Disciplinary charges laid against police officer for donating to Freedom Convoy protest

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The first disciplinary charge has been filed against a police officer for donating to a protest against the Freedom Convoy that closed parts of Ottawa for more than three weeks last winter.

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Ottawa Police Constable Christina Nielsen appeared at a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, who was charged with abusive conduct for donating to a protest.

The hearing notice alleges that Nielsen acted in a manner prejudicial to the reputation of the Ottawa Police Service or the reputation of the Ottawa Police Service by donating money to the Freedom Convoy Fund on a website called ‘GivesendGo’ . ,

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Nielsen “knew, or should have reasonably known, that money was being raised for the illegal possession known as the ‘Freedom Convoy’,” the notice said.

In February, thousands of protesters occupied the area around Parliament Hill, parking large rig trucks, to block access to large parts of the city.

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As the occupation increased, the police were widely criticized for their respectful attitude towards the protesters, even with the prime minister and Ottawa police chief declaring the protest “illegal” or “illegal”. Even after.

At the time, Torstar broke the story that at least 15 police officers from the Ottawa Police Service, Toronto Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police had financially supported the protest while they were policing it.

Torstar journalists combed through a leaked list of nearly 100,000 donors at the Freedom Convoy and cross-referenced the list with publicly available records to identify the authorities.

All three services told Torstar that they were launching an internal investigation into the donation.

According to the provincial Sunshine List, the charges against Nielsen, who earns about $105,000 a year, are the first time an officer is facing disciplinary action as a result of donating to the protests.

According to the leaked list, Nielsen’s $50-donation was posted on February 2 under the name “Bo Levi Nielsen”.

“I’m 5 years old. Old and put off for about 1/2 of my life. SHARE! DON’T SHARE! HUG! Don’t hug! It’s confusing,” added Dan A note read. “When I play hockey, I wish I could see my father smiling. Thank you for fighting for our freedom. The same freedom my parents fought in foreign countries. God bless you all and please don’t leave us. The citizens of Ottawa really support you and thank you.”

The email she used to donate was no longer working when Torstar tried to reach her on Thursday. A phone number associated with his address was out of service.

The “Freedom Convoy” 2022 crowdfunding campaign, on the Christian website GivesendGo, raised more than $10 million in just days after the protesters’ first online donation campaign was shut down due to police reports of illegal activity. The donor list was hacked. Whistleblower Collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS) posted it online. The group denied that it was responsible for the hack.

When the police, federal and provincial governments raised concerns about the protests, the GiveSendGo effort to raise funds was set up after the original convoy’s fundraising effort through the GoFundMe website.

During the occupation, agitated Ottawa residents posted videos of some police officers fraternizing with protesters, expressing their support for the cause, and posing for selfies.

In a video posted on Twitter, an unidentified OPP officer was recorded encouraging protesters heading towards Ottawa during a traffic stop.

“I get what you guys are doing,” he was filmed saying. “I support you guys 100 percent.”

Another video shows a different OPP officer allowing protesters to sit in the back of his cruiser and posing for photographs while pretending to be in custody.

After the declaration of the Emergency Act, the police removed the protesters.

Marco Chown Oved is a Toronto-based reporter who covers climate change for the Star. Reach him via email: [email protected]
Grant LaFleuche is a St. Catherine-based investigative reporter with Hamilton Spectator. Reach him via email: [email protected]

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Source: www.thestar.com

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