Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino testified against two of his top officers at a disciplinary inquiry on Friday, saying their allegations against him are "hysterical nonsense."
The hearing against Supt. Ken MacDonald and Insp. Allison Jevons is being held at OPP headquarters in Orillia. MacDonald used to head the unit that probes internal corruption and Jevons was a senior investigator in the unit. Both now face charges of neglect of duty and deceit.
They claim they are victims of a witch hunt inside the OPP being orchestrated by Fantino and the head of the OPP union, the Ontario Provincial Police Association.
MacDonald and Jevons were ordered to look into why OPP supervisors in eastern Ontario looked the other way when a local officer allegedly took a baseball bat to his wife's car.
When MacDonald and Jevons concluded there was misconduct, the police union filed a complaint claiming major problems with the whole investigation.
Fantino, who was fresh to the job as commissioner, ordered a review of the findings.
He later agreed with the union and charged the two senior officers with neglect of duty and deceit for their handling of the investigation.
MacDonald and Jevons, however, are fighting back and in the process have made their own allegations.
Part of the evidence is an e-mail in which the union said it wanted to "Take down MacDonald."
MacDonald and Jevons also claim Fantino bowed to union pressure.
Days before charging MacDonald, Fantino asked another senior officer, "Are you going to execute the disloyal one, or am I?"
Fantino learned the senior officer made notes of the comments. The defence claims that when Fantino learned those notes were about to become evidence, the officer was told he was being transferred to North Bay.
Lawyers for the two accused say that amounts to witness tampering.
During Friday's hearing, Fantino called the allegations "hysterical nonsense."
The OPP commissioner denied he was bowing to pressure from the OPP union.
Fantino also denied any personal vendetta against MacDonald and Jevons.
Why then, Fantino was asked, did he ask senior commanders, "Are you going to execute the disloyal one, or am I?"
Fantino explained: "I tend to use police-appropriate language. I often use the word 'execute' [meaning] forceful.... It just brings humour to the situation."
Fantino was then asked why he transferred one of the commanders to North Bay almost immediately after learning the officer made notes about the comments about executing disloyal officers.
At that point, Fantino became angry, calling the notes "cheat notes."
"People who know me wouldn't hold onto those notes," he said.
Fantino denied it was a reprisal and said the transfer was part of a regular OPP restructuring.
MacDonald and Jevons have filed a motion claiming they are victims of abuse of process and are asking the charges be thrown out.