A pair of Windsor, Ontario police officers — including one who admits they donated to the Freedom Convoy protests over pandemic mandates earlier this year — are facing disciplinary charges.
Windsor Police said on Tuesday that charges against Brooke Fazekas and Jason Michael Brisco fall under the Ontario Police Services Act.
The names of the agents match data in a database of Freedom Convoy donors that was made public after the crowdfunding website GiveSendGo was hacked in February.
Brisco said in an email to TBEN News that on Feb. 8 he made a $50 donation to organizer Tamara Lich for the protest in Ottawa. Lich and Chris Barber, the two main organizers of Freedom Convoy, are expected to face charges in September 2023 on charges related to the mass protest that accelerated downtown Ottawa.
“The donation was made to protest vaccine mandates, which affected me and my family personally. I sympathized with the protesters in Ottawa, who also lost their jobs and their ability to support their families,” Brisco’s email read.
At the time of the donation, Brisco said, he was fired with no pay or benefits.
When the donation was made, he said he believed the protest was legal because of an order banning the use of horns, but confirmed that “peaceful, lawful and safe protest” was otherwise allowed.
Brisco wrote with his donation “Officers for Freedom,” the document shows, along with a statement:
“Thank you fellow Canadians for fighting for freedom at the foot of Sauron’s Tower. The world is watching… and we see [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau’s true colors.”
According to the records, a user named Brooke Fazekas donated $40 on Feb. TBEN News tried to reach Agent Fazekas via email, but received no immediate response on Tuesday afternoon.
A third Windsor police officer, a civilian, has been suspended for a day over an alleged donation, according to police.
As of the evening of Feb. 7, about a week after the protests in Ottawa, access to the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit was blocked by truck drivers and others protesting COVID-19 public health mandates.
A court order preventing anyone from blocking access to the bridge was granted on February 11, and the blockade was lifted by police on February 13.
Later that month, Windsor Police said they were investigating possible employee donations after three entries on the donor list matched the names of the employees.
The charges are currently before a hearing officer under the Police Services Act, a Windsor Police Department spokesman said Tuesday.
Frank Providenti, deputy chief of operational support for the Windsor Police Department, said the agency condemned the alleged actions of the officers and the other employee.
In a statement, he suggested their apparent donations supported the Windsor blockade.
“We hold our members to the highest standards of conduct and those who fail to adhere to these principles must be held accountable for their conduct,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“By choosing to support an illegal blockade at our country’s busiest border crossing, these members showed complete disregard for our city’s economy and reputation, as well as for the safety of their own colleagues dealing with the unstable situation.”