By Gerald V. Paul
A black York Police officer is being investigated for not properly reporting racial slurs hurled at him while breaking up a party in 2011.
Among the taunts faced by Officer Damien Muirhead is one in which someone at the party said, “I would love to see that guy hanging from a tree.”
To add insult to injury, a partygoer, Rheal Duguay, later lodged a complaint saying he was rudely treated by police at the time the incident occurred, while officer Muirhead is facing a neglect of duty charge for failing to properly investigate the racial remarks.
Muirhead was charged with insubordination and discreditable conduct over the way he allegedly investigated the party on Victoria Day long weekend in May 2011.
The prosecution alleges Muirhead failed “to properly investigate” an allegation that you made about Duguay which connected him to a person making racial remarks.
But Duguay, 41, insists there was no racism. “I’m married to an Asian lady. My kids are half-Asian, ” he said, according to media reports, continuing that he did not hear any racial taunts or threats, and had only been at the party for a few minutes when police arrived.
However, Duguay admitted he became agitated and swore at the officer when he refused to pick up a $400 leather jacket which fell from his motorcycle as the officer was conducting a plate check.
In spite of the charges, the York Regional Police Force is not seeking Muirhead’s dismissal or demotion if he is found guilty on any of the charges, the prosecution said.
The matter is continuing.