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Mohawk Contable Michael Biron reassigned to new duties

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MASSENA - Akwesasne Mohawk Police Constable Michael Biron has been temporarily reassigned away from patrolling the territory.

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne spokesman Brendan White confirmed Friday afternoon Mr. Biron has been reassigned from his former police duties for “an indefinite period of time” away from the reservation.

Police Chief Jerry Swamp said Mr. Biron is still with the department, but has been sent to undergo training for new duties he will have there.

“He won’t be on the road anytime soon,” Mr. Swamp said. “It’s due to the other duties that he’s going to be required to do.”

The department had been working on Mr. Biron’s reassignment for some time before the recent controversy surrounding the “Medal of Bravery” award from the Governor General of Canada he received last week, Mr. Swamp said.

“This was something that had been worked on in the past,” he said.

He declined comment on when the department reassigned Mr. Biron off of patrol duties, calling it “an operational issue.”

Mr. White had no further comment on where Mr. Biron had been reassigned to or when the reassignment took place.

“Civil action prevents me from commenting further,” Mr. White said in an email.

Mr. Biron had been in a high-speed police pursuit On Cornwall Island in November of 2008. The suspect in the pursuit, Dany Gionet, slammed into a car driven by Edward and Eileen Kassian of Massena, killing all three.

The Governor General of Canada awarded the medal to Cst. Biron last week for attempting to save the Kassians from their burning vehicle. The award drew the ire of the Kassian family and others in the Akwesasne community who felt he was responsible for causing their deaths.

Mr. and Mrs. Kassian’s son, Douglas, expressed relief at Mr. Biron’s reassignment.

“Just maybe somebody else will be safe from what it is he’s been doing,” he said. “That should be a relief to the community as well.”

Still, Mr. Kassian wondered how much the governor general’s office investigated Cst. Biron before awarding him, since no one apparently contacted his employers about it. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Akwesasne Mohawk Police Commission and department issued a joint statement Thursday stating they did not participate in the nomination process.

”Who did they check with?” Mr. Kassian said. “Let’s see their guidelines. They certainly must have written guidelines.”

A spokeswoman for the governor general’s office did not return a request for comment on Friday. Canadian press accounts have suggested nominations are vetted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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