Eyewitnesses to a Police Attack, Speak of a Night of Horror - 2

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J'Accuse...! Frames from a Film

Lawyer Delia Opekokew:
(Quoting OPP) “I’m going to get you.”
Dave was thunderstruck when the police attacked, guns blazing... and later drew the eyewitness drawing of what he saw...

The Compelling Faces
of Stoney Point

Their accounts of that night of terror were recorded for posterity only a few months after the events of Sept. 6, 1995.

Dave George drew an image of the police attack on the Aboriginal First Nation of Stoney Point.

Dave documented visually what is probably the worst racist attack by a police force on Aboriginal people in Ontario history.

The time: The police attack came near midnight, when journalists and TV cameramen were not around. The OPP are shown beating unconscious a band councilor from a nearby reserve who had come to mediate to prevent violence, just moments before the police machine guns were unslung and fired into unarmed Aboriginal men, women, and children.

A horrific scene, and the only picture of the event in existence, that was later drawn by Dave George, an eyewitness who was caught in among the crowd of advancing OPP officers. It captured ever detail that was seared into his memory.

The machine-gun and metal baton toting OPP advanced as a tight group, with their feet stomping in unison on the pavement, and their batons beating rhythmically on their shields.

They stopped only briefly to beat unconscious, a Band Councilor from the nearby Kettle Point First Nation, who had come to try to mediate a peaceful solution. He almost died, and was taken away by stretcher and ambulance.

Then the police swept on and attacked unarmed men and boys standing on their ancestral lands.

When clubs didn't work the OPP started shooting everywhere with pistols and machine guns.

Dudley George was targetted, shot, and died later that night.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Midnight Attack, by Ontario Provincial Police (detail) - 11:30 PM, Sept. 6, 1995
Orig. pencil drawing - Image Size - 23 cm
Stoney Point, Ipperwash, ON
The Many Sides of Racism in Ontario in the 20th Century

OPP - The OPP loudly claimed, through the media, that they were firing in self-defence at Indians who were running amok and shooting at them while they were illegally occupying government property.

The First Nations People- The Stoney Pointers say they had no guns and their men, women, and children were being shot at without cause by masses of OPP

- The Stoney Pointers say they were peacefully sitting on their ancestral homeland and burial site.

The Judge in Court Found - The OPP fired without being shot at by any First Nations person. Numerous OPP officers were lying under oath. The OPP officer who killed Dudley George repeatedly lied to the OPP, the SIU, & the Court.

The First Nations people had been speaking the truth all along, about having no guns. None threatened any OPP officer with a gun, let alone shoot at them.

The Governments - Agreed that the First Nations people were, indeed, on their own homelands and burial ground, and later abandoned government claims of ownership of Cadet Camp Ipperwash (Federal Gov't) and Ipperwash Provincial Park (Ontario Gov't).

GOVERNMENT - It was widely reported, inside and outside Queen' Park, that Premier Harris, head of the Conservative Government, barked orders to "Get those f***ing Indians out of the park." Harris later refused, for seven years, to hold a public inquiry into a possible illegal death by a rogue unit of policemen.

The Premier's aides publicly lied and covered up for him.

The Liberal Government agreed to hold an inquiry only if the family dropped its lawsuit against the government, and waive any right to compensation for the unlawful murder of their family member.

Shame - The Government of Ontario did a dirty on the family of Dudley George, who by all that is fair and decent, in modern Canadian society, was entitled to compensation for having a family member murdered in an unlawful action by the provincial police.

If it happened to a wealthy white family it would never have happened. Their lawyer would never have stood for it.

But poor Aboriginal people are only too often considered fair game for exploitation and racist treatment.

MEDIA - For almost a year after, the Media believed the OPP, and published only its view of the incident, and nothing whatsoever of the First Nations side of the story.

The media, holus bolus, promoted the widely publicly held view at the time that "those damned gun-toting rowdy Indians got exactly what was coming to them for occupying a public park."

Shame - In November, and December 1995, and the opening months of 1996, no investigative journalist was writing any articles in any paper in Canada on Ipperwash. Or for many months to come...

The government later agreed, after killing Dudley, that the First Nations people were not illegally occupying a public park, but were sitting on their own ancestral homelands and burial ground.

IPPERWASH INQUIRY - Lots of white lawyers got rich, billing some 20 million dollars to the public purse. But only for themselves...

While billing the tax payers multi-millions for themselves and their law firms:

The Inquiry lawyers contracted people to do hundreds of hours of high-tech work, specially for them, then when the work was delivered, reneged and refused to pay as they had promised, claiming "insufficient budget," and just took the work and used it for free...

The Inquiry lawyers ordered people to show up from hundreds of miles away, as witnesses, without giving per diems or mileage expenses, for which its own lawyers billed big-time. Is it any wonder that in the popular mind set, lawyers, deception, hypocrisy, and greed always seem to go together?

Unlike commission lawyers, who were never involved in Ipperwash before it became a paying proposition, the family of the murdered Dudley George had to promise the government not to ask for 5 cents, and got not a nickel of "wrongful death" compensation for the blatant and illegal killing of their family member.

Shame - Nothing new in this department.

The government agreed to hold an Inquiry only if the aggrieved party agreed to waive any and all financial compensation for the wrongful death of Dudley George.

The Ipperwash Inquiry was then set up, offering a wonderful venue for tax payer fed bureaucrats to rake in millions for their law firms investigating the miscarriage of justice...

Where's the miscarriage of justice?

Pro Bono Lawyers

While government-funded lawyers used the Inquiry to enrich themselves, there were numerous very dedicated lawyers representing Aboriginal family members, who did hundreds and hundreds of hours of unpaid "pro bono" work because of their strong belief in human rights, and to try to right a grievous miscarriage of justice.

Kudos to Lawyers Tony Ross, Delia Opekokew, Russell Raikes, Murray Klippenstein, Andrew Orkin, and their brothers and sisters in arms...

You are a credit to your profession, and to Canada.

Buck Doxtator - Running Scared!

"They were running away from us but still shooting!"

Buck Doxtator - Oneida Peacekeeper

The Scene: Buck recalls a high point of terror, when he and a dozen unarmed Stoney Pointer men, women, and children were were under police machine gun attack at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

The Implication - The police scared each other so badly, by firing at each other, they broke ranks and fled in fear from the scene.

Leland George - 14 - Inches from Death

"Then I ducked on the floor so I wouldn't get shot."

Leland George - 14 year old boy shot at by OPP

The Scene: Cringing physically as if still trying to escape police bullets, Leland talks of the night he crouched on top of his dog on the floor of the bus to escape the police gunfire that swept through the windows and doors.

The Implication - Young Leland was trying to protect his dog from machine gun bullets that were meant to kill both of them.

Gina George - "My Son Has Been Shot..."

"I see them, I hear them. They're coming to kill us!"

Gina George - Scared mother
The Scene: Recalling the screams of her three terrified children inside her car as she tries to gas up just moments after the shooting to get her kids away from the police attack.

The Implication - Aboriginal families live in terror after the OPP ran amok and shot at them.

Cully George - "The OPP murdered him..."

"The OPP murdered Dudley. They shouldn't have been allowed to do that."

Cully George - Sister of Dudley George
The Scene: Recounting the death of her brother Dudley at the hands of the OPP and the mad rush to take her dying brother to a hospital on a car with a flat tire.

The Implication - The OPP were free to shoot at First Nations people any time they felt like it, with no fear of any consequences.

Jessie George - Tempting Fate!

"We have a white flag. Let's see if they fire!"

Sister of Bernard George

The Scene: Only hours after the shooting and the almost fatal police beating of her brother, a Councilor trying to mediate to prevent violence, Jessie marches with outraged members of the Kettle & Stoney Point Band towards the spot where Dudley was killed and where the OPP gunmen are still gathered.

The Implication - The OPP ran amok, deliberately shooting at Aboriginal men, women, and children, near midnight, when no media could see them. Do they have the courage to shoot these marchers now in daylight, when the media are watching?

JT Cousens - 14 - Run for your Life!

"Dudley said Run... That's when he fell!"

JT - 14 year old boy shot at by the OPP

The Scene: Recounting Dudley's last words just moments before he was fatally shot.

The Implication - Being a 14 year old unarmed kid is no defence when the OPP are out to teach the Indians a lesson with machine guns blazing.

Eyewitness Accounts from the Scene

Witness Robert Isaac:
Big yellow helicopter would fly around raising dust, scaring the children, just out of stone's reach, because I tried throwing a few rocks at it."
Witness Gina George:
When we were on our way down, the helicopter followed us right down, flew right over top of the car. We went into the park we got out and they hovered right above us. And I opened up the trunk because I had the cooler, pop, I had coffee and their sandwiches. And I think that’s what it was trying to see. What I was taking out of my trunk. Well: food! So we tipped our little cans up to them, showed them we had pop and stuff like that. They did the same thing with another vehicle, wanting to know what the woman was carrying under the blanket. Well it was a newborn baby!"
Witness Gina George:
"There's a burial ground there...

Left The afternoon of the shooting attack, with actual police footage of the incident described by Gina, who is standing behind the table while her family is unpacking their picnic lunch.

Left her husband, Judas, happy to be occupying their tribal homeland for the first time in over 50 years waves a friendly greeting to the chopper.

Right Robert Isaac about to stoop to pick up a rock to throw to make the chopper back off.

After awhile, the repeated rotor wash on picnic food upset the families.

An angry Robert and Dave slinging rocks.

Witness Gina George:
"Coffee breaks over. You like watching kids swim? Haven't you got criminals to catch?"
Witness Dave George:
"One guy came up and threatened Dudley. Said Dudley you're going to get it first. Like I was this far away from him when he said it"

The taunting tree September 1995...

What the stone block heard...

The taunting tree and block 2005.

Dudley the terrorist dressed for the prom...

Dudley in an image the family - and those who knew him - preferred, warm, smiling, open, friendly, kind, a jokester...

The photo universally selected by the media in 1995 to reflect the Dudley none of them knew, but its members preferred to see: the dark, sinister, hooded, menacing face of biker type terrorist they portrayed the Stoney Pointers as being. No wonder the family did not like this image.

Lawyer Delia Opekokew:
"The police shouted taunts directly at Dudley George, such as; “Dudley you are going to be first. You want to be first?” and “We’ll kick your ass. One police officer pointed directly at him and threatened ..."
Witness Cully George:
"Dudley had come along and said that they were going to get him first. And he laughed about it, we all laughed. We didn’t really believe that."

Ground Zero for a Racist confrontation

Where the picnic table incident happened; where the shooting confrontation went down, showing the spot Dudley was killed marked with a framework of boughs in an enclosure.

Witness Leland George - 14:
We were sitting around, laughing and joking, having a good time, talking and everything."

Witness JT Cousens: age 14, the only living survivor to witness two OPP cruiser attacks on picnic tables on which he and other Stoney Pointer men, women, & children were sitting.

"These vans just start cruising in from both ways, and Dudley said “Run!” That's when the cops come in there, they come in and start tipping over the picnic tables."
Witness Robert Isaac:
"With the kids sitting on them, pushing tables together, you know. We had them in a circle, they just came in pushing the tables."

When we reported this incident to the Ipperwash Inquiry lawyers, we were immediately poo pooed by the Inquiry investigator (an RCMP officer) who archly challenged our allegations saying he had investigated this and he had good grounds to believe our allegations were false and uncalled for. We then dug out our video footage and explained the circumstances behind us getting it. We were met with a stony silence...

This is the only footage in existence of the tables battered by OPP cruisers.

Witness Buck Doxtator:
"Men, women, and children were holding on to tables, but they just revved up their engines and kept coming. The tables were soon on top of their hoods."

Editor - The police then blamed the Indians for vandalizing police cars...

The circumstances under which we sleuthed out the battered tables, and filmed them, sent a cold chill up our spine...

After a day long search we found about ten of them at 5 pm, stockpiled in a remote location, where they had lain for four months after the incident. No one was around when we filmed them late in the day...

When we returned, early in the morning - only 14 hours later - to take more pictures, they were gone...

Witness Robert Isaac:
"They could have killed one of the kids."

"It is in the nature of a public inquiry ... to bring to light matters that have been previously confidential. It is one of the goals of a public inquiry that the examination of the actions of individuals will lead to better understanding and learning so that the conduct will not reoccur." (Derry Millar lead commission lawyer)

Yet the commission lawyers did not ask us questions about this incident at the inquiry, or ask us to show the footage and explain the circumstances that led us to film this historically unique video.
Why not? What were they trying to cover up?

Witness Robert Isaac:
"And that's what the cops went and complained about to the media, said we bombed them with rocks. They almost, they could have killed one of the kids. They never thought about telling the public that. Start pushing tables over. And pretty soon, I guess too many rocks landed on their windshields and they left. Now there's a good story for the media."

The moon at Ipperwash hid its face in shame at what the white Establishment was about to do to First Nations people there, under the cover of darkness...

Witness Robert Isaac:
"We could hear them. They were marching, not walking, marching. Like this Hitler’s regime, you know."

The OPP unit, the men jammed together, several rows deep, and stretching across the entire road, approached on this road, loudly stomping, beating batons on shields and raising a horrific din.

All designed to scare the Indians...
In fact they scared each other, worse, and with fatal consequences for the peaceful Stoney Pointers...

Witness Dave George:
"We seen them coming down the road, the TRU team. Like they knew we were unarmed, cause they had the helicopters flying over all day. They knew we were unarmed."
Witness Buck Doxtator:
"They were marching like the Gestapo."

The actual pavement at the attack site on which the OPP boots pounded that night...
Witness Dave George:
"They knew we were unarmed. But they came there to do one thing, and that was to kill one of us. Maybe all of us."
Witness Buck Doxtator:
"He was trying to tell them about all the people from the reserve that had fought for this country in the war. But they didn't care they just started beating him."

Oh, Canada!

Bernard George, an elected Band Councilor from the nearby Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation had heard of the buildup of tension at nearby Camp Ipperwash, where the OPP were massing.

He was not an occupier, but had relatives in the Park. He was acting more as a scout and a peacekeeping emissary in his role as a councilor from the legitimate Kettle Point Band to try to prevent a violent blow up and possible bloodshed. Which was why he acted alone and approached the police alone.

He made the - almost fatal - mistake of thinking the OPP were there to talk.

As he approached the OPP to open a dialogue to prevent a civil disaster he had little time to talk. Just managing to say that members of their band had fought in World War II for Canada in Europe...

Those were the last words he said.

Eyewitness Dave George painted the scene that he and other Stoney Pointers witnessed from behind the safety of the fence at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

(The OPP were forbidden to go on to Park property and must have been frustrated at having no Indian heads to bash at the scene.)

When Band Councilor Bernard George suddenly walked up the street, it appeared that the "any Indian will do" mentality prevailed among the police and they became a mob.

Was there just too much hate to go around...?

Damn, Bernard was losing consciousness...

His final movement is to pull up his knees to protect his genitals from hundreds of vicious blows with metal batons in the hands of frenzied rogue policemen...

Only miracles performed by doctors saved his life...

To justify their nearly fatal beating of Bernard George, the OPP charged him with offences that were not upheld in court. He was cleared of all charges. In the end, he was beaten, nearly to death, merely for being an Indian.

Rogue Policemen Running Amok...

The lot of Jews in Nazi Germany? Palestinians in Israel? The Black Experience in the American South? Blacks in Apartheid South Africa?

None of the above. The all too common modern Aboriginal Experience in Canada...

The world expressed its outrage when four Canadian Mounted Policemen with tasers subdued a distracted Polish immigrant in Vancouver's airport, an enounter he did not survive.

Is this much attention, from a dozen or two OPP officers, wielding clubs, and metal batons, really necessary for subduing a single resisting Band Councilor?

Or are they doing something else?

Ipperwash Inquiry Judge Sidney B. Linden may offer you an insight. He recommended that OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino issue a formal apology to Band Councilor Bernard George for what the OPP did that night...

How can he ask that, if the OPP men were merely law abiding officers doing their civic duty in arresting a law breaker?

Did OPP Commissioner Fantino ever apologize as suggested by Judge Linden? If not, has anything really changed about the OPP attitude towards Aboriginal peoples since the killing of Dudley George and the beating of Band Councilor Bernard George?

Witness & Artist Dave George:
"They surrounded him and then another wave swept around them and attacked us."
Witness Cully George:
"Boom, boom, boom, gunshots!"
Witness Dave George:
"It's like bullets were going everywhere, went by your head, you could see them hitting the ground all the way around you."

The trees were lit up only by probing flashlights and peppered with bullets...
Witness JT Cousens - 14:
"You can hear the bullets hitting off the cement. Cement pillars or whatever they are. Cement blocks. I got behind one."

The bullets peppered the sand here, and zinged off the stone blocks as the OPP panicked and shot off automatic weapons in all directions...

Witness Gina George:
"My son and husband are still down there. I'm not going anywhere...!"

The bus windows shot out by the OPP machine gun fusillade. Inside had been16 year old Ugga, and 14 year old Leland and his dog.

Witness Dave George:
"I seen the guy shooting at Ugga there, seen the guy, its like right, pretty much in his face, ba ba ba ba ba ba."
Witness Leland George - 14:
"And then I could hear Ugga said, he said, 'Damn I just got shot' And then I asked him if he was alright."

The seat where Ugga was sitting when he was shot.

Bullet holes beside where Ugga was sitting in the bus...

Witness Leland George - 14:
"Then I ducked on the floor so I wouldn't get shot!"
Witness Dave George:
"They were shooting everywhere....
Witness Leland George - 14:
"I jumped on top of my dog so he wouldn't get shot."

The floor of the bus where Leland was cowering with his dog... and the plastic basket with which he was trying to defend himself from OPP gunfire...

Witness Leland George - 14:
"When they were shooting I was trying to plug that bottom window with a basket, so they wouldn't get in."

The shot out window Leland was trying to plug with a plastic basket to keep the OPP gunmen from getting in to finish the job...

The plastic basket - the only defence a 14 year old First Nations boy had against machine gun fire by OPP who "were there to do only one thing..."...

Today rusting away. Witness to the most shameful, out-of-control, police attack on Aboriginal Canadians in Ontario's history.

A disgraceful night to remember...

Witness Buck Doxtator:
"Three men were holding small flashlights. When I seen them three guys here, I noticed flashlights being shone around like they were looking for individuals."

Was He Alone? Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kenneth "Tex" Deane, found guilty of targetting, and deliberately killing Dudley George. Rather than firing a rogue cop, the OPP kept him on the payroll for 5 more years...

Witness Gina George:
"My three girls are in the car; they're screaming hurry up mom, they're going to kill us. Get us out of here, hurry up!"

The gunfire and yelling of fighting men echoed off the sand here which also absorbed the blood of First Nations people, still having to protect their ancestral homelands from unlawful attack...

Witness JT Cousens - 14:
"Dudley said, "Run." That's when he fell!"
Witness Buck Doxtator:
"They were running away from us but still shooting!"
Witness Cully George: Dudley's Sister
"The OPP killed Dudley... They murdered him... They shouldn't have been allowed to do that."
Pam George: Dudley's Sister
Witness Pierre George: Dudley's Brother
Sam George: Dudley's Brother

"My brother done no more than pull a few moons at the OPP. But they come out to kill him... They murdered him... They shouldn't have been allowed to do that..."

- Cully George


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