When Police Become Prey

This site is dedicated to the Saskatchewan police officers whose lives have been cruelly derailed by “tunnel vision” justice.
THE COLD, HARD FACTS OF NEIL STONECHILD’S FREEZING DEATH: In November 1990, Saskatoon teenager Neil Stonechild froze to death. Eleven years later, his body was disinterred for forensic testing. The RCMP and a public inquiry pointed fingers at two police officers, Constables Brad Senger and Larry Hartwig, as somehow having been involved in his death. Is it possible that, because an Aboriginal youth had frozen to death, and an activist organization of elected chiefs called the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations was trying to find someone to blame, the chiefs must be appeased at all cost?

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At the news conference November 24, 2015, disgraced officer Larry Hartwig spoke about the “investigation” into Neil Stonechild’s death, explaining the timeline of events that would have had to have occurred in order for Jason Roy’s allegation to be true. Some of these events were ignored by those acting on behalf of “justice.” Media sources present all agreed it was impossible for Hartwig and Senger to have encountered Neil Stonechild and beat him up within the 7-minute time frame critical to this case, yet ignored by RCMP, Public Inquiry and subsequent hearings. If the officers could not have encountered him and beat him up, then it is also impossible for the other alleged events to have occurred that evening. In a similar fashion, the alleged “handcuff” marks can just as easily be disproven.

What does this say about the RCMP who spend 3 years “investigating” this case? What does this say about their exclusion of critical evidence? What does this say about our “justice” system that was willing to sacrifice two well-respected police officers known for their strong moral and ethical values? Using a Public Inquiry as a substitute for a trial? One where the “suspects” have no ability to call evidence, defend themselves, and no way to clear their names? Such a justice system corrupts the very principles that the law is supposed to be based upon.

When Police Become Prey
Canada's Unsolved Mystery

Chapter 1

RCMP level an Accusation

‘I thought, “Well, I have nothing to hide, so why be rude about it?”’ – Const. Bradley Senger

Chapter 3

Darrell Night’s Drop-off

Two officers arrested a 33-year-old man, Darrell Night, for causing a disturbance

Chapter 5

Two Freezing Deaths

For nearly two decades, thought has been that the freezing deaths were of a racist police department.

Chapter 2

Terrified !

‘Throughout the entire ordeal, Jason Roy had his knife aimed at my
ribs!’ – Saskatonian Blair Pischak

Chapter 4

RCMP Task Force

At that meeting, nineteen chiefs sat together and in turn pointed their fingers at these senior RCMP officers

Chapter 6

Moral Panic in the Streets

The entire nation was looking at us as a rogue bunch of killers. The RCMP looked at 12 or 13 deaths.

Chapter I

The media had been all over this for weeks. Operation Ferric was the largest RCMP investigation ever undertaken in the history of the province, and the largest investigation into alleged police misconduct in Canadian history. It was examining possible police involvement in freezing deaths of several Aboriginal males including Neil Stonechild.


Ten years after Stonechild died, someone had come forward in February of this year, 2000, claiming he’d seen Stonechild in a police car the last night he was seen alive. If that were true – that Brad and his partner had had Stonechild in their vehicle – it meant that Brad hadn’t noted that fact in his notebook. That, in turn, would mean that he had failed to disclose important information about someone who later died under unknown circumstances. This could be serious.

Chapter II

“Three men suddenly materialized out of the dark!” says Saskatoon businessman, Blair Pischak. “One guy growled, ‘Let’s get going!’ while Jason Roy pulled out a knife.” An inauspicious start to the New Year, it was 10 p.m. in the freezing fog of January 2, 1996 when Pischak met Jason Roy, then 22, the only person who would claim to have seen Neil Stonechild in a police car the night he went missing. Pischak, 33, was at a phone box on Avenue P and 20th Street. “‘Get in your car!’ one of them barked.


“I was terrified, and just did as they said!” Pischak recounts. All four got into his car. Pischak drove; Jason Roy sat in the passenger seat, his knifepoint quivering a foot from Pischak’s ribcage. A man, later identified as Elton Dustyhorn, sat behind Pischak; the third man beside Dustyhorn. “They just told me to drive, as if they hadn’t figured out where they wanted to go,” Pischak says.

Chapter III

Neil Stonechild’s body might never have been disinterred and his death reinvestigated had it not been for two officers who raised the frightening spectre of police involvement in Aboriginal freezing deaths. The mere possibility created uproar in the normally sedate “City of Bridges.”


The controversy which became a full-blown international incident began about 5:30 in the morning of Friday, January 28, 2000. Two officers arrested a 33-year-old man, Darrell Night, for causing a disturbance. Because rank and file officers could not speak to the media, the public was told only that, instead of taking the Cree man to jail, police dropped him off near the southern outskirts of town on a frigid winter morning. Night walked to the Queen Elizabeth II power plant where he knocked on the door until someone answered and phoned him a taxi. The cab driver who drove him to his sister’s apartment several miles away later testified Night arrived home ready to “party” with the people who hired the taxi after him.

Chapter IV

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2000 was the day everything changed for the Saskatoon Police Service. After Chief Dave Scott had launched an investigation into police involvement in freezing deaths “regardless of how many resources it takes,” Sask. Justice decided to move the investigation from the police to RCMP, even though there was no indication of bias, and no support in law to bypass normal procedure without clear evidence of such bias. It was an extraordinary action, apparently taken only on the spur of extraordinary press and possibly, behind-the-scenes pressure by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). Yet to be discovered: on what basis was it assumed SPS could not investigate its own?


That same day, Minister of Justice Axworthy wrote the Assistant Commissioner of Saskatchewan RCMP, Harper Boucher, requesting an investigation into the deaths of Randy Naistus and Lawrence Wegner, “and to review the related allegations that members of the Saskatoon Police Service had engaged in the practice of transporting and abandoning individuals at the outskirts of the city as reported in a complaint from Darryl Night.” The requested task force, Operation Ferric, was struck that same afternoon.

Chapter V

Asked, under cross-examination, how he could see these were police if it was dark, Chatsis said that he could see them when their cruiser’s door opened, automatically turning on the interior light. Advised that police cars’ interior lights had long been factory-altered specifically so they did not automatically turn on when doors opened, Chatsis sat silently in the stand, apparently at a loss for words. He then admitted that he had asked the RCMP if he’d be able to collect a financial reward under Crime Stoppers for his story. Finally, asked why, in the intervening three years, he had never before told anyone about that sighting from the train bridge, Chatsis revealed he “wanted to make a surprise.”


Finding Chatsis’ claim far-fetched, the six-member jury took two walks in Diefenbaker Park at night, even venturing onto the train bridge to discover what they could see across the river and through the trees, subsequently throwing out the claim as not credible. But it was 2003 when the inquest discredited the story. During those years, some media such as CBC’s The National repeated his story. It is impossible to calculate what effect the repeated disinformation had on jury members in the Munson and Hatchen trial, since it concluded before reports about Wegner’s “starlight tour” were revealed as a snow-job. (Some media members, such as two CBC employees writing the book, Starlight Tour, even retold the story two years after Chatsis had been rejected as a witness!)

Chapter VI

Like all perfect storms, it seemed too much for coincidence. The shocking timing of three events – Night’s allegation about police dropping him off against his will and the nearly simultaneous discovery of two frozen Aboriginal bodies within a few kilometres of that drop-off point – led to “moral panic.” Moral panic is to human nature what a tornado is to nature: a convergence of events which escalate off one another, spiraling into a deadly tempest. Where such squalls randomly touch down, lives lie ruined.


Moral panic is an explosion of outrage. Intense emotions fuel a fiery controversy which can lead to a witch-hunt. The emotion stems from the issue “at stake” being so frightening that it seems to threaten the social order and everything people believe in. Moral panics can, but seldom do, result in positive social changes. Resolution of the social tension is extremely difficult because, importantly, the central issue around which the whirlwind cycles is banned from discussion! The subject is taboo. Sacrosanct. Unmentionable.

When Police Become Prey Documentary Trailer: What Lies Behind ‘Starlight Tours’

Nobody is disputing the fact that a young man, Neil Stonechild, lost his life tragically. What these officers are disputing is that they were the ones involved. There was never enough evidence to convict them, and they want their story and their voices to be heard.

I’m 100% in agreement with Stan Goertzen. The reality is that criminal charges were never pressed against either officer, since much of the testimony by witnesses was undependable, and kept changing in court. The fact is, these officers were dismissed from their jobs, but were never charged, nor were they found guilty. That is an undisputable fact.

Ask yourself this question: Why would these officers want to clear their names, after 11 years?

If this is a fair and just society, and if someone has been wrongly accused, it is our obligation as a society to reopen and re-examine this case, in case there has been a miscarriage of justice. If you were unjustly treated or wrongly accused, you would want the same.

Noreen Wensley



Starlight Tour documentary raises questions

Besides the book about Neil Stonechild, journalist Candis McLean worked for several years producing an explosive documentary, When Police Become Prey, which gathered rave reviews. It explores the plight of fired Saskatoon officers Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen and their descent into hell as they entered prison as the officers who dropped off Darrell Night, who got home safely.
Candis McLean walks the walk that Constables Munson and Hatchen expected Darrell Night to walk

Starlight Tour documentary raises questions

Besides the book about Neil Stonechild, journalist Candis McLean worked for several years producing an explosive documentary, When Police Become Prey, which gathered rave reviews. It explores the plight of fired Saskatoon officers Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen and their descent into hell as they entered prison as the officers who dropped off Darrell Night, who got home safely.
Candis McLean walks the walk that Constables Munson and Hatchen expected Darrell Night to walk

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