OTTAWA — An Ottawa police officer is facing charges under the police act in connection with online comments about the death of Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook, remarks the city police chief has said were inappropriate and had "racial undertones."
The Ottawa Police Service said in an email that two counts of discreditable conduct have been laid under the Police Services Act, but the email did not identify the officer.
Pootoogook's body was found in the Rideau River on Sept. 19.
Police at first did not consider her death suspicious, although they were calling for assistance in retracing her steps in her final days.
A few days later, racially charged comments from a Facebook account stated Pootoogook's death was not connected to missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The Ottawa Citizen has reported that the Facebook post included a passage that read: "Because much of the aboriginal population in Canada is just satisfied being alcohol or drug abusers, living in poor conditions etc. ... they have to have the will to change, it's not society's fault."
The comments, which have since been deleted, sparked outrage among the First Nations community.
Police chief Charles Bordeleau has called the comments "inappropriate" and said "they have racial undertones and they don't reflect the values of the Ottawa Police Service."
A hearing on the allegations is set for Nov. 1.
Investigators continue to probe "suspicious elements" of Pootoogook's death.
The association that represents Ottawa police officers did not immediately return phone calls on the matter.