Police officers, members of the public attend procession for OPP officer shot dead

Hundreds of first responders and members of the public turned out for a march Friday to pay tribute to the slain Ontario Provincial Police officer as calls grew for the federal government to reform its bail policy.

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The procession carrying the 28-year-old Constant. Greg Pierzchala’s body started from the coroner’s office in Toronto and ended up in his hometown of Barrie, Ontario, about an hour later.

Police officers and other first responders lined up outside the coroner’s office to salute Pirzchala as the procession began.


Hundreds of people — some civilians, some in uniform — gathered at overpasses along Highway 400, raising their hands in a sign of respect, as hearse and police cars with flashing lights passed by.

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Pirzchala had been with the OPP for just over a year and had been informed that he had passed his 10-month probationary period, hours before his death. He was previously a special constable in Queens Park, having dreamed of joining the police ranks as a boy.

Carrick has said that Pirzchalla gained the respect of his colleagues during his short time on the force.

“They knew they could count on him in the most dangerous and stressful situations,” he told a news conference this week.

Inspector Phil Carter, OPP’s detachment commander for Haldimand County, called Pierschala’s death a “crushing loss”.

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“This is an unimaginable and heartbreaking loss for our officers working with the Provincial Constabulary. Greg Pierzchla. He was a son, a brother and a friend,” he said at a press conference.

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“He is no longer with us and it hurts.”

Pierechla’s funeral will take place on January 4 in Barrie. The OPP will announce more details in the coming days.

Randall McKenzie, 25, and Brandi Crystal Lynn Stewart-Sperry, 30, each face a charge of first-degree murder in their deaths.

Court documents show McKenzie was initially denied bail, and it was later granted after review on multiple assault and weapons-related charges in a separate case months before Tuesday’s shooting .

Documents show a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear for a court date in August.

Calls have emerged in recent days for the federal government to reform bail policy in Canada.

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On Friday, Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre urged the Trudeau government to “reverse its arrest and bail policy” – citing Bill C-75, a law passed by the Liberals in 2019, in the criminal code Police and judges use the “principle of restraint” for bail by directing them to update bail provisions.

The law gave the courts and police more powers to ban people accused of crimes as long as they promised to appear in court.

“What we need to do instead is repeatedly keep small numbers of habitually violent offenders behind bars and deny them bail until they are newly arrested,” Poilevre said. “

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the OPP commissioner said he was “outraged” that McKenzie was out on bail.

Carrick said during a news conference, “I know there is great interest in seeing that changes are made to ensure that, where possible, people who have been charged with violent crimes related to firearms can go forward Not in rising positions.”

On Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement that a “failed bail system” had resulted in innocent people losing their lives “at the hands of dangerous criminals who should be behind bars – not on our streets.”

“Enough is enough. More must be done to fix a system that is often sacrificing the safety of our public and police officers instead of cracking down on repeat offenders who commit these heinous crimes.

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But Shaun King, vice-president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, said there was no need to reform the federal government’s bail policy.

“The underlying issue that really needs to be addressed here isn’t changing bail policies, it’s trying to deal with the underlying conditions that incarcerated these people,” he said.

According to court documents, McKenzie has a history of addiction and pleaded guilty to an armed robbery in 2017, saying he needed the money for drugs.

King said that providing support to criminals struggling with addiction would be more effective than keeping them behind bars.

Bill C-75 requires courts to consider the circumstances of accused persons from vulnerable populations when deciding whether they should be granted bail, partly to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons. .

Court documents do not indicate why Mackenzie was granted bail, but do say that she is from the Onondaga First Nations of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and has experienced the negative effects of colonialism.

With files from David Fraser

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