Wristbands supporting Const. Jordan MacWilliams raise controversy
Delta Police Association are selling blue wristbands in support of Const. Jordan MacWilliams
It's an unusual situation to say the least: the Delta Police Association is selling blue wristbands to support one of its own officers who is facing a murder charge.
The association has sold over 2,500 wristbands for $2 each to the public on the official police department's website in support of Const. Jordan MacWilliams, who was charged with second-degree murder after a 2012 shooting.
But at least one critic is questioning how the department can work with the Crown, while advertising a campaign that challenges the wisdom of their charges.
Douglas King, a lawyer for the Pivot Legal Society, says while the association has the right to support one of their officers, the police department website should not be used to support an officer charged with murder.
"It crosses a line and I think it really clouds what role the police have in the justice system," King said.
King said department resources, such as the the website and its Twitter feed, shouldn't be used in a campaign that challenges Crown decisions.
"The police are not above the law. Police officers are charged," King said.
"And this charge came about because not only the Independent Investigations Office thought there was a realistic chance of conviction, but the Crown agreed and laid that charge. So there's a bit of disrespect I think that comes across when a police department makes a public display, what I would say is quite an aggressive display, that they believe the wrong decision was made."
Delta mayor Lois Jackson says she will look into this concern.
"It is a good question — and we will be looking into that aspect of it," she said.
The money raised from the sales of the wristbands covers the cost of their production and is not put towards MacWilliam's defence. A spokesperson for the police union added they're happy to sell the bracelets elsewhere if it causes concerns.
Police show support at MacWilliam's court appearance
MacWilliams appeared in court on Thursday on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of MehrdadBayrami in November 2012. Dozens of police officers, wearing the wristbands with MacWilliam's badge number, came out in a show of support outside the B.C. Supreme Court.
The charges were laid after Bayrami was shot following a lengthy five-hour standoff.
"I can't imagine a scenario where a police officer under those circumstances would be charged with second degree murder," said Tom Stamatakis, president of the B.C. Police Association, on Thursday.
Bayrami's daughter is suing MacWilliams, claiming he shot her father as he was walking away from officers backwards with his arms by his side.
MacWilliams, who is currently free on bail, is on paid administrative leave.
His next court appearance is set for next month.
With files from Jason Proctor