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London councillor 'cautioned' by tribunal following complaints of disrespectful social media posts

London, Ont. Ward 4 Councillor Susan Stevenson is seen in this undated image. (CTV News file photo) London, Ont. Ward 4 Councillor Susan Stevenson is seen in this undated image. (CTV News file photo)
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The official findings of an independent tribunal of allegations of code of conduct violations for London Police Services Board member Coun. Susan Stevenson were made public this week.

In its letter to the councillor, the Ontario Civilian Police Commission indicated that several inflammatory statements made on social media throughout 2023-2024 were cause for concern.

Specific incidents referred to by the tribunal included referring to those with addictions issues as “junkies,” posting pictures of individual unhoused people in London without their permission, and reinforcing negative stereotypes surrounding those with addictions as violent and criminal.

According to the correspondence from the tribunal, when confronted with these concerns,

Stevenson elaborated that her view on homelessness was a political one, independent of her position as a police services board member, that she had reposted an article with the offensive terminology as opposed to writing it herself, and that the tribunal didn’t have proof that she didn’t ask for permission to post images of unhoused people.

The tribunal indicated that although the complaints were not criminal in nature, Stevenson’s social media conduct was unbecoming of a police services’ board member. “You are cautioned that the Code of Conduct requires a higher standard for members of a police services board, and that social media posts can bring your compliance with the Code of Conduct into question.”

Although the tribunal indicated that it didn’t condone Stevenson’s actions, at this time a formal investigation will not be taking place. It finished its correspondence with a striking statement.

“You are encouraged to reflect on your conduct and seek to do better in your role as a public leader in police services for the City of London. Continuing this conduct risks future investigations by and complaints to the Inspectorate of Policing.”

CTV News reached out to Councillor Stevenson for comment, and she said, “actions speak louder than words. OCPC reviewed this complaint and decided not to launch an investigation. Plain and simple. A small group continues to weaponize investigations because they cannot win arguments on their merits. I will continue speaking up for the people of London and frontline police officers who keep us safe every day.”

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