A broad-shouldered, career-driven, charismatic man, John Latouf was called “Akhmed” because many in the group thought he looked like a Middle Eastern terrorist. From the tone of their conversation, Heinemann sensed that Latouf already knew about the pen marks. (Later, it occurred to him that Kelsall’s proposal was probably Latouf’s idea, but it would be a long time before he considered the possibility that Latouf had a hidden agenda.) Heinemann apologized for not telling Latouf about the pen marks right after he made them. Latouf was reassuring and told him that he knew Heinemann was only trying to protect him.
Kelsall set up a tru meeting for Monday afternoon in the basement of the Willow Creek Baptist Church in Midhurst, Ontario. Off the top, Latouf reminded everyone that portions of the communications tapes from Ipperwash had just been released in the media, and they portrayed the opp as unequivocally racist. As the Ipperwash inquiry gathered steam, the force, and particularly the tru teams, would be under the microscope. As Latouf talked, Heinemann knew that his stupid, sophomoric pen marks could have serious consequences.
Upset, Heinemann admitted that he had made the pen marks but insisted that they had nothing to do with racism. He said that he and the team were at wit’s end that night, that it had taken twelve hours to get Deleary out of the house, and that had they been allowed to follow sops, lives would not have been endangered and the whole procedure would have been handled safer, faster, and more professionally. They were tired and frustrated. The Xs were meant to speak directly to Deleary and his ilk, those who thought themselves above the law. They said, “You may be able to get away with this bullshit around the band police, maybe even with rank and file opp, but not with tru.”
After apologizing, Heinemann said it would be best for him to go to opp headquarters and fess up. Latouf stunned everyone when he said no. He referred to the Ken Deane petition and upcoming testimony at the inquiry and reminded everyone that since Dudley George’s death, the Barrie tru had been on probation.
Heinemann left the room to regain his composure and give the others some privacy. Half an hour later Latouf came and got him. Heinemann began to sob. Latouf told him that the group, including Kelsall, had agreed that no one was going to confess anything to anyone. They were going to deal with this matter among themselves. Latouf then said that Heinemann was off the tru team. That was his punishment. The demotion represented a $30,000 loss in pay. Heinemann was devastated. Adjourning the meeting, Latouf instructed the group to tell anyone who might ask that they were scouting the church for stealth-clear training.
Weeks went by. Nothing was formalized, and Heinemann had no idea what to expect. One day he would be relegated to a desk, the next called on to conduct a training op or ordered to suit up and work an armed robbery. Latouf seemed to be growing increasingly paranoid. He often warned team members not to talk about the church meeting or the pen marks because tru offices and vehicles were probably bugged.
Tactical-team police favour Suburbans, and after the church meeting Latouf and Kelsall began a series of clandestine head-to-heads in their “Texas Cadillacs.” On the first Thursday in February, Heinemann was asked to join them. Kelsall sat behind the wheel, Latouf in the passenger seat, and Heinemann in the back. Kelsall appeared nervous. He said that he could no longer go along with Latouf’s plan and was going to tell their superiors what he knew. Latouf hit the roof. Kelsall then asked whether tru teams were becoming like the Hells Angels, making it more important not to rat out other team members than to do the right thing. Latouf went ballistic at the comparison. Kelsall said that he too had committed indiscretions but had never been caught, to which Heinemann replied: “What you’re saying is that it’s okay to commit a crime, for example, killing someone, as long as you don’t get caught, but, if you do, don’t lie about it because lying is wrong?”