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NRI Rajiv Sharma was charged for neglect of duty but he filed racial discrimination agains

NRI police officer filed a complaint of discrimination and racism


Waterloo, November 30, 2006
Raj Bhatti

NRI Rajiv Sharma's lawyer Peter Thorning from Toronto told media that police superintendent Kevin Chalk of the city of Waterloo, Ontario, had sent e-mails to police officers in connection with the racial discrimination charges that his client, constable Rajiv Sharma, had brought against the police department. E-mails have undermined his client's ability to defend himself.Thorning said that he was starting to interview Sharma's fellow officers when the first of Chalk's two e-mails was sent.

On December 7, 2004, the hearing at police headquarters ground to a halt before it even started when Sharma's lawyer, Harry Black of Toronto, filed a motion asking that hearing officer Supt. Anne McConnell be removed.

The motion said McConnell headed the force's policing standards branch in 1997 when previous charges were laid against Sharma.

Same time, two of her officers investigated and charged Sharma with discreditable conduct and insubordination in connection with secondary activity. Sharma fears he wouldn't get a fair hearing because of McConnell's involvement in the 1997 charges.

The lawyer for the police force,Gary Melanson, supported the motion and McConnell removed herself as hearing officer. Sharma's case was adjourned to Jan. 10, and an officer from outside the force will be the next hearing officer, Melanson said.

  • In November 2004 Rajiv Sharma had filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)
    • Alleging that he was a victim of persistent harassment and discrimination since 1992
    • Number of senior officers discouraging other officers from working and socializing with him.
    • He believe that not only are racial minority citizens profiled, but racial minority police officers are also subjected to this impermissible conduct
  • In Feb. 2004, Mr. Sharma was charged with:
    • Working a second job
    • Under the Police Services Act with neglect of duty, discreditable conduct, insubordination, corrupt practices and secondary activity.
  • In 1997, Sharma was convicted of discreditable conduct- when he was on duty, he had a verbal argument with his former fiancee and then lost 20 hours pay

In July, 2004 hearing, More than 60 members of the NRI community stood behind Const. Rajiv Sharma when he made a brief appearance at a disciplinary hearing .

When Sharma last appeared for a hearing at police headquarters on May 12, 2004 a large group of supporters also accompanied him. Opal said Sharma has experienced systemic racism on the force for years. Opal refused to identify the incidents. He also said Sharma did not have a job on the side. "He was exploring career options in private investigations," Opal said.

Another supporter, Sharma carried placards reading Stop Racism and Stop Targeting. The supporters included family, friends, sikhs from local Gurdwara, and black community.

Manju Vaishnav of Waterloo said that I have known this boy from the day he was born. He is like my son and she stands 100 % behind him.