Former Vancouver police chief faulted for discreditable conduct
Last Updated: Thursday, October 23, 2008 | 4:25 PM PT
An independent investigation has found former Vancouver police chief Jamie Graham failed to make his officers co-operate with an RCMP investigation into allegations of police brutality on the Downtown Eastside.
Delta, B.C., police Chief Jim Cessford, who conducted the investigation, concluded in his report: "It is my view that there is clear and convincing evidence that Chief Graham committed, through his inaction, the Code of Conduct offence of discreditable conduct."
The investigation ended in August, but the results were not released until Thursday morning after the Pivot Legal Society obtained the report last week.
Pivot lawyer David Eby says the finding vindicates his group's long-standing complaint that Graham obstructed the RCMP investigation.
"Through this whole process Chief Graham has felt that he did nothing wrong and certainly Pivot Legal Society and the complainants had a lot to complain about through this whole process and it turns out they were right," Eby told CBC News on Thursday morning.
Graham told CBC News he did nothing wrong, and said Cessford's findings are only one stage in the review of his conduct.
"You know it's his view. I don't agree with his view. I'm very comfortable with what I did," said Graham on Thursday morning.
The report was forwarded to police complaints commissioner Dirk Ryneveld in August, who wrote his in own final report on the investigation that since Graham is retired, no punishment would be issued.
The outspoken former chief also noted the police complaints commissioner found there was no reason to conduct a public hearing.
"You can't suck and blow at the same time. You have to do one or the other. You either find somebody at fault, and you impose the discipline you want to do, or you don't. You know, talk about a middle-of-the-road decision," said Graham.
Report found chief failed to act
Police complaints commissioner Dirk Ryneveld in June 2007 asked Delta police Chief Jim Cessford to investigate Graham's conduct.
Cessford's final report was completed in August. In it, he concluded that while "Graham did commit to co-operating with the investigation and gave direction to his IIS inspector to ensure full compliance, this did not occur in any timely fashion, and Chief Graham did not fully exercise his authority in ensuring that his members co-operated as required."
The report says: "Graham was made aware on several occasions that some Vancouver Police Department members were not submitting their reports in a timely fashion. It took some members several months to comply with requests for interviews and duty reports, and eventually, nine police officers received discipline by way of managerial advice for their failure to submit duty reports or attend for an interview as required."
The Police Act Code of Conduct states that discreditable conduct occurs when an officer acts in a manner that is (i) prejudicial to the maintenance of discipline in, or (ii) is likely to discredit the reputation of, the municipal police department with which the police officer is employed.
Allegations date back five years
In 2003, the Pivot Legal Society filed 50 complaints of police misconduct from residents of the Downtown Eastside with the office of the province's police complaints commissioner. Ryneveld then ordered the RCMP to look into the allegations.
The RCMP found some of the complaints had merit. It also said that in many cases, Vancouver police officers failed to co-operate with the Mounties.
In a report at the time, Ryneveld noted that the Vancouver Police Board management's instructions to junior officers to co-operate with investigators were "half-hearted" and "ineffective."
That prompted another formal complaint by Pivot eight months later, alleging Graham himself had failed to co-operate with the RCMP investigation and didn't order junior officers to co-operate.
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan dismissed that complaint in May 2007, but a month later Ryneveld overturned Sullivan's decision, and ordered an investigation into Graham's conduct, which was conducted by Delta police Chief Jim Cessford.
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