Long delay in Mountie probe a “cover-up”: criminologist
Jon Woodward, CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, August 20, 2012 6:40PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, August 20, 2012 6:52PM PDT
The 23-month wait for an investigation into a Mountie who repeatedly punched a handcuffed prisoner was so long, it “borders on a cover-up” according to an Ottawa criminologist.
Months-long delays were a factor in the RCMP’s north district superintendent telling the victim that too much time had passed since the incident in 2010, and as a result, the officer could no longer be disciplined.
Much of the incident was caught on RCMP surveillance camera footage, which was uncovered by CTV News last week. Carleton University criminologist Darryl Davies says he’s outraged by what he saw.
“After watching the video I was shocked by not only the brutality that was exhibited in that video, but I was shocked the RCMP would take two years to investigate, and come back to the family and say I’m sorry we ran out of time,” Davies said.
“It is just simply unacceptable. It borders on incompetence. It borders on a coverup. And I’m demanding that the minister of public safety, Vic Toews, do the responsible thing and order an investigation,” he added.
Two officers, Const. Chad King and Cpl. Travis De Coene, were found by the RCMP to have used force inappropriately during the June 19, 2010 incident. Video recorded at the detachment shows King using pepper spray on 22-year-old Shane Parker after he refused to leave a police car.
Shortly afterwards, De Coene grabs Parker and pulls him out of the car, striking him repeatedly.
While King was sent to special training, De Coene was not disciplined. Investigating officer Sgt Heidi Wild took three months to set up any interviews, and she tabled her report eight months later.
In total, it was 23 months before the family found out about the fate of the officer.
“Unfortunately, due to time limits associated with the issuance of discipline, no discipline was administered,” wrote Superintendent Rod Booth in a May 28, 2012 letter.
Parker is now suing the officers involved in the incident and the RCMP.
When reached by CTV News, Toews’s staff said he would not comment on the individual case, but hoped to cut into red tape involved with internal discipline with changes to the RCMP Act.
“Our Conservative Government is committed to ensuring [RCMP] Commissioner Bob Paulson has the tools he needs to restore pride in Canada's National Police Force. The Minister of Public Safety recently tabled the Enhancing RCMP Accountability Act to do just that,” his office said in a statement.
The RCMP also won’t talk about Parker’s case, but say they’re putting in a 90-day time limit on internal investigations while the law is updated.
The incident is also concerning the Terrace city council. While councillor Marylin Davies said she supports the RCMP, she said she was concerned about investigation delays and didn’t want it to be repeated in the future.
“What we would want as a council is things investigated immediately, we would want it to be just, and we would want answers,” she said.
Davies said she would bring the incident up with the Inspector in charge of the Terrace detachment.