Richard Burns says he's had two dozen traffic charges thrown out of court.
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Richard Burns says he continues to be harassed by local law enforcement.
The Thunder Bay man says he's had about 100 run-ins with Thunder Bay Police Service officers over the past decade and believes it’s because twice he’s successfully filed complaints against the force.
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director found two TBPS officers guilty of unlawful exercise of authority after arresting Burns in 2011. Burns also won a settlement against police through the Human Rights Tribunal. From obstructed windshields to parking infractions, Burns said he has taken the violations to court 23 times and had the charges thrown out. He said the police are using the Highway Traffic Act as an excuse to harass him.
"That's neither random nor routine," Burns said Friday in an interview with Dougall Media reporters.
The OIPRD is now investigating his claims of systemic abuse and harassment. Burns said the past decade has taken its toll on him and he thinks the OIPRD and Human Rights Tribunal have failed to protect him, despite the findings.
"It becomes incredibly distressing," he said. "I have sort of reached the end of my ability to cope."
But he's more concerned with other people being harassed under the guise of the Highway Traffic Act. Burns wants to see fines for officers who initiate contact with a person without just cause. He's also concerned with the amount of taxpayer money spent laying charges against him and the subsequent reviews. He estimated it's in the $1-million range.
"How many homes in Thunder Bay does it take to put together a million dollars worth of taxes?" he said.
Police Association president Greg Stephenson says if the OIPRD investigation leads to a review, he's confident officers will be exonerated. He says any charges laid against Burns by officers are simply a case of them "doing their job.”
None of the allegations against police have been proven in court.
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