Sample Findings

The public complaint process entitles complainants who are not satisfied with the RCMP's investigation and handling of their complaint to have it independently reviewed by the Commission.

The Commission's recommendations vary in response to the individual complaints being reviewed, and, while some are based on broader organizational policies and processes, many are specific to the complaint in question.

Commission recommendations may include:

  • Members receive guidance or further training;
  • RCMP policies, procedures or guidelines be clarified or amended;
  • Supervisors receive guidance on their roles and responsibilities;
  • Public complaint investigators receive guidance or further training regarding their role in the public complaint process;
  • Public complaint investigations be carried out even though the RCMP had determined that such investigations were not necessary; and,
  • The complainant be provided with an apology.

The following are examples of findings and recommendations made by the Commission


2019-20
RCMP Failed to Reasonably Investigate a Fatal Collision Involving a Young Cyclist and Provided Misleading Public Statements Through Their Media Release

The complainant's son was riding a bicycle and died following a collision with a motor vehicle. The RCMP investigated and later issued a media release indicating that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet or high-visibility clothing and that alcohol was believed to be a factor in the collision. The complainant alleged that the RCMP's investigation was inadequate and biased and that they released information to the media that was based upon opinion and was biased against his son.

Following a public complaint investigation, the RCMP did not support the allegations but acknowledged that the media release could have been worded differently, and apologized for its content.

After review, the Commission determined that the RCMP did not reasonably investigate the collision. It found that the minimal level of investigation done was contrary to RCMP policy mandating that a collision leading to death must be investigated thoroughly as a criminal investigation until criminal involvement could be eliminated. It also found that the media release was unreasonable and that the RCMP did not respond reasonably to address the concerns raised by the complainant. Finally, the Commission found that a supervisor improperly placed the onus on the complainant to investigate his own concerns about the media release before the RCMP would consider the issue in any meaningful way. This was both unreasonable and inconsistent with the public complaint provisions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (RCMP Act).

With respect to these findings, the Commission made the following recommendations:

  • The RCMP should apologize to the complainant and his wife for the failure to reasonably investigate the collision that resulted in the death of their son.
  • The investigating members should receive operational guidance about the requirement to conduct reasonably thorough investigations.
  • The RCMP should apologize to the complainant and his wife for the unreasonable statements that were made in the media release.
  • Two identified RCMP members, including the media relations member, should receive operational guidance regarding the need to include only factual information in media releases.
  • One identified RCMP member should receive operational guidance regarding his obligations related to public complaints under the RCMP Act.

In her response, the RCMP Commissioner agreed with the majority of the Commission's findings and recommendations, with the exception of the finding that the media relations member should have identified that the media release was unreasonable as part of the public complaint process. The RCMP Commissioner noted that the media relations member was asked to provide objective feedback that was professional, and that the directness of that feedback did not indicate support for an unreasonable media release.

In its final report in this case, the Commission considered the Commissioner's comments as well as the context in which the media relations member was expressing his views respecting the media release. He was not a subject member in the initial complaint and his involvement was limited to providing feedback to the public complaint investigator concerning the appropriateness of the media release. Given this background, the Commission was satisfied that the overall impact of its findings would not be minimized by accepting the RCMP Commissioner's conclusions respecting the member. The Commission recognized the importance to the complainant and his family that the review be meaningful and constructive, and the Commission therefore restricted its findings and recommendations to the more critical elements of the review. The Commission's final findings were as follows:

  • The RCMP members involved in the investigation of the collision that resulted in the death of the complainant's son did not conduct a reasonably thorough investigation.
  • The media release prepared was unreasonable in the circumstances.
  • The attempt to place the onus on the complainant to investigate his own concerns about the media release before the RCMP would consider the issue in any meaningful way was unreasonable and inconsistent with the public complaint provisions of the RCMP Act.

The Commissioner informed the Commission that one of the identified members had retired from the RCMP and that the Commissioner no longer had the jurisdiction to provide them with operational guidance.

In a final comment, the Commission expressed its concern that it took the RCMP Commissioner more than two years to respond to the Commission's interim report. The Commission emphasized the importance of timeliness in achieving the shared goal of excellence in policing through accountability and noted that lengthy delays serve to obscure transparency, dilute the effect of findings, and reduce or eliminate the value of recommendations. Public confidence and trust in the RCMP are eroded when civilian oversight is perceived to be delayed. In this case, the Commissioner was precluded from giving the recommended operational guidance to one of the subject members due to their retirement during the public complaint process.

Poor Communication Between RCMP Members Led to Unreasonable Delay in Releasing Person From Custody Following a Bail Hearing

The RCMP arrested the complainant for criminal harassment. He was lodged in cells and subsequently ordered released by a justice of the peace following a bail hearing. The complainant was not released immediately but remained in cells until an RCMP member was available to release him.

The complainant later made several allegations. He alleged that the RCMP knowingly filed a report to the Crown prosecutor with false allegations against him, and knowingly made false statements to the justice of the peace during his bail hearing. He also alleged that he was denied basic necessities while unlawfully detained in cells, and that the RCMP supervisor failed to provide guidance and direction in maintaining a safe holding facility. The RCMP investigated the allegations but did not support them.

The Commission found that the RCMP did not knowingly provide false information to either the court or the Crown and that the arresting police officer had the legal grounds to initially arrest and lodge the complainant. In addition, the Commission concluded that the RCMP cell was safe and that the supervisor provided reasonable guidance and direction to the guard to maintain a safe holding facility.

However, the Commission concluded that the complainant's release from detention was unreasonably delayed. The bail hearing began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:16 p.m. when the complainant was ordered released. The complainant was returned to cells and not released from custody until 7:45 p.m. The Commission concluded that there were police resources available to process the release as early as 5 p.m., indicating that the release was of the lowest priority and showing a cavalier attitude with respect to the seriousness of the deprivation of a person's liberty. The Commission recommended that the commanding officer of the RCMP division issue an apology to the complainant for the unreasonable delay in his release from custody.

The Commissioner of the RCMP did not agree with the Commission's finding that the complainant's release from custody was unreasonably delayed and therefore did not feel that an apology was warranted. The Commissioner felt that the complainant was released "as soon as practical given the hearing office delays, the demands for police services, and the availability of police resources," and that no blame could be assigned to an individual member.

Flawed Sexual Assault Investigation Involving a Minor Compounded by RCMP Member Secret Audio Recording of Warrantless Arrest and Failure to Follow RCMP Policy

The complainant's minor child was accused of sexual assault by another young person. The investigating RCMP member interviewed the young person who made the sexual assault allegation without video-recording the interview. The RCMP member asked leading questions and made comments contrary to training for interviewing young persons. The young person provided a date, time and location for the alleged assault and suggested that mobile text messages were exchanged. After the interview, the RCMP member attended the complainant's home late in the evening and requested that the young person be awoken and called down from bed. The RCMP member did not have a warrant to make an arrest at the house and secretly audio-recorded the event. The young person was arrested inside the house and charged with sexual assault.

After conducting an investigation, the RCMP member learned that no text messages were exchanged and that the accused was working at a local business during the time of the alleged assault. The complainant alleged that the RCMP member's investigation and arrest of the complainant's child were both unreasonable and motivated by racial bias, the youth being of Aboriginal heritage.

The RCMP found the member's conduct reasonable. The Commission disagreed and concluded that the RCMP member's sexual assault investigation was unreasonable and that the member failed to video-record the interview of a young person in accordance with RCMP policy and the Criminal Code. In addition, the Commission found the RCMP member's warrantless arrest of the young person inside the house to be unreasonable. The secret audio-recording of the arrest was also considered improper. Lastly, the Commission did not find that the RCMP member was motivated by racial bias.

The Commission recommended that the RCMP member receive training to conduct sexual assault investigations, as well as operational guidance on RCMP policies concerning the treatment of sexual offences, interviewing young persons, suspects and witnesses, and making an arrest in a house without a warrant.

The RCMP Commissioner accepted the Commission's findings and recommendations and added that surreptitious audio recordings are contrary to the Criminal Code.

In its final report issued after the Commissioner's response, the Commission reiterated its findings and recommendations.

RCMP Member Requires Operational Guidance Following Improper Arrest for Public Disturbance and Unreasonable Incarceration Period

The complainant exited a nightclub and was prevented from re-entering. A disagreement ensued and the complainant yelled at staff. The staff called the RCMP and alleged that the complainant was causing a disturbance. When an RCMP member attended, the complainant was some distance away from the nightclub and was not causing a disturbance. The RCMP member observed that the complainant's pupils were dilated and, when questioned, the complainant began yelling at the RCMP member. The complainant was arrested for causing a disturbance and the RCMP member noted intoxication and possible mental health issues. The RCMP member placed the complainant in custody and directed that the complainant be released once sober. The complainant was released eight hours later.

The Commission found that the RCMP member failed to articulate reasons for arrest and did not have reasonable grounds to arrest for causing a public disturbance. Further, after the RCMP member noted possible mental health issues, the incarceration of the complainant for eight hours was unreasonable and failed to meet the requirements of section 497 of the Criminal Code (as it read at the time of the incident) to keep the complainant in custody.

The Commission recommended that the RCMP member receive operational guidance to address four areas:

  • the requirements needed to arrest for public disturbance;
  • articulating reasons for arrest;
  • the requirements to detain a person in custody; and
  • the requirements to make a warrantless arrest for summary conviction offences.

The RCMP Commissioner accepted that the eight-hour detention was unreasonable and expressed concern that the complainant was identified as having mental health issues and was held in custody. The recommendation for operational guidance to detain an arrested person in custody was also accepted.

The RCMP Commissioner disagreed that the arrest was unreasonable and did not support the remaining recommendations. The main disagreement was whether it was reasonable for the RCMP member to rely on the phone call from the nightclub staff to support reasonable grounds to arrest for causing a public disturbance.

In its final report, the Commission disagreed with the RCMP Commissioner's conclusions on the arrest. The Commission reiterated that there was no public disturbance when the RCMP member attended, and the call from the nightclub staff was insufficient on its own to give reasonable grounds to arrest for public disturbance. The Commission affirmed its original findings and recommendations.

RCMP Failed to Provide Medical Assistance and Incarcerated Complainant for an Unreasonable Amount of Time Without Notice to Friends or Family

The complainant was at a nightclub with friends and had one beer. The complainant was involved in an altercation with another patron. The nightclub staff intervened and forcibly removed the complainant from the property. In the process, the complainant's head was injured and bloodied. The staff called 911. An RCMP member attended in response and observed the injured complainant outside the nightclub causing a disturbance. The complainant was arrested and held in custody overnight and was told that he would be released without charge once sober.

The complainant was not intoxicated at the time and contested the nightclub staff's narrative that the complainant was the aggressor and highly intoxicated. The complainant alleged that:

  • the arrest was unreasonable;
  • medical attention was not provided;
  • the complainant's version of events was not obtained;
  • the complainant's family or friends were not informed of the arrest;
  • no sobriety test was administered; and
  • the ten-hour incarceration was unreasonable.

The RCMP found the police officer's conduct reasonable.

On review, the Commission found that the RCMP member had reasonable grounds to arrest the complainant for causing a disturbance. However, the RCMP member failed to follow RCMP policy on providing medical assistance to the bloodied complainant with a visible head injury.

The Commission further found that the RCMP member failed to make inquiries to understand what led to the 911 call, and failed to inform the complainant's family or friends of the arrest.

The Commission was satisfied that no sobriety test was required to arrest the complainant for causing a public disturbance.

Lastly, it was unreasonable for the RCMP member to hold the complainant in custody until sober, which was contrary to the release requirements in section 497 of the Criminal Code (as it read at the time of the incident).

The Commission made the following recommendations:

  • The RCMP member should receive training on the requirement in RCMP national policy to seek medical assistance for persons in custody.
  • The RCMP member should be reminded to make reasonable efforts to obtain the whole story before an arrest.
  • RCMP training should emphasize the importance of ensuring that the friends or family of a person in custody are made aware of the person's incarceration.
  • The RCMP member should receive training regarding the release from custody requirements in the RCMP's national policy and section 497 of the Criminal Code.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the findings and accepted the recommendations.

In its final report issued after the RCMP Commissioner's response, the Commission reiterated its findings and recommendations.

RCMP Constable Given Operational Guidance for Failure to Take a Written Statement From a Witness During Investigation of Criminal Allegation

The complainant filed a public complaint alleging that a constable did not conduct a reasonable criminal investigation regarding the activities of the complainant's neighbour.

The RCMP did not support the complainant's allegation.

In its interim report, the Commission found that the constable had failed to conduct a reasonably thorough investigation, as he had not taken the complainant's written statement.

The Commission recommended that the constable be provided with operational guidance on the taking of a written statement when investigating a criminal complaint.

In her response, the RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's finding and recommendation regarding the implementation of the operational guidance. Therefore, the Commission reiterated its finding and recommendation in its final report.

RCMP Failed to Provide Brothers With the Reason for Their Detention in a Police Vehicle as an Investigation Was Underway

The complainant alleged that the RCMP:

  • failed to properly investigate an incident that led to his and his brother's arrest at a pub;
  • displayed improper attitude;
  • failed to provide medical care; and
  • displayed oppressive conduct by unnecessarily strip-searching the complainant and his brother while in detention in RCMP cells.

The RCMP's report following the public complaint investigation did not support any of the allegations.

The Commission found discrepancies between the information on record and how it was presented in the RCMP's report. Notably missing from the RCMP's report was the fact that prior to the arrest of the complainant and his brother, there was an investigative detention of both persons, as they were placed in an RCMP member's police vehicle pending this member's investigation of the incident. The Commission further found that the RCMP had made findings about this police officer's conduct although he had not been named as a subject of the public complaint. The Commission twice asked the RCMP to give this police officer the opportunity to respond to potential adverse findings that the Commission was considering making in relation to his conduct. The RCMP refused, responding that the police officer had not been named by the complainant in his complaint.

In its interim report, the Commission supported the allegation that the investigative detention was unreasonable, because the RCMP member had failed to inform the complainant of the reason for his detention. However, because the RCMP had failed to provide this member with an opportunity to respond to the allegation, the Commission recommended that, in public complaints where the RCMP makes findings with respect to a specific RCMP member, it should provide the member with an opportunity to respond to the allegation made against him or her.

In response, the RCMP Commissioner agreed in part with the Commission's findings and recommendation, but did not agree that the RCMP member had failed to inform the complainant of the reason for his detention.

The RCMP Commissioner considered that the member was clear when he advised the complainant that he was being detained until the police sorted out what was going on.

In its final report issued after the RCMP Commissioner's response, the Commission disagreed. The Commission indicated that, while the member may have used plain language, the comment itself was devoid of substance, as it failed to provide a reasonable explanation for the investigative detention. Needing to "sort out what was going on" falls short of the legal requirement of providing a clear reason for the detention.

Had the member provided more clarity to his comment by adding what he was trying to sort out, this likely would have satisfied this requirement.

Therefore, the Commission disagreed with the RCMP Commissioner and reiterated its findings and recommendation in its final report.

RCMP Apologizes for Use of Force Inconsistent With Training During Arrest for Public Intoxication

The complainant was arrested by RCMP members for public intoxication following a complaint by security guards at a commercial property. Once at the detachment cells, the complainant and three RCMP members were involved in a scuffle.

The complainant filed a public complaint alleging that the three RCMP members used excessive force during the scuffle. The RCMP investigated the complaint and found the use of force to have been reasonable. The complainant asked the Commission to review the matter.

The entire incident was recorded on detachment security cameras. The Commission reviewed this evidence along with various police reports and statements. It concluded that two of the involved RCMP members primarily used soft physical control techniques in an attempt to restrain the complainant. Meanwhile, the third RCMP member delivered one knee strike to the complainant's face, three knee strikes to the complainant's ribs and back, and three punches to the complainant's face. The complainant suffered bruising and scrapes to their face as a result of these actions.

The Commission examined the RCMP's training model regarding use of force along with the RCMP's policies concerning the documentation of the use of force.

The Commission made the following findings:

  • The knee strikes and punches delivered by one RCMP member against the complainant were unreasonable and inconsistent with RCMP training.
  • The force used by the other two RCMP members was reasonable in the circumstances.
  • Two of the involved RCMP members failed to make timely reports about the incident.

The Commission made the following recommendations:

  • A senior member of the RCMP should apologize to the complainant for the unreasonable force used against them.
  • The RCMP member who used unreasonable force should be directed to meet with a use of force expert and review the video recordings of the incident to explore alternative interventions.
  • The remaining two RCMP members should be reminded of the importance of making timely reports.

The RCMP Commissioner accepted the Commission's findings and committed to implementing the recommendations. The Commission therefore reiterated these findings and recommendations in its final report.

RCMP Members Require Further Guidance on Unreasonable Use of Police Powers and Citizen's Charter Rights as They Apply to Picketing

The complainant alleged that police followed them in an attempt to intimidate them and prevent them from protesting at a local business. The complainant had been dismissed from the local business and regularly picketed its offices. The business raised concerns with the local RCMP detachment that the complainant may disrupt a community activity it had planned. On the day of the community activity, an RCMP member followed the complainant in an unmarked police vehicle to monitor their conduct.

The complainant filed a public complaint, alleging that it was unreasonable to have been followed by the police. The RCMP investigated the public complaint and did not support the allegation. The complainant asked the Commission to review the matter.

The Commission's review revealed that there was no evidence to suggest that the complainant would commit a crime or that any past picketing activity had been violent or otherwise illegal.

The Commission reviewed the law surrounding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and the right to picketing in general. The Commission concluded that while the RCMP members did not detain or arrest the complainant, their actions resulted in the complainant feeling harassed and intimidated. The Commission noted that the involved RCMP member and their supervisors did not appear to have considered how the police actions may affect the complainant's Charter rights.

The Commission made the following findings:

  • The RCMP member involved unreasonably followed the complainant for the purpose of preventing them from picketing the local business.
  • The RCMP Commissioner's delegate unreasonably assigned a public complaint investigator who was in a perceived conflict of interest.

The Commission made the following recommendations:

  • The RCMP should apologize to the complainant for being unreasonably followed.
  • The RCMP should provide operational guidance to the involved RCMP member and to the detachment supervisors, concerning the unreasonable use of police powers and Charter rights as they apply to picketing.
  • The RCMP Commissioner's delegate should be directed to review the RCMP's National Public Complaint Guidebook.
  • The RCMP Commissioner's delegate should be provided training or guidance on identifying and resolving issues of conflict of interest or bias.

The RCMP Commissioner did not accept the Commission's findings with respect to the complainant being followed and declined to implement the Commission's recommendations. The RCMP Commissioner did agree with the findings regarding the Commissioner's delegate, but observed that this member had since retired and the proposed recommendations could not be implemented.

In its final report, the Commission observed with concern that it took the RCMP Commissioner over two years to respond to the Commission's interim report. The Commission emphasized the importance of timeliness in achieving the shared goal of excellence in policing through accountability and noted that lengthy delays serve to obscure transparency, dilute the effect of findings, and reduce or eliminate the value of recommendations. Public confidence and trust in the RCMP are eroded when civilian oversight is perceived to be delayed.

RCMP Used Possession of Marijuana as Pretext to Detain a Person in the Absence of the Requisite Grounds to Apprehend Them Under Provincial Mental Health Legislation, and the Force Used by the RCMP Was Unreasonable and Inconsistent With Training

Police received a report that a person was possibly experiencing a mental health crisis. Two RCMP members responded to the call and encountered the person, who is the complainant in this public complaint. The complainant and one of the RCMP members had an adversarial conversation, following which the RCMP member suddenly detected an odour of marijuana and told the complainant that they were being detained for investigation of possession of marijuana. The RCMP member told the complainant to remove their hands from their pocket, which they declined to do and instead formed two fists. A scuffle ensued during which the RCMP member used a closed fist to strike the complainant twice in the head. The complainant was then subdued and taken to the hospital. The police did not search for or locate any marijuana. The complainant was later diagnosed with a fractured rib and soft tissue injuries to the head.

The complainant filed a public complaint and alleged that the force used was excessive. The RCMP investigated the allegation and found the use of force to have been reasonable. The complainant asked the Commission to review the matter.

The Commission found that the RCMP investigated the public complaint narrowly and did not examine the legal authority to detain the complainant in the first place, which was a necessary precondition to the use of force. The Commission found that the detention for possession of marijuana was used as a pretext to detain the complainant, given that the requisite grounds were not present to apprehend the complainant under the provincial mental health legislation. The Commission noted that there was no intention to pursue a marijuana possession investigation, which was demonstrated by the RCMP member's failure to conduct a search for marijuana and documentation on the police file indicating that the detention was for mental health purposes. Consequently, the Commission found that the complainant's detention was arbitrary within the meaning of section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a result, the detention and use of force were unreasonable.

Even if the detention had been reasonable, the Commission examined the use of force and noted that the two strikes with a closed fist to the complainant's head were unreasonable and not consistent with RCMP training.

The Commission's review also identified significant gaps in note taking and report writing.

Finally, the Commission identified concerns with the overall police approach in this matter. The complainant was not alleged to have committed any criminal offence. The purpose of the police intervention was related to the complainant's mental health. Despite this knowledge, the RCMP members approached the complainant from the angle of a criminal investigation and the command and control-centric approach contemplated by the RCMP's use of force policy.

The Commission canvassed several leading reports concerning police intervention in mental health crises and noted a consistent theme of de-escalation amongst their recommendations. Given that approximately one-fifth of all police interactions involve a person with a mental health disorder, the Commission found that RCMP national policy concerning those experiencing mental health crises ought to be better incorporated into the training and include best practices consistent with leading academic research and public oversight findings.

The Commission observed that, under the current scheme, RCMP members appear to have two options: to follow the softer and client-centric approach contemplated by the RCMP's mental health policy or to adopt an authoritative control-oriented approach as provided by the RCMP's use of force policy. There appears to be little interplay between these two silo-styled models. While police are not expected to compromise their safety or that of others, a more fulsome integration of de-escalation techniques into the use of force training may be beneficial.

The Commission made the following findings:

  • One RCMP member's use of force against the complainant was unreasonable, as the initial detention was unreasonable.
  • One RCMP member's use of two strikes with a closed fist to the complainant's head was unreasonable and inconsistent with RCMP training.
  • One RCMP member's use of force against the complainant resulted in injuries, including abrasions and a fractured rib.
  • The two involved RCMP members unreasonably failed to take notes regarding the incident.
  • One RCMP member unreasonably failed to properly report the use of force.

The Commission made the following recommendations:

  • The RCMP should apologize to the complainant for the use of force.
  • One RCMP member should receive operational guidance concerning the legal authorities to detain and arrest.
  • One RCMP member should receive refresher use of force training.
  • Two RCMP members should be given operational guidance concerning note taking.
  • One RCMP member should be given operational guidance about use of force reporting.
  • The officer in charge of the detachment should be directed to ensure that members under their command complete reports as required by RCMP policy.
  • The officer in charge of the detachment should be directed to conduct a quality assurance exercise concerning use of force reports.
  • The RCMP should review national policy and training standards with respect to communication and the use of force against individuals experiencing mental health crises.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with all the Commission's findings and agreed to implement the recommendations, although the Commissioner did raise minor objections to certain language used in the report.

In its final report, the Commission observed with concern that it took the RCMP Commissioner almost three years to respond to the Commission's interim report. The Commission emphasized the importance of timeliness in achieving the shared goal of excellence in policing through accountability and noted that lengthy delays serve to obscure transparency, dilute the effect of findings, and reduce or eliminate the value of recommendations. Public confidence and trust in the RCMP are eroded when civilian oversight is perceived to be delayed.

RCMP Member Drove at Unreasonable Speed, Endangering the Public in Response to a Low-priority Call

The complainant was stopped by the RCMP following complaints that they had an obscene sign in the back window of their vehicle disparaging a candidate during a federal election. The RCMP member issued the complainant a ticket and allowed them to continue driving with the sign in the window.

The complainant filed a public complaint alleging that their freedom of expression rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated. The RCMP did not support the allegation. The complainant asked the Commission to review the matter.

The Commission's review included examination of the in-car video recording of the lead-up to the incident and GPS logs for the police vehicle. These revealed that in response to two calls regarding an obscene sign in the back of a car, the responding RCMP member drove at speeds reaching a maximum of 205 km/h for approximately 18 minutes. The Commission concluded that the RCMP member did not consider the low priority of the complaint or lack of apparent danger to the public. Instead, the RCMP member drove in a manner dangerous to the public on a moderately busy highway at excessively high speeds.

With respect to the traffic stop itself, the Commission observed that the RCMP member contended that the obscene sign was dangerous to other motorists, as it was distracting. Despite these alleged safety concerns, the RCMP member permitted the complainant to drive away with the sign still displayed in their back window. The Commission opined that if the RCMP member truly believed that the sign were a danger to other motorists, they had several options available, including seizing the sign as evidence of the offence, requiring the complainant to remove it, or towing the vehicle.

Finally, the Commission observed that the RCMP did not conduct a public complaint investigation into this matter, and instead suggested that any dispute could be resolved at the trial for the traffic ticket. The Commission noted that the court process is designed to examine the conduct of the accused and not necessarily that of the police. The concerns raised by the complainant were not reasonably addressed through a file review and merited some form of investigation and analysis. Accordingly, the handling of the public complaint was unreasonable.

The Commission made the following findings:

  • The RCMP member's driving in response to the call of an obscene sign was unreasonable and disproportionate to the gravity of the call for service.
  • The RCMP member failed to consider safer alternatives to respond to the call for service.
  • The RCMP member's stated safety concerns regarding the complainant's sign were inconsistent with permitting the complainant to depart with the sign still displayed in the window.
  • The handling of the complaint by the RCMP Commissioner's delegate was unreasonable.

The Commission made the following recommendations:

  • The RCMP member should be provided with operational guidance or additional training concerning emergency response driving and the situations that require such an emergency response.
  • The RCMP member's driving should be closely monitored by their supervisor.
  • A senior member of the RCMP should apologize to the complainant.
  • The RCMP member should receive operational guidance concerning motor vehicle investigations.

The RCMP Commissioner partially agreed with the Commission's findings and recommendations. The Commissioner agreed with the two findings concerning the RCMP member's driving conduct. The Commissioner supported the first recommendation, but found that the second recommendation was logistically impractical.

The Commissioner agreed that the RCMP member's stated safety concerns were inconsistent with permitting the complainant to depart with the sign still displayed in the window. However, the Commissioner did not believe that there were any ulterior motives involved and did not agree to implement either recommendation.

The Commissioner agreed with the finding that the handling of the public complaint by the Commissioner's delegate was unreasonable.

In its final report, the Commission observed with concern that it took the RCMP Commissioner over two years to respond to the Commission's interim report. The Commission emphasized the importance of timeliness in achieving the shared goal of excellence in policing through accountability and noted that lengthy delays serve to obscure transparency, dilute the effect of findings, and reduce or eliminate the value of recommendations. Public confidence and trust in the RCMP are eroded when civilian oversight is perceived to be delayed.

RCMP Members Should Have Offered Medical Assistance as Opposed to Assessing Themselves the Severity of the Injuries Following an Arrest for Aggravated Assault

RCMP members arrested the complainant for aggravated assault in relation to a violent altercation that had occurred at a house party. According to the initial statements provided to police by the victim and a witness, the complainant had stabbed the victim and then ran off after the witness physically intervened in the fight. The RCMP seized a knife, which the witness stated was the knife used during the fight. The complainant was subsequently charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon, and uttering threats. At his jury trial, the complainant admitted to stabbing the victim but said that he did so in self-defence. He was convicted of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon. The complainant appealed his conviction and the appeal court overturned his convictions and ordered a new trial.

The complainant filed a complaint alleging that the RCMP members:

  • failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the incident, during which he says he was attacked and stabbed;
  • displayed bias against him because of a public complaint he had previously filed against another member; and
  • failed to provide medical assistance to him after his arrest.

The RCMP's investigation into the complaint did not support these allegations.

The Commission concluded that the RCMP members conducted a reasonably thorough criminal investigation into the incident, including interviewing all material witnesses, seizing the knife, conducting a physical search of the scene, and examining the scene with the aid of a police service dog. The Commission noted that the complainant did not provide any details to support his claim that the victim and the witness attacked him, as he refused to provide a statement to police. Moreover, the minor injuries the RCMP members observed on him were inconsistent with his claim that he was the victim of a serious attack. Accordingly, the RCMP members reasonably did not pursue this as an avenue of investigation.

The Commission's review also found that, aside from the complainant's speculative concerns, there was no information to suggest that the RCMP members were biased against him because of a previous public complaint filed against another member. The Commission determined that the other member had no involvement with the charges laid against the complainant and that the investigation, arrest and charging of the complainant was conducted in an impartial and bias-free manner.

However, the Commission concluded that the RCMP members failed to offer medical assistance or first aid to the complainant on the night he was arrested. The Commission noted that while the complainant's injuries may not have appeared serious, that did not negate the RCMP members' duty to offer medical assistance, in accordance with RCMP policy. Given that the complainant's injuries included head abrasions and a broken nose, and were serious enough to photograph, the RCMP members should have reasonably offered medical assistance as opposed to assessing the severity of the injuries and the possible treatment (or lack thereof).

The Commission declined to make a recommendation on the basis that it would serve no useful purpose given the passage of time and that it was sufficient that, by reading the interim report, the RCMP members would be aware of the Commission's concerns and RCMP policy with respect to providing medical assistance.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and noted that the Commission declined to make a recommendation.

In its final report, the Commission reiterated its findings.

RCMP Member Justified in Issuing Traffic Violations Under Provincial Motor Vehicle Act, but Public Complaint Report Failed to Address Allegation of Entrapment

A man filed a public complaint after an RCMP member gave him a ticket for breaching the provincial Motor Vehicle Act. He alleged that the RCMP member displayed an improper attitude, misapplied the Motor Vehicle Act by issuing the fine, and harassed him because he was a firefighter.

Further to its investigation, the RCMP did not support the complaint. The RCMP's report dealt only with the allegation of improper attitude.

Following its review, the Commission made the following findings:

  • The RCMP member was disrespectful toward the complainant.
  • The RCMP's report failed to address the complainant's allegation that the RCMP member improperly ticketed him and entrapped him.
  • The information did not support the allegation that the RCMP member entrapped the complainant.
  • The RCMP member reasonably ticketed the complainant for failure to drive in the slow lane.
  • The RCMP member's decision to ticket the complainant for the use of his mobile phone was not reasonable in the circumstances.
  • The information did not support a conclusion that the RCMP member harassed the complainant because he was a firefighter.

The Commission recommended that the RCMP member receive operational guidance on the responsibility to act in a courteous and respectful manner. The Commission also recommended that the RCMP member receive operational guidance on reasonable investigative techniques, and the standard of proof, in the context of a highway traffic infraction for use of a mobile phone while driving. The Commission further recommended that the Commissioner's delegate review the requirements of a public complaint investigation report.

The RCMP Commissioner disagreed with the Commission's finding that the RCMP member was disrespectful toward the complainant. The RCMP Commissioner also disagreed with the Commission's finding that the RCMP member's decision to ticket the complainant for the use of his mobile phone was not reasonable. The Commissioner agreed with the remaining findings and recommendation.

Upon re-examination of the available evidence, the Commission accepted the RCMP Commissioner's position. Accordingly, in its final report, the Commission modified the two findings with which the Commissioner had disagreed and removed the related recommendations. The Commission reiterated the remaining findings and recommendation.

Arrest in the Absence of an Entry Warrant Unreasonable

A man filed a complaint alleging that RCMP members improperly arrested him, unlawfully removed him from his uncle's home, used excessive and unnecessary force during the arrest, and failed to inform him of the reason for the arrest. He also alleged that the RCMP failed to allow him to speak to his lawyer in a timely manner, and threatened him as he was leaving the detachment.

The RCMP investigated the complaint and did not support the allegations.

Further to its review, the Commission made the following findings:

  • the decision to arrest the complainant was reasonable.
  • RCMP members acted unreasonably when they arrested the complainant in the absence of an entry warrant.
  • As the arrest was unreasonable, it followed that any force used in effecting the arrest (and detention) was also unreasonable.
  • The complainant was informed of the reason for his arrest.
  • RCMP members unreasonably failed to provide the complainant access to counsel in a timely manner.
  • There was insufficient information to support the allegation that RCMP members threatened the complainant as he was leaving the detachment.

The Criminal Code provides that a pease officer may not enter a residence without an entry warrant to arrest a person unless exigent circumstances exist. These exist in situations where, for example, there is a need to prevent imminent bodily harm or death.

One of the exceptions to the restrictions around warrantless arrests in a residence is where the entry by police into the residence is authorized by valid consent obtained from an individual with the authority to grant access and reasonable expectation of privacy in the premises. The consent to waive that privacy right must also be informed consent. In this case, the complainant's uncle did not appear to consent to any entry to the residence for any purpose.

The Commission made a number of recommendations, including that the RCMP apologize to the complainant for arresting him in his uncle's apartment and that the subject RCMP members receive operational guidance with respect to powers of arrest and warrantless arrests in a dwelling.

The Commission also recommended that the involved RCMP members receive operational guidance with respect to articulating and documenting grounds for warrantless arrests, as well as timely access to counsel.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and indicated that the RCMP would implement the recommendations.

Accordingly, the Commission reiterated its findings and recommendations.

Failure to Investigate Use of Eavesdropping Equipment: RCMP Member Must Review Knowledge of Law Concerning Use of Listening Devices

A woman filed a complaint in which she made several allegations relating to the conduct of RCMP members during her interactions with them in the course of an ongoing dispute with her neighbours.

The RCMP investigated the complaint and did not support the allegations.

Following its review, the Commission made the following findings:

  • There was insufficient information to support the allegation that an unidentified RCMP member refused to initiate a criminal complaint made by the complainant and her husband.
  • The complainant was not told to move from her residence, but one of the subject RCMP members agreed that moving might solve her problems; this RCMP member's remark was not unreasonable in the circumstances and the member did not provide a false name to the complainant;
  • There was insufficient information to make a finding regarding the allegation that an unidentified RCMP member told the complainant that it was not illegal to use eavesdropping equipment to listen to private conversations.
  • The RCMP's public complaint investigator failed to investigate the complainant's allegation related to the use of eavesdropping equipment. He also failed to confirm his understanding of the law concerning the use of listening devices.

The Commission recommended that the RCMP member who failed to investigate the complainant's allegation related to the use of eavesdropping equipment and failed to confirm his understanding of the law, be provided with a copy of the Commission's interim report.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and indicated that the RCMP would implement the Commission's recommendation.

Accordingly, the Commission reiterated its findings and recommendation in its final report.

RCMP Investigation Into Sudden Death Flawed: Medical Examiner Provided With Inaccurate Information

RCMP members investigated the sudden death of a person found in a residential garage. The RCMP suspected that the cause of death was suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. There were several vehicles in the garage with varying amounts of fuel remaining. The investigators took only one formal statement during the investigation and relied for the most part on the medical examiner's findings to conclude their investigation. It was later learned that the police gave the medical examiner inaccurate information about the fuel types and amounts in some of the vehicles in the garage. Despite this error being known, no steps were taken by either the investigator's supervisor or the public complaint investigators to ensure that the medical examiner was given the correct information. The family's legal counsel filed a complaint alleging that the RCMP failed to conduct a reasonable investigation.

The RCMP's investigation into the public complaint did not support the allegation. The Commission's review concluded that the RCMP's decision was unreasonable. Specifically, the Commission found that it was unreasonable for the RCMP to give inaccurate information to the medical examiner regarding the vehicles in the deceased's garage, and that this error was not corrected by a supervisor or by RCMP members involved later in the public complaint process.

The Commission's recommendations included the following:

  • The RCMP should apologize to the complainant for the failure to conduct a reasonably thorough investigation into the sudden death.
  • The RCMP members involved in the sudden death investigation should receive operational guidance about the requirement to conduct reasonably thorough sudden death investigations and providing correct information to the medical examiner in sudden death investigations.
  • The RCMP should continue its investigation into the sudden death by obtaining statements from the witnesses identified in the letter of complaint and provide this additional information to the medical examiner for the medical examiner's further consideration regarding the manner of death.
  • The public complaint investigators should receive operational guidance about the requirement to conduct reasonably thorough public complaint investigations.

The RCMP Commissioner did not agree that the investigation was unreasonable. She acknowledged that there was an error related to the status and fuel amounts of the various vehicles in the garage; however, she felt that this type of error could be made by any professional. The RCMP Commissioner also said that it was reasonable for the investigators to not take additional statements, given that the cause of death had already been determined.

In its final report, the Commission maintained its finding that the investigation was unreasonable. The Commission found that the RCMP Commissioner's response overlooked the fact that the cause of death was based in part on the incorrect information that was provided to the medical examiner.

The Commission recognized that the time lapse since the incident was now sufficient to have concern over the recall abilities of the witnesses as well as the trauma and impact from having to relive an emotional time. The Commission concluded that the provision of the correct information to the medical examiner for consideration was the most effective and empathetic manner to determine whether any further action should be taken.

RCMP Member Improperly Decided to Place Themselves "on Duty," Rendering Subsequent Detention, Arrest and Use of Force on Teenager in Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Unreasonable

An off-duty RCMP member who had no police identification decided to intervene with groups of teenagers in possession of drug paraphernalia and alcohol on a public beach. The RCMP member ended up detaining, arresting and using force against one of the teenagers.

The mother of the teenager filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member unreasonably arrested, assaulted and treated her daughter aggressively.

Following an investigation into the public complaint, the RCMP supported the part of the allegation pertaining to the RCMP member's unreasonable decision to place herself "on duty," and provided the RCMP member with operational guidance. The RCMP did not support the part of the allegation pertaining to the unreasonable arrest and excessive use of force.

After review, the Commission agreed with the RCMP's finding that the RCMP member's decision to place herself on duty was not reasonable. The Commission concluded that personal factors drove the RCMP member to use her discretion improperly when she decided to place herself on duty and that it raised safety issues for the RCMP member and the complainant's daughter. The Commission also found that the subsequent detention, arrest and use of force were unreasonable because they were based on the RCMP member's unreasonable decision to place herself on duty, among other reasons.

The Commission made a number of recommendations, including the following:

  • The RCMP should provide additional operational guidance to the member at a more senior level and a senior supervisor should review the future use of police powers while a member is off duty.
  • The RCMP member's performance assessments should monitor her duty to document her actions as per RCMP policy.
  • The RCMP should remove all data specific to the name of the complainant's daughter from the police records connected to this incident.

The RCMP Commissioner mostly agreed with the Commission's finding that the RCMP member's decision to go on duty was not reasonable. However, the RCMP Commissioner considered that the RCMP member's decision to intervene was driven partially rather than solely on personal factors. The RCMP Commissioner agreed that the RCMP member lacked taking appropriate notes, reporting on the incident and responding to operational reminders in a timely manner, and agreed that the detention, arrest and use of force were not reasonable.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with most of the Commission's recommendations. However, the RCMP Commissioner did not support the Commission's recommendation that the RCMP member's future use of police powers while off duty be subject to review by a senior supervisor, because this extra review step would hinder operational efficiency.

The RCMP Commissioner did not agree with the recommendation that the RCMP member's duty to document her actions be monitored, because there was no indication that her other files were improperly documented. The RCMP Commissioner indicated that the RCMP member would receive additional operational guidance regarding documenting her police authority.

In its final report, the Commission acknowledged the concerns raised by the RCMP Commissioner with respect to some of its findings and recommendations, and revised their wording accordingly. The Commission reiterated its other findings and recommendations.

RCMP Interview of Teenage Victim of Sexual Assault Inadequate Due to Lack of Clear Policy and Failure to Involve the Internet Child Exploitataion (Ice) Unit Contributed to Delay in Charges Related to Creating and Distributing Child Pornography

A teenage girl reported to an RCMP detachment that, a week earlier, she had been sexually assaulted in a private residence, and that a photograph of the assault had been taken without her consent and was being circulated among her peers at school. Accompanied by her mother, she met with an RCMP member and stated that the events, and especially the circulating photograph, were causing her great concern and anxiety, and that she wanted to stop the circulation of the photograph.

The RCMP member who conducted the initial intake interview with the teenager forwarded the details to the Sexual Assault Investigation Team (SAIT), an integrated and centralized unit made up of both RCMP members and officers from a municipal police force, where the case was assigned to a municipal police force officer for investigation. No charges were initially laid against the alleged perpetrators and, in a tragic turn of events, the teenager died by suicide. Shortly thereafter, the criminal investigation was reopened and charges laid for the making and distribution of child pornography against two of the alleged offenders.

The Commission received two complaints from members of the public, alleging that the RCMP did not conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. The Commission initiated a public interest investigation (PII), which set out to examine whether the RCMP members involved in responding to the report of sexual assault, including potential issues of distribution of child pornography, acted reasonably. It included whether the response to criminal complaints and investigations were reasonable in the circumstances.

The Commission made the following interim findings:

  • The RCMP member was assigned to follow up on the complaint call made by the teenager's mother, and that implicitly and reasonably required some action to be taken on the member's part.
  • There was no clear policy or protocols to guide the RCMP member with respect to the handling of the criminal complaint prior to its rerouting to the specialized unit (SAIT).
  • While the RCMP member did not intend to conduct a detailed interview of the teenager, the interview lasted approximately two hours and resulted in an informal but detailed statement being taken.
  • The RCMP member should have recorded the initial complaint intake interview of the teenager; however, the failure to do so stemmed from the lack of clear policy or protocols with respect to the role of the RCMP member in taking the complaint.
  • The RCMP member acted reasonably in not arranging for Children and Family Services to attend the initial meeting with the teenager and her mother in the circumstances. 
  • The RCMP member did not instruct the teenager to obtain a copy of the photograph to provide to the police.
  • Another RCMP member acted reasonably and provided detailed and accurate advice to the SAIT in relation to the investigation.
  • A lack of involvement of the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit in the initial investigation was likely a contributing factor to the delay in laying charges in relation to the allegations of creating and distributing child pornography.

With respect to these findings, the Commission issued the following interim recommendations:

  • The RCMP should take steps to ensure that there is clear and detailed policies and protocols in place for the intake of complaints regarding sex-related crimes and, specifically, the responding officer's role in anticipation of a rerouting of the file to the specialized unit. The policy and protocols should ensure responsivity to the victim's needs.
  • Any policy concerning the intake protocols related to the intake of sexual offence files should address the issue of video and/or audio recording of any and all interviews with the alleged victim, including intake interviews, where possible.
  • The RCMP should develop clear policies and procedures that provide specific direction with respect to the handling of files involving multiple criminal offences that fall within the expertise of multiple specialized units.

In her response, the RCMP Commissioner agreed with findings nos. 1–3 and 5–8; she generally agreed with finding no. 4. The Commissioner supported recommendations nos. 1 and 2.

The Commissioner did not support recommendation no. 3. The Commission had asserted that the RCMP bears responsibility for the operation of the integrated Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and, as such, its policies and operating protocols. The Commissioner did not agree. She stated that the municipal police force has overall responsibility for the operations of the unit, and the RCMP assists in that regard. The Commissioner explained that the RCMP footprint within the CID is very limited. Additionally, the units composing the CID are guided by municipal police policies and use a different police record management system. There was no signed protocol between the municipal police and the RCMP in relation to the implementation of policies governing the joint operations of both agencies. As such, it the municipal police bore the responsibility for the CID's policies and operating protocols. The Commissioner explained that she did not have the authority to direct the development of the policies and procedures to provide specific direction with respect to the handling of files involving multiple criminal offences that fall within the expertise of the CID's specialized units.

That said, the Commissioner agreed with the Commission's conclusion that the limited coordination between the SAIT and the ICE unit in this particular instance proved to be problematic. Therefore, to address the Commission's recommendation, the Commissioner agreed to direct that the RCMP District Commander contemplate the possibility of initiating discussions with the chief of the municipal police and the CID's senior management to explore the opportunity of developing clear procedures that would provide specific direction to members assigned to the CID with respect to the handling of files involving multiple criminal offences.

While reiterating that the RCMP bears responsibility for its own policies and operating protocols, the Commission accepted the Commissioner's position that the municipal police force has overall responsibility for the operations of the unit, and the RCMP assists in that regard. Accordingly, the Commission modified its recommendation on that topic. Specifically, the Commission noted that the RCMP bears shared responsibility for the operation of the integrated CID and, as such, its policies and operating protocols. The Commission recommended that the RCMP work in conjunction with the municipal police force to develop clear policies and procedures that provide specific direction with respect to the handling of files involving multiple criminal offences that fall within the expertise of multiple specialized units.

With the above-noted modification, the Commission reiterated its findings and recommendations.

The Commission noted that its investigation was delayed pending the completion of the criminal justice process. During its investigation, the Commission determined that it required additional materials and requested them from the RCMP. The Commission's investigation remained on hold until receipt of the RCMP's response and related materials. The Commission then conducted follow-up interviews. Due to the unavailability of certain witnesses at that time, additional policy and information was requested of the RCMP.

The Commission also observed with concern that it took the RCMP Commissioner almost three years to respond to the Commission's Public Interest Investigation Report. The Commission emphasized the importance of timeliness in achieving the shared goal of excellence in policing through accountability. Lengthy delays serve to obscure transparency, dilute the effect of findings, and reduce or eliminate the value of recommendations. Public confidence and trust in the RCMP are eroded when civilian oversight is perceived to be delayed.

The Commission expressed that the teenager's suicide was a horrible tragedy. Her family and friends continue to grieve her loss. As well, members of the general public throughout Canada and internationally expressed significant remorse when her story became public.

Her death and the reopened criminal investigations and subsequent convictions underscored the need for police policies and protocols to remain current with evolving technology and social media in order to provide the best possible outcome for vulnerable victims of crime. This is particularly important when it involves the coordination of municipal police resources and specialized units.

The coordination between the different arms of police—and, in this case, members of different police forces—must be strictly guided by policy and protocols to better ensure that victims of crime are not adversely affected by the absence of formal and defined processes. The Commission hoped that its recommendations would assist the RCMP in better serving the public and preventing a similar situation in the future.

RCMP Did Not Have Judicial Authorization to Arrest Woman and Improperly Obtained Consent to Search Her Home From a Minor

The complainant reported that her estranged husband had stolen her boat. The RCMP member told the complainant that it was a civil matter and the police would not investigate. The complainant then said that she had a gun and would take care of the problem herself. The police went to her home and she told the RCMP members that she had made the comment in jest. She was later arrested for public mischief and uttering threats. The police searched her house after obtaining consent from the complainant's daughter, who was a minor. The complainant made 14 allegations relating to her arrest and the search of her residence based on an improperly obtained consent. In addition, the complainant raised issues related to note taking and false statements.

The RCMP investigated the complaint and did not support the majority of the allegations. The Commission's interim report disagreed with the RCMP's findings in several respects and identified serious deficiencies with the public complaint investigation process. The critical findings of the Commission were as follows:

  • It was unreasonable for the RCMP members to arrest the complainant at her residence without judicial authorization.
  • It was unreasonable to request consent to search the house from the complainant's minor daughter.
  • The RCMP members did not articulate the reasons for detaining the complainant in cells for as long as ten and a half hours, and the supervisor did not ensure reasonable supervision in that regard.
  • Identified RCMP members unreasonably impeded the complainant from closing her door.

The Commission also made findings with respect to the public complaint investigation, including the following:

  • The Officer in Charge of the detachment did not ensure that the public complaint was reasonably investigated.
  • The RCMP failed to provide the Commission with the relevant materials in a timely manner.
  • The RCMP misplaced, lost or otherwise neglected to provide the Commission with all the materials relevant to this complaint.
  • The monthly update letters sent to the complainant failed to contain sufficient information to properly update the complainant.

The recommendations of the Commission included the following:

  • The identified RCMP members should receive operational guidance respecting the legal requirements to attend a residence to arrest a person.
  • The identified RCMP members should receive operational guidance with respect to the relevant Criminal Code provisions and the RCMP's policy on detention.
  • One of the identified RCMP members should receive operational guidance with respect to the importance of proper note taking.
  • A senior RCMP member should apologize to the complainant on the RCMP's behalf for the police having trespassed on the complainant's residence.
  • The Officer in Charge of the detachment should receive operational guidance with respect to the difference between a statutory investigation and a public complaint investigation and the importance of the public complaint system, as well as with respect to the manner in which public complaint update letters should be prepared to meet the requirements of the legislation.

In her response to the Commission's interim report, the RCMP Commissioner agreed with most of the Commission's findings and recommendations. Therefore, the Commission reiterated these findings and recommendations in its final report.

However, the RCMP Commissioner disagreed with the finding that the RCMP members did not articulate the reasons for detaining the complainant in cells for as long as ten and a half hours, and that the supervisor did not ensure reasonable supervision in that regard. The Commissioner said that the investigating officer completed the risk assessment for family violence using the mandatory form as well as other related documents, and that the actions of the members were reasonably accounted for in the relevant documentation. The Commissioner also found that the supervisor reviewed the Family Violence Investigation Report as directed by the divisional policy.

In its final report issued after receiving the RCMP Commissioner's response, the Commission agreed with the Commissioner's finding that the documentation relating to the family violence protocol was properly completed. However, the Commission disagreed with the RCMP Commissioner's conclusion that this addressed the reasons for detaining the complainant, who should have been released absent statutory authority to detain her. There was no documentation indicating that the complainant was intoxicated or would commit an offence if released, and therefore the Commission maintained its initial finding and recommendation.

The RCMP Commissioner also did not agree with the finding that the police unreasonably impeded the complainant from closing her door. The RCMP Commissioner stated that the police officers were responding to a 911 call and firearm threat and that their common-law duty to protect life and safety was engaged at the time.

The Commission disagreed with the conclusion reached by the RCMP Commissioner and maintained its position that the complainant only incidentally mentioned that she had a firearm and told the police it was made in jest. There were no exigent circumstances requiring immediate entry by the RCMP members as shown by the fact that they initially took the complainant at her word and they left. However, the Commission weighed the comments of the RCMP Commissioner and found that the brief inconvenience caused to the complainant did not rise to the threshold where a recommendation was necessary.

With respect to the Commission's finding concerning the public complaint investigation, the RCMP Commissioner agreed with the findings respecting the Officer in Charge of the detachment and his failing to ensure a proper public complaint investigation, as well as the insufficient information relating to complainant updates. The RCMP Commissioner informed the Commission that the Officer in Charge had since retired and therefore she was unable to provide the recommended operational guidance.

The RCMP Commissioner partially agreed with the finding that the RCMP did not provide the Commission with the relevant materials in a timely manner. The RCMP Commissioner acknowledged that the Commission was not provided with the Crown prosecutor's decision or information related to the recordings of RCMP member statements in a timely manner, but that the remaining relevant materials were supplied in a timely manner. Consequently, in its final report, the Commission amended the finding to state that the RCMP failed to provide the Commission with some of the materials relevant to this complaint in a timely manner.

RCMP Used Reasonable Force on an Intoxicated Man but Delay in Providing Medical Attention Leads to CRCC Recommending Detachment-wide Operational Guidance

RCMP members were called to a residence, where they observed the complainant significantly intoxicated and agitated while confrontationally engaging with other individuals. He was arrested for breach of peace. An altercation took place at the detachment as the complainant's handcuffs were being removed. An RCMP member took the complainant to the ground on his stomach and maintained control of the complainant by placing a knee on his back. The complainant was then transported to a cell without incident.

While in the cell, the complainant fell, crawled to the door, and complained about a sore chest and breathing difficulties. The complainant continually yelled as he paced, hit and kicked the cell door, and held his hand over his chest. An RCMP member went to speak with the complainant immediately upon being alerted by a guard, approximately 45 minutes after the complainant had begun complaining. The RCMP member noted the complainant's request for medical attention, as well as the fact that he appeared unmanageable. The RCMP member did not make note of any signs of medical distress. However, the RCMP member subsequently contacted Emergency Medical Services (EMS), after observing that the complainant had urinated blood.

An RCMP member arrested the complainant for resisting a peace officer and read him his rights while they waited for EMS to arrive. EMS determined that the complainant's vital signs were stable and that he did not show signs of distress, but decided to escort him to the hospital for further assessment. The complainant was released on a promise to appear on the charge of resisting a peace officer, and left with EMS. He was discharged from the hospital two days later, after being treated for the blood in his urine as well as other ongoing, unrelated health issues.

The complainant made several allegations, saying that the RCMP used excessive force during the altercation at the detachment. He also alleged that the RCMP unreasonably delayed his access to medical care by not contacting EMS immediately and by delaying his release from police custody. The complainant asserted that this exacerbated his injuries. The RCMP investigated the allegations and did not support them.

The Commission found that reasonable force had been used to control the complainant. The Commission concluded that the RCMP had unreasonably denied the complainant immediate medical attention; however, the available information did not support the claim that this delay had exacerbated the complainant's injuries. The Commission also determined that the RCMP had not unreasonably delayed the complainant's release. The Commission recommended that a senior RCMP officer provide detachment-wide operational guidance regarding the provision of medical assistance to prisoners.

The RCMP Commissioner only disagreed with the Commission's finding regarding the delay in facilitating medical assistance to the complainant. The RCMP Commissioner argued that the complainant's behaviour in cells was inconsistent with that of a person experiencing chest pain and having difficulty breathing. The RCMP Commissioner further indicated that the RCMP policy regarding medical assistance did not apply, because the complainant was not exhibiting signs of injury or illness. Nonetheless, the RCMP Commissioner partially supported the Commission's recommendation that a senior RCMP officer provide detachment-wide operational guidance regarding the provision of medical assistance to a prisoner. The RCMP Commissioner indicated that it was an opportune time to remind all guards at the detachment to immediately advise the supervisor on duty of any medical complaints from prisoners.

In its final report, the Commission considered the RCMP Commissioner's disagreement with its finding that an RCMP member had unreasonably denied immediate medical attention to the complainant. The Commission disagreed with the RCMP Commissioner. The Commission stated that RCMP members and guards are not medically trained and in this case should have sought immediate medical assistance, not attempt to assess or diagnose symptoms. Therefore, the Commission reiterated its findings and recommendation without amendment.

RCMP Use of Force During a Man's Arrest for Possession of a Stolen Vehicle Reasonable but Delay in Facilitating His Access to Charter Right to Legal Counsel Unnaceptable

The complainant interacted with RCMP members while at the courthouse, which he had attended for legal proceedings.

A few months later, an RCMP member stopped the complainant and arrested him for possession of a stolen vehicle. The RCMP member used force to remove the complainant from the vehicle; he handcuffed him and placed him in a police vehicle. The complainant suffered a medical condition while in police custody and was taken to the hospital, where the RCMP member asked him to provide a blood sample as part of an impaired driving investigation. The complainant asked to exercise his right to counsel. The RCMP member did not grant this request, and the complainant's blood sample was taken and seized.

The complainant alleged that the RCMP members threatened him during the interaction at the courthouse. He also alleged that the RCMP member used unnecessary and excessive force, and violated his right to consult counsel prior to his blood sample being taken and seized. The RCMP investigated the allegations and did not support them.

Upon review, the Commission found that the available information did not support the complainant's allegation that RCMP members had threatened him at the courthouse.

In addition, the Commission concluded that the complainant's arrest was reasonable and that it was not unreasonable for the RCMP member to remove the complainant from the vehicle in light of the circumstances. The Commission found that there was insufficient information to conclude that the RCMP member used more force than what was necessary to execute the arrest.

However, the Commission concluded that the RCMP's failure to attempt to facilitate the complainant's call to legal counsel was unreasonable in the circumstances. The Commission recommended that the RCMP member involved be provided with operational guidance regarding the duty of police to ensure that arrested persons are able to implement their Charter-protected right to counsel.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings. Although supporting the Commission's recommendation, the RCMP Commissioner indicated that it would not be possible to provide the RCMP member involved with operational guidance, as they were no longer employed by the RCMP.

In its final report, the Commission maintained its findings and recommendation.

RCMP Apologize After Member Conduct Inadequate Criminal Investigation Including Failing to Carry Out an Interview Request Made by Crown Counsel

A woman reported to the RCMP that her ex-partner had breached a court order by contacting her. The man filed a public complaint against the RCMP member who investigated the ex-partner's criminal complaint. He alleged that the RCMP member had failed to conduct a reasonably thorough criminal investigation. The RCMP did not support the man's allegation, finding that the RCMP member had acted reasonably in the circumstances.

The Commission was not satisfied with the RCMP's decision regarding the man's public complaint. The Commission concluded that the RCMP member had failed to conduct a reasonably thorough criminal investigation.

The Commission found that the investigation conducted by the RCMP member up to the point of the man's arrest was reasonable in the circumstances, and that it was reasonable to expeditiously pursue his arrest. However, the laying of a charge does not halt an investigation. Despite the reasonableness of the RCMP member's initial investigation that led to the man's arrest, she maintained the ability and the duty to complete her investigation.

The Commission found that the RCMP member had been made aware of new information and had been asked by Crown counsel, and what appeared to be a superior within the RCMP, to seek a second statement from the ex-partner.

The RCMP member took no immediate action in response to this new information or these requests. She did not reply to Crown counsel's and the supervisor's request for approximately seven months. Her delayed response gave the appearance that she gave no attention to the file until the last minute. When she did reply, she offered inadequate reasons for dismissing the suggestion. In her response, she did not address the new information contained in the letter from the complainant's lawyer.

The RCMP member's duty to pursue her investigation persisted despite charges having been laid and a trial date set by the time the complainant provided his version of events through his lawyer.

The Commission was not satisfied with the RCMP's decision regarding the complainant's allegation. The RCMP member failed to conduct a reasonably thorough investigation by not, at the very least, attempting to interview the ex-partner, the complainant, or the other relevant witness in this matter after receiving the letters from Crown counsel and the complainant's lawyer. A statement from any of the relevant parties may have provided an explanation for the circumstances surrounding the incident. Additionally, the time and resources required to pursue such a statement would not have been significant. Failing to pursue any further investigation into this matter was not within the range of reasonable options available to the RCMP member.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's finding and recommendations. She supported the recommendation that a senior RCMP member apologize to the complainant on behalf of the RCMP. The RCMP Commissioner also supported the recommendation that the involved RCMP member receive operational guidance with respect to the conduct of reasonably thorough criminal investigations.

The RCMP Commissioner noted an additional shortcoming in the subject RCMP member's investigation; specifically, she failed to carry out the request by the Crown Attorney to re-interview the ex-partner. Consequently, the RCMP Commissioner directed that the RCMP member receive operational guidance on the obligation of members to carry out further investigation requests made by Crown attorneys.

Therefore, the Commission reiterated its finding and recommendations.

RCMP Apologize and Member Receives Operational Guidance Related to Note-taking and Communicating With the Public Following an Inadequate Investigation

An RCMP member responded to a report of a break-in at a trailer, which belonged to the complainant, and theft of property, namely a missing van. The person who made the report was the complainant's relative who was looking after the trailer for the complainant. The RCMP member met with the complainant's relative; she suspected that the complainant's ex-partner might have committed the crimes. The complainant's relative presented the RCMP member with an incomplete bill of sale purportedly transferring the van from the complainant's ex-partner to the complainant. Upon conducting a record check on the van, the RCMP member determined that it was registered to the complainant's ex-partner. The RCMP member concluded that the complainant's ex-partner was still the registered owner of the van, pending any additional evidence to the contrary. The RCMP member informed the complainant's relative that he would attempt to locate the complainant's ex-partner to clarify the status of the van.

The RCMP member then advised the complainant's relative that there was not much information to go on but that he would update her if anything else arose. The RCMP member conducted some other initial inquiries and then, as reflected by his police reports, he essentially abandoned the investigation. Two month later, the complainant's relative contacted the RCMP member for an update. The RCMP member informed the complainant's relative that the investigation had been concluded.

The complainant lodged a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member had failed to communicate with him and failed to conduct an adequate investigation.

The RCMP's investigation into the complaint did not support the allegation concerning the failure to communicate. The RCMP concluded that the RCMP member had unsuccessfully attempted to contact the complainant but that the RCMP member had provided a detailed update to the complainant's relative.

The RCMP supported the other allegation on the basis that the RCMP member had erred in his appreciation of the complainant's ex-partner's status as a former spouse, which led him to prematurely conclude the investigation. The RCMP apologized to the complainant and indicated that it had provided operational guidance to the RCMP member.

The Commission's review found that the RCMP's analysis of the allegation regarding the RCMP member's failure to communicate did not reflect the available information. Notably, the RCMP member's police reports and note taking lacked clarity and details, including with respect to his unsuccessful attempt to contact the complainant. The Commission determined that in the circumstances it would have been prudent for the RCMP member to attempt to contact the complainant through his relative. As a result, the Commission concluded that the RCMP member did not make reasonable efforts to communicate with the complainant.

In terms of the second allegation, the Commission agreed with the RCMP's findings and remedial measures regarding the inadequacy of the RCMP member's investigation into the break-in and theft of property. The Commission noted, however, that the RCMP had failed to address the RCMP member's note-taking deficiencies. The Commission recommended that a senior member provide the RCMP member with operational guidance as to RCMP policy on note taking and the benefits to be derived from properly documenting a file.

Finally, the Commission commented that, upon identifying the deficiencies in the investigative file, the RCMP provided guidance and oversight ensuring that the investigative avenues were reasonably exhausted before concluding the file.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and recommendation. Consequently, the Commission reiterated its findings and recommendation in its final report.

2018-19
RCMP member use of personal device and conflict of interest

A man filed a public complaint concerning an RCMP investigation that resulted in a criminal charge being laid against him. The man provided the name of a witness in support of his public complaint.

The RCMP member assigned to follow up with the witness was involved in the incident that led to the charge against the man.

The member recorded the witness' statement using his personal cell phone. When asked at a later date to provide a transcript of the recording, he could no longer locate the file on his personal cell phone.

This led to a second public complaint being filed by the man, alleging that the RCMP member neglected his duty by misplacing the recording, and had intentionally sabotaged the evidence.

The RCMP investigation into the complaint did not support these allegations.

Following its review, the Commission found that:

  • there was an apparent conflict of interest when the member obtained a witness statement in relation to a public complaint concerning a matter he had been involved in;
  • it was unreasonable for the subject member to use his personal cell phone to record a witness statement; and
  • the member's handling of the digital recording was careless, unreasonable, led to a loss of evidence, and was inconsistent with RCMP national policy.

The Commission made a number of recommendations, including that the RCMP provide the complainant with an apology and that the member be provided with operational guidance concerning conflicts of interest, the use of personal equipment in police investigations, and the proper handling and retention of evidence.

The Commission also recommended that the RCMP consider amending its national RCMP policy to prohibit the use of personal devices (e.g. cell phones, cameras) to capture evidence in police investigations except in exigent circumstances.

The RCMP agreed with the Commission's findings. The RCMP generally agreed with all recommendations and noted that a number had already been implemented.

RCMP conducted an improper search and failed to accept a public complaint

A man asked an RCMP member patrolling a provincial beach if it was legal to have alcohol on the premises. The member responded that it was not, and proceeded to search the man for alcohol. None was located.

The man called the local RCMP detachment to make a public complaint against the member. The member on the phone refused to take his complaint.

The man then filed a public complaint directly with the Commission alleging that the member who searched him did so without legal authority and failed to provide his name when requested. The man's complaint also alleged that the member at the detachment refused his public complaint, and was argumentative and defensive.

The RCMP investigation into the public complaint only supported the allegation that the member at the detachment had failed to take the public complaint. The member was provided with operational guidance to ensure she understood her obligation to receive public complaints.

The Commission's review found that, while there was insufficient information to conclude that the first member failed to identify himself, the search for alcohol was unreasonable, as the member did not have probable grounds to do so.

With respect to the allegation concerning refusal of the public complaint, the Commission found that it was unreasonable for the member at the detachment to do so. The Commission's review also supported the allegation that the member was argumentative and defensive when dealing with the complainant.

The Commission recommended that the member who conducted the search be provided with operational guidance concerning the need to have reasonable and probable grounds before conducting a search for alcohol under the authority of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act of the province. The Commission also recommended that the RCMP member apologize to the complainant for the improper search and for being argumentative and defensive when dealing with him.

The RCMP agreed with three of the Commission's findings and two of its recommendations, but did not agree that the second member was argumentative and defensive when dealing with the complainant.

At the member's choosing, her statement to the public complaint investigator concerning the interaction with the complainant was not documented. As such, the Commission was unable to review it and could not give equal weight to the member's version of events when contrasted with the complainant's consistent version documented in his various statements.

Therefore, the Commission disagreed with the RCMP and reiterated its recommendation.

RCMP's search of man’s residence leads to his arrest on provincial highway

RCMP members executed a search warrant at a residence while the owner was not at home resulting in a warrant being issued for the owner’s arrest. The man was located by RCMP while driving on a highway, was stopped and arrested, and his vehicle towed and impounded.

The man filed a public complaint alleging that RCMP members:

  • conducted an improper searchof his residence;
  • conducted an improper arrest;
  • illegally confiscated his vehicleafter his arrest;
  • failed to return his property; and
  • refused to provide him with anemail address to enablecommunication regarding thereturn of his personal items.

The RCMP investigation into the complaint did not support any of the allegations.

When executing a search warrant police are required to knock or ring the doorbell, identify themselves as police, and state their lawful reason for entering before they may force entry into a residence. Once the announcement has been made, the police must give the potential occupants a reasonable amount of time to answer the door. Where the announcement has been made and the police receive no answer, they are entitled to enter the home by force.

RCMP policies dealing with the procedures to obtain and execute a warrant and the authority to conduct searches require that searches be authorized by law. In this case, a judicial authorization was obtained for the search warrant, making it "authorized by law".

The Commission's review found that the search of the residence followed existing law as well as RCMP policies and procedures. Further, photographs taken of the residence prior to the search do not support the owner's allegation that it was disturbed in an unreasonable manner by RCMP members.

With respect to the man's arrest, the Commission found that the RCMP member patrolling the area was notified of the arrest warrant, stopped the vehicle, advised the man of the warrant, read him his rights and placed him under arrest.

Finally, the Commission found that the RCMP made reasonable efforts to arrange for the return of the complainant's personal items and the items were ultimately successfully returned.

RCMP improper use of force

Two RCMP members responding to a disturbance complaint arrived at the scene to find that a man accused of assaulting several people had fled. The man was also the subject of an unrelated arrest warrant.

The following day, the RCMP received a call from a third party advising them that the man was with him, and wanted to turn himself in.

The two members arrived at the man's location to find him in a shed, intoxicated and unwilling to leave.

The RCMP members informed him he was under arrest, attempted to handcuff him, and a struggle ensued. A conducted energy weapon was deployed and force was used to subdue the man. As a result, he was left with soft tissue injuries, including a bruise on his face, and bruising to his hands and legs.

The man received medical attention and was taken to the RCMP detachment. He was later convicted of assaulting a peace officer.

The man filed a complaint alleging excessive use of force. The RCMP investigation into his complaint did not support his allegation.

The Commission's review found that, during the public complaint investigation, the complainant could only recall police attending the shed. He did not remember what occurred between their arrival and his being placed in detachment cells. The third party involved also had minimal recollection due to his level of intoxication.

In the absence of any other witnesses, the Commission accepts the RCMP members' consistent statements, notes and reports as accurate accounts.

The Commission's mandate is not to determine if the amount of force used was excessive, but rather, to determine if the force used was reasonable in the circumstances, and consistent with acceptable practices and RCMP policy.

The complainant's history of violent conduct, for which an arrest warrant had been issued, as well as his intoxicated state and access to weapons of opportunity in the shed, would have impacted the members' risk assessment of the situation.

The RCMP's Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM), which is used to train and guide members in the use of force, promotes risk assessment and depicts various levels of behaviours and reasonable intervention options.

The guide promotes the use of verbal interventions wherever possible, both to defuse potentially volatile situations and to promote professional, polite and respectful attitudes to all.

These guidelines are based on situational factors when determining whether to use force and what amount of force is necessary in the circumstances. Key to understanding situational factors is appreciating the perception of the member involved.

The Commission found that a reasonable person would assess the risk to the officers as being very high, and concluded that the force used was reasonable in the circumstances.

RCMP improper arrest during a religious protest

A man engaged in a peaceful religious demonstration on a public street was approached by an RCMP member and told he must leave or would be arrested.

The man began recording audio of the interaction on his cell phone. The member placed a handcuff on the man's wrist and informed him he was under arrest for mischief and disturbing the public.

The man was uncooperative and protested the arrest. The member used force to put the man on the ground and handcuff him.

The man filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member had insufficient grounds to arrest him for mischief, used unnecessary and excessive force, and deleted the recording from the man's cell phone.

The RCMP investigation into the public complaint supported only the complainant's allegation concerning the deletion of the recording from his cell phone. The member received operational guidance.

Based on notes and statements from the arresting member, the man had previously been issued warnings on multiple occasions not to bother people or interfere with flow of foot traffic at the same location. When the man refused to move out of the way, citing his rights as a Canadian, the member arrested him.

The Commission found that the RCMP member lacked reasonable grounds to arrest the man for the criminal offence of mischief. The man was entitled to stand where he was. Consequently, the arrest and subsequent use of force were unreasonable in the circumstances.

Additionally, the Commission found that the member unreasonably deleted the recording from the complainant's cell phone and failed to properly document his actions.

The Commission recommended that the member or the RCMP issue an apology to the complainant for the arrest and use of force. The Commission further recommended that the RCMP provide operational guidance to the member concerning the offence of mischief and the proper documentation of his actions.

The RCMP agreed with the Commission's findings and supported the recommendations. The RCMP also noted that the member's supervisor did consider initiating a code of conduct process in this case. However, after the member received operational guidance, it was determined that he understood the inappropriateness of his actions.

2017-18
Unreasonable Arrest, Improper Search and Improper Use of Force

A man returned home in his vehicle to find two RCMP members at his residence with a warrant for his son. The members informed the man that he was driving with a suspended licence, was under arrest for driving while disqualified, and would be issued a ticket. The man proceeded to enter his home, resisting the members' attempts to stop him. The members gained control of the man and proceeded to search him. The man was ultimately released after being issued the ticket and a summons to appear in court.

The man filed a public complaint alleging that he was improperly ticketed and that members failed to advise him that he was under arrest prior to searching him and using force against him.

The RCMP investigated the complaint and found that the members involved had acted reasonably.

The Commission conducted a review of the RCMP's investigation and disagreed.

The Commission found that the arrest was not reasonable, as the arresting members did not have a warrant.

Generally, police officers can arrest without warrant anyone found to be committing a criminal offence. As this was not the case in this instance, the members did not have grounds to arrest the complainant.

As a result, the Commission also found that both the members' search of, and use of force against, the complainant were unreasonable.

Additionally, the Commission found that the witness interviews were carried out by the supervisor of one of the subject members and that this could give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias.

The Commission recommended that the arresting officer be provided operational guidance, and that the RCMP issue an apology to the man for his arrest. The Commission also recommended that all public complaint investigations be conducted impartially.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and recommendations. In his response, he noted that he was satisfied that existing RCMP policies dictate the requirement that all public complaint investigations be conducted in an impartial manner. The Commissioner directed that the RCMP member who had investigated this public complaint receive operational guidance on this issue.

RCMP Had Reasonable Grounds for Arrest Following a Public Disturbance

An RCMP member arrived at a fast-food restaurant in his police vehicle and found two men arguing and yelling at one another. It appeared that the matter was escalating to the point of a physical confrontation.

The member activated his vehicle siren to get the attention of both men, and then exited his vehicle to separate them. Once aware of the presence of a police officer, one of the men calmed down immediately while the other remained aggressive, made closed fists and appeared to prepare to engage in a physical altercation.

This man began to walk away during the member's investigation, and was informed by the member that he was under arrest for causing a disturbance. The man then began directing his outbursts at the member. The member handcuffed the man without incident and he was detained in the police vehicle.

Once the man calmed down, and the member had gained an understanding of what had transpired, the member offered the man various options to assist him, including providing him an explanation of the peace bond application process.

The member ultimately released the man without charge and provided him with his business card should he need further assistance.

Later that day, the man filed a complaint alleging that his arrest was unlawful and constituted assault, and that the member involved had made improper comments to him.

The RCMP conducted an investigation and concluded that both allegations were unsupported.

Unsatisfied with this outcome, the complainant referred the matter to the Commission for review.

Recordings of the incident clearly showed the complainant in a public area screaming and cursing for five minutes. The Commission found that the RCMP member had reasonable grounds to arrest him for causing a disturbance and exercised an appropriate level of discretion in releasing him without charge once it was apparent that there would be no further disturbance.

In addition, the Commission found that comments made by the member were not unreasonable in the context of a heated interaction.

The Commission determined that the RCMP's disposition of this matter was reasonable.

Unreasonable Assault Investigation

Following a woman's report of domestic assault, two RCMP members arrived at her residence and placed her husband under arrest.

The husband, and other witnesses present, denied that an assault had taken place.

Based on the conflicting versions of events, the members concluded that they did not have reasonable grounds to charge or detain the husband. They made the decision to separate the individuals for the night, and take statements once those involved were no longer intoxicated.

The woman was taken to a women's shelter and advised that she could return to the residence the following day to pick up her belongings.

The woman filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP members involved failed to investigate her complaint of family violence, provide her with protection to retrieve her belongings from the home, and return her phone calls. The complainant also alleged that she was removed from her home without a thorough investigation having been completed.

The RCMP investigated the complaint and did not support any of the allegations.

Following a review of the RCMP's investigation into the complaint, the Commission found that the members' decision to bring the complainant to a women's shelter was reasonable.

However, the Commission found that the investigation into the woman's complaint of assault, as well as the supervision of that investigation, was not reasonably conducted. Further, the Commission found that the RCMP should have offered her police assistance to retrieve her belongings.

The record also indicates that calls made by the complainant to the members were not returned.

The Commission made a number of recommendations, including that an apology be issued to the complainant, that an experienced investigator be assigned to investigate the woman's criminal allegation of assault, and that members involved receive close supervision, and be provided with training or operational guidance concerning RCMP policies to ensure adequate handling of family violence incidents.

The Commission also recommended that consideration be given to compensating the complainant for personal property damaged as a result of the RCMP's failure to assist her in retrieving her belongings.

While the RCMP agreed with all the Commission's findings, it did not support the Commission's recommendations with respect to conducting a new investigation into the complainant's allegation of assault, providing additional supervision for the members involved, carrying out a quality assurance exercise, or making a payment to the complainant. >

In addition to the main findings in this matter, this report raised concerns with the Commission's access to the RCMP's policies.

In its response to the Commission's interim report, the RCMP raised concerns that the Commission was relying on outdated RCMP divisional policies concerning family violence in arriving at its conclusion.

In its final report, the Commission noted that since it does not have direct access to the RCMP's policy suite, it must rely on the RCMP proactively providing updated policies in paper format.

The Commission noted that this issue was raised before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence in 2017, and was identified in testimony as an issue that negatively and significantly affects the Commission's ability to handle complaints in a timely and informed manner.

Access to the RCMP policy suite remains an outstanding issue.

Incomplete Investigation Leads to Unreasonable Charges

An incident of two women involved in a physical dispute was reported to the RCMP, who investigated and charged one of the women with assault with a weapon. The charge was ultimately withdrawn and both women filed, and were issued, common-law peace bonds limiting contact with one another. Alleged breaches of the peace bonds led to additional calls to the RCMP by both women.

The woman who had initially been charged by the RCMP filed a complaint against members of the local detachment alleging that the member who charged her with assault with a weapon ought to have known that there were insufficient grounds to support the charge, and that the subsequent investigation into the assault allegation was not thorough. The complaint also alleged that members of the local RCMP detachment failed to enforce the no-contact order against the other woman involved, failed to investigate a separate criminal allegation made by the complainant, and ignored requests by the complainant to destroy her fingerprints and photographs.

The RCMP's investigation into the complaint only supported the allegation concerning the request to destroy fingerprints and photographs.

Upon review, the Commission found that the RCMP's investigation into the assault allegation made against the complainant was not thorough, that it was therefore unreasonable to charge her with assault with a weapon, and that members failed to reply to legitimate enquiries from the complainant concerning requests to destroy her personal information.

With respect to the complaint of the RCMP's failure to enforce a no-contact order, the Commission found that members involved acted reasonably. The Commission also found that the RCMP conducted a reasonable investigation into criminal allegations reported by the complainant.

The Commission recommended that the RCMP issue an apology to the complainant for the handling of the investigation into the assault allegations made against her. Additional recommendations directed that the investigating member be subject to a file review to ensure that prior investigations were carried out adequately, and that he also be provided with operational guidance concerning quality of investigations and the laying of charges.

Finally, the Commission recommended that the RCMP verify whether the complainant's non-conviction has been purged from file and photographs and fingerprints destroyed.

The RCMP agreed with all the Commission's findings and generally agreed with all recommendations. With regard to the recommendation concerning a file review, the RCMP proposed an alternate course of action that would achieve the same goal; a suggestion deemed satisfactory by the Commission.

Unreasonable Arrest following Allegation of Domestic Violence

After a man reported to the RCMP that he had been assaulted by his girlfriend, the responding member knocked on the door to the residence and when the woman answered, the member asked her to step outside and placed her under arrest for assault.

As she was being escorted in handcuffs to the police vehicle, her boyfriend took photographs on his cell phone and uploaded them to Facebook.

The woman was transported to a correctional facility, lodged temporarily in cells, and ultimately charged and released. At trial, the woman was acquitted.

The woman filed a complaint alleging improper arrest, and failure on the part of the arresting member and by other members at the detachment to provide her with access to her medication.

The complaint also alleged that RCMP members failed to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the complainant’s allegation of a criminal offence with respect to the photos taken during her arrest, and the posting of those photos to social media.

The RCMP investigated the complaint and did not support any of the allegations.

The Commission found that it was reasonable for the RCMP not to investigate the matter of the photos taken during the complainant’s arrest and posted to social media. The photos were taken outdoors in a public place.

As there is no law that precludes a person from taking photos in such circumstances, there was no basis for the RCMP members to begin a criminal investigation. The record does indicate that the member did ask the boyfriend, out of respect, to stop taking photos of the complainant.

However, the Commission found that it was unreasonable for the responding member to have arrested the complainant and that she was treated unreasonably while in custody.

Police officers must have reasonable grounds to arrest an individual. In this instance, the member had limited information available—having only had a brief conversation with the boyfriend—prior to making the decision to arrest the complainant, without warrant.

Further, the couple was not cohabitating—it was the complainant’s apartment. The boyfriend had no legal right to be in the residence without her consent, and in his initial statement he indicated that the complainant had asked him to leave before she assaulted him.

RCMP national policy states that when dealing with investigations concerning violence in relationships, members must "obtain statements from all victims, witnesses and accused persons."

In this case, the member did not document any attempt to obtain a formal statement or verbal account of events from the complainant or document any steps taken to conduct a primary aggressor analysis. The complainant maintained that she asked for an opportunity to provide evidence of an altercation that would have supported her version of events in which the boyfriend was the aggressor, but was ignored.

With respect to the treatment of the complainant while in custody, the RCMP did not support the allegation that the member refused to provide medication to the complainant. Rather, the member was unaware that the medication was required.

The Commission's review found that the member did not properly complete the RCMP prisoner booking form. The portion of the form that includes a field for "medication required" was crossed out by the arresting member.

The Commission also recommended that the RCMP modify its national policy concerning prisoner handling to include a requirement to complete the prisoner booking form.

While RCMP national policy does not state that completion of this form is mandatory, had the form been completed, the complainant’s need for medication would have been revealed.

The Commission recommended several remedial measures, including an apology to the complainant for her arrest and operational guidance for the arresting member.

The RCMP agreed with the Commission’s findings and agreed to implement the proposed policy change.

RCMP Investigation of Domestic Dispute and Public Complaint Appropriate and Reasonable

The RCMP received a report of a domestic dispute from a man claiming that his spouse had made threats to kill him and had damaged furniture with a knife. After the man provided a statement at the local RCMP detachment, members attended the residence.

The spouse was uncooperative, refused to open the door, appeared to be in distress, and had an unidentified object in her hand. Concerned for the woman's safety, members entered the apartment using a key and consent provided to them by the husband. The woman was arrested for uttering threats, placed in handcuffs, and taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

Following the assessment, the woman was lodged in RCMP cells for the night and released the following morning on no-contact conditions. The woman was ultimately convicted of uttering threats and acquitted on a charge of assault with a weapon.

The woman filed a public complaint alleging that her arrest and the force used were unreasonable, and that a member had failed to respond to a letter she had sent.

The RCMP conducted an investigation into the complaint and concluded that the complainant's allegations were unsupported.

Following a review of the complaint, the Commission determined that the RCMP's disposition of the matter was reasonable.

RCMP members' notes and reports were thorough, timely and consistent.

The RCMP members' version of events was consistent with the husband's criminal complaint and statement, as well as the evidence found in the home.

Further, the complainant agreed that the incident for which she was arrested did indeed occur.

Upon arriving at the home, RCMP members announced themselves and attempted to communicate with the complainant, who was uncooperative. When the RCMP members entered the residence with permission from the husband, the complainant turned off the lights and became verbally aggressive.

Responding members had reasonable grounds to arrest the complainant based on the criminal complaint made by her husband. The complainant was notified of the reason for her arrest at the time.

The force used during the arrest included a strong grip on the complainant’s arm and the application of handcuffs. At the time of the arrest, the complainant was uncooperative and the knife she had allegedly used to threaten her husband had not yet been located. In light of these factors, it was deemed that the amount of force used to effect the arrest was proportional and in accordance with RCMP policy.

Regarding the complainant’s allegation that her letter to an RCMP member went unanswered, the letter was not properly processed due to administrative oversight. The RCMP did nonetheless apologize for the failure to pass the letter on to the appropriate individual. The Commission was satisfied with the RCMP’s apology.

The Commission was also satisfied that all appropriate RCMP policies and procedures were followed in this matter.

2016-17
Police Service Dog Bites a Suspect During his Apprehension by RCMP Members

The complainant’s son fled from police upon being told that he was under arrest for breaching court-imposed conditions. In the ensuing chase, he was located by a police service dog (PSD) and was bitten. He suffered injuries that required surgery. The complainant alleged that excessive force was used in the apprehension of her son.

In its report disposing of the complaint, the RCMP did not support the complainant’s allegations.

The Commission concluded in its Interim Report that the subject member unreasonably deployed his PSD by placing him in a cardboard dumpster, that the subject member did not maintain sufficient control over the PSD once deployed, and that his application of foot strikes in an attempt to disarm and secure the complainant’s son was reasonable in the circumstances.

In his Response to the Commission’s Interim Report, the RCMP Commissioner stated that he disagreed with the findings that the subject member unreasonably deployed the PSD by placing him in the cardboard dumpster, and that the subject member did not maintain sufficient control over the PSD. The Commissioner made no mention of the finding with respect to the subject member’s application of foot strikes in his Response. Consequently, the Commissioner did not support the Commission’s recommendations with respect to providing the subject member with operational guidance, or reviewing the PSD’s history to determine whether the PSD is suitable for continued deployment and/or requires retraining.

The Commission expressed particular concern with the Commissioner’s failure to acknowledge the lack of control that the subject member had over the police service dog, especially given the subject member’s own admissions regarding the difficulty he had in getting the PSD to release the subject. After considering the Commissioner’s Response, the Commission was satisfied that its findings and recommendations, as detailed in the Interim Report, were supported and reiterated them in its Final Report.

Use of Force During Apprehension Under Mental Health Legislation

The complainant threatened to kill herself and left her home in a distraught state. After a family member contacted the RCMP, the complainant was apprehended under provincial mental health legislation and taken to a hospital for examination. She alleged that the RCMP used excessive force when apprehending her, and that the RCMP member involved refused to remove her handcuffs when she complained of the pain they caused.

In such a circumstance, the police officer was justified under the Criminal Code in using reasonable force to apprehend the complainant.

The RCMP did not support the allegations in its report disposing of the complaint.

The Commission determined that, having reasonable grounds to believe that the complainant had a mental disorder and that as a result of that disorder was likely to cause harm to herself, the RCMP member was authorized to apprehend the complainant under mental health legislation.

The Commission found that the force used was reasonable and not excessive.

The Commission also determined that the use of handcuffs was reasonable in the circumstances and that it was reasonable to wait until the arrival at the hospital to remove them from the complainant.

Entry into a Residence Following a Complaint of Domestic Violence

Mr. A filed a complaint including an allegation that RCMP members unlawfully entered his residence in response to a criminal complaint of domestic violence. The RCMP did not support this allegation in its report disposing of Mr. A’s complaint.

The Commission found that the RCMP members entered for the very purpose explained in the RCMP’s policy on violence in relationships and that it was reasonable for them to do so.

The Criminal Code provides a statutory authority for a police officer to enter a dwelling house to perform an arrest or prevent the continuation of a crime even though the police officer does not have a warrant or specific authorization to enter.

The law requires that the police officer have “reasonable grounds to suspect” that entry into the residence is necessary to prevent imminent bodily harm, as the facts of this case indicated.

Alleged Inadequate Investigation and Bias

The complainants were dissatisfied with the RCMP’s investigation and failure to pursue charges relative to allegations of wrongdoing they had made against employees of a city. They also took issue with the RCMP’s conduct in subsequent proceedings and correspondence. Among their allegations, the complainants claimed that the RCMP could not conduct a fair and unbiased investigation because of a conflict of interest, and that senior personnel failed to properly oversee the investigation.

The Commission initiated a public interest investigation concerning the complaint.

The Commission found in its Public Interest Investigation Report that there was no information to support the allegation that senior RCMP personnel failed to oversee and direct members in conducting and completing acomplete and thorough investigation; that there was no information to support the allegation that, because of a conflict of interest, the RCMP could not conduct a fair and unbiased investigation; that the communication between RCMP members and the complainants during the initial criminal investigation and subsequent correspondence was reasonable in the circumstances; and that the course of action followed by RCMP members in responding to the allegations made by the complainants against a specific member was reasonable in the circumstances, and a public complaint investigation was ultimately commenced and concluded.

The Commissioner agreed with all the Commission’s findings, which were therefore reiterated in the Commission’s Final Report.

2015-16
Commission recommends operational guidance after interaction needlessly escalates

An RCMP member observed a woman walking unsteadily down a street and stopped her to assess her sobriety. The woman refused the member's repeated requests for her to stop and produce her identification. After a brief physical struggle, the member arrested the woman for being intoxicated in a public place and for causing a disturbance.

Prior to placing the woman in a cell, members removed the string from her hooded sweatshirt and told her to remove her bra. The woman asked to be allowed to call her mother but was denied, as the members stated that she was only entitled to phone legal counsel. After approximately five hours in custody, the woman was deemed sober and released.

The woman's father filed a public complaint alleging, among other things, that his daughter was unlawfully detained, arrested, subjected to excessive use of force, denied her right to a phone call, and mistreated in cells.
The RCMP disagreed and found all the complaint allegations to be unsubstantiated.

The Commission reviewed the incident and agreed with the RCMP's assessment that the member had reasonable grounds to stop the woman. However, the Commission found that the detention and arrest of the woman for causing a disturbance and public intoxication was unreasonable; consequently, the use of force in effecting the arrest was also unreasonable.

The Commission also found that the member was unaware that the woman was entitled to a private phone call and that his choice of language in denying her request was inconsistent with the RCMP core values of respect and professionalism.

The Commission found that the member's failure to explore alternatives to incarceration as set out in RCMP divisional policy (that an individual be released to a sober and responsible adult) suggests that the woman's detention in cells was punitive rather than for her own safety.

The Commission recommended that the member receive operational guidance in a number of areas including:

  • Requesting identification from members of the public;
  • Interacting with the public in a respectful manner;
  • Understanding when people in custody are entitled to make phone calls; and
  • Using communication skills to manage escalating situations.

The Commission also recommended that the RCMP apologize for the arrest and detention in cells.

The Commission awaits the RCMP Commissioner's response in this matter.

Commission agrees with RCMP that public complaint best dealt with by Privacy Commissioner

An individual filed a public complaint alleging that an RCMP member disclosed information from RCMP databases to an unauthorized third party without their consent.

The RCMP Act includes a provision for the termination of public complaints if the subject of the complaint can be more adequately or appropriately dealt with by another Act of Parliament.

In this instance, the RCMP terminated its investigation of the complaint and referred it to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the agency that investigates complaints concerning the federal Privacy Act.

While the complainant was not satisfied with the RCMP's decision, the Commission agreed that the Privacy Act was the appropriate governing law for the complaint.
Poor investigation of child sexual abuse allegations leads to RCMP apology and operational guidance for member

A mother contacted the RCMP alleging that her former husband had engaged in sexual touching of their young child. A few months later, the mother reported a second incident and her concern with the lack of progress of the investigation.

Citing frustration with the amount of time the investigation was taking, the mother brought her concerns to the divisional Commanding Officer. The RCMP ascertained that the investigator assigned to the file had neglected to take statements from the complainant, her ex-husband, her child or any other potential witnesses. The member had also neglected, over an eleven-month period, to document any of the investigative measures he undertook while assigned to the case.

The mother's public complaint alleged a lack of adequate investigation and supervision of the investigator assigned to her file.

The Commission concurred with the RCMP's findings that the investigation was inadequate and that the member failed to immediately notify the child protection authorities as required by RCMP policy. The Commission did not make recommendations aimed directly at the investigating member's conduct, as the member had resigned.

The Commission agreed with the RCMP's decision to provide the supervising member with operational guidance and commends the RCMP for having provided a timely written apology to the complainant.

The Commission also noted that the subsequent RCMP investigation was professional, thorough and diligently pursued.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and recommendation.

Domestic assault arrest followed family violence policies and procedures

Members responded to a call from a local business. A woman had entered the store and informed the owner that she had been assaulted by her partner. An ambulance was called, the woman's head injury was treated and she was transported to the hospital. RCMP members took statements from the woman and the store witnesses, and subsequently arrested the woman's male partner.

The man filed a public complaint alleging that he was improperly arrested, that evidence was ignored, and that he was denied legal counsel.

The RCMP disagreed and found all the complaint allegations to be unsubstantiated.

In its review, the Commission noted that in the context of family violence allegations, police procedure is highly prescribed through various policy documents. The Commission agreed with the RCMP that the complainant's arrest followed applicable policies and procedures, and that there had been reasonable and probable grounds to believe the complainant had assaulted his partner.

The Commission also supported the RCMP's finding that the complainant was given the opportunity to provide a statement outlining his version of events.

Finally, the Commission agreed with the RCMP that the complainant was not denied his right to counsel and was put in contact with Legal Aid.

RCMP member participates in unlawful search and destruction of digital media files

An individual carrying two large equipment cases was observing the proceedings at a provincial court house. He was approached by a Sheriff who expressed concern that he was recording the proceedings. After receiving promises that his property would not be searched, the man agreed to store his two cases in the Sheriff's office and returned to the courtroom.

In the man's absence, the Sheriff met with an RCMP member, and together they decided to search and attempt to view the recorded material. As they were unable to determine if any court proceedings had been recorded, the Sheriff directed the RCMP member to erase the media files. The pair, unfamiliar with the recording equipment, inadvertently recorded their discussion and decision to search and delete the files.

The man retrieved his cases, noticed that they had been opened and confronted the Sheriff. The Sheriff admitted to the search as well as the seizure of two digital media cards.

The man attempted to file a complaint against the Sheriff with the court registry office but instead was arrested and detained by the Sheriff. While in custody, the man was asked to provide his computer password. He refused. Further attempts by the Sheriff and RCMP member to delete files were unsuccessful. The man was later released without charge.

The man filed a public complaint alleging that his property was searched without lawful authority and that digital media files were destroyed. The complainant further alleged that the RCMP member's report contained inaccurate or false information.

The RCMP investigated and found that there was insufficient information to conclude that it was the RCMP member and not the Sheriff who searched and destroyed the complainant's property. The RCMP did, however, find that the member's report was inaccurate and directed that it be modified.

Upon review, the Commission found that the search was a violation of the complainant's right to privacy pursuant to section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that there was no statutory authority for either the search or the deletion of the complainant's digital media.

The Commission found that the RCMP member involved was reckless in participating in a search without ensuring he had the legal authority to do so. Furthermore, the Commission found that the member's modified report did not properly describe the incident.

The Commission recommended that the member receive operational guidance and be placed under close supervision. The Commission further recommended that the RCMP occurrence report be updated to reflect a thorough description of events and that the RCMP apologize to the complainant.

The Commission awaits the RCMP Commissioner's response in this matter.

Despite thorough RCMP investigation of fatal accident, Crown withdraws charges against the driver

Three friends drove into a parking lot and stopped. A woman exited the vehicle and was struck and seriously injured when the vehicle reversed. One of the two friends fled the scene, while the other stayed with the victim until the RCMP arrived.

RCMP members attempted to assist the woman and secured the scene. The woman was transported to hospital but later died of her injuries.

Several hours later, after interviewing numerous witnesses and reviewing parking lot surveillance video, the RCMP determined that the friend who stayed at the scene was the driver of the vehicle. RCMP members located him and laid charges.

The victim's mother filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP failed to conduct a proper investigation and that this resulted in the withdrawal of criminal charges against the driver.

The RCMP determined that the allegations were unfounded.

The Commission's review found that RCMP members conducted a thorough investigation and took all reasonable steps to collect the necessary evidence.

Records indicate that arrangements for both Forensic Identification Services and a collision analyst were quickly made. Once the driver was identified as a suspect, a warrant was obtained to seize his vehicle (which had been secured as part of the scene), and the appropriate examinations were conducted.

Additionally, the Commission found that there was nothing to indicate that the Crown's decision to later withdraw charges against the driver were a result of any failure by RCMP members to take reasonable steps in investigating the fatal accident.

Member failed to obtain consent of both parties prior to seizing computer during communal property dispute

In the midst of an acrimonious divorce, a woman contacted the RCMP alleging that her estranged husband—in spite of his having been excluded from the matrimonial home, pursuant to a court order—had compromised her personal online accounts. The member, in consultation with the RCMP's Integrated Technological Crimes Unit, and believing the computers to be common property, directed the woman to bring them to the RCMP detachment.

The man filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP improperly seized the computers without a warrant and without reasonable grounds. He also alleged that members failed to respond to his enquiries about his property.

The RCMP's investigation of the complaint determined that the computers were never searched and were ultimately returned to the complainant. Nonetheless, the Commission found that seizing the complainant's computers on the purported consent of his estranged spouse was unreasonable in the circumstances.

Upon review, the Commission found it unnecessary to make any further recommendations, as the RCMP already undertook to provide the member with operational guidance with respect to the seizure of “communal” property when there is an ongoing dispute between the parties.

The Commission also found that RCMP members responded appropriately to the complainant's enquiries about his property.

The Commission awaits the RCMP Commissioner's response in this matter.

Member receives operational guidance for arbitrarily demanding identification from hotel guest

The RCMP were called to a hotel to enforce the Hotel Keepers Act after a hotel manager's unsuccessful attempt to resolve a noise complaint involving a couple who were guests of the hotel.

Sometime later, three RCMP members entered the guests' room along with the hotel manager to evict the guests. A male guest was woken up, refused to leave when notified of the eviction and was arrested. The female guest agreed to leave and began packing her belongings. During this time, one of the RCMP members repeatedly requested that she produce her identification. When the woman refused, the member claimed that she was obstructing a peace officer and arrested her. Both hotel guests were transported to the detachment but were later released without charges.

The woman filed a public complaint alleging that she was unlawfully arrested and that she was within her rights to refuse to produce her identification.

The RCMP investigation did not support either of the complainant's allegations.

The Commission reviewed all available information regarding the arrest, including a cell phone recording made by the female guest from the time of the arrest.

The Commission applied the legal framework of the Criminal Code arrest provisions as well as the provisions of the Code pertaining to obstruction of a police officer and determined that there was no requirement to provide identification in this circumstance, as the complainant was complying with the police officer's request to leave the hotel.

The Commission recommended that the member receive operational guidance with respect to a person's duty to identify themselves to police.

The Commission awaits the RCMP Commissioner's response in this matter.

RCMP policies addressing the privacy rights of prisoners require further study

RCMP members responded to a call regarding an intoxicated female who was yelling and swearing on a public street. The members arrested the woman for disturbing the peace and public intoxication and transported her to the detachment cell block. Emergency Medical Services were called to examine an ankle injury the woman sustained prior to interacting with the RCMP and determined that she was fit for incarceration.

The woman's public complaint alleged, among other things, that she had been unlawfully arrested, improperly searched, and had not received any medical assistance for the ankle injury. She further alleged that her Charter rights had been violated, as closed-circuit video equipment recorded her using the toilet in her jail cell.

The Commission reviewed all available information from the complainant's time at the RCMP detachment, including extensive video and cell block records, and determined that all appropriate RCMP policies and procedures had been followed.

Police in other jurisdictions have implemented processes to protect the privacy rights of prisoners who use the toilet while in police custody. The Commission accepted that there is currently no obligation for the RCMP to implement similar processes but recommended that the RCMP continue to look at options to address this issue.

2014-15
Unreasonable force used in questionable arrest

Two individuals walking at night were arguing and drew the attention of an RCMP member. While arresting one of the individuals for public intoxication, the RCMP member used force resulting in bruising, a chipped tooth, and scrapes.

The individual filed a complaint about the validity of the arrest and the member's use of force but was not satisfied with the RCMP's handling of the complaint. During its review, the Commission concluded that the member did not have a reasonable basis to believe that the individual was intoxicated and that an arrest was necessary. The Commission also concluded that the member did not adhere to the RCMP's policy concerning such arrests. The Commission recommended that the member receive operational guidance.

The RCMP countered that the arrest was reasonable because the member observed that the individual was "stupefied or drunk to such a marked degree that she was a danger to herself or others," and appeared to be unable to care for herself. The Commissioner asserted that it was reasonable for the member to believe that the argument could escalate and lead to a physical altercation.

In the Commission's Final report, the Chair disagreed with the RCMP's conclusions. The Chair was not convinced that, based on the member's own account, the member took sufficient steps to assess the individual's level of intoxication or consider whether or not it was in the public interest to make the arrest.

Additionally, the Commission found that there was no objective basis to support a conclusion that a physical altercation was probable.

Complaint of conflict of interest and bias in fraud investigation

An executive accused by a shareholder of defrauding a company was charged and convicted following an RCMP investigation. The executive appealed the court's decision and the conviction was overturned.

The executive filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member had failed to properly investigate the fraud allegation and was in a conflict of interest because an offer of employment had been made to the member by the shareholder.

In their response, the RCMP acknowledged that the member had breached conflict of interest and other RCMP policies, but that this did not interfere with the member's investigation.

The Commission concluded that the RCMP's decision was, for the most part, unreasonable and that the RCMP should not have dismissed the allegation of bias in the investigation.

The Commission found that the member:

  • breached the RCMP's conflict of interest policy;
  • conducted an inadequate investigation;
  • intervened in a civil matter without lawful authority; and
  • behaved unprofessionally during the executive's criminal trial.

Of note, the Commission recommended that the RCMP consider including in its conflict of interest policy a requirement for RCMP members to immediately disclose all offers of outside employment or gifts from stakeholders, whether or not there is an intention to accept such offers.

The Commission is awaiting the RCMP's response in this matter.

Unreasonable decision to terminate an investigation

The complainant was engaged in an ongoing conflict with the local school district after accusing their employees of committing criminal offences. An RCMP member informed the complainant that there would not be a criminal investigation into his allegations.

The complainant filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member had shown bias and failed in his professional duty.

The RCMP's initial investigation into the public complaint was terminated on the basis that the allegations were vexatious and involved " repetition of unsubstantiated complaints from the same person which share a common theme."

The Commission held that if the RCMP has sufficient information to directly address and answer the subject matter of the complaint in a Final Report, a termination is not appropriate.

The Commission found that the RCMP's termination of this public complaint was not reasonable because the RCMP had substantial information and should have concluded its investigation.

The Commissioner of the RCMP agreed with the Commission's finding and recommendation and will complete a further investigation.

Arrest under Mental Health Act justified

After receiving a report that the complainant was possibly suicidal, the RCMP proceeded with an intervention at the complainant's residence, which resulted in his arrest under the Mental Health Act. The complainant alleged that the arrest was not justified.

The RCMP's investigation into the complaint did not support the complainant's claims.

The Commission concluded that the RCMP members had the necessary grounds and authority under the Mental Health Act to apprehend the complainant and detain him until he could be examined by a medical professional. The Commission also found that the members involved acted reasonably and in fact, demonstrated their genuine concern for the complainant's safety by consulting with medical and social service professionals.

Allegation of failure to conduct a proper investigation

The complainant was involved in a dispute with her ex-husband over the ownership of a vehicle. The complainant claimed that her ex-husband had signed documents giving her ownership of the vehicle while the ex-husband alleged that the documents were forged.

The RCMP member who investigated the dispute recommended a charge of forgery against the complainant.

The complainant filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP conducted an inadequate investigation, and handled the vehicle in question without lawful authority.

The RCMP's investigation into the complaint concluded that the member had conducted a proper investigation that involved the use of polygraph tests, fingerprint analysis and the forensic analysis of handwriting.

The Commission agreed that the member conducted a thorough and proper investigation and that the recommended charge to the Crown was reasonable based on the information provided. The Commission also found that the RCMP did not take possession of, or mishandle, the vehicle.

Roadside stop lawful and reasonable, not racially motivated

An RCMP member stopped the complainant late at night for a non-functioning tail light. The complainant alleged that the RCMP member had been travelling in the opposite direction, passed his vehicle, made a U-turn and followed the driver before carrying out the road side stop.

The complainant maintained that he was driving the speed limit and that his tail light was functioning. He alleged that the stop was arbitrary and a result of racial profiling.

The Commission found that the member checked the complainant's paperwork and released him after a few minutes, without charge. Under the circumstances, the roadside detention was lawful and reasonable and there was no indication that it was racially motivated.

2013-14
Roadside stop leads to reasonable use of oleoresin capsicum spray on driver but unreasonable inconvenience to passenger

An RCMP member stopped a truck with a burned out front headlight and missing mud flaps on a provincial highway. Once stopped, the driver of the vehicle exited and began to rummage through the truck's cargo area, not complying with the RCMP member's commands to return to the vehicle. A physical altercation ensued during the driver's arrest and the member deployed oleoresin capsicum spray. As the passenger of the vehicle was visually impaired, the truck was towed. The driver complained about the member's use of force and about the towing of his truck.

The Commission determined that the member reasonably feared imminent danger when the driver failed to respond to commands, appeared to be hiding what he was doing, and resisted being removed from the cargo area and, accordingly, that the member's use of oleoresin capsicum spray was reasonable.

However, the Commission found that the member unreasonably ignored the request of the passenger of the truck to arrange for two persons to attend the scene, which would have avoided the towing of the truck and would not have resulted in further delay or inconvenience. The Commission recommended that the detachment commander apologize to the passenger for the inconsiderate and indifferent way in which she was treated.

The Commission is awaiting the RCMP's response in this matter.

Roadside stop and detention of driver was reasonable but photographing of driver was overzealous

An RCMP member followed a vehicle driving over the speed limit for several blocks before signalling the driver to stop. The driver did not stop for some time, but did eventually park. The member then detained him for the investigation of obstruction, releasing him after photographing him and serving him with violation tickets for failing to stop for police and for speeding. The driver complained that he was unreasonably detained, and that the member should not have taken his photograph.

The Commission concluded that given the driver's refusal to follow instructions and the apparent risk he posed, his detention for investigative purposes was reasonable.

However, the Commission concluded that once the member satisfied himself of the driver's identity by verifying the likeness of the photograph on his driver's licence, there was no further reason or legal authority to photograph him; the member's action in so doing was unreasonable, and unduly intimidating.

The Commission recommended that the member be provided with operational guidance. The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and recommendation.

CPC recommends that member receive operational guidance after using unreasonable force and making an unnecessary arrest

Two individuals were walking home on a foggy night in an area with no street lights. The individuals were admittedly arguing, which drew the attention of an RCMP member. The member ultimately arrested one of the individuals for public intoxication and used force against her in doing so. She suffered bruising, a chipped tooth, and scrapes from the altercation, and later complained about the validity of her arrest and the use of force.

The Commission concluded that the member had not determined a reasonable basis for the belief that the individual was intoxicated and that an arrest was necessary, and that it was not apparent that the member had turned his mind to the factors to be considered as detailed in the RCMP's policy concerning such arrests. The Commission recommended that the member receive operational guidance. The Commission is awaiting the RCMP's response in this matter.

RCMP member remains professional while driver becomes loud and argumentative

An RCMP member stopped a vehicle and issued the driver with traffic violation tickets for speeding, a licence plate violation, and an insurance document violation. During the traffic stop, the driver contacted the local RCMP detachment to express concerns about the way in which she was being treated by the member. The supervisor who took the call contacted the member at the scene while he was still attending the traffic stop, and made the determination that there was no issue of public safety and that the stop could proceed. The supervisor then contacted the driver within an hour of the traffic stop to discuss the incident. The driver complained in part that the attending member was rude to her.

The Commission concluded, based largely on the audio/video recording of the traffic stop, that the attending member had been professional, polite and respectful in his interaction with the driver. The member explained the rationale for his actions and did not change his polite tone when the driver became loud and argumentative.

RCMP member acts appropriately in landlord-tenant dispute

An individual requested RCMP assistance at a property he owned. An RCMP member attended the property and discovered that the complainant had changed the locks of the residence to exclude a woman who had been occupying it. The occupant claimed to have paid rent to a third party (an agent for the complainant). While the complainant maintained that the agent had not provided him with any money, the member ultimately convinced the complainant to hand the new key over to the occupant and to go through the legal system to evict the tenant. The complainant alleged that the member had inappropriately interfered in a civil matter.

The Commission determined that it was reasonable for the member to conclude that the occupant had an apparent contractual right to be at the property, and acknowledged that the member did not want to leave the parties in a situation where the occupant would possibly break into what was clearly being used as her home (rightfully or not) and potentially cause damage to the property by doing so.

The Commission concluded that it would have been inappropriate for the member to assist the complainant in the purported eviction with the information available to him, and it would have been equally inappropriate to do nothing and to leave the occupant without access to her home and her belongings.

Accordingly, the Commission found that the member's response to the situation was reasonable in the circumstances.

RCMP member failed to interview a key witness

A father reported to the RCMP that his child had been sexually assaulted by another child. While both children were interviewed as part of the investigation, the adult to whom the child initially disclosed the alleged assault was not interviewed. Based upon the information obtained during a joint investigation, the RCMP and the provincial child protection body concluded that the claim was unfounded. The father filed a public complaint alleging that the RCMP member failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the sexual assault.

The RCMP investigated the complaint and determined that, while it was reasonable to conclude that the sexual assault claim was unfounded, the member had failed to interview a key witness. This is contrary to RCMP policy and, consequently, the member was provided operational guidance with respect to both this deficiency and that of keeping a proper log of witnesses interviewed.

The Commission found the RCMP's investigation and disposition of the allegation to have been reasonable.

RCMP member placed himself in a perceived conflict of interest

An individual made several noise complaints to his local by-law office concerning the ongoing issue of a truck with a loud muffler driving past his residence. The driver of the vehicle was given a warning and subsequently issued two violation tickets for repeated incidents regarding the noise of his vehicle. The case was set for trial; however, the driver pled guilty to one offence and the other charge was withdrawn.

An RCMP member who was acquainted with the driver had, according to the other parties involved, spoken to two municipal enforcement officers and the prosecutor about the issue; specifically, providing a positive character reference about the driver and his family to two by-law enforcement officers who were investigating the matter.

The complainant alleged that the RCMP member improperly involved himself in the municipal enforcement investigation.

The Commission found that the member's conduct was unreasonable, given the risk of creating a perception of conflict of interest, as he had approached both officers while on duty and at their work place to specifically talk about investigations involving his acquaintance.

The Commission concluded that in offering unsolicited praise for the driver and his family, the RCMP member inadvertently and unreasonably placed himself in a perceived conflict of interest.

The Commission recommended that the RCMP provide the member with operational guidance, and the RCMP Commissioner agreed.

2012-13
Consent to Search Vehicle Was Not Informed

Two RCMP members stopped a complainant for swerving his vehicle, checked his identification and searched the front of the vehicle without consent. The members then asked to check the back of the vehicle, and as they had already searched part of the vehicle, the complainant acquiesced. The members then asked the complainant to open the vehicle's trunk and they searched through it.

The complainant alleged that the entire search was unlawful. The Commission found that the consent was not informed and deemed the search to be unreasonable.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and recommendations.

Insufficient Basis for Detention When No Offence Had Occurred

Two members responded to a 9-1-1 call originating from the complainant's home. The members investigated the abandoned call and determined that no domestic assault had occurred. However, during the investigation, unsafely stored firearms were found in the residence and were seized. The complainant was taken into custody and released early the next morning, charged with firearms offences.

The complainant alleged that his arrest and detention were improper. While the Commission determined that his arrest was reasonable, the detention was not, as there was no reasonable concern with respect to violence in the home. Further, there was no indication that the complainant was detained as a result of the events leading to the 9-1-1 call or as a result of the firearms offences.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings.

Use of Force on Violent Individual Reasonable

The complainant was suffering a self-admitted psychological breakdown and was reported to police. He was later approached by police, and a struggle ensued.

He complained that the involved members used excessive force, which included the use of a baton, hand and knee strikes, and the deployment of oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray.

Considering all the available information and taking into account the behaviour displayed by the complainant, the Commission found that the members exercised their use of force options in a manner consistent with the policies of the RCMP and the applicable legislation.

Lengthy Detention for Refusing to Provide Identification Unreasonable

The complainant was approached by an animal control by-law officer as she was walking with her unleashed dog. She refused to provide identification to the by-law officer, who then requested RCMP assistance. The complainant also refused to provide identification to the responding member; she was arrested, taken into custody and detained for almost ten hours.

The complainant alleged, among other things, that her detention was unreasonable. The Commission concluded that the member's initial concerns, including his concern for the complainant's mental health, were inadequate to justify the continued detention.

The RCMP Commissioner agreed with the Commission's findings and recommendations.

Member Shooting of Armed Robbery Suspect Was Reasonable

An armed robbery occurred at a fast-food restaurant's drive-thru. The suspect left the scene in a stolen vehicle. An RCMP member subsequently located an unoccupied vehicle matching the description of the one used in the robbery. He observed several persons approaching the vehicle, and identified himself as a police officer and ordered them to stop moving. It appeared to the member as though one of the individuals may have had a weapon. The vehicle began to leave, and the member was caught in it. He discharged his firearm twice, hitting the driver in the shoulder with a non-fatal gunshot.

A third party alleged that the use of force was unreasonable. In view of the severity of the risk posed to the member, and his belief that he was facing grievous bodily harm or death, the Commission found that the use of the firearm in both instances was necessary, reasonable and in accordance with relevant legislation and the principles of the RCMP's use of force guidelines known as the Incident Management Intervention Model.

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