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Discipline process for three Thunder Bay police officers continues

Officers involved in the Stacy DeBungee death investigation are charged under the Police Services Act.
Thunder Bay Police station

THUNDER BAY — The hearing process for three members of the Thunder Bay Police Service charged under the Police Services Act in connection with their investigation into the death of Stacy DeBungee will continue on Aug.16.

Staff Sgt. Shawn Harrison and Sgt Shawn Whipple are charged with neglect of duty and discreditable conduct.

Staff Sgt. Susan Kaucharik is charged with neglect of duty.

It's alleged that all three failed to perform the duties of a police officer during the investigation between October 2015 and March 2016.

It's further alleged that Harrison and Whipple failed to treat or protect persons equally during the investigation.

All three worked on the case of the sudden death of 41-year-old DeBungee from Rainy River First Nation.

His body was found in the McIntyre River on Oct. 19, 2015.

Thunder Bay Police determined early on that that his death was non-criminal.

After a complaint from DeBungee's family, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director concluded that important leads in the case were ignored or neglected, and that racism may have influenced how the investigation was conducted.

Under the Police Services Act, officers should be notified of discipline hearings within six months, but it took the OIPRD nearly two years to file its report.

In February of this year, an adjudicator accepted the OIPRD's explanation for the delay.

The Aug. 16 session is scheduled to be a brief teleconference to deal with procedural matters.

A date for a final hearing has not yet been set by the hearing officer, retired OPP Superintendent Greg Walton.