Officer charged after allegedly making racially charged comments online

Ottawa police have confirmed they have charged one of their own after accusations were made of racism after online comments were made following the death of acclaimed Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook.

The Ottawa Police Association confirms Sergeant Chris Hrnchiar faces two counts of discreditable conduct.

Annie Pootoogook was found dead in the Rideau River on September 19 in what police are investigating as a suspicious death.

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau says the charges are of "serious nature", and is "pleased" the force was able to expedite the investigation. The charges will be heard on November 1.

Ottawa-based news organizations saved the two comments before they were removed by Hrnchiar.

Justice for Annie Pootoogook Sytukie Joamie now working as an Inuit knowledge keeper in Ottawa speaks Oct. 4 at the Families of Sisters in Spirit vigil on Parliament Hill held to demand justice for the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women

Her death was originally ruled not suspicious, but police are now investigating "suspicious elements" and trying to retrace her last steps.

In a second post, Hrnchiar wrote: "much of the Aboriginal population in Canada is just satisfied being alcohol or drug abusers".

Okalik, a lawyer, and former Nunavut justice minister said comments that Hrnchiar posted raise questions about whether the OPS is capable of doing credible investigations in cases that involve Inuit.

The charges followed an investigation by the professional standards section of the Ottawa police service.

  • Zachary Reyes