Chief Constable’s Statement
— Vann Hubbard Shooting


Earlier this morning, the results of an intensive investigation by the Abbotsford Police Department into the death of Mr. Michael Vann Hubbard were released.

I would like to again express our deep regrets to the Hubbard family for their loss.

As police officers, we are very aware that it is our job and our duty to safeguard the lives of others as well as our own. When in the performance of that duty it becomes necessary to take a life we all share in the sadness of that loss.

You are all aware that the day this shooting occurred, I asked the Abbotsford Police Department to take charge of this investigation. I also delegated my role as Disciplinary Authority pursuant to the Police Act to Chief Constable Jim Cessford of the Delta Police Department.

The investigation has concluded that our officer acted in accordance with the law, her training, and our policies. Our officer acted in the defence of her own life and the safety of the public.

When a loss of life occurs, the public deserves a thorough and detailed accounting. Police officers know that their every move will be questioned, analyzed and examined. Their actions will be held to the highest standards of evidence and truth.

Unfortunately, very few of those standards of evidence and truth seem to apply to those who stand outside the fray. They enjoy an apparent impunity that seems to stem from knowledge that, unlike the police they criticize, they will never be held accountable if they rush to a judgment based on uncorroborated and unsubstantiated claims.

The Abbotsford Police are recommending charges against Mr. Adam Smolcic for public mischief. This charge is laid when someone falsely alleges a crime has occurred when it has not.

You will recall that Mr. Smolcic alleged that a Vancouver Police officer obstructed justice by deleting his cell phone video of the incident.

If it is one day proven that Mr. Smolcic’s intent was to discredit the Vancouver Police, damage police morale, place great stress on the involved police officers, and damage the public’s trust, I want to note that he didn’t act alone.

If it is proven that he was out to dupe the public, he obviously started by duping first those who had a vested interest in believing him.

Some media commentators questioned Mr. Smolcic’s motivations and observations. But many others in the media accepted his allegations and repeated them without critical analysis.

It is unlikely that they or Mr. Smolcic considered the toll his comments would take on the relationship of trust between the VPD and our homeless, or how it would worsen the pain and confusion for the Hubbard family.

If those who believed Mr. Smolcic were sincerely duped then they have my sympathy and the hope that maybe a lesson was learned. If they were complicit in the deceit, then I would argue that they did their audiences, their police department and their community a great disservice

Vancouver Police officers know we work under a high level of scrutiny and accountability.

But I would urge those who willingly shoulder the responsibility of public watchdogs to employ their skepticism more widely. Then perhaps the people who wish to manipulate you for their own purposes would have a tougher time.