Two Victoria officers
charged with assault

Constables accused of mishandling
the arrests of two men in 2008

Katie DeRosa with files from Louise Dickson, Times Colonist, March 11, 2010

Victoria police Chief Jamie Graham speaks during a news conference at the city police station yesterday.
He says he’s being “especially cautious” with the case of two officers.
Photo: Debra Brash, Times Colonist.


Two Victoria police officers have been charged with assault against two brothers who were arrested in October 2008 for public intoxication.

Const. Brent Keleher is charged with two counts of assault against Jeffrey Meyers after he was arrested on Oct. 18, 2008 — one while Meyers was in a police cruiser and Keleher was driving it to the station, and the second while Meyers was at the police station, according to court documents.

Const. Ryan Young is also charged with two counts of assault — one against Jeffrey Meyers and the other against his brother Trevor Meyers — while they were at the police station.

Neither Jeffrey nor Trevor Meyers was charged with an offence in relation to the arrest.

Yesterday, after announcing the charges during a press conference, Victoria police Chief Jamie Graham refused to give more details, saying he is being especially cautious with this case and does not want to divulge evidence that would prejudice the trial. “These are allegations and to protect the integrity of the court process, I’ll try and limit my comments on the circumstances of this matter,” he said.

Graham said the Meyers brothers suffered injuries, but didn’t have to be hospitalized.

An internal investigation by the department substantiated the allegations of excessive force and both officers were disciplined. Young was suspended without pay for five days for abuse of authority and neglect of duty, the maximum discipline for suspension under the Police Act. Keleher was given a written reprimand and advised on abuse of authority and inappropriate language.

The department decided not to recommend criminal charges.

However, when the file was reviewed by B.C. Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe in March 2009, he took the rare step of recommending that Crown counsel pursue criminal charges, said Rollie Woods, a senior investigative analyst with the office.

Late last week, after nearly a year, Crown counsel proceeded with the assault charges.

Woods said that in reviewing the probe, Lowe agreed with Young’s discipline, but not Keleher’s, noting that it was “significantly less.” Lowe can accept the discipline, ask Graham to reconsider or order a public hearing, Woods said.

The two officers, both in their 30s, will remain on duty while their cases proceed in the courts, said Graham. Young is on a downtown beat squad and Keleher is in a plainclothes unit. Graham said they’ve been on their best behaviour since the incident.

Young has been with the force less than five years and Keleher has served for about seven years, said police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton.

Young and Keleher are to appear in Victoria provincial court on April 16.

The Victoria police department will pay legal bills for the officers, Graham said.

The department’s legal bills have been double what was budgeted the last three years — at $300,000 per year — and much of that is attributed to civil lawsuits brought by Thomas McKay and Willow Kinloch.

In the McKay case, Victoria police settled for an undisclosed amount after a complaint of excessive force was substantiated against Const. Greg Smith, who seriously injured the handcuffed student in police cells, leaving him with brain damage and permanent, severe disabilities. A jury awarded Kinloch $60,000 after the teenager sued the city and police for tethering her in cells for hours.

Since the McKay, Kinloch and Meyers incidents, the department has made changes to its cells, such as upgrading video surveillance and requiring a staff sergeant to monitor the cells 24 hours a day.

However, in January, the department said a senior officer tasked with monitoring the cells was being criminally investigated for alleged abuse of force against a 33-year-old man while he was in custody. The Vancouver Police Department is investigating Sgt. George Chong, a 28-year veteran.



October 14, 2022 update: Brent Keleher (now a sergeant) turns out to be a cop whose name was withheld from the public while under “investigation” for sexual assault. Vancouver police inspector Shelly Horne exonerated him but police complaint commissioner Clayton Pecknold (very much unlike his cop-cover-up predecessors Don Morrison, Dirk Ryneveld and Stan Lowe) pursued the matter.

Keleher ended up with a 30-day unpaid suspension. Maybe just one media outlet has asked whether he got off easily. His penalty was, according to one inaccurate report, the most severe allowed under B.C.’s Police Act (as opposed to the Criminal Code). The leniency afforded by the Police Act and its adjudicators presents one obvious problem. But another is the cop-on-cop criminal investigation, which if conducted fairly might have brought prison time had Keleher been charged and convicted.

Cops repeatedly show themselves unfit to investigate other cops for sexual assaults, or for anything else. Sexual assaults especially should be scrutinized by B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office, which has (at least nominally) civilians investigating cops for serious injuries or death at the hands of police. B.C. and Quebec remain the only provinces that allow cop-on-cop investigations of cop sexual assault.

An all-party legislative committee recommends preserving this Keleher-friendly rapist-cop status quo.