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The ultimate comeback story: From a coma to Paralympic athlete

first_img Written by March 9, 2020 /Sports News – National The ultimate comeback story: From a coma to Paralympic athlete FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailbedo/iStock(NEW YORK) — By all accounts, Ryan Boyle was like many typical 10-year-olds.Growing up in the suburbs of Monroe, Connecticut, he loved the outdoors and was a social butterfly in school. And for as long as he can remember, a bike was never too far out of his reach. But life as he knew it – and his love for cycling – came to a screeching halt on Oct. 13, 2003.Boyle was attending a friend’s birthday sleepover, and that morning he and his friends were outside taking turns riding on a Big Wheel truck. Rain from the night before had made the road surface slippery, and not too long after he got on the toy, Boyle slipped and was pulled down the steep driveway directly into oncoming traffic.A pickup truck speeding on the backroad collided with Boyle and the Big Wheel, dragging his body underneath the truck’s front tire over 55 feet before the driver came to a complete stop. That’s when, as Boyle described in his memoir, When the Lights Go Out, “everything went black.”“I don’t really remember anything after I fell backwards down the driveway,” said Boyle.   Boyle was airlifted to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital where doctors performed emergency brain surgery that resulted in the removal of his cerebellum, the back portion of the brain responsible for coordinating voluntary movements like balance, coordination and speech. He would spend the next two months in a medically-induced coma. During this time, one or both of Boyle’s parents, Matthew and Nancy, would stay by his bedside.Boyle’s family had difficulty accepting the doctors’ grim prognosis and, instead, leaned heavily on their Christian-faith to help him pull through.“Because my dad was involved in our church, there were a sector of Mother Teresa’s order who would come to my ICU room, and the nuns would pray for me,” Boyle recalled. “They (the nuns) would put miraculous medals on each of my broken bones. And (as his dad later explained to him), they (Boyle’s parents) would notice my vital signs improve,” he said.The Boyle family received a Christmas miracle when Ryan woke up from his coma. He recalled the first conscious moment he had when he came to. “There were a bunch of monitors beeping, and I had no idea what was going on,” said Boyle. “There were three people, my parents and my neurologist, standing over me, and I remember only being able to move my right index finger.” Months of grueling rehab would ensue for Boyle, as he had to re-learn how to breathe, swallow, stand, sit, walk and talk all on his own.It was during his seven-month stay at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York where Boyle would make perhaps the biggest decision of his young life. “I wanted to enjoy life, and get as much out of it as I can,” Boyle said. “I couldn’t stop and feel sorry for myself. I thought, ‘if I put in the work, eventually, I could do what I wanted to do and what I am passionate about,’” he added.Boyle would make a remarkable recovery and would readjust to a “new normal.” He attended St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut, where he started a car club, managed the boys’ varsity basketball team and served as a student ambassador. Despite all Boyle would go on to accomplish, there was still a noticeable void in his life: his first love for cycling. After doctors finally gave Boyle the all-clear, he immediately set his sights on another ambitious goal.  “Once I found out I could ride a bike again, I put everything into it and knew that I could become a world champion,” Boyle said. Boyle’s dedication and persistence would ultimately pay off in 2014 when he made the United States Paralympian cycling team at just 19 years old.After placing second at the World Championships, Boyle achieved his goal of qualifying for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio where he took home a silver medal in the time trial race, and placed fourth in the road race. Boyle now lives and trains as a full-time athlete at the U.S. Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Through his entire journey, Boyle has continued to embrace stepping into the unknown and constantly pushing himself to achieve more. His sights are now set on getting over the plateau separating him from Paralympic gold at this year’s Games in Tokyo.“It’s important to never give up faith, and continually set the bar high,” said Boyle. “Life is truly a wild ride and you never really know what will come of it.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.center_img Beau Lundlast_img read more

NASCAR results at Michigan: Kevin Harvick defends Consumers Energy 400 title

first_imgMORE: Watch NASCAR live with fuboTV (7-day trial)Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top five. Brad Keselowski, who led a race-high 66 laps, was poised to finish in the top five, but had to pit from third with 11 laps remaining in order to have enough fuel for the finish. He wound up 19th.Fuel mismanagement struck Joey Logano as well, as the No. 22 led 52 laps, but had to pit with four laps remaining in order to fuel up. He finished 17th but maintained his second-place status in the Cup Series standings.Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer both entered the day on the playoff bubble and in need of a good performance, something that ultimately eluded the pair by the race’s end. Johnson was forced to pit early in the race on Lap 15 and ultimately finished 34th. Bowyer hit the wall hard on Lap 139, spelling the end of the race for the No. 14 and a 37th-place finish. Bowyer now holds the final playoff position, while Johnson sits on the outside, looking in, at 18th place.The Cup Series returns to Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday for a night race in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.Sporting News tracked live lap-by-lap updates and highlights from the Consumers Energy 400. Follow along below.Consumers Energy 400: 2019 winner, top 20 order of finishNASCAR at Michigan: Live updates, highlights from Consumers Energy 400FinishDriverTeam (Car No.)Laps led1.Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas (4)222.Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs Racing (11)63.Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi Racing (42)4.Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs Racing (19)435.Daniel SuarezStewart-Haas (41)6.Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs Racing (18)37.Ryan PreeceJoe Gibbs Racing (47)8.William ByronHendrick Motorsports (24)9.Chase ElliottHendrick Motorsports (9)10.Alex BowmanHendrick Motorsports (88)11.Ty DillonGermain Racing (13)12.Ryan NewmanRichard Childress Racing (6)13.Austin DillonRichard Childress Racing (3)14.Chris BuescherJTG Daugherty Racing (37)15.Paul MenardWood Brothers Racing (21)16.David RaganFront Row Motorsports (38)17.Joey LoganoTeam Penske (22)5218.Erik JonesJoe Gibbs Racing (20)19.Brad KeselowskiTeam Penske (2)6620.Matt DiBenedettoLeavine Family Racing (95)(All times Eastern.)Caution flags: 6Lead changes: 19Lap leaders: Kevin Harvick (22), Brad Keselowski (67), Joey Logano (52), Martin Truex Jr. (43), Kevin Harvick (22), Denny Hamlin (6), Kurt Busch (5), Ryan Blaney (2), Kyle Busch (3)6:00 p.m.: Harvick holds off Hamlin for his second win of the season. Several drivers run out of fuel on the final lap.5:59 p.m.: One lap left, and Harvick has a decent lead over Hamlin.5:58 p.m.: Logano pits out of second with four laps to go. His team feared he didn’t have enough fuel.5:57 p.m.: Five to go. Hamlin and Blaney just got the okay to go full throttle. They’re third and fourth respectively.5:53 p.m.: Keselowski heads to pit road with 11 laps left.5:50 p.m.: Harvick gets around Logano for first with 16 laps left. Keselowski is in third, but will need a caution for fuel if he plans on winning5:46 p.m.: Keselowski’s team says he’s at least 10 laps short on fuel. Logano’s team is unsure if the No. 22 has enough.5:44 p.m.: Blaney has dropped to fifth as he tries to conserve fuel for the finish.5:40 p.m.: Harvick gets around Keselowski with 29 laps left.5:35 p.m.: Just 40 laps remain and Logano lead Blaney and Keselowski. Blaney’s team is telling him to try and conserve fuel.5:30 p.m.: Logano and Paul Menard both get around Blaney.5:29 p.m.: Ryan Blaney wins the race off pit road and is the new leader on the restart.5:25 p.m.: Green flag racing is tough to come by. Another caution as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spins out in Turn 4.5:22 p.m.: Clint Bowyer’s day is finished. Good news for Jimmie Johnson.5:18 p.m.: Let’s try that restart again. Logano maintains the lead.5:10 p.m.: That didn’t last long. Clint Bowyer is into the wall and has major damage to his rear. Another caution.5:10 p.m.: And we’re back under green with Logano and Kurt Busch still in the front row.5:05 p.m.: Spencer Boyd spins out into the wall and draws a caution. Drivers can’t reach the end on their current fuel levels, so most will stay off pit road.5:04 p.m.: William Byron, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson round out the top five.5:01 p.m.: Green flag on the final stage with Kurt Busch and Joey Logano in the front row. Busch eventually settles behind the No. 22.4:54 p.m.: Here’s a look at the chaos that ended Stage 2:Stage 2 winner: Kyle Busch4:49 p.m.: Kyle Busch wins the stage, but Austin Dillon spun into the infield and Aric Almirola smacked into the wall. Almirola’s day might be over.4:48 p.m.: Green flag. It’s a one lap shootout to end the stage.4:46 p.m.: Kyle Busch’s team told him to stay off pit road in order to pick up stage points.4:42 p.m.: Caution is out as Keselowski blows a tire and spins into the infield.4:39 p.m.: Harvick and Kyle Busch are the new leaders with eight laps left in Stage 2.4:36 p.m.: Drivers are beginning to pit with 11 laps to go in the stage. Hamlin and Logano both took four tires. Truex takes just fuel again.4:31 p.m.: Twenty laps remain in Stage 2, and Kurt Busch has now worked his way up to third. He’s closing the gap as Truex and Hamlin battle for first.4:25 p.m.: Truex almost drives off the track and into the infield as he successfully passes Keselowski for the lead.4:22 p.m.: Kurt Busch passes Alex Bowman on Lap 86 for fourth.4:18 p.m.: For the third race in a row, Truex and Hamlin are locked side by side. Truex just passed the No. 11 for second.4:13 p.m.: Truex restarted ninth after having to take four tires, but he’s already recovered to third.4:09 p.m.: Green flag for Stage 2. Keselowski and Hamlin make up the front row.Stage 1 winner: Martin Truex Jr.3:59 p.m.: Truex Jr. barely holds off Hamlin for the stage victory. Truex started the race is last.3:57 p.m.: Really aggressive driving between the three leaders and Larson and Bubba Wallace in lap traffic. Three to go.3:55 p.m.: Truex is running into Kyle Larson and other lap traffic, causing him to lose precious fractions of a second.3:52 p.m.: Everyone has pitted now with 12 laps to go. Martin Truex Jr. opted for fuel-only in an attempt to pick up a playoff point and now has the lead. Joey Logano has the edge over Hamlin for second.3:47 p.m.: The green flag pit cycle has begun.3:44 p.m.: Finally a new leader! Hamlin passes Keselowski on Lap 40.3:40 p.m.: Harvick is forced to pit out of second with a flat tire on Lap 33.3:37 p.m.: Halfway through Stage 1 and Keselowski has led Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin the whole way.3:32 p.m.: Johnson if off pit road, but he’s already two laps behind Brad Keselowski on Lap 20.3:30 p.m.: Johnson makes it to pit road with a lot of damage and a flat tire, but the race stays green. Not what the No. 48 wanted as he sits 16th in the standings…3:28 p.m.: Jimmie Johnson is real slow coming down the backstretch. Looks to be smoke on the inside. Kevin Harvick needed 20 races to record his first win of the season a few a weeks ago. The No. 4 Ford now has a pair of victories in his last four races after holding on to win the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.The win was Harvick’s third at Michigan and 47th of his Cup Series career. Fuel strategy was a heavy influence in Harvick’s win, as runner-up Denny Hamlin had to ease off the throttle for some of the final laps in an effort to conserve fuel. 3:23 p.m.: Martin Truex Jr. is flying. He started from the rear, and just five laps in, he’s up to 16th.3:20 p.m.: Green flag!3:11 p.m.: Cars are rolling. A quick breakdown of today’s race below:last_img read more

Uganda’s Emong wins historic World Para Athletics gold

first_imgVIDEO***Who are para-athletes?The Para-Athletics events are competitions for the physically impaired. The T46 event that Emong features in are for athletes with upper limb or limbs that are affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement.To be eligible for para-athletics, a person must have an eligible impairment type and the impairment must be judged to be severe enough to have an impact on the sport of athletics.In general athletes with impairments that have a similar impact on sport performance will compete in the same sport class.The system ensures that athletes do not succeed simply because they have an impairment that causes less of a disadvantage than their competitors, but because of their skill, determination, tactics, fitness and preparation. Share on: WhatsApp Emong (left) won the sprint finish to win gold Saturday night in London.London, United Kingdom | THE INDEPENDENT |  David Emong has done it again. Uganda’s Paralympic silver medallist put Uganda on the mark at the World Para Athletics Championships in London by winning the country’s first ever gold on Saturday night.Emong did it in style, running 3:58.36in the 1,5oom T46 event to beat  defending champion Samir Nouioua (3:58.78) of Algeria in a terrific sprint finish on day two of the ongoing London World Para Athletics Championships. It was sweet revenge as Nouioua had beaten Emong for gold last year the the Rio Paralympics.“I was expecting to win because I have been training at altitude with Uganda’s champions Moses Kipsiro and Stephen Kiprotich. Last year I wasn’t ready to win. I lacked behind at the end, but this time I was ready and in the last 100m I knew it was mine,” said Emong.Emong is one of only two athletes entered to compet at London 2017. The other entrant was Christine Akullo in the T13, F13 100 and 400m.Emony, 26, has just been named Uganda’s athlete of the year  by the Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) after his historic medal exploits at the Paralympic Games in Rio where he won the country’s first ever medal. He was a runner-up for the Uganda sportsman of the year title that was awarded to footballer Denis Onyango.While at school in 2005, he broke his left arm after he was beaten up by other students. He did not receive medical treatment for the injury, which resulted in limited use of the limb.Emong won silver in Rio last year. Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities, and are held soon after the Summer Olympics.The Para Athletics Championships on the other hand are held prior to the World Championships that are due at the same venue, London next month.The World Para Athletics Championships will run through to 23 July. More than 1,150 athletes from 90 countries are competing in 202 medal events.***RELATEDlast_img read more

Kootenay takes it on the chin against West Coast Avalanche

first_imgThe Kootenay Wildcats are having a tough time getting into the win column in BC Hockey Female Midget AAA League action this past weekend in Nelson.West Coast Avalanche won all three games in the Heritage City by a whopping 17-1 margin.West Coast opened the series Friday by stopping the Cats 8-1. Eleza Pakozdy and Megan Lia each scored twice for the Avs while Stephanie McAuley of Trail scored the lone goal for Kootenay.West Coast scored seven times in the second period to take over the game.Saturday, Tiana Lopes scored three times and Shannon Morris-Reade added a pair to lead the Avs attack in an 8-0 victory for West Coast.Later in the day, a second-period goal by Mya Taylor proved to be the winner as West Coast found the Cats a lot more tougher in a 1-0 victory.Kootenay, winless in 12 games, has a week off before travelling to Vernon to meet the Thompson/Okanagan Lakers in a three-game weekend series October 31 and November 1.last_img read more

United customer satisfaction ratings may survive furore.

first_imgUnited Airlines may not take the reputational hit most social media pundits believe it deserves, according to a company that measures customer satisfaction.The American Customer Satisfaction Index, which ranks US industries on their abilities to satisfy consumers, had United improving its reputation with consumers ahead of last month’s public relations debacle involving the forced removal of  69-year-old David Dao from a flight in Chicago.United was the lowest scoring legacy carrier, with 70 points on a 100-point scale with a 1994 baseline, but it had managed to boost its standing by 2.9 per cent. It was ahead of ultra low-cost carriers Frontier and Spirit but below the industry average score of 75 and long way behind industry leader JetBlue on 82.The ASCI report was based on 8,660 customer surveys collected between April 18, 2016, and March 19, 2017 — a few weeks before the airline sparked a global furore over the Dao incident.ASCI said at that time it was unclear how much impact the incident would have on future passenger satisfaction but noted United’s position as the lowest scoring legacy airline.But ASCI director David VanAmburg believes it will be minimal providing the airline does the right thing in future.“In terms of the average customer experience, ACSI does not expect United’s high-profile incident to have an impact on its ACSI score,’’ VanAmburg told AirlineRatings.“It can have an impact on a company’s image and reputation which in turn can drive down financial performance in the form of fliers defecting to other airlines, but customer satisfaction should remain stable as long as the average United passenger experiences the same quality of service as before.”The United juggernaut rolled -on this week as airline chief executive Oscar Munoz made yet another apology, this time before a congressional committee looking at passenger rights.United has already settled with Dao and recently introduced 10 changes that included boosting the ceiling on the amount it is prepared to pay passengers to give up their seat to $US10,000.  It has also vowed that it will not use law enforcement to deal with passengers unless there is a safety or security issue.Nonetheless, the incident focussed the attention of politicians on passenger rights and the airlines are facing attempts to introduce a raft of bills addressing the issue.This week’s hearings saw the chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Republican Bill Shuster, issue a sharp warning that it expected “real results” from airlines trying to clean up their act.“As a general principle, I don’t believe in overburdening our businesses with regulations or re-regulating industries that are successfully deregulated,’’ Shuster said.“But I shouldn’t need to remind you that Congress will not hesitate to act wherever necessary to ensure your customers, our constituents, are treated with the respect they deserve.“If we don’t see meaningful results that improve customer service, the next time this committee meets to address the issues, I can assure you won’t like the outcome.’’Also present at the hearings were representatives from Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and the Consumers Union..last_img read more

Helicopters, VIPs kept away from Garhwal by Congress(I) during Assembly elections

first_imgBahuguna (left) and Singh: Foregone conclusion?Stragegy in GarhwalHelicopters and VIPs are being studiously kept away from Garhwal by the Congress(I) during the Assembly elections this time. The electorate in this hilly region wasn’t impressed by all the pomp and show displayed by the ruling party last year. Congress(I) also seems,Bahuguna (left) and Singh: Foregone conclusion?Stragegy in GarhwalHelicopters and VIPs are being studiously kept away from Garhwal by the Congress(I) during the Assembly elections this time. The electorate in this hilly region wasn’t impressed by all the pomp and show displayed by the ruling party last year. Congress(I) also seems to have resigned itself to the victory of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna in the Lok Sabha by-election from this constituency later this month.The Central leadership has quietly passed on the campaign to the state unit of the party which in turn has passed it on to the state Youth Congress, Uttar Pradesh Youth Congress President Sanjay Singh has been camping out in the constituency along with scores of young party colleagues for the past three weeks. Low key. door-to-door campaigns with local grass roots level leaders appears to be the main strategy.If Bahuguna wins, the Central leaders can conveniently wash their hands off the defeat by saying they had not bothered much about it. If the Congress(I) does manage to romp home, it will be a pleasant surprise for the party managers in Delhi as well as the candidate. Chandra Mohan Singh Negi, Uttar Pradesh’s minister for hill development. On test also is the organising skill of Sanjay Singh. Once the right hand man of the late Sanjay Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh, Singh played a key role in ensuring the victory of all Congress(I) candidates in the state Rajya Sabha poll.Asiad’s ‘Colourful’ delayThe IX Asiad is coming and we are getting ready, reads the message of the half-page advertisements in the dailies. But arrangements are still far from complete. With the games just six months away, the tickets for the Asiad – the largest spectacle of sport in Asia held once every four years – have still to be printed to be sold overseas and at home. The problem lies in the indecision of the organisers, who are still debating what colours the various tickets should be.Signalling the SovietsThe Soviet Union’s recent offer to Pakistan to help them set up a tractor factory and establish more steel mills, and the hobnobbing of Soviet diplomats with Pakistanis in some world capitals, has greatly annoyed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It is not so much the uncooperative attitude of the Communist Party of India (CPI), which follows the Moscow lines, but the Soviet attempts to get closer to Pakistan that have caused suspicion and indignation in New Delhi. A top source in South Block said that Soviet attempts to woo Pakistan are designed to pinprick New.Delhi and to get Mrs Gandhi to yield to their dictates. Mrs Gandhi has deliberately announced recently that she was proposing to visit both Washington and Moscow, just to signal to the Soviets that she is not one to be pressured.MiG HuntingPersistent reports that India may be considering purchase of the late: MiG variants, the MiG-27 and MiG-29, seem to have been confirmed. A batch of Indian Air Force fighter pilots who have been flying MiGs are currently in the Soviet Union for a three-month training programme with the new aircraft. Sources say that the training will mainly be on the MiG-27 Flogger-D, a tactical strike aircraft; but they will also test-fly the MiG-29 which is still in its initial production stages. The sources say that India may eventually settle only for the MiG-27 which has the advantage of being able to operate from unprepared or under-prepared runways.Travails of an  exileLaldenga, leader of the outlawed Mizo National Front, has set up his new home in a small town in West Germany just outside Frankfurt, according to sources, Laldenga, who was asked to leave the country last fortnight after six years of fruitless negotiations over the prickly Mizo problem, spent two days in London before proceeding to Frankfurt.advertisementHe is no stranger to the country and had in fact lived there in exile before being called back to India by the Government. Initially, the Indian Government had left out Britain and West Germany from the list of countries his new passport permitted him to visit, but later changed its mind and endorsed them on the document. However, there are indications that Laldenga might finally settle down closer to his homeland. Sources say that he has close connections with Bangladesh President General Ershad and he could possibly return to Dacca, an ideal base from where he can resume his former activities.Going great guns Swami Dhirendra: Finger in every pieThe hirsute Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari seems to have a finger in every pie, particularly in Jammu, the site of his opulent ashram. He has now added another acquisition to his list in the form of a gun manufacturing firm. Now, over a dozen MPs have, in a memorandum, demanded an inquiry into the alleged grant of a gun manufacturing licence to the firm. According to the memorandum Brahmachari secured the ownership of the Jammu-based firm and then applied to the Union Home Ministry and had the production of the factory increased to 3,000 guns a year.advertisementlast_img read more

Cesar Millan Awarded Honorary Diploma In Thailand

first_imgOn June 2, 2015, Cesar Millan became the third American to receive an honorary diploma from Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand.CESAR MILLAN IS AWARDED HONORARY DEGREE FROM CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITYMillan was honored for his humanitarian services to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home abandoned and abused dogs around the world. In receiving the prestigious award, Millan was also recognized for his contribution to veterinarian and behavioral sciences. Millan received the award from the university’s faculty on the 80th Anniversary of the founding of their Veterinary department.“Responsibility for lives is our theme for the 80 year anniversary of Chulalongkorn University-Faculty of Veterinary Science,” said Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, Dean of Chulalongkorn University. “The University wishes to recognize the contribution Cesar Millan has made to improving the conditions and care for dogs all over the world, as well as, for his tireless work to advance instinctual learning of canine behavior.”“I am honored and humbled to have received this award from Chulalongkorn University,” said Millan. “It has been a privilege to be able share my instinctual approach to dog rehabilitation over the years and in so many Asian countries. I am pleased that the international community is embracing instinctual learning.”Millan has championed countless projects worldwide for animal advocacy. In 2007, he launched the Cesar Millan Foundation (CMF), a national non-profit organization, with the mission of promoting animal welfare by supporting the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abused and abandoned dogs; establishing and fortifying community humane education programs and curricula; and building a balance between dogs and people through the animal behaviourist teachings and philosophies he had honed throughout his career. The foundation has donated over 1 million dollars to develop and support Humane Education, supported the efforts of 3,000+ no-kill shelter affiliates, and has been instrumental in many other animal advocacy initiatives.Millan received this award while on tour in Thailand for his live show, Love Your Dogs. The show is an educational and entertaining live show, in which Millan demonstrates his instinctual techniques on how to establish a balanced and happy relationship with dogs. The goal of the tour is to educate the international community of dog owners on how to create better relationships with their canine companions.Chulalongkorn University is more than a century old, making it the oldest university under the modern Thai educational system. The institution is highly regarded in the nation and bears the Royal family’s crest. Previous Chulalongkorn University honorary degree recipients include former United States Presidents Bill Clinton and Lyndon B. Johnson.last_img read more

Senator Murray Sinclair appointed investigator to look into Thunder Bay police board

first_imgWillow FiddlerAPTN National NewsSitting Senator Murray Sinclair was appointed as an investigator and tasked to look into the administration of the Thunder Bay police board.Sinclair, who also chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was named to the job Monday by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC).The OCPC investigation will look into “serious concerns” the OCPC has regarding the board, specifically their ability to address matters related to the deaths of Indigenous youth, public statements from the board that there is no basis for public concerns of systemic racism within the service, and the recent criminal charges laid against the police chief.The OCPC is a provincial tribunal with a mandate that includes ensuring police service boards are providing efficient oversight of police services.Sinclair was the first lndigenous Judge in Manitoba, working in the justice system for 25 years before chairing the TRC and then being appointed as an independent Senator in 2016.In May, First Nations leadership including Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Grand Council Treaty #3 called on the OCPC to intervene in what they were calling a policing crisis after the bodies of two First Nations youth were found in Thunder Bay rivers.Tammy Keeash, 17 years and Josiah Begg, 14 years, were both reported missing the same night on May 6. Keeash’s body was found on May 7 and Begg’s on May 18.The families of both Keeash and Begg are looking for answers as to how their children ended up dead in the river.Under the direction of the Chief Coroner of Ontario, the York Regional Police are now working on both death investigations.There has been heavy criticism and concern over the city’s death investigations of First Nations people, particularly young First Nations. It was a focus of the student inquest that examined the deaths of seven First Nations students attending high school in the city between 2000 and 2011. Five of those students were found dead in city rivers. In that inquest, a jury could not conclude how they ended up in the rivers, just that they had drowned.The troubles for the police service haven’t stopped. Last November, the province’s police watchdog, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director started its investigation of the service for systemic racism and how it deals with Indigenous people in the city.This was sparked by a complaint filed by the family of Stacey Debungee over the way the police handled the death investigation after the man’s body was found in the river in 2015. Police ruled out any suspicion of foul play within hours of his death, prompting concerns over the quality of police work when investigating Indigenous deaths.Hours before Begg’s body was found, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director Gerry McNeilly said the city’s police service was “in a bit of a crisis”.It’s a claim that has been shared by First Nations leaders and families but adamantly refused by the city’s police service and its administrating board.As if the deaths of two First Nations teens wasn’t harrowing enough for a city already in the national spotlight for crime and racism, the Chief of Police J.P. Levesque was then charged with breach of trust and obstructing justice for allegations he disclosed confidential information about the city’s mayor Keith Hobbs. Just last week, Hobbs and his wife Marisa were charged with obstructing justice and extortion in what the city called a “personal matter” not related to city business or issues.In June, the board and service held a joint press conference to say they believed they were going through “challenging times”, but not a crisis. Acting Chief Sylvie Hauth said despite the troubling list of concerns which include the OIPRD investigation, criminal charges against the police chief and concerns over death investigations, it was “business as usual” for the service.According to a tbnewswatch report in May, Board co-chair and city councillor Brian McKinnon said there is no evidence or facts to back up accusations against the police service in the OIPRD investigation.Five days after that news report was published, the OCPC advised the police board of its investigation.Last week, a First Nations man died after being locked up in a Thunder Bay police jail cell. The province’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is investigating.OCPC said its investigation is not punitive but in the public interest of ensuring the board is meeting its obligations.Both the board chair and acting chief have said they will cooperate with both investigations and implement any recommendations it receives.On Friday, Mayor Keith Hobbs, and two others were charged with extortion. Hobbs is a former police officer in the city. And in May, JP Levesque, the city’s police chief was charged with obstruction of justice.The OCPC says an interim report will be completed by the end of October 2017 and a final report of their investigation will be completed by March 31, 2018.The OIPRD final report is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.Contact Willow here: [email protected]last_img read more