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Biron nomination made without knowledge of Akwesasne Mohawk government

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CORNWALL ISLAND. Ont. - Constable Michael Biron’s employers say they were unaware he was nominated for a “Medal of Bravery” Award by the Governor General of Canada.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Commission and Police Service issued a joint statement Thursday afternoon on the award Mr. Biron received last Friday in Ottawa from Governor General David Johnston.

“The nomination of Cst. Biron for the Medal of Bravery was made without the knowledge or involvement of the Mohawk Council, the Police Commission or the Mohawk Police Service,” the statement noted. “Therefore, comments cannot be provided on a process in which they did not participate.”

The three entities expressed their continuing sympathies to the family of Edward and Eileen Kassian, who were killed in a November 2008 accident on Cornwall Island. The entities declined further comment because of the pending lawsuit the Kassian family has filed against Mr. Biron, Sgt. Kenneth Chaussi, the police and the governments of Ontario, Quebec and Canada.

Mr. Biron was awarded for attempting to save Mr. and Mrs. Kassian from their burning vehicle on November 14, 2008, according to the governor general’s office. The award upset the Kassian family and others in the Akwesasne community because Mr. Biron had been involved in a high-speed pursuit with suspected cigarette smuggler Dany Gionet in the moments leading up to the accident. Gionet’s speeding vehicle crashed into the Kassians’ car, killing all three people.

The Akwesasne Mohawk government deferred further comment on the award to the governor general’s office. A spokeswoman from the secretary to the governor general previously said who nominated Mr. Biron and the information reviewed prior to his selection were confidential.

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