In 2012, a member of the Thunder Bay police wrote a press release calling a suspected murderer of an Indigenous man a “Fresh Breath Killer.” Then Keith Hobbs (who was former police chief in TB see below) labelled the cop’s racism “dark humour” that was “not about to change. ”
The former police chief, JP Levesques, the former mayor Keith Hobbs and his wife Marisa, have been charged with serious offences. Levesques was charged with breach of trust and obstruction of justice after he told the mayor he was under investigation for extortion. The charges against Levesques were dropped in January 2018. However, former Mayor Hobbs (he was also a former police chief) and his wife were charged with extortion and obstructing police. Keith & Marisa Hobbs
A friend of theirs, Mary Voss, was also charged with extortion. The former mayor, his wife, and Voss stand accused of using “threats, accusations or menace of disclosing criminal allegations to the police” against former Thunder Bay lawyer Alexander Zaitzeff. The three were trying to force Zaitzeff to purchase a house for Voss to live in. Sandy Zaitzeff
On his part, prominent Thunder Bay defence lawyer, Sandy Zaitzeff,served 119 days in pre-trial custody in the city’s jail Zaitzeff pleaded guilty to two assaults, one invitation to sexual touching plus unauthorised used of firearms. Sentenced to 15 months, he received credit for six months in pre-trial custody which he served in “the worst jail in Ontario,” according to his lawyer.
In January 2017, after shouting racial slurs, a man hurled a trailer hitch from a car window at an Indigenous woman, Barbara Kentner. She and her sister had been walking down a city street. Kentner, a 34-year-old mother, died of severe injuries after nine torturous months in hospital. Only one white man, in a car of four young white men, was charged in her murder.Barbara Kentner
In March 2018, the Chronicle Journal, Thunder Bay’s only newspaper, called assaults on Indigenous people an “egg toss” that had “police scrambling” to charge the culprits who throw eggs, full food containers, and racial slurs at Indigenous people. After an outcry by the Assembly of First Nations which called it offensive and insensitive, the newspaper was forced to issue an apology “for the poor choice of words.”
And Thunder Bay’s new mayor, Bill Mauro, a former Liberal member of provincial parliament, is concerned about the “reputation” his city has.