The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has ordered an investigation into the detention and arrest of an Indigenous man and his 12-year-old granddaughter at a Vancouver branch of the Bank of Montreal (“BMO”) which occurred on December 20, 2019.
The OPCC became aware of the matter through media reporting and complaints from the public. Information was requested from the Vancouver Police Department and as a result, the Police Complaint Commissioner has concluded an investigation into the matter is required.
The Police Act provides an authority for the Police Complaint Commissioner to order an investigation into the conduct of a police officer if the officer’s conduct would, if substantiated, constitute misconduct. The investigation will include any other potential misconduct or attempted misconduct which may have occurred. The investigation will also consider any Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Police Board policies, procedures or training that may be a factor in this incident.
Given the nature of this matter and the public comments of the Vancouver Police Department, the Commissioner has also determined that it is in the public interest the investigation be conducted by an agency other than the Vancouver Police Department. The Delta Police Department has been ordered to conduct an independent investigation into this matter.
“It is important that there be a thorough and independent investigation of this matter,” said Andrea Spindler, Deputy Police Complaint Commissioner. “The investigation will carefully examine and assess the circumstances of this incident including the legal authority to detain, arrest and use restraining devices such as handcuffs as well as any relevant questions of policy or training.”
The Police Complaint Commissioner is a civilian, independent Officer of the Legislature overseeing complaints, investigations and discipline involving municipal police in British Columbia.
The Police Complaint Commissioner has the authority to order investigations to be handled by an external agency if it is in the public interest to do so.
The Vancouver Police Department operates under the direction of the Vancouver Police Board who are responsible for making rules which prevent neglect and abuse by its municipal constables and for ensuring the efficient discharge of police duties and functions.
The Police Complaint Commissioner may also refer matters to Crown Counsel for consideration of prosecution; make recommendations to Police Boards or to government regarding policies, practices or systemic issues that may contribute to the misconduct.