On March 14th the Criminal Justice Branch of BC announced there would be no charges laid against an off duty RCMP member who was involved in a traffic collision in Coquitlam in April 2015.
Without going into much detail, the officer was heading eastbound and the other driver was heading northbound on a cross street with a stop sign he ignored and turned left right in the path of the oncoming officer.
The IIO’s crack investigators sprung into action. A traffic reconstruction expert was called. This expert estimated the officer’s vehicle was travelling 45 KPH at the time of collision. The IIO had the Event Data Recorders (EDR) downloaded. They showed the officer was doing 59 KPH prior to the collision and 57 KPH at the time of collision.
The EDR’s also showed the other driver only slowed to 14 KPH when he went through the stop sign and began to turn left into the path of the oncoming officer’s car.
Clearly the officer had nothing to do with causing the collision. But, the Acting Chief Civilian Director, Clinton J. Sadlemyer, who you may remember from last November when I wrote this For Fawkes sake, forwarded the report to the CJB suggesting a charge be considered. Really? For speeding? For 7 kms over the 50 KPH limit?
In order to prove the charge against the officer, they would have had to call the engineer who designed the system to establish it was accurate, the guy who actually installed it in that car to prove it was working correctly, and the person who downloaded the EDR to prove it was done correctly. All to establish a charge of speeding that is so minimal it is inside the tolerance zone of traffic cops with laser or radar devices.
And, at what cost? Is there no one at the IIO with an ounce of common sense?
And what about the driver who actually caused the accident that actually resulted in the injuries he suffered? I have no idea. I can’t, officially, even get the name of the so-called “Affected Person.”
But it doesn’t stop there. Four days later the CJB announced there would be no charges against two Burnaby RCMP officers in a case where they, responding to a disturbance call, were attacked by a man who was 6’5, 300 lbs. who had been drinking heavily, taking crack cocaine and meth.
During the fight with three Mounties, joined in by two civilians trying to help the police, a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) was deployed twice with “no discernible effect.” The fight continued on the ground and one officer got folded under the big man and “feared for her life.” Together the five of them managed to get handcuffs on him after a lengthy ground fight.
Once handcuffed the big man became unconscious. Paramedics were called and after 45 minutes of resuscitation efforts, the big man was pronounced dead.
In comes the IIO.
The autopsy report showed the man died from “the combined effects of cocaine toxicity, means of restraint, and cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart.)”
The report further stated: “An enlarged, dilated heart can predispose a person to cardiac arrhythmias and sudden collapse, which may be precipitated by a stressful situation such as confronting means of restraint.”
The toxicological report showed “cocaine and alcohol together with their by-products including cocaethylene, a toxic product formed after the use of cocaine and alcohol.“ The report further stated: “A person under the influence of cocaine is prone to sudden death, and means of restraint applied at the same time will more likely than not further increase the physical/mental burden by increasing stress and/ or restricting breathing (such as in the case of a morbidly obese individual in a face-down position with hands to the back).” (Think Eric Garner in New York.)
In other words, the police had nothing to do with the death of the man. He did it to himself in what he imbibed and then he attacked the police who were called to deal with his erratic and violent behaviour by the residents who eventually assisted in securing the big man.
One of the civilians interviewed by the IIO said, “Nobody did anything wrong. Nobody did anything that shouldn’t have been done. I’m pretty sure we were all in fear of him getting up.” He also said “I’m telling you right now if we didn’t come in there, I’m
pretty sure it would have been a hell of a lot worse.”
The other civilian said, ”I couldn’t stop him. I tried to. I thought I could hold him ‘cause he come (sic) and grab hold of me and I thought … he was going to kill me…I was f****n’ scared. To be honest with you, I was petrified.”
So, we have a man out of control who is big enough that it took five adults, three RCMP officers and two civilians, to control and secure the violent man. That he died in the process is certainly not intended. Simply stated, he was the author of his own misfortune. The police just did their job in trying circumstances.
But in the upside down world of Richard Rosenthal, they must have. So, he submits a Report to Crown Counsel suggesting that because the RCMP officers initially refused to take the handcuffs off the man they somehow contributed to his death.
Which is, of course, stuff and nonsense. After the fight the Mounties didn’t know why he was unconscious and were concerned about what might occur if he gained consciousness again. Perfectly reasonable. And ultimately what was concluded by the CJB nearly two years after the fact.
Never one to accept the police acted appropriately, Rosenthal then issued a release saying despite what CJB decided, he had referred the matter the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for their review.
This circus never ends.
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Take a step back, take a deep breath and relax…………..I want you……….. (for a minute) ……….to look at this in a different light. The Police Forces and the RCMP have been accused of cover-ups, evidence manipulation and ultimately have been incapable of conducting a fair and unbiased investigation.We are told this is what we (the public) want, need and deserve. Who told “us” that? BC Civil Libertarians and every pie throwing white haired lawyer. So now we see the results. The Police have been conducting fair and unbiased investigating all along……..but don’t we feel so much better that a third party (BC Crown) tells us so? I say let the IIO send every frigin toothpick to the Crown as the BC Civil Libertarians suggest (since the police are so corrupt) and let the Crown make the decision that every reasonable person was. Transparency has it’s costs………ie the annual budget of the IIO. But don’t we feel so much better knowing this? The IIO lacks any shred of discretion….and really? Should they? They may be of accused of favouritism and then we’de need a watchdog for the IIO…..we can’t afford that Hahahaha …….no cover up here. Nothing to see here folks, move along!
It’s a wonder that they weren’t all charged with murder as actus reas was present (dead body) along with mens rea (motive: “…we were all in fear of him getting up.”). I get that these clowns seem to want to justify their existance through the exposure of police misconduct, but spare us the minor speed infractions and the recommendations of idiotic charges merely for the sake of looking like they are really trying to do their jobs. Failure to charge police officers with wrong doing is not a mark of failure at all but a reflection of reality – that most police work is done properly and within the unbiased limitations of the law.
You do understand that in every IIO investigation, an RCC is forwarded for crown’s review. This is not to be confused with the IIO recommending charges in every case. The IIO presents the facts that are uncovered in their investigation. The crown decides on charges. Simple as that. In some report to crowns, they may clear members of any wrong doing within the RCC. Members get confused when they hear an RCC is forwarded because that to us, means a charge is being recommended. Different set of circumstances for the IIO, they report on the facts.
No, that is not accurate. It is not ‘as simple as that.’ Their mandate is to have the CCD report why the police did things right or to report to the CJB by way of an RTCC if the CCD thinks an offence MAY have been committed. And frankly, that standard is set far too low.
You are absolutely right. I am reading from an IIO brochure
“…If the Chief Civilian Director believes that an offense may have taken place, he will make a report to Crown Counsel…”
Note the term “may have taken place” and not “reasonable and probable grounds to believe.” The threshold is way to low but even so, in the cases sighted in this article, you have to question the decision to forward a RTCC using this low threshold.
On the positive, at least the CJB got their heads screwed on straight this time and did not lay charges against the officers. Hopefullu they are starting to see through the incompetency of the IIO and not just taking their report at face value and charging police with serious crimes that they didn’t commit. “cough cough Jordan Macwilliams”
The objective of every police investigation is to find the truth of what happened. The process of finding the truth requires competency and fairness so that the public and the police will willingly participate and the results will reflect Canadian justice principles. Canada has a history of people convicted of crimes they did not commit and the reasons are incompetent and biased investigations. IIO investigators have to be competent in investigating what is commonly termed major crime Incidents which incudes use of force taken by the police. There is only one job where anyone can achieve competency and the appropriate credentials. That job is to be a major crimes investigator in a police agency in Canada. It appears to me that the IIO has no former major crimes investigators due to political issues of hiring non police investigators. As well, Mr. Rosenthal is bent on proving mass corruption in BC police agencies which would serve him very well if it were true. Because of this personal agenda, Mr. Rosenthal is shaping investigations which is a major breach of Canadian legal ethics that seems to go unnoticed by the government that hired him. The result of this is that investigations are done poorly and shaped by a personal agenda. Neither of these outcomes should be accepted by the public or the police. This situation also speaks to the level of commitment that our government has towards ensuring justice is served. Justice is certainly not being served under this regime. Oversight of the police is necessary but incompetence and unethical behavior should not be a part of that oversight.