Ontario Police Officer Appeals Professional Punishment for Donating to Freedom Convoy

TORONTO, ON: Constable Michael Brisco has filed a Notice of Appeal with Ontario Civilian Police Commission, challenging tribunal decisions finding him guilty of discreditable conduct and forcing him to work 80 hours without pay for donating $50 to the Freedom Convoy.

Constable Brisco has served with the Windsor Police Service and is a highly trained and respected police officer with an exemplary record. In February of 2022, Constable Brisco was on unpaid leave from his job as a police officer in Windsor for choosing not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

On February 8, 2022, Constable Brisco made a $50 donation to the Ottawa Freedom Convoy via GiveSendGo. The day before, the Ontario Superior Court ordered that, subject to compliance with an injunction granted against honking in Ottawa, “persons remain at liberty to engage in a peaceful, lawful and safe protest.”

The donation was brought to the attention of Windsor Police Service when the donor list was hacked from the crowdfunding site. The Ontario Provincial Police intercepted the donor list and assisted in identifying police donors throughout Ontario. The Windsor Police Service chose to prosecute Constable Brisco for “discreditable conduct” for making a $50 donation to the Ottawa Freedom Convoy.

After a six-day hearing before an Ontario Provincial Police Adjudicator, the Tribunal, on March 24, 2023, Constable Brisco was found guilty of Discreditable Conduct in a Windsor Police Service Discipline Hearing for making the $50 donation to the Freedom Convoy.  On May 18, 2023, the Tribunal ordered that Constable Brisco forfeit 80 hours of work as punishment.

Constable Brisco’s lawyer, Christopher Fleury, stated: “Thousands of Canadians supported the Freedom Convoy and exercised their Charter right to freedom of expression by donating to the peaceful protest in Ottawa. Among the multiple grounds of appeal, the most glaring error of the Tribunal was its refusal to consider Constable Brisco’s Charter rights at all. The Tribunal was required by law to balance our client’s right to freedom of expression with the statutory objectives of the Police Services Act. Failing to conduct this analysis is a serious error of law.”

Updated: The court date for the appeal hearing is November 21, 2023.

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