By Candis McLean
By Candis McLean
741 words – MR <<< BOOK NEWS >>>
The cold hard facts of Neil Stonechild’s freezing death
TITLE: When Police Become Prey
AUTHOR: Candis McLean
PUBLISHER: Audacious Books
Last month, fired Saskatoon Constable Larry Hartwig was informed that his last attempt at clearing his name had been denied. The action has repercussions for police across the country, since Hartwig and his partner had been falsely implicated in the 1990 freezing death of Neil Stonechild. The story is told in the forthcoming book,
Comments on the back cover include this one by former police officer and MP Art Hanger: “The evidence exposed in this book cries out for justice! What plausible explanation would the RCMP, the Saskatchewan Department of Justice, elected politicians and the media have for failing to report crucial information that could very well exonerate the two innocent police officers? Dare one think that a cadre of politically correct, weak-kneed bureaucrats and politicians are up to some form of treachery because it suits them?”
Several years ago the Saskatoon Police Association requested that Saskatchewan’s Department of Justice review the several processes that led to derailing Hartwig’s life, starting with the RCMP investigation which, despite all the exculpatory evidence, focused on Hartwig and his partner, Const. Brad Senger. They were the officers, working together for the first time that night, who were dispatched to look for 17-year-old Neil Stonechild. The only person to ever claim having seen Stonechild in police custody was a 16-year-old convicted felon who, according to a counselling student, did not remember seeing Stonechild in custody until she did a visualization exercise with him
When the RCMP task force delivered its evidence to Sask Justice, no charges were laid. The subsequent Minister of Justice, Frank Quennell, would state: “there wasn’t evidence that could possibly have led to a trial in that case.” The province then held a public inquiry in which no guilt was to be assigned. The inquiry commissioner, however, wrote what a retired judge calls a “devastating” report, finding that Stonechild was probably last seen in a police car and that, with a little rearranging of the documented timeline, Hartwig and Senger would have had time to drive Stonechild out to the industrial area of the city where his body was found.
The officers were then fired because they failed to write in their notebooks that they had Stonechild in their custody.
The book contains remarkable new material, obtained through Freedom of Information requests and diligent research that:
Reveals behind the scenes pressure by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations on both the RCMP and Saskatchewan Justice System; Details a tunnel-vision investigation by RCMP; Brings to light never-before-revealed physical evidence; and Provides testimony by three key witnesses excluded from the Stonechild Inquiry
The author writes:
“This is the true story of a house of cards the size of a city. Built lie upon lie, this house contains multiple horrors, which makes opening each door intriguing in a disturbing sort of way. All it will take now is the collapse of one card to set the entire fabrication toppling.” – Candis McLean
The book, released last month, is available through Amazon.
Candis McLean is an award winning print and radio journalist and film maker from Alberta. She worked with her son Stuart to produce the 2005 award winning film documentary, When Police Become Prey: What Lies Behind “Starlight Tours.” Contact: email@example.com