Shelley Brant: Correcting police myths on the arrest of Mohawk Shawn Brant

From Shelley Brant:

I would like to address the myths that Police Commissioner Julian Fantino has perpetuated in the media since the arrest of Mr. Shawn Brant on Friday April 25, 2008 and the events that have transpired since regarding police action at the Mohawk protest in Deseronto:

An Open Letter to Police Commissioner Julian Fantino:

First of all Shawn Brant was not arrested during a routine traffic stop as explained by Fantino:
“Tensions boiled over in eastern Ontario near Deseronto, Ont. Friday, when one of the protesters of a land claim dispute near that community, Shawn Brant, was arrested during a traffic stop.”
Mr. Brant was arrested while giving an interview with APTN the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. This can be proven by watching their news footage on April 25, 2008 which shows Mr. Brant’s arrest and also verifies he was arrested while doing an interview with them. I have to question then whether the O.P.P. had a warrant for Mr. Brant’s arrest, if you have to use a made up traffic stop to justify grounds for his arrest. If you didn’t have a warrant for his arrest this means that you had no grounds to arrest Shawn Brant unless you had reason to believe he was committing a criminal offence, which he clearly wasn‘t, unless giving an interview is now some sort of offence. If you didn’t have a warrant you also had no authority to search his vehicle or his person, which was captured on film by APTN. Things don’t add up and don’t make sense Mr. Fantino, the last time I looked the Charter of Rights and Freedoms also applied to Native people so I would like to know just whose laws are you upholding because it isn’t the laws that I’m familiar with? I would also like to know how many of the Deseronto Squatters have been arrested? This was the group that came to the Deseronto roadblock solely to cause trouble at a peaceful protest.
Also there are no weapons on the site as reported by your men obviously when yours were drawn and pointed:
“Police say they saw a 'long gun' being pointed at them from a location inside an occupied quarry, which protesters have controlled since March, 2007.”
“An order was issued to all police personnel on the scene to take cover, and guns were drawn by officers crouching behind their vehicles, but no shots were fired.”
‘‘The protesters said they had no weapons at the quarry.’
You also say that you are not trying to remove anyone from any land and that this has nothing to do with land claims, however, this comment shows that the protesters have indeed been ordered to leave the land they have been occupying now for close to a year.
“Protester Jason Maracle said they will refuse all orders to leave what they consider to be Mohawk land.”
“The OPP asked protesters to leave the site or face arrest.”
Toronto Sun - April 26, 2008
“We're not moving anywhere,” he said. “They're going have to kill every God damn one of us to get us off our land. We're not moving. ... I guess if they want another 1990 scene, then OK, I guess we'll have one.”

Canadian Press
April 25, 2008 at 7:46 PM EDT
What’’s the public Danger when all protesters are unarmed?
"In the interest of public safety, the officers established roadblocks to permit limited access to the area," Sgt. Rae said.”
Meanwhile, there were reports that police saw one of the demonstrators pointing a long gun at them. Sgt. Rae would not confirm this, but did say that officers were ordered at one point during the standoff to draw their weapons.”

Guess this confirms that the police actually did point their weapons now doesn’t it?
"We are staring down the ends of gun barrels," protester Jason Maracle said in an interview from the quarry. He said the protesters had no weapons with them - declining, for tactical reasons, to say how many demonstrators remained at the site.”
Globe and Mail - June 26
Fantino, you and you alone have escalated this nobody else and as shown above you have ordered the protesters out of the quarry:
“OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino last night said the dispute is not a land-claims issue. "This violent criminal activity occurred outside of any legitimate protest and will not be tolerated," he said. "Police officers being assaulted and injured for doing their utmost to keep the peace and protect the law-abiding community is unacceptable.
"We're trying to keep this from escalating."

I’m sorry Fantino but it appears that you are following the same deadly blue-print of the Ipperwash protest which led to the shooting death of Dudley George, because as the final report released last June shows, this is exactly the way it started, right down to reports that the protesters were armed:
“Protesters inside a quarry protest site told the Sun last night they were 'worried' a confrontation was imminent. "We are surrounded here," said protester Mike Brant. "They are sending the media away so we are worried they are going to take us all out."
“He said they were concerned police were going to "come in the dark with guns" which would be unfair because "we are not doing anything. All we are doing is sitting here holding out land. There is nothing wrong with that."
“The OPP said they were concerned when officers spotted a 'long gun' pointed at them from within the quarry. Native protesters deny this.”
““Protesters have controlled the quarry since March 2007”
“Several witnesses confirmed the OPP had up to 150 officers and 50 vehicles already on site in this town, 50 kms west of Kingston, near the Mohawk Territory.
Sun Media's Pete Fisher said he was told by police that "they couldn't guarantee my safety" and he reported that he had never seen a bigger native protest scene. A whole field was set ablaze.”
Toronto Sun - April 26, 2008

Yes you have also contended that no weapons were pointed at anyone, yet your own men and other witnesses above have said differently:
“The Commissioner went on to say OPP had not trapped anybody in the quarry, nor pulled or aimed guns, among other things.”
No Fantino your lies are inflaming the situation:
“I think it's inflaming what is already a very tenuous, very difficult situation, he said.”
The Hamilton Spectator - April 27, 2006

Now let me draw on the similarities between Tyendinaga and Ipperwash:
(All of this information can be verified in the Ipperwash final report released in June of 2007 Volume 1 at
1. Ipperwash: The ERT and True teams were both dispatched based on false unverified information that the protesters were armed…Reports were they were in possession of hunting rifles and semi-automatics weapons…they then considered these false weapons a threat to public safety: the final report verifies there were never any weapons found after the shooting of Dudley George either in the vicinity of the park or the parking lot.
Tyendinaga: 150 armed officers pointing their weapons after false reports of seeing someone point “long gun” at them….
2. Ipperwash: Both sides fear a major event based on each others movements: O.P.P. dress to move what was escalated at one point to at least 15-20 men in a parking lot outside the Provincial Park….it was verified later by the final report that there was
only 6 men present in the parking lot and 25 protesters inside the park.
Tyendinaga: With approximately 20 protesters present, the O.P.P. deploys approximately 150 armed officers who indeed drew their weapons after a false report of a long gun being pointed at them.
3. Ipperwash: Both the True team and the ERT team consisting of 4 teams of O.P.P. officers “The criteria for calling in the True Team is a threat to life” They were also sure they had the men n the parking lot for committing mischief and also for weapons dangerous because they had been spotted with baseball bats.
Tyendinaga:. Officers arrest Shawn Brant during a supposed traffic stop and 150 armed officers are all of a sudden on the scene.
4. Ipperwash: “The O.P.P. should have communicated with the protesters that they should remain in the park and that the O.P.P. would not attempt to enter the park.”” As I discuss in the following chapter the Aboriginal occupiers firmly believed that the O.P.P’s intention that night was to march into the park and arrest any protester who refused to leave the park”
Tyendinaga: I understand that there is now ongoing communication between the protesters and the O.P.P and the O.P.P. have been asked to withdraw that statement saying that the protesters are armed, but that has yet to be done.
This block has everything to do with the quarry dispute.
““A large trench was dug across the highway overnight and a number of people remain present at the site of the road blockage. This road blockade is unrelated to the ongoing quarry dispute.”
O.P.P. Press release
April 27, 2008
5. Ipperwash: No involvement of the First Nations Police who could have helped diffuse the situation.
Tyendinaga:. Tyendinaga Mohawk Police were at the site of the quarry occupation until Chief of Police Larry Hay was suspended and eventually fired for calling the O.P.P, R.C.M.P and the Surte de Quebec police racist. After that Tyendinaga Police were taken off peace-keeping duty at the site and replaced by O.P.P.
“Suspended Police Chief Larry Hay of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Services once said, that an injustice cannot be remedied by the rule of law. His recent suspension, in which this publication played a small part, serves only to highlight the difference in philosophies that exist on either side of the figurative barricades when it comes to policing and justice.”
“The actions of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Service at the quarry occupation site, and at the railway blockade, is proof that First Nations policing works. There were no physical confrontations between police and demonstrators, between demonstrators and their detractors, or between the detractors and police. Unlike in Caledonia, where the OPP used different tactics to try to keep the peace, First Nations policing is proving its worth by facilitating a peaceful resolution and focusing on communication rather than confrontation.”
On-line Pioneer

6. Ipperwash: O.P.P. press releases full of misinformation after the shooting of Dudley George and those statements were never retracted. According to O.P.P. press releases at the time Dudley George was present on a school bus that began firing at officers as it left the park. A weapon was spotted in Dudley Georges hands by an officer who open fired. In actual fact as proven by the final report: Two teenagers were driving the bas and Dudley George was no where near the bus, there were also reports by officers of actually seeing muzzle fire on the bus, but no weapons were ever found on the bus or anywhere else. Dudley George was in fact outside and kneeling down at the time of his shooting and was unarmed.
The bullet trajectory or entry point proved that for Dudley George to have been in a standing position that someone would have had to shot him from someplace above him like a tree. Officers maintained throughout their testimony etc that there was bullet fire in their direction and that was the reason they opened fired. As stated earlier when they area and the park were searched there was never one weapon found to verify their evidence which can be verified by the final report.
Tyendinaga: We have press conferences and mistruths being perpetuated by both Commissioner Fantino himself and other O.P.P officers in the media. The O.P.P. now know for a fact according to one of their own men that what they thought was a gun, was in fact a stick after they blew up a picture of the individual said to he holding a "long gun". I have yet to see a media retraction by Fantino stating that they were mistaken, however I don't think it will come because that takes away there excuse for being there in the first place. They have to portray Mohawks as being armed and violent, in order to justify such a serious show of force!!!!! Nothing has changed.
7. Ipperwash: It as shown that Racism was clearly present within the O.P.P organization when officers were found on tape to have made racial slurs via radio just before the shooting of Dudley George. Afterwards the sale of t-shirts and coffee mugs with logos clearly showing they were proud of killing an Indian were sold to both members of the TRUE and ERT members of the O.P.P., which they had designed logos for themselves.
Tyendinaga: "I am calling on all persons to act in a respectful manner and to build upon relationships within our communities, Commissioner Fantino stated. "Let there be no mistake however in our resolve to hold those accountable who break the law and jeopardize safety."
OP.P. Press Release - April 28
How can you even mention respect when you have yet to show it to any of the Mohawk people involved? If you call respect being dishonest and the portrayal of stereo-types of Native people in the media as violent and armed then you have a lot to learn about respect. As for fostering relationships in these communities, that’s usually done with honesty and trust in place on both sides of the relationship. Whatever thread of trust the O.P.P. have fostered within the community of Tyendinaga probably died quickly after the actions taken by the O.P.P. starting with the deployment of a 200 man team to remove the roadblock in Deseronto.
My question to Fantino is clearly what have you learned from the death of Dudley George? Nothing it is apparent, nor do I think you want to learn anything otherwise you would have taken a different path to resolve these issues during both the road block in Deseronto and at the quarry site. I want to know what you’re really doing there?

Shelley Brant
Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Also read: Shelley Brant: Why Julian Fantino Must Go
A wiretap was issued, not just for Shawn Brant’s cell phone but 4 other phones including his brother who is a lawyer ... Read more:


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