Interviewer is Jennifer Swanson of “Author of Influence Radio”.
The fact that the RCMP “investigators” ignored key and critical evidence was biased and misleading at best. When the integrity of the RCMP and the conduct of their investigation was challenged at the Public Inquiry, this was recognized by not only the Commissioner, but also his counsel, and counsel representing the FSIN. The Commissioner noted that the RCMP may have prepared a corrupt document by changing the context and content of a direct question put to me by the investigator, and by the answer I provided in response (Public Inquiry pg. 7872 – 7874 ). This was in relation to what I had read in a Feb. 22, 2000 StarPhoenix article in which Jason Roy made his allegation public (“Decade-old death resurfaces”). The RCMP officer had asked me if I read it. I said I had and that there had been lots of discussion about the article among my colleges. He asked me what the talk was about and I repeated what was discussed. The only problem was that, although he asked me a direct question: (what I had read, heard from others, and discussed), my response to this question was portrayed as a statement that I made voluntary and one that matched Jason Roy’s allegation. In the RCMP final report this was portrayed as a voluntary statement made by me about something I experienced first hand and that I was recalling the information as a result of being directly involved in this alleged incident.
This was brought up at the inquiry by retired Saskatoon Police officer Keith Jarvis, who stated that the RCMP made a series of suggestions to him about what they believed, and perhaps hoped were facts, in order to induce him to make statements about things that he says he had no recollection of, as if they were from his own memory (Public Inquiry pg. 4573).
This was also the case for the Commission Investigator hired to tie up “loose ends” before the Inquiry began. This “investigator” was an ex-RCMP officer who not only recorded an interview with Jarvis, he edited the tape, taping over answers given to “make it sound better.” This was done many times, to a point where it seemed that Jarvis “confessed” that Jason Roy did tell him of his allegation in 1990 and that Jarvis did not record it or report it anywhere.
In any other case, this would be called corruption. In any other case, the RCMP officers who did this may well stand accused of obstructing justice.
Instead these “investigators” were excluded from testifying, even though they had been scheduled to do so. The decision about who testified and who did not was up to the Commission counsel. Did this constitute misconduct as well?
Once again. All of this, and so much more, has been ignored and is still ignored to this day. This kind of conduct by ANY police officer or justice official puts everyone at risk. It also demonstrates that, to many, the end justify the means. It also demonstrates the Saskatchewan justice system and its officials are not worthy of respect.
What was the issue that the RCMP were trying to prove in this case? Was it how Neil ended up where he died? No. Was it how he died? No. The issue that the RCMP were trying to establish was the issue of “custody.” “Custody” meaning whether or not I had encountered Neil that night, regardless of whether he was in handcuffs, beaten up or not. Remember “custody” means ANY control over a person, verbal OR physical. But perhaps the RCMP took the narrow view of the definition of “custody” in this case. The problem with such a focus, as I freely admitted to the RCMP, was that it was possible that I may have encountered Neil. It was possible that he lied about who he was. It was possible he produced his cousin’s name. It was possible that he fooled me and I let him go without detecting the deception. This issue of “custody” is meaningless unless you FIRST ASSUME that Jason Roy was telling the truth about Neil being in the patrol car. This admission of these POSSIBILITIES was considered to be a confession on my part that I knowingly had Neil in “custody.” Based on those ASSUMPTIONS (along with assumptions that I beat him up (even though medical people found he had not been beaten), and assumptions I drove him to the north end and abandoned him, etc.) by the RCMP, Wright, Sabo, and Silversides, I was fired in disgrace.
This case has been, in many ways, like being forced into a boxing ring. The only thing is: you find out that your hands are tied to your sides. You can neither punch nor defend yourself. The best thing you can to is duck and weave to avoid them as best you can. You hope that the referee notices, but he is oblivious. Once he becomes aware, he does nothing to stop the fight or to free your hands. You are pummeled, you get knocked down over and over again. Sometimes you aren’t able to get up before the 8 count, but you keep getting up because you are fighting for your life. You find out that there are no rules to the fight and no one will step in to free your hands. You do the only thing you can under the circumstances. You abandon the rules and fight back using your knees, feet, and head.
Police officers have an obligation to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. As soon as police officers begin to direct the evidence toward a preconceived conclusion, investigations go awry. The RCMP had many opportunities to follow the evidence and to bring the investigation back on track, but they chose not to. They merely wanted to establish that I was guilty of some kind of misconduct. A good example is the statement I provided on May 18, 2000. The officer seemed to be interested in only one thing: convincing me that I HAD encountered Neil Stonechild that night. Although I categorically denied any wrongdoing whatsoever, the fact that I admitted to the possibility of encountering Neil that night, my statement was considered a “near confession” by the lead investigator who, within weeks, told a colleague that the ultimate goal in this case was to obtain a confession from me. (Based on the information provided to me by the RCMP officer, I concluded that Neil may well have lied about who he was. The officer told me that the name I had in my notebook concerning this case belonged to Neil’s cousin and that I had challenged him about being Neil Stonechild. I thought that perhaps I HAD encountered him, hadn’t recognized him, hadn’t figured out I was being lied to, and let him go without detecting the deception. I was devastated because I thought I had failed to adequately preform my duties.)
Continue reading Larry Hartwig was implicated in the 1990 freezing death of Neil Stonechild by a decade-later RCMP investigation. Here are his thoughts on that investigation: