Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

IIO’s actions a mystery – again

with 13 comments

Police are often called to do things that are remarkable and courageous. Mostly it goes unnoticed and unrecognized.

In the wee hours of the morning on May 31st, a homeless man was camped out on the banks of the Fraser River in Maple Ridge, BC. He heard a loud engine roar and then saw a man in the water. He assumed it was a jet ski accident and went to a nearby 7-11 to call police.

Members of the Ridge Meadows Detachment responded to the call near Port Haney. They picked up the complainant and took him to the river to show them where he had seen the man.

The RCMP officers saw a man partially submerged just offshore. They tried to form a human chain to get the man but couldn’t quite reach him. One member,  with a little over 5 years service, took off his duty gear and waded into the rushing river. He managed to get to the man and got him to shore. The man wasn’t breathing and the officers called for paramedics and began CPR. Unfortunately, their efforts and those of responding paramedics were not successful.

The officers returned to the detachment and completed their reports and went off duty at 7 a.m. But their night was not over.

The watch commander did as he was required and notified the IIO. At 9 a.m. the off duty members were called back to the detachment and told that their actions would be the subject of an IIO investigation. They were told to copy their notes and surrender their uniforms and kit by detachment investigators apparently under instruction by the IIO who took care and control of the body for autopsy.

The IIO has yet to officially assert jurisdiction in the matter, but are interviewing witness officers and as I write this, the members involved will be interviewed by IIO investigators today.

Now, I don’t know where this will end up, but, as I wrote in this space two weeks ago in two other matters where the IIO asserted jurisdiction in cases where police performed CPR on two people in medical distress, this is nuts.

The IIO was set up to be civilian oversight for police in use of force incidents. How or why the IIO seems to think they should be involved in incidents like this is beyond me. They simply should have read the watch commander’s report and said this doesn’t concern us. But they didn’t.

The officers involved were heroic. Whatever caused this man to be in the water at that time of night is under investigation by Ridge Meadows RCMP as it would be for any sudden death investigation. Why the IIO would insert themselves into this situation is flat out mystifying. The officers don’t deserve the stress of what they’re about to go through. They should get medals.

Ridge Meadows RCMP publicly aren’t commenting. They did confirm a fatality to me when I called but said they would not be issuing a press release, presumably because the IIO have control of the investigation and they insist any public comment must come from them.

Being a cop is a tough job. It’s made even tougher by the IIO for no good reason. This appears to be nothing more than the IIO trying to justify their existence.

My guess is that they will come to the inevitable conclusion that the members did nothing wrong and they will release jurisdiction. But seriously, why are they wasting their time and putting these officers through the stress of interviews, having their uniforms seized and all that goes with it?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the IIO as it is constituted, is fatally flawed and an enemy of police. This is yet another example.

-30-

Leo Knight

@primetime crime

 

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Written by Leo Knight

June 1, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

13 Responses

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  1. I have said it before and I will say it again – we need IIO oversight. Just to be facetious, do these IIO members have alibis? How can they investigate an incident that they themselves might be possibly complicit in? What a waste of time indeed! Reel in this clown patrol.

    Al Arsenault

    June 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm

  2. Turn in your gun and badge… What did we tell you about trying to save lives? Now get out of my office!

    Unbelievable.

    Dan

    June 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm

  3. Heroism! Thank you to the RCMP members. It may feel like no one cares or understands what you are going through, but I think we mostly feel helpless. Afterall, it is the powers-that-be who came up with this “watchdog”, and appear to have given them ALL the power they choose to “make up”. IIO has thrown “common sense” out the window. How do they take themselves seriously? Why aren’t more people paying attention to this nonsense?

    K Rundel

    June 1, 2016 at 8:00 pm

  4. Perhaps by investigating such matters the Iio is assuring the public that it will not brush things under the carpet?

    Hal Hannon

    June 2, 2016 at 12:25 am

    • I wish it were that simple Hal. But that does not seem to be the case.

      Leo Knight

      June 2, 2016 at 12:37 am

    • Unfortunately, it has the effect of discouraging heroism and even basic care for a fellow human.

      Tim

      June 5, 2016 at 9:05 am

  5. another fiasco by the one of the most inept investigative agencies out there. Leo, were the Mounties on night 1 or Night #2 of night shift? Were they Paid O/T for being called back in? The Mounties have a habit of requiring their members to come at times for free. What is the cost to the taxpayers? If the Mounties had just worked their 1st night shift, and were called back in, had their uniforms, gun belts and other duty equipment seized, I doubt they would have enough time to be issued new gear, guns, if those were seized and get enough sleep to come back that night for night shift. So, cost of new equipment while the IIO hangs on the Mounties equipment for months, possible overtime costs in calling the members back in, as well as possible overtime costs in having other members come in to cover for the members involved.

    Meanwhile the IIO bumbles along like Mr Bean, trying to justify why they exist in the 1st place.

    Anon

    June 2, 2016 at 6:51 am

    • Interesting questions. I believe it was their 2nd night shift and no, I do not know whether they were paid O/T for the call in. They should be, but there is a culture of VOT in the Force.

      Leo Knight

      June 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      • Just curious Leo. If there’s no evidence of a criminal act by anyone, let alone LE, what legal authority does the IIO have in seizing their uniforms, gun belts and other duty equipment? I only wish, as LE, I could seize ‘evidence’ without a warrant based on the IIO’s gold standard of investigative excellence, “may have committed an offense”. Now I realize the uniform and equipment belong to the ‘company’ however as a potential target of these uniform fetish lovers it might be time for an officer to say, “Get a warrant” AND for the ‘company’ to support them.

        Rick

        June 6, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      • Very good questions. Improper seizure of evidence should hinder any potential prosecution.

        Leo Knight

        June 6, 2016 at 2:17 pm

  6. There are so many easy fixes that could be done that would save money.

    Paul Briggs

    June 2, 2016 at 3:57 pm

  7. Recently retired Winnipeg P D, after 31 years as Cst & Patrol Sgt. I strongly agree with previous comments of Rick, that involved officers should refuse to return to work; much less consent to seizure of uniform & equipment, without warrant authorizing/requiring same.
    Feel bad for “The Brotherhood” here on the “left coast” of Canada! Keep up the good work Leo.

    K. Martell

    June 13, 2016 at 5:07 am

    • Good question K. Martell….why do we give up our uniform…can anyone answer. Is it cause we are afraid to get in trouble if we don’t? You bring up a really good point seems like we jump every time IIO calls maybe we should not?

      Teo

      July 13, 2016 at 6:11 am


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