VANCOUVER—An oversight body’s annual report has rounded up some of the most bizarre, inappropriate and predatory examples of municipal police misconduct probes in the past year.
The civilian Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner tracks complaints from the public and within 12 municipal and two First Nation police detachments in British Columbia.
From April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, the agency opened 1,326 files involving all 14 police detachments, marking a 15-per-cent increase in misconduct allegations from the previous year.
Commissioner Clayton Pecknold said in a statement Tuesday that despite the rise in substantiated allegations, misconduct remains a “small fraction” of the interactions between the police and the public every day.
“However, police officers are provided with extraordinary powers over citizens and our democratic principles demand that they be accountable for the use of those powers,” Pecknold added.
Here are five of the incidents highlighted in the report:
Senior ranking cop physically disciplines constable by smacking her buttocks
On April 4, 2017, a senior-ranking police officer in Vancouver physically disciplined a constable by “smacking or slapping” her buttocks after removing her hands from her pockets at an official department event.
He resigned while an internal investigation was still underway, but not before sending an email to staff where he tried to minimize the incident.
According to the report, the officer was nearing retirement after 40 years in the force and his training in matters of respect and harassment was outdated. If he had not resigned, he would have faced a two-month suspension, reassignment of department and mandatory re-training on how to be more respectful in the workplace.
Police officer activates emergency lights and siren to get children to school on time
On Sept. 4, 2018, a police officer strapped her two young children together using one seatbelt in the front of a police van, then activated the emergency lights and siren to drive to their elementary school.
It’s unclear if the police officer was running late or just in a rush, but the action led several motorists to pull over to the side of the road.
Afterwards, the police officer left the city of Victoria for a personal reason without notifying a police supervisor. She later resigned before the disciplinary process could conclude, but was still served with a violation ticket for having her two children share a single seat.
Kootenay cop slaps crotches of male officers, insults female colleague
An officer with the Nelson police department was investigated for multiple allegations of inappropriate behaviour, including using a derogatory term in front of colleagues when referring to a female police officer, and slapping the genital area of fellow male officers.
For the derogatory insult, the front-line supervisor received a written reprimand. He was only verbally reprimanded for slapping the crotches of male officers.
He was also ordered to take workplace harassment training.
Get more of today’s top stories in your inbox
Find everything you need to know about what’s happening in Vancouver in our Morning Headlines newsletter.
Transit cop interrupts meeting to throw fit over distribution of snacks and drinks
A transit police officer was ordered to write an apology to his squad after he interrupted a routine briefing to loudly voice his displeasure over the division of snacks and drinks.
The officer accused a colleague of unequally distributing the food, and called the officer “derogatory names” in front of everyone.
During the discipline hearing, he admitted he behaved inappropriately and disrespectfully — while doing nothing to “solve the issue at hand.”
The report did not describe the nature of the snacks or whether the officer was, in fact, “hangry.”
Officer sends naked photos to a domestic violence victim and pursues other vulnerable victims
In one of the most serious cases, a West Vancouver police officer was fired after he sent sexually explicit photos of himself to a domestic violence victim and pursued relationships with other vulnerable women he met while on duty.
The report outlines 25 instances of the officer using his position of trust to romantically pursue women he met on the job since 2011, including a woman who was being harassed by her estranged husband.
A total of four women that the officer pursued were involved in domestic violence issues, while three were associated with individuals in organized crime and drug trafficking.
Authorities concluded the behaviour was the “antithesis of what the police community and public would expect from a police officer.”
However, investigators determined that there was insufficient evidence to support a recommendation of Criminal Code charges.
Published at Thu, 24 Oct 2019 17:51:00 +0000