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Mohawk Council criticizes Canadian government for constable award

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The Canadian government should have completed more research before awarding Constable Michael Biron a “Medal of Bravery,” according to Mohawk Council of Akwesasne officials.

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

Governor General David Johnston honored Mr. Biron last month for attempting to save the Kassians from their burning vehicle. The award drew the ire of the Kassian family and others in the Akwesasne and Massena communities who felt he was responsible for causing their deaths.

In a letter Friday to the Governor General, the Mohawk Council criticized the awards committee for failing to contact the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, Police Commission or government prior to awarding Mr. Biron.

“We would have informed the Advisory Committee that the Akwesasne community, as well as those that were directly involved in the tragedy, including the deceased’s family members, is still in a period of much-needed healing,” the council noted.“Therefore, we would have wisely advised that the nomination comes at a difficult time for our community.”

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