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Tapp guilty of discreditable conduct

JENNIFER BURDEN, THE PACKET AND TIMES

Former Peterborough County OPP Const. Lloyd Tapp was found guilty of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act at the OPP General Headquarters in Orillia on Wednesday.

"After reviewing all the evidence and documents supplied ... I believe the prosecutor has proven his case," Allan Griffiths, adjudicator and retired superintendent of the Toronto Police, said in his decision.

Tapp was charged by the OPP after he was quoted in The Peterborough Examiner on Nov. 11, 2008, as saying derogatory comments about the OPP following his trial on charges of stunt driving and careless driving -- charges he was cleared of .

Reporter Galen Eagle quoted Tapp as saying, "Like I have been saying all along, the whole charge was a crock of lies. The evidence you have heard today in court is a clear indication of the shoddy investigations of the Ontario Provincial Police."

Further along in the article, Tapp was also quoted as saying, "One might ask then, why were charges laid when such a strong prima facie case existed with a lack of evidence to even substantiate a charge? What the public has heard today in court, the public should take heed to the type of so-called professional investigations and integrity of investigations by OPP."

During his disciplinary hearing on March 24, Tapp said he was unaware of the police code of conduct that governs OPP talking to the media and made the comments while he was off-duty.

Griffiths found that Tapp could "not assure the words he used" when he claimed that Eagle's quotes were "an extrapolation" of what he said and that Eagle left out important phrases such as "involving me" and "about me."

"He accepted 100% the portion of the quotes that were printed," Griffiths said. "Tapp acknowledged these statements, but there was more to it, he said."

On Wednesday, Griffiths said he found Eagle to be a "credible and forthwith witness" when he testified during the disciplinary hearing in March and believed Eagle reported the conversation between himself and Tapp accurately.

"I find on clear and convincing evidence that Tapp ... is guilty on the allegations of discreditable conduct," Griffiths said.

Tapp would not comment following his sentencing because he was on duty as an OPP officer with the Kawartha Lakes detachment, his new employer, but asked his wife Diane speak on his behalf.

"We're tired of being here all the time," she said. "I don't think it's fair because what he was relaying to the Examiner was (about) his investigations, not every investigation, because there are a lot of good officers out there."

Diane said the situation is very stressful for her and her family.

"We have five children. It's not only affecting him; it's the whole family dynamic," she said.

Tapp's friend Michael Jack, who was also an officer with the Peterborough OPP for a probationary period of 11 months in 2009, but was not hired on permanently, was present for "moral support." He said he was also subjected to differential treatment at the Peterborough detachment because of his accent and background.

"No matter how hard I tried or how hard I worked, it wasn't enough," Jack said. "If you're not local, it's tough to get through.

Jack said he believes the OPP were trying to get Tapp, who is a visible minority, with something "no matter what," just like they were trying to get him.

"To me, it is targeting. To me, it's workplace harassment," he said.

Tapp has been called to reappear at OPP Headquarters on July 22 at 10 a.m. for his penalty sentencing.

Defence lawyer William MacKenzie and OPP prosecutor Insp. Charles Young will present their case to Griffiths as to what penalization would be most appropriate for Tapp in light of the guilty verdict.

jburden@orilliapacket.com



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