Jamaican-Canadian police superintendent pleads guilty to seven counts of misconduct
A Jamaican-Canadian police superintendent has pleaded guilty to seven counts of misconduct, at a disciplinary tribunal headed by retired South Simcoe Police Deputy Chief Robin McElary-Downer.
It is alleged that Supt Stacy Clarke committed misconduct in divulging matters that were her duty to keep secret, contrary to a section of the Police Services Act.
Supt Clarke has been an officer with the Toronto Police Service (TPS) since 1998 and was promoted to superintendent in July 2020 — the first black female superintendent in Toronto police history. In October 2021, she was assigned to 42 Division as the managing superintendent.
According to the statement of facts, the 2021 promotional process for members of the TPS seeking to be promoted from constable to sergeant was launched in August 2021, and eligible applicants completed an examination in October 2021. If successful, they were required to complete an interview conducted by a three-person panel consisting of a staff superintendent, a superintendent and an inspector.
The interviews were held from November 29 to December 7, 2021, and interview questions were selected from a pool of questions. All candidates being interviewed on a particular day were asked the same questions, but the questions were changed daily, and some were reused throughout the process. All candidates were provided the questions that they would be asked in their interview but not all the questions.
Supt Clarke was a member of the interview panel and sat in sessions on November 29, 30, December 3 and December 7, said the agreed statement of facts.
She had often acted as a mentor to numerous police officers who were seeking to be promoted. In 2021, she was mentor to several, including a Constable Horace Harvey, who was subject to formal discipline in a tribunal earlier this year.
On November 19, 2021, all candidates participating in the promotional process received an email from a superintendent advising them that the cut-off date for all mentoring was November 25, 2021.
This email was then forwarded to senior officers on the interview panel, including Supt Clarke, who admitted to receiving and reviewing the email.
Despite being directed on November 10, 2021, to cease contact with all mentees on or before November 25, Supt Clarke met with a constable after that date and conducted mock interviews. On November 29, she sat on an interview panel with two other senior officers.
Supt Clarke acted as a member of Constable Harvey’s interview panel. It was revealed that they were long-time friends and she did not disclose her friendship or their mentor-mentee relationship, or the direct conflict of interest associated with her participation on the panel because of these relationships. She admitted that she should have informed her panel chair of the conflict of interest.
Earlier this year, Constable Harvey pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct for cheating during the promotional process and received a six-month demotion from first-class constable to second-class, after which he will return to his previous rank.
The other officers involved received unit-level discipline of between 10 and 20 days without pay.
Police prosecutor Scott Hutchinson said, based on the admission in the form of the guilty plea by Supt Clarke and the agreed statement of facts, findings of guilt with respect to the seven counts were entered.
Clarke’s lawyer, Joe Markson, acknowledged that the content of the agreed statement of facts was admitted by the superintendent.
The deputy chief said she accepted the agreed statement of facts and found that the facts proved clear and convincing evidence that substantiate the allegations stated in the notice of hearing outlining three counts of breaches of confidence, three counts of discreditable conduct, and one count of insubordination.
She accepted Supt Clarke’s plea and found her guilty of those counts of misconduct contrary to a section of the Police Services Act.
Hutchinson said he and Markson were not able to reach a joint position on penalty and so they requested that the deputy chief schedule a contested sentencing hearing.
They have asked Deputy Chief McElary-Downer to set three days for evidence on the penalty hearing — during which an expert witness will be called — and a further date for argument.
Clarke could face consequences ranging from a reprimand to a demotion or dismissal.