Investigation not independent
but instead internal

A letter published in the Lakes District News, Burns Lake, Sept. 15, 2009


Re: Local donates money towards Redwood court case

In response to Nathan Redwood’s disturbing allegations of unnecessary Tasering and other police brutality, RCMP Inspector Eric Brewer has little to say, other than the allegations are under investigation by an independent investigator.

Even there he’s wrong. There is no independent investigator involved. Whether it’s done by the Burns Lake RCMP detachment or RCMP North District Traffic Services, it’s still an internal investigation, as are all investigations of police misconduct in B.C.

For example, municipal police are investigated by their own colleagues. Their report then gets oversight from ex-cops like deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce M. Brown.

The RCMP also investigate themselves. In especially serious cases, like the death of Robert Dziekanski, the RCMP investigators forward their report to B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch. In the Dziekanski case, the CJB shocked British Columbians by agreeing with the RCMP that the five Taser blasts and other brutal treatment were reasonable and necessary.

Among the CJB lawyers who took part in that decision was Stan Lowe. Just one week later he was appointed B.C.’s police complaint commissioner, where he can make similar decisions on behalf of municipal cops.

Lowe was appointed by a committee of five MLAs including Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.

Public confidence in both municipal police and the RCMP requires investigation (not oversight) of all complaints by civilians free of police loyalties. Unfortunately we won’t see any such reforms in the revised Police Act scheduled for the legislature or in the recommendations from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.

Greg Klein

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