The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is expressing concern that an RCMP officer who took a laptop was immediately removed from service and had to turn in his badge and gun, while an officer involved in a shooting gave a presentation to a Nanaimo community group on behalf of the RCMP in October, 2011, just five months after being charged with aggravated assault in relation to that incident.
“This is the bizarre nature of RCMP accountability in British Columbia, all overseen by the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP,” says David Eby, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “Steal a laptop, and you’ll never work for the RCMP again. Shoot someone, and you’ll represent the RCMP in the community, even if you’re facing a hearing for disgraceful conduct, and criminal charges are pending.”
Constable David Pompeo, formerly of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, was the officer involved in the shooting of Bill Gillespie on September 18, 2009. He was criminally charged with aggravated assault on May 5, 2011. His criminal trial is scheduled for September 4, 2012 in Duncan. Constable Pompeo presented for the RCMP in October, 2011, as part of a conference for the Nanaimo Citizens on Patrol organization. He works for Nanaimo RCMP.
Officer Henessey of the Cranbrook RCMP, took a laptop from a pawnshop and did not turn it in to the evidence locker. He was found by the RCMP to have violated the RCMP code of conduct. When that determination was made, “the subject was removed from his duties, and his gun and badge taken from him,” according to Chief Supt. Sekela, the Southeast District Commander. “He will never work for the RCMP again,” Chief Sekela told the media.
“The public is entitled to an explanation why officers under a cloud of allegations of serious misconduct are treated in such inconsistent ways,” noted Eby. “At a minimum, public figures in other positions step aside from being spokespersons when they are facing criminal charges. To have an officer facing criminal charges and a major disciplinary hearing make presentations on behalf of the RCMP causes the public to lose confidence that police are treating serious incidents involving their own members seriously.”
The BCCLA is calling on the Federal Government to reform the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to ensure better protection of the public and accountability for officers. The BCCLA’s e-mails to their RCMP liaison asking for an explanation of the different treatment of the officers were not answered.
David Eby, Executive Director, 778 865 7997
Bill Gillespie, shooting victim, 250 748 0932