Tomorrow, May 16, the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) and the Halifax Police Service will reach the 11-month mark in their suppression of the name of a 41-year-old man who died in a Halifax police cell.
That means it will have been 11 months since SiRT supposedly began investigating the death of CR, as I call him.
I have several theories about the delay. One is that SiRT Director Ron MacDonald has been too busy helping the NS Bar Society put Lyle Howe in his place to move the CR investigation along.
Another theory is that, for the dullest of reasons, SiRT is never going to release the results of its investigation and, consequently, you will never know whether the victim simply died from misadventure, was killed accidentally through negligence, or was murdered.
A third theory is that a police dog ate MacDonald’s homework.
It’s difficult for bloggers to dig into these issues because we don’t have the thousands of followers enjoyed by mainstream media. A communications flack once told me: “I really don’t have time to give a high priority to questions from bloggers.”
I completely understand and even sympathize. But the media don’t seem interested, which means I’ll have to put on my amateur reporter fedora and begin calling CR’s family and friends to confirm his identity.
They won’t like it and neither will I, but I’ll do it because the police and SiRT are being undemocratic. And, unfortunately, it seems to be catching on.
If you know something about CR, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll do my best to honour a request for anonymity, but I don’t have the resources to resist a court order demanding your name and I don’t want to go to jail. A pretty good solution is go to a library or internet cafe you don’t routinely visit, set up a phony gmail account, send me the email, and then kill the account. It’s not bulletproof security, but it requires a lot of effort to learn who you are. Whatever you do, don’t send it from work.
If you feel your information is so hot that organizations will indeed go to extreme lengths to find you, then give it to the CBC, which has a secure drop at https://securedrop.cbc.ca.