RCMP criticize civil liberties group

“It’s important to note that these are unsubstantiated allegations at this point," police said in a statement today.

  • Jun. 12, 2012 2:00 p.m.

THE RCMP says it’s disappointed the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is speaking out now on three northwestern incidents involving injuries to people who were in their custody.

Speaking today, RCMP Superintendent Ray Bernoties said he was “disappointed that the BCCLA would grandstand on these files when they know full well that there are independent external investigations ongoing by the New Westminster Police, Delta Police and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.”

The BCCLA would be the first to criticize the police, and has in the past, for speaking publicly about a complaint while it is still under investigation. If nothing else, they should hold themselves to their own standard,” he said.

Bernoties said he questioned the objective of the civil liberties association.

At issue is an incident in Prince Rupert in which the arm of a 15-year-old girl was broken after police were called to her house, a second incident involving the hospitalization of a Terrace man with head injuries after he was taken into police custody and, in the third incident, the placing of a spit hood over another Terrace man.

The civil liberties association says the three incidents, all involving aboriginal people and all of which took place this spring, are signs of a “serious systemic problem.”

Delta police are investigating the first incident, the New Westminster police the second and third is the subject of a complaint to a commission which looks into complaints against the RCMP.

It’s important to note that these are unsubstantiated allegations at this point and thus, it would be inappropriate for me, or frankly anyone, to speak about these incidents while they are being investigated,” said Bernoties.

If charges are laid against an RCMP member in any of these matters, we will proactively inform the public, as we do in every case of an RCMP member being charged,” he said.