Terrace RCMP dispatch cop from city

Officer awaiting two internal police hearings for excessive use of force involving has been disciplined on another matter and transferred

AN RCMP officer who awaits two internal police hearings for excessive use of force involving two men in two separate incidents in the spring of 2012 has been disciplined on another matter and transferred.

Const. Brian Heideman was suspended for a separate and so far undisclosed matter in which he breached the RCMP code of conduct.

Heideman faced a formal disciplinary hearing this past summer on the matter and the hearing board found he did conduct himself in a disgraceful manner, says Terrace RCMP Inspector Dana Hart.

He was given a reprimand and had to forfeit eight days of pay, said Hart. “I can further say, as the matter for which he was suspended with pay for was resolved through the adjudication board, his transfer was approved to Vernon,” said Hart.

“His duty assessment is continuously reviewed and he is currently working on [paid] administrative leave.”

“It was a lateral [transfer], same level, and it was ordered by the commanding officer, separate from the discipline,” Hart added.

Hart said he had expected Heideman to be transferred and filled his spot earlier this year.

“As far as the position in Terrace, in anticipation I had the position filled earlier this year by a new member from [the RCMP training] depot,” said Hart.

It’s not known when the details of Heideman’s suspension will be released.

While the discipline board’s final decision is told to the officer at the hearing and a written decision, which contains greater detail, such as statement of findings, reasons for the decision and a statement of the sanction imposed, is prepared, it involves an elaborate process.

The written decision is first served to the office who then has 30 days to appeal, said RCMP adjudications registrar Carole Smith-Doiron.

Heideman’s written decision from the hearing which was held this past summer is currently being edited, before being served to him, said Smith-Doiron.

“We cannot provide an estimate for how long it will take to edit a written decision,” she said.

“There is no time limit, however, every effort is made to finalize the written decision and serve it to the member in a timely manner.”

The undisclosed matter resulting in Heideman’s suspension arose around the same time as the incidents involving the two men in April and May 2012, said Hart.

Separate from his suspension and pay docking, Heideman was suspended with pay in July 2012 until late June 2013 in what Hart described as administrative paid leave prior to his transfer to Vernon. “Leave means not working,” said Hart.

He said the matter was the most complicated disciplinary case he’s dealt with.

No dates have been set for Heideman to face formal code of conduct hearings regarding the two incidents involving the two men.

In neither case were criminal charges approved against Heideman. The two men won’t face criminal charges either.

One man, Robert Wright, was taken to hospital three times from the Terrace RCMP detachment during the night of his drunk driving arrest April 21, 2012 before being flown to hospital in Vancouver where he remained for 11 weeks.

Since his release from hospital, he requires full-time care due to a brain injury, said his wife, Heather Prisk.

Heideman was alleged to have wrongly used force against Wright while he was in custody.

A five-page Nov. 2, 2012 report from the provincial criminal justice branch’s outlined why it declined to approve criminal charges against any member of the RCMP in connection with the April 21, 2012 incident involving Wright in the Terrace RCMP detachment cell block.

“The branch has thoroughly reviewed an investigative report prepared by the New Westminster Police Department on this matter, and has concluded that there is not a substantial likelihood of any conviction for a criminal charge,” read the report.

“The available evidence does not establish that the force used by police in the incident went beyond what is legally permissible under the Criminal Code.”

“Under Canadian criminal law, where a police officer’s use of force is lawful, the officer cannot be held criminally culpable for injury or even death which may result from that use of force….,” the report stated.

“Given that the Crown cannot prove that the force used by police in dealing with Mr. Wright was either unnecessary or excessive, there is no substantial likelihood of conviction on any offence in these circumstances,” the report continued.

The second man, William Watts, said he was punched, subjected to racist slurs and had a spit bag put over his head while in police custody when he was arrested for being belligerent and aggressive after he called police for assistance with a family member on May 15, 2012.

A spit hood is a bag which, when placed over someone’s head, prevents a person from spitting on to another person and can catch and retain blood, vomit and other material.

“Crown counsel has concluded that the available evidence does not reliably establish the accuracy of allegations that the arresting officer repeatedly punched Mr. [William] Watts in the head,” said a lengthy statement from the provincial government’s criminal justice branch March 6 of this year.

“Crown counsel has also concluded that it cannot prove unlawful force was used in pulling Mr. Watts from a police vehicle, resulting in an uncontrolled and unsupported drop to the ground.

“Based on the available evidence as a whole, the branch has determined there is no substantial likelihood of a conviction on a charge of assault,” the March 6 report continued.