Outrage Over Cop Award

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The accident that killed Edward and Eileen Kassian of Massena happened almost four years ago, but the outrage still lives on.

That's because the police officer who was recently awarded a medal for bravery by the Canadian government for his efforts to save the couple from their burning car is also blamed by many for causing the accident in the first place.

CBC News reports that Akwesasne Mohawk police constable Michael Biron had been chasing a suspected cigarette smuggler on Cornwall Island in November 2008 when the vehicle he was pursuing smashed into the Kassian's car. The couple and the suspected smuggler were killed.

Massena Police Chief Tim Currier, a neighbor of the Kassians, told the CBC the couple's death was a result of Biron's reckless actions.

"We're not going going to pursue for minor violations and, most particularly, we're not going to pursue when people's lives are in danger. Either the person being pursued, the officer, or innocent bystanders. In the Kassian's case, their death was avoidable," Currier said.

Biron has also come under fire for a similar incident in 2011.

Amber Aliff and her passenger, Dakota Benedict, were killed in a crash after leading Biron on a chase. It started after Aliff allegedly ran a stop sign.

Biron did back off the pursuit, but just moments later Aliff's car slammed into a tree.

Benedict's mom tells CBC News she blames Biron for her son's death and she questions how the Canadian government could honor him.

"It's unbelievable, I can't believe this, still today. Somebody could be given an award for killing people? Who would have thought?" said Michelle Sawatis.

North Country Congressman Bill Owens has written a letter to the Canadian government asking for answers about why Biron received the award.

As for Biron, he has reportedly been reassigned within the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Department. His duties no longer include street patrols.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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