Double Standard for Ottawa Police?
Do as I say and not as I do seems to be the message from Ottawa Police Services Board chair, Eli El-Chantiry.
I received an interesting screen capture of his Facebook page (see below). On it, Eli is friends with Charlie Manasseri. Mr. Manasseri is currently in prison awaiting his appeal in the murder conviction in the death of Brian Fudge. When I called El-Chantiry about the “friend” (which has since been unfriended) he sent me an email response:
“I have had a Facebook account for almost 10 years and I have close to 5000 contacts. I use it to connect with constituents. My staff also assist me with managing the account from time to time. I do not know when the individual was added and other than the Facebook connection, there is no relationship. Immediately upon having this brought to my attention, I unfriended the individual."
While social media is pervasive in our lives, once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s impossible to put back. Social media lives forever whether you delete it or not. The irony is not lost on Ottawa Police Association head, Matt Skof. “Frustrating, absolutely” he tells me. He wanted to bring forward concerns, but the Association was denied standing by the OCPC (oversight of Police Services Boards) or the OIPRD (oversight of officers and police executives). “There is a direct impact when they (officers) believe there’s issues that they would be held accountable for and have and when it’s not treated the same by other people in the policing community both at the board level and the police executive, it’s seen as a double standard”.
The social media double standard is highlighted by Sergeant Chris Hrnchiar. He was charged with making racist comments on his personal Facebook page. That led to him being demoted under the Police Services Act and he had to take multicultural training. While his comments were reprehensible, it was on his personal Facebook page.
It’s safe to say the relationship between the Board and executive is far from smooth and even the appearance of that double standard will only create a bigger divide.