Police union embargoes Carleton over professor’s actions

An Ottawa police union is suspending relationships with several Carleton groups in response to a criminology professor inviting a witness to a trial involving police officers to speak to his class before the trial began.

In an email sent to association membership, Ottawa Police Association (OPA) president Matt Skof named the CKCU radio station and the School of Journalism and Communication among the bodies the union would no longer work with.

Skof said criminology professor Darryl Davies’ actions affect the entire university.

“If Carleton is not going to provide me with a public response as to their position on their employee, then they’re not holding him accountable,” Skof said.

Davies said he will not apologize for his actions.

“I’m not going to change my perspective about bad policing,” Davies said.

The trial acquitted two officers accused of assaulting a homeless man.

The witness Davies invited to his class was later ruled unreliable by an Ottawa judge.

Davies called the suspension of the union’s relationship with Carleton “reprehensible.”

“This is just the kind of threats and bullying tactics that are used by police in the city,” he said.

Beth Gorham, manager of public affairs, said via email that Davies’ opinions “are entirely his own and do not represent those of Carleton.”

“He remains entirely accountable for his views,” she said.

CKCU station manager Matthew Crosier said the union does not have a formal relationship with CKCU, but police officers are interviewed on some radio shows.

Chris Waddell, director of the school of journalism, said he has not spoken with the union nor its president about the issue.

“Relations with the Ottawa Police have been very good,” he said.

Waddell said he received a letter dated March 27 from Skof that said the OPA was ending its relationship with the school, but it did not explain what exactly that meant.

Skof said he asked the university to give a position on Davies’ actions, but they did not respond.

He said he wants Davies to be held responsible for his actions.

“Mr. Davies would be the first one to hold our guys accountable, so I’m just asking the same thing,” he said.

In relation to the actions taken against Carleton, the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) filed a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIRPD), a police oversight body, against Skof.

The complaint states that the OCLA is “deeply concerned” by Skof’s actions, and claims that by writing to the president of Carleton and to members of the Ottawa Police Service, Skof is making “outright attempts to silence a professor’s criticisms of policing in Ontario.”

The email “brings discredit upon the reputation of the police force of which the association president is a member,” the complaint said.

As a publicly-funded university, the complaint said Carleton’s “societal role is to express independent views on the subject of policing.”

Skof declined to comment on the complaint.

“As I have already communicated with the Director of the school of journalism, and suspending my relationship with the University, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” he said via email.