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Canada RCMP’s silence about Nova Scotia shooting spree could be to blame for recent leaks: ex-cop

14:56  11 june  2021
14:56  11 june  2021 Source:   globalnews.ca

Son of Nova Scotia shooting victims expresses ‘disgust’ over publication of 911 tapes

  Son of Nova Scotia shooting victims expresses ‘disgust’ over publication of 911 tapes Surviving family members of Nova Scotia shooting victims, politicians and leaders of a public inquiry are condemning publication of 911 recordings by local magazine.Frank Magazine published the three recordings Wednesday that include what appears to be the call made by Jamie Blair, who was murdered by the gunman along with her husband Greg Blair as the killing spree began in Portapique, N.S.

Policing experts say the RCMP ' s silence around the Nova Scotia shooting investigation could explain why someone decided to leak sensitive information to the media. A psychologist says the release of 911 audio from night of the shooting spree in Portapique last April is a 'terrible failure.’ A magazine is facing backlash after the audio was leaked . – Jun 4, 2021.

Police experts told Granthshala News that the RCMP ’ s near-blanket refusal to provide information about its investigation into the shooting spree that terrorized the Nova Scotian in April last year could be blamed for a series of leaks in Halifax magazine. is . The first leak occurred on June 2, when Frank Magazine published audio recordings of 911 calls made by the victims, the night the killing spree began. Two experts, including a former RCMP official, told Granthshala News that such leaks often occur when individual police officers do not trust the institutions they work for to tell the truth.

The RCMP’s near-blanket refusal to provide information about its investigation into the shooting spree that terrorized Nova Scotians in April of last year may be to blame for a series of leaks to a Halifax magazine, policing experts told Global News.

a man standing in front of a car: RCMP officers prepare to take a person into custody at a gas station in Enfield, N.S. on Sunday April 19, 2020. A suspect in an active shooter investigation is in custody in Nova Scotia, with police saying several people were harmed before a man wearing police clothing was arrested. Gabriel Wortman was arrested by the RCMP at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield, N.S., about 35 km from downtown Halifax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Krochak © Provided by Global News RCMP officers prepare to take a person into custody at a gas station in Enfield, N.S. on Sunday April 19, 2020. A suspect in an active shooter investigation is in custody in Nova Scotia, with police saying several people were harmed before a man wearing police clothing was arrested. Gabriel Wortman was arrested by the RCMP at the Irving Big Stop in Enfield, N.S., about 35 km from downtown Halifax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Krochak

The most recent leak, which Frank Magazine published on June 8 and has attributed to an unnamed source, includes surveillance video and photos from the gas station where gunman Gabriel Wortman was shot and killed by police, and what appears to be portions of the gunman’s autopsy report.

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More fatalities have been confirmed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting , bringing the toll to 17, including the gunman. Here’ s what we know so far about the sickening attack, now deemed the deadliest in Canadian history. While his initial motive remains unclear, authorities believe the attacker knew and may have targeted his first victims, but then began attacking complete strangers randomly. #Colchester : Gabriel Wortman may be driving what appears to be an RCMP vehicle & may be wearing an RCMP uniform.

Read more: RCMP ’ s silence about Nova Scotia shooting spree could be to blame for recent leaks : ex - cop . The RCMP did not directly answer questions about whether the appointments represent a conflict of interest. Instead, they said the force’s conflict of interest policies prevent couples working together in situations where one person reports to the other. The appointments and the questions of conflict were first reported by Frank Magazine in Halifax.

A first leak came on June 2 when Frank Magazine published audio recordings of 911 calls made by victims the night the killing spree began.

Read more: ‘A terrible failure’ — Child psychologist condemns publication of Nova Scotia 911 tapes

Two experts, including a former senior RCMP officer, told Global News these kinds of leaks most often occur when individual police officers don’t trust the institutions they work for to tell the truth. Leaking this information, they said, is a way of ensuring accountability and transparency.

“It’s disheartening,” said Garry Clement, a former director of the RCMP’s proceeds of crime unit.

Based on the type of information leaked, Clement says the source is likely a current RCMP officer or someone working closely with the RCMP on its investigation.

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The RCMP refused to explain why the officers fired their weapons toward the fire hall, citing an ongoing investigation into the shooting by the province’ s Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT). They also refused to say whether anyone has apologized for the incident. She saw the two officers walk across the parking lot, get back inside their vehicle and drive east toward the town of Truro. Even though 10 months have passed since the shooting , McLellan said she’ s still haunted by what happened that day. “I see a cop and my stomach comes up my throat.

The RCMP are vowing to investigate the leak of the 911 calls and there has been harsh criticism of Frank Magazine from others — including victims’ families — regarding the decision to publish the audio from the calls. To be sure, 911 calls aren’t typically released for public consumption, and hearing the words of a woman who died only minutes after the call is incredibly gut-wrenching for anyone, let alone relatives of the victim. Read more: RCMP ’ s silence about Nova Scotia shooting spree could be to blame for recent leaks : ex - cop .

“Most police officers that finally leak something to the media, it's because they feel, rightly or wrongly, that that information is not going to be forthcoming to the public,” Clement said.

Darryl Davies, a criminology instructor at Carleton University in Ottawa, said the RCMP is feeding into public distrust by refusing to answer questions or to offer new details about its investigation.

“(The RCMP) talk about being transparent and open, but they're not,” Davies said. “They’re just the antithesis of that.”

The RCMP declined an interview request for this story.

In a written statement, the force said it is investigating the source of the leaked 911 audio and any offences that may have occurred with its “unauthorized release, possession and subsequent publishing.”

Cpl. Lisa Croteau, a spokesperson for the RCMP, initially told Global News she was unaware of any investigation into the leaked surveillance video, crime scene photos and autopsy report.

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Nova Scotia shooting : RCMP say they’re ‘very satisfied’ with social media messaging during shooting rampage – Apr 22, 2020. At an April 20 press conference, RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said that police regularly use Twitter to communicate with the public and that it is a “superior” way to share information instantaneously. Report an Error. RCMP ’ s silence about Nova Scotia shooting spree could be to blame for recent leaks : ex - cop .

On April 18–19, 2020, Gabriel Wortman committed multiple shootings and set fires at 16 locations in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia

In a followup email, Croteau said the force is investigating the leak, but won't provide any more information because of the ongoing public inquiry into the killing spree and the proposed class-action lawsuit launched by victims' family members.

Frank Magazine published two surveillance videos from a gas station in Enfield, N.S., that show the moments leading up to and after Wortman’s death. Wortman was shot and killed while sitting inside a vehicle he stole from his last victim on the morning of April 19.

The videos show two officers in full tactical gear exiting their vehicle at the gas station immediately after it stops.

Read more: Son of Nova Scotia shooting victims expresses ‘disgust’ over publication of 911 tapes

One of the officers, who was driving the vehicle and was located closest to Wortman, is seen opening his door, drawing his pistol, and then pointing it toward Wortman’s car within seconds of stopping their vehicle. A few seconds later, both officers open fire when Wortman appears to reach for something in the front passenger seat of his car.

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Video: B.C. man describes trying to move to Nova Scotia (Global News)

Frank Magazine also published audio recordings of 911 calls made by victims of the shooting spree.

The recordings make it clear that 911 operators were told the gunman was driving a police vehicle when he went from house to house in Portapique killing his neighbours and lighting homes on fire. At least two of the callers identified the gunman, either by name or by indicating his profession.

This information is consistent with what court documents say a witness told police shortly after they arrived on scene in Portapique at 10:26 p.m. on April 18.

Davies said the RCMP’s decision to remain silent about what it knew -- and when it knew it -- about the gunman has caused significant reputational damage to the force and led people to distrust what it says.

“What it smacks of is, basically, protecting the herd,” Davies said.

Despite multiple witness statements describing the suspect’s vehicle as a “police” car the night the killing spree began, the RCMP didn’t tell the public about this vehicle until nearly 12 hours after its investigation started.

The gunman killed 13 people in Portapique, between approximately 9:30 and 10:45 p.m. on April 18. He murdered nine more people on April 19.

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Global News has reported that the RCMP said it was operating under the assumption that the gunman owned three decommissioned police vehicles and that all of them were located by police on the night of April 18.

The RCMP also said that on the night the killing spree began, they believed the gunman may have died by suicide and that his remains might have been inside one of the properties he burned in Portapique.

Video: Timeline of RCMP communications during Nova Scotia killing spree

Police said it wasn’t until the gunman’s common-law partner told them at 6:30 a.m. on April 19 about a fourth, unlicensed police cruiser -- complete with lights, sirens and insignia -- that the RCMP decided to notify the public.

It was more than three hours after the time police said they found the gunman’s common-law partner that they sent out a tweet with details about the suspect’s vehicle.

Transcripts of call logs from the Truro Police Department also show that the RCMP shared details about the suspect’s mock police cruiser with provincial policing partners two hours before this information was shared with the public. The gunman killed at least three people during this time.

Clement said he’s concerned about the leak of confidential 911 tapes. He said it’s especially troubling for the families of the victims.

He also said the public needs to be cautious and avoid jumping to conclusions about Wortman’s death based on surveillance video without knowing all the facts.

Global News has not independently verified the audio recordings and surveillance video, and it’s not clear where they came from. Frank Magazine has not said whether the source, which it’s dubbed “True Blue,” was a police officer.

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Read more: One year later — How the Nova Scotia mass shooting shook and changed a province forever

A report completed by Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) concluded the officers who shot and killed Wortman were justified.

One of the officers recognized Wortman when they stopped to fill up their vehicle with gas, the report said. He and his partner opened fire after they saw Wortman raise a pistol that he stole from RCMP officer Heidi Stevenson after killing her earlier that morning.

“(The officer) exited the vehicle to begin re-fueling and as he looked across to the adjoining pump he observed a male with a noticeable hematoma and some blood on his forehead,” the SIRT report said. “(The officer) drew his service weapon and alerted (his partner) that the (gunman) was in the vehicle parked next to theirs.”

Felix Cacchione, a former Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice and SIRT’s current director, said the events surrounding Wortman’s death as described in his report are accurate.

“I stand by the report,” Cacchione said. “When you have reviewed the amount of information that I reviewed, I think you would come to the same conclusion.”

Read more: RCMP officers who killed Nova Scotia gunman will not face criminal charges

Clement, meanwhile, said he thinks the RCMP needs to publicly clarify its position regarding the 911 audio recordings and their contents.

He also thinks the force needs to do everything it can to ensure the public and police officers trust that the RCMP will co-operate fully with the ongoing public inquiry.

The RCMP and federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair have said the force will co-operate fully with the public inquiry.

Nova Scotia and other Atlantic provinces had warning of N.B. reopening, Higgs says .
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