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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An embarrassing anniversary arrives for a broken RCMP complaint system

November 21, 2011
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association

An embarrassing anniversary arrives for a broken RCMP complaint system

November 23 is the second anniversary of B.C.’s Solicitor General filing a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (“CPC”) in relation to the 2003 death of Clayton Alvin Willey. At the time of the complaint, the Solicitor General called the investigation into the details of Willey’s death a matter of “confidence in the RCMP.” Two years later, the investigation by the CPC has not been completed.

The CPC is the same organization recently asked to conduct a multi-year investigation of sexual harassment complaints by female RCMP police and civilian staff.

“Ensuring standards of performance are met on complaints is a concern for all British Columbians. It should be a concern of the RCMP as well,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA. “It is imperative that the Solicitor General ensure that the RCMP and CPC agree to appropriate performance measures if BC is to enter into a new contract. It shouldn’t take two years to respond to complaints. If the CPC and RCMP are going to allow multi-year delays in complaint investigations, they’re effectively thumbing their noses at those they’re supposed to serve.”

Clayton Alvin Willey died shortly after being removed from the Prince George RCMP detachment by ambulance. He had been Tasered multiple times while hog tied, and had been dragged while hog tied from the back of an RCMP SUV and allowed to drop, full weight, on his head and chest, fracturing his skull and ribs. RCMP video showed Mr. Willey being dragged through the RCMP detachment and receiving multiple Taser applications. The 2003 case rose to prominence again in 2009 when the BCCLA and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs publicly released details contained on an RCMP surveillance video of the death and called for the release of the video.

“Clayton Alvin Willey’s death is a black mark on the record of service of the RCMP in BC,” noted Holmes. “We want timely investigations and prompt accountability for any who failed to live up to the standards the RCMP is supposed to live by. Instead, we are left knowing that another season’s ice is forming on the Ottawa River and that eight years after Mr. Willey died in 2003, we still have no answers from the force or the Complaints Commissioner whose job it is to uphold the public’s trust.”

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