An Ottawa police officer pleaded guilty to a charge of disreputable conduct for donating $55 to Freedom Convoy in February.
Constant Christina Neilson made a donation to Ottawa Convoy on January 23rd through crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. She was automatically refunded to her on Feb. 5 after GoFundMe stopped accepting donations to Convoy for violating their terms of service.
On the day her money was returned, Neilson donated $55 to Convoy through another platform called GiveSendGo. The donation was automatically refunded on March 25 after the Ontario government successfully petitioned the court to freeze her fundraiser.
Between Neilson’s donation through GiveSendGo and the refund being returned, the Ottawa Police Service’s (OPS) Professional Standards Division was alerted to her donation by the mayor’s complaint and launched an investigation.
Neilson attended a disciplinary hearing on September 15 and faced charges of dishonorable conduct under the Police Services Act. Notice of the hearing said that by donating to the “Freedom Convoy Fund” on a website called “GiveSendGo,” she “had the potential to damage the reputation of the Ottawa Police Department in a disorderly manner, or in a manner that undermines discipline.” I acted in a certain way,” he said. “
Neilson admitted to cooperating with the inquiry and making the donation during the public sentencing hearing on Oct. 6.
At the hearing, prosecution attorney Angela Stewart said Neilson’s conduct “far fell short of the public’s reasonable expectations of public officials and their employees.”
Despite Neilson’s small donation, Stewart called Neilson’s actions “serious misconduct” and that “the punishment was sufficient to deter Officer Neilson and other officers from taking similar actions.” We have to be serious about it,” he said.
Neilson’s deputy at the hearing, Sgt. Pat Laflamme has been an Ottawa police officer since 2012 and says he has received “outstanding performance recognition” through both internal and public accolades.
Prosecutors also said Neilson’s punishment would be reduced due to her early guilty plea, her cooperation with the investigation and the fact that she had never been disciplined before in her nine years at OPS. .
Stewart said, “There is no indication that there have been any issues related to her performance and there is no reason to believe that such behavior or any issues will reoccur in this case.
According to prosecutors, Neilson’s punishment would most likely be a confiscation of several hours, and past similar disciplinary cases have ended that way.
OPS has not yet posted the official decision of the sentencing hearing. website.
Rachel Emmanuel contributed to this report.