Sample Review 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 following are examples of findings and recommendations made by the Commission
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.
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.
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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