Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Taman stream of consciousness (3)

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As a surprise for those in the gallery at the Taman inquiry this morning, Winnipeg Police Chief Keith McCaskill was called as a witness. McCaskill was head honcho at District 13, and the superior officer of Derek Harvey-Zenk, the man who killed Crystal Taman. It was learned last week that East St. Paul police chief Harry Bakema, a veteran of District 13 himself, called McCaskill to give him the head's up on February 25, 2005, that Harvey-Zenk was charged with a variety of offences in connection with Taman's death.McCaskill was credible as a witness, but showed once again that from top to bottom in the police service, cops just can't acknowledge the difficulty they have ratting out one of their own, even if they are charged with a criminal offence. McCaskill acknowledged that he warned his troops, especially those at an all-night drinking party with Harvey-Zenk, to come forward and tell the truth. And yet, when questioned directly at the inquiry, McCaskill said this wasn't because he was concerned the officers would tell the truth.That is the kind of incredible testimony that has afflicted this testimony since its beginning. By now, if we know anything, it's that cops in both East St. Paul and Winnipeg were conflicted about where their loyalties lay. The investigation was completely botched, perhaps delibertely to give Harvey-Zenk a break. And Winnipeg police officers at the party will, we expect, say they were not drunk, nobody was drunk, and dispute the theory Harvey-Zenk was drunk when he plowed into the back of Taman's car. This despite growing circumstantial evidence suggesting heavy drinking that night and no other explanation for how a cop out on an all-night bender could drive his car, without breaking, into the rear end of another.Please see more on this subject in tomorrow's dead-tree edition.-30-

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About Dan Lett

Dan Lett came to Winnipeg in 1986, less than a year out of journalism school.

Despite the fact that he’s originally from Toronto and has a fatal attraction to the Maple Leafs, Winnipeggers let him stay.

In the following years, he has worked at bureaus covering every level of government – from city hall to the national bureau in Ottawa.

He has had bricks thrown at him in riots following the 1995 Quebec referendum, wrote stories that helped in part to free three wrongly convicted men, met Fidel Castro, interviewed three Philippine presidents, crossed several borders in Africa illegally, chased Somali pirates in a Canadian warship and had several guns pointed at him.

In other words, he’s had every experience a journalist could even hope for. He has also been fortunate enough to be a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award, winning in 2003 for investigations.

Other awards include the B’Nai Brith National Human Rights Media Award and nominee for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism.

Now firmly rooted in Winnipeg, Dan visits Toronto often but no longer pines to live there.

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