The BCCLA says that a North Vancouver woman who alleged that she was assaulted by an RCMP officer was further victimised by an RCMP press release. The release misstated several key facts, including that the assault happened “during an arrest” while the officer was “conducting a liquor act investigation.” The officer has been charged with assault.
According to the woman, there was no arrest and claims of an “investigation” are false:
– She was walking on a poorly-lit street in North Vancouver.
– Three men in plain clothes walking near to her asked her if she had alcohol.
– She believed they were looking for alcohol and continued to walk, becoming frightened when the men started following her.
– The men then claimed to be police officers but did not show badges. She was fearful the three men were trying to get her to stop in a poorly-lit area.
– At the time, she had a broken arm in a sling.
– One of the men grabbed her from behind by her broken arm. .
– In response to this assault, she began to scream for help.
– She was then forcefully brought to the ground by her assaulter. The action was painful, causing further injury to her arm and prolonging the healing process
– At this point the men showed police identification.
– She was not carrying any alcohol and was never arrested.
After the RCMP released their statement, the complainant retained a lawyer to demand the press release be corrected. The RCMP did not correct the press release, and instead posted an “update” to their website. While the original story was sent out by the RCMP to multiple media outlets across Canada, the “update” is only available on the RCMP website.
“Manipulating the media to misrepresent complainants as deserving the use of force when that is not so is very troubling,” said Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA. “Quietly posting an ‘update‟ about a highly publicized smear of a complainant is inadequate. Sincere apologies require at least equal prominence and publicity as the offensive words or conduct that make the apology necessary. The RCMP has failed to recognize that and ought to correct that.”
David Eby, Executive Director, 778-865-7997
Robert Holmes, President, 604-838-6856
Jason Gratl, lawyer for the complainant, 604-694-1919