Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Another over-reach by the IIO

with 12 comments

I played golf with a few of my former VPD colleagues last week, all retired now, but with Major Crime and/or Internal experience and one, retired as the Inspector running the VPD Traffic Section. As we sat down for a post game libation, I got a press release from the Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) saying charges of Dangerous Driving causing bodily harm had been approved against a Nanaimo Mountie, Cst. David Buchanan.

My immediate thought was that he’d been ordered to shut down a chase and hadn’t, risking lives of pedestrians as he careened down the sea wall in the Port of Nanaimo. But no, nothing of the sort apparently.

As I read the release further, it turns out the CJB believe that he was in a pursuit involving a scooter. A scooter? You know, something like a Vespa. A scooter, capable of burning up the pavement at something between 50-60 KMH.

Again, my mind conjured up a chase on a sidewalk with pedestrians diving out of the way.  But no, no such thing.

This occurred around eleven o’clock on a wet, rainy February night in 2016.

When I told my golfing companions that the charge involved the interaction with a scooter, the speculation began as to what the officer might have done to get over the bar to be charged criminally with Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm. All suggestions involved innocent members of the public being put at risk by the actions of the officer.

I began to look into the circumstances and the surmises of those experienced investigators did not appear to be the case.

Quite the contrary, the incident occurred at 11 p.m. Cst. Buchanan was assigned to the Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU) at the time and was based out of Nanaimo. IRSU is a traffic enforcement unit that operates in different areas of the province. It is funded primarily by ICBC and is tasked with specific enforcement functions with the goal of reducing motor vehicle accidents.

Buchanan was down in the Shawnigan Lake area coming to the end of his shift. He stopped at the Tim Horton’s in north Duncan to get a coffee to accompany him on the hour-long drive back to Nanaimo.

As he was leaving the parking lot exit he noticed a scooter heading south on Hwy. 1 apparently without a license plate which is required for that class of vehicle.

Buchanan turned south and began to close the distance so that he could verify what he thought he saw. As he got closer to the scooter in his unmarked SUV, the male on the scooter turned off the highway and Buchanan followed, no lights, no siren.

The scooter rider ran through two rolling stops then made an illegal left turn across some train tracks at which point Buchanan made the decision to conduct a traffic stop. Once he activated his emergency equipment to stop the rider, the rider did what is known in surveillance terms as a “shit hook.”

He did a hard U-turn and re-traced his route. Buchanan had to execute a Y-turn in reverse to get turned around to head after the scooter. Now, remember this is late in the evening and there’s not another sinner on the streets in this quiet area.

Scooter Boy noticed the SUV getting closer and turned into a parking lot followed by Buchanan who saw an exit where Scooter Boy seemed headed. He blocked the exit and Scooter Boy glanced off the front right fender of the police car and continued on onto a grassy area. Unfortunately, the grass was wet and Scooter Boy fishtailed and crashed into a fire hydrant.  His ankle was fractured, caught between the hydrant and his scooter. This is where the Independent Investigations office (IIO) asserted jurisdiction. Although, I fail to see how a fractured ankle classifies as a “serious injury.”

There was a confrontation as Buchanan tried to take Scooter Boy into custody and strikes were delivered by the officer to get control and the suspect handcuffed. But, I note he wasn’t charged with assault as a result. The CJB determined that to be justified.

Did I mention that the scooter was not only unlicensed and uninsured but also stolen and Scooter Boy has a history with police. I know, big shock. Cst. Buchanan on the other hand is a police officer who has been decorated for valour.

Scooter Boy was identified as Bryce McKay. He has not been identified publicly until now, but Buchanan’s name has been in every media outlet on Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and throughout BC.

And for what? Because he did his job?

The entire incident lasted, start to finish, 52 seconds. There is dash cam video that shows what Buchanan actually did during the incident. Menaka Giri, the Crown handling the prosecution of McKay who was charged with possession of stolen property, flight from police and possession of a stolen vehicle, reviewed the dash cam video and said in an email that she doesn’t see that Buchanan did anything wrong and that he should be confident to testify against McKay.

Well, apparently the prosecutors at the CJB felt otherwise and have approved criminal charges against yet another cop in BC just trying to do his job.

It ought to be an interesting trial. If I were defence counsel for Buchanan, I’d call Giri as a witness for the defence then simply stand and look at the judge and make a motion for dismissal because there’s clearly a difference of opinion in the office of the Crown itself. Talk about reasonable doubt.

It seems the IIO is attempting yet another overreach in charging another cop just trying to do his job and somehow they managed to get again the compliance of the CJB. Shame. This isn’t law, this isn’t justice. This is offensive to every cop trying to do his or her job.

-30-

Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

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Written by Leo Knight

July 20, 2017 at 4:37 am

12 Responses

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  1. Great article Leo. Dam I thought maybe here might be a case where an officer had done wrong but admit I did not read your heading. You forced me to read this with intent, then you ruined a good story by mentioning the IIO. Dam you Leo.

    Murray

    July 20, 2017 at 4:53 am

  2. I would call the IIO a bunch of Keystone Cops, but that would be an insult to Keystone Cops. Unlike the IIO, at least they were trained cops.

    Rob H.

    July 20, 2017 at 5:04 am

  3. Wow, this one is a bit of a stretch… Shit like this will just make more cops sit around in the back lanes and quiet streets, waiting for a call.

    Anon

    July 20, 2017 at 5:33 am

  4. Shameful. And with Mr Eby as our new Attorney General, things will get a whole lot more interesting for BC…

    Lynn

    July 20, 2017 at 6:27 am

  5. Thanks for this. The additional info makes a lot more sense than the decision to charge B. Good call about calling Crown as a wit.

    1250 2994876

    July 20, 2017 at 10:28 am

  6. This is yet just another lame and feeble attempt by the IIO clowns to justify their existence by trying to make a criminal charge against a police officer actually stick by bending reality. I don’t mind the oversight aspect of such a body but dressing up anti-police sentiment as fact is an abuse of their authority and a shameful waste of money… not to mention the unneeded stress on those so negligently charged is unforgiveable.
    Summarize their great work thus far and reward them all by squirting them in the face with a fake flower and send the whole works back to Clown Town on the Chu Chu train now!

    Al Arsenault

    July 20, 2017 at 8:20 pm

  7. Leo, thanks for another great write up about the failings of this organization. But to be honest the government has to take some of the blame, with the poorly worded legislation that was introduced in reaction to findings of the Braidwood inquiry. The whole nonsense about the CCD being required to refer the matter to crown if an officer “may” have committed an offence, totally goes against the Criminal Code and case law that requires “reasonable and probable grounds to believe”. I can’t believe that this was the intent of this legislation.

    You know Rosenthal used that as a fall back on any investigations where there was really no wrong doing and he did not want to publicly exonerate the officers, he would find the most trivial reason the support his belief that and officer “may have” committed an offence. By doing so it relieved him of the responsibility to publicly report on the findings of the investigation, thus saving him from the inevitable criticism from those people and groups that refuse to believe regardless of the evidence that the police acted lawfully and appropriately.

    A recent example is the referral that was made by this organization to crown relating to the West Shore RCMP incident in which Constable Beckett tragically lost her life. After a 10 month investigation (into an event that lasted 8 seconds), they referred it to crown to consider charges of obstruct justice as the officers statement contained “minor inconsistencies” with video and witness statements (my understanding is there was one witness). And you wonder what the VPD is pushing back about providing statements without having the opportunity to review video, radio transmissions and notes. I think the crown, in their “clear statement” also indicated that they considered dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving, fortunately they chose to rely on evidence and facts as opposed to, well whatever the IIO relied upon.

    I know that they IIO always comes out as states that the “don’t recommend charges”. If I was an accused officer in one of these flights of fancy I would be making a disclosure request for the entire IIO investigative file, including the notes from the briefings and meetings with the senior management relating to that investigation, the daily investigative logs and I would want to see the cover letter that accompanies all crown referrals that is authored by the CCD. Let’s see if there are recommendations or not.

    I hope that the new government takes a look at this debacle of an organization and makes some positive changes.

    Keep up the good fight Leo.

    Rob

    July 21, 2017 at 1:18 am

  8. Old white boys club members sticking together as usual… no surprise here.

    How did you get access to this file and all its info?
    How do WE know you’re not adding and subtracting details as you go along?
    Why so defensive about cops being investigated by a civilian non-police entity?
    How do you know the video shows “everything” involving the situation?
    You call the perpetrator Scooter Boy, then call the cop Piggly Wiggly.

    It’s dinosaurs like you that require BIGGER oversight of cops 24/7/365

    Felix

    July 22, 2017 at 4:18 am

  9. I agree that the IIO is a disaster and needs fixing. The IIO however did not define “serious injury,” someone in the government and legislation did. (they are apparently trying to follow what the OPCC definies as serious) Also the IIO does not “charge” anyone as you suggest in your last paragraph. That is up to Crown. The IIO forwards cases to Crown where an officer “may” have committed an offense. Which realistically could be anything really. Very poor wording that needs correcting. Perhaps a closer look at ASIRT and others would be helpful. If you look at the records I don’t think ASIRT has forwarded any dog bites to Crown compared to IIO or even investigated for that matter. Great concept that is needed but a failure from the start in BC.

    Beau

    July 25, 2017 at 12:14 am

    • Very l put Beau.

      greencar

      July 25, 2017 at 2:44 am

      • meant …very well put Beau

        greencar

        July 25, 2017 at 4:11 am


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