killed by a Durham Regional Police officer on December 2 2013.
This was not a "domestic " dispute my husband had suffered a complex partial seizure and i was restraining him from leaving the home
* That the SIU was with the family at Ajax Hospital
Not true SIU was not at Ajax Hospital with us , SIU only showed up at St Michaels Hospital in Toronto
* That the two women sustained minor injuries
Not true we sustained NO injuries (we specifically told the 911 operator we did not need an ambulance sent to our home) however Durham Police took it upon themselves to send paramedics
April 11, 2014 @ 4:20 pm – email Winslow Taylor (SIU) to Marianne MacIsaac
I will look into this concern further and try to ascertain some information for you as soon as possible.
April 11, 2014 @ 11.22 am – email from Joanne MacIsaac to Winslow Taylor (SIU)
We have many concerns Winslow – and I am sure you will tell me that you will explain when you see us – but, some of this – including Jon Ansell’s video interview at 12:43 pm on Dec. 2nd …. The things he said to the reporter are unbelievable – this is very upsetting to our family. …. None of those things are accurate and painted a tarnished image of the VICTIM in this case. These are not written things Winslow, we have the interview tape and I am sure you can access yourself on line.
April 11, 2014 @ 12:09 pm email Winslow Taylor to Joanne MacIsaac
So let me start- as for the statement provided by Jon Ansell. I will review what was said so I can answer your question appropriately when I can.
May 15, 2014 @ 4 pm – email Joseph Martino, Counsel SIU to Marianne MacIsaac
Jon and I carefully reviewed the media clips in question. He is seen addressing media at the scene in the wake of this incident. As I explained to Ms MacIsaac, this is not unusual, particularly in the case of police shootings which attract lots of media attention. On these occasions, whether it’s an investigator on scene or our media person at the office, and sometimes both, we endeavor to release basic information to the public through the media while being careful not to say anything that could compromise the investigation. Judgment must be exercised so as not to release any information that could either be inaccurate or could come back to harm the investigative process. Of course, we are not always perfect in this effort. However, in this case, it appears from our perspective that Mr. Ansell did a fairly good job.
Of course, we are always learning and striving to be better at what we do. The concerns you have expressed remind us, for example, of the delicate balance that must be struck in our initial statements to the public about our investigations. Particularly in police shooting cases, the public interest dictates that we address the media to some extent while being careful not to say anything that could compromise the investigation or cause needless pain or anxiety to the families. This balancing act is made trickier by the fact that we are often working with limited information at the time. While we try to strike a reasonable balance on these occasions, there will always be room for improvement. What I can tell you is that we are not here to be a mouthpiece for the police version of events. You have our assessment of Mr. Ansell’s comments in the attached email.
Wed 5/21/2014 1:29 PM email from MacIsaac family to Tony Loparco
Why did Jon Ansell give an interview to media shortly after 12 pm - approximately 2 hours after Michael's shooting? During this interview, Mr. Ansell made comments that were inappropriate and contained false & misleading information. We feel that Mr. Ansell’s statement was given directly after talking to the police at the scene… he made these public statements without taking any time to check facts
NO ANSWER WAS RECEIVED
Finally, verbal response from SIU in meeting June 3, 2014:
Winslow: With John Ansell, John, I am not John’s superior that is being taken care of by my superior so I can’t comment
Need we remind you that when we questioned the SIU - Michael's OWN family were met with a curt response of, "we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation"
Do the media deserve more information than Michael's (the victim's) own family?
How can the public or our family expect objectivity by the SIU when their spokesman acts as a parrot for the police ... altering public perception of what happed to Michael and Michael's character when the investigation was only in its infancy?
Please explain to us how the comments made by Jon Ansell in any way helped to preserve the integrity of the investigation? In our opinion we feel it undermined the authority of the SIU and demonstrated, at the very least, a pro-police bias on behalf of Jon Ansell.
We believe that we - Michael's family - have the privilege of expecting that the SIU's investigation into Michael's shooting would be handled independent and objectively.