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Ombudsman accepts Durham police officer’s apology; Real “Joe Mayo” regrets hateful tweets

September 23rd, 2013  

For the record I should have posted this update a lot sooner.

Press Conference Ontario Ombudsman André Marin accepts Durham police officer’s apology and takes questions

Ombudsman accepts Durham police officer’s apology; Real “Joe Mayo” regrets hateful tweets

Date: 2013-09-13

(TORONTO, September 13, 2013) – Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has accepted a personal apology from the Durham Regional Police Service detective responsible for sending him hateful Twitter messages on August 8 via an account set up in a fellow officer’s name.

“The officer in question reached out to me to arrange a meeting and I met with him Thursday,” said Mr. Marin. “He apologized unconditionally for his actions and told me he regrets posting those tweets. I believe the apology to be heartfelt and sincere, and I am happy to accept it.”

Mr. Marin said the officer understood that his name should be made public in the interest of transparency. He is Detective Jeff Caplan, a member of the Durham Regional Police Service’s Major Fraud Unit.

The abusive tweets were sent immediately prior to a press conference where the Ombudsman announced an investigation into police de-escalation training, related to the recent police shooting of Sammy Yatim. Among other slurs, the author urged the Ombudsman not to stick his “big French nose” where it didn’t belong and called him “a carded member of Al Qaida.”

Under the alias “Joe Mayo,” the user stated in his Twitter profile that his “only goal in life” was to “expose André Marin” and added: “Ombudsman = stick nose in everyone’s business.” He also sent angry tweets related to the Yatim case to a Toronto councillor.

However, the account originated under the name and badge number of one of Detective Caplan’s colleagues. Mr. Marin initially named that officer as the source of the tweets when he brought the disturbing incident to the DRPS’s attention via Twitter. The Ombudsman issued a public apology to that officer on August 28, when the Durham Police sergeants conducting the internal investigation informed Mr. Marin they had confirmed another officer created the account. Detective Caplan has also apologized to his colleague.

“While I am pleased to consider the situation resolved, it is unfortunate that such an incident – one officer destructively impersonating another online – could happen in any police service,” Mr. Marin said. “I am a strong proponent of good policing, but no one should tolerate situations of police abuse, and this case is no exception.”

Detective Caplan has been charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act and his first appearance on that matter is set for October 1.

Mr. Marin will be available to speak to media at 11:30 a.m. today only. For details, contact:

Linda Williamson, 416-586-3426, lwilliamson@ombudsman.on.ca
Ashley Bursey, 416-586-3521, abursey@ombudsman.on.ca

It takes a remarkable person to take accountability the way that this police officer did. Ask yourself if you’d be able to summon that kind of courage.

 

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