BC Court of Appeal to hear arguments on authority to call public hearings to investigate alleged police misconduct

Vancouver – The BC Court of Appeal will be hearing arguments on January 30 and 31, 2013 in Florkow and London v. Police Complaint Commissioner. This case arises from the beating of Yao Wei Wu in 2010 by two members of the Vancouver Police Department.

Wu claims that he answered his door and was immediately pulled to the ground by the officers who punched him several times. The police alleged that Wu resisted arrest. Police later apologized and said the officers were responding to an emergency call of domestic violence when they went to the wrong door and mistook Wu for another person.

The VPD asked the Delta Chief of Police to conduct an investigation of the beating. The Delta Chief of Police found that Wu resisted arrest and the officers acted appropriately, and the conduct of the two officers did not warrant further investigation.

The Police Complaint Commissioner (“PCC”) called a public hearing into the incident. The PCC’s position is that it should have the ability to convene a public hearing to preserve or restore public confidence in investigations of police misconduct. The two VPD officers claim that the PCC has no authority to call a public hearing into this incident.

The BCCLA has long advocated for improving police accountability and the police complaint process. The BCCLA is an intervener in this case and argues that the Police Act gives the PCC discretion to order a public hearing where, as here, the PCC believes that there are flaws in the process of police investigating police.

The BCCLA is represented by Michael Feder and Paige Morrow of McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

The BCCLA’s argument in the case is available here >>

What: BC Court of Appeal will hear oral arguments in Florkow and London v. Police Complaint Commissioner

When: Oral arguments before the court begin on Wednesday, January 30 and continue through Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where: BC Court of Appeal

Who: Lawyers for the BCCLA available for comment in advance of the hearing