British Columbia

Review ordered into Vancouver police investigation of officer's alleged domestic assault

Vancouver police investigators were wrong to dismiss allegations that a constable slapped his ex-girlfriend in the face multiple times while he was drunk on a vacation in the States, according to B.C.'s police complaint commissioner.

Const. Neil Logan's ex says it's 'mind blowing' he's on active duty while facing 2 disciplinary proceedings

Findings of an internal Vancouver Police Department investigation into allegations of domestic abuse were 'incorrect,' according to B.C.'s police complaints commissioner. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Vancouver police investigators were wrong to dismiss allegations that a constable slapped his ex-girlfriend in the face multiple times while he was drunk on a vacation in the U.S., according to B.C.'s police complaint commissioner.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has ordered a retired judge to review the Vancouver Police Department's disciplinary proceedings around the alleged discreditable conduct of Const. Neil Logan. It's one of two matters concerning Logan's conduct currently before the OPCC.

Logan's ex-girlfriend, Alyssa LeBlevec, filed a complaint against Logan in September 2017 after she says he drunkenly smashed the windshield of the car she was driving, struck her in the face at least three times and held her against her will in their motel room in Seaside, Ore., according to a decision from commissioner Clayton Pecknold.

The VPD's professional standards section investigated, but only substantiated LeBlevec's evidence about the broken windshield, and recommended Logan be suspended for six days without pay.

Those findings were "incorrect," according to Pecknold, who rejected the recommendations of VPD investigators.

"The evidence supports a serious level of violence in Const. Logan's actions," Pecknold wrote in a decision on Monday, noting that the officer used "significant, intentional" force to break the car's windshield that night.

"Appropriate weight was not afforded to the evidence provided by Ms. LeBlevec. She provided messages she sent to a friend shortly after the incident occurred corroborating that Const. Logan had used physical force on her."

'Victims are just re-traumatized over and over'

LeBlevec is a 28-year-old early childhood educator who lives in Vancouver. She told CBC News she's relieved the OPCC has ordered a review of the matter, but the process to get to this point has been exhausting for her.

"We hear it all the time where victims are just re-traumatized over and over. They have to go through every stage of the process again, and that's definitely been the case here," she said.

Logan remains on paid, active duty while he awaits the review. He is also the subject of an ongoing public hearing before the OPCC over separate allegations of using excessive force and improperly entering a home in 2016, but that process was put on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Const. Neil Logan is currently the subject of two disciplinary proceedings before the OPCC. (Shutterstock / Adam Melnyk)

A VPD spokesperson declined to comment on the disciplinary matters currently before the OPCC.

But LeBlevec said she finds it "mind blowing" that Logan is still on duty while facing two separate disciplinary proceedings.

"The last three years living and working in the city of Vancouver, knowing that he is driving around, is very difficult and very triggering," she said.

"The other day I had to go down to the detachment to get a criminal record check for school, and the whole time I was just panicked and nervous and anxious. It's not fair that I am afraid to go into the police detachment."

In his decision, Pecknold noted that LeBlevec was sober on the night in question, and that her version of events has remained consistent for the last three years. She also reported the incident to local police in Oregon, who opted not to file charges after a criminal investigation.

VPD made assumptions about abuse victims

Pecknold wrote that VPD Supt. Steve Eely's findings on LeBlevec's complaint were "lacking in understanding and consideration of the impact of trauma and the dynamics of intimate partner violence."

According to Pecknold, Eely suggested that LeBlevec made the assault allegation because she "discovered an alternate love interest involving Const. Logan," and he questioned why she didn't leave Logan at the side of the road after he broke the windshield.

Eely's findings referred to a submission from Logan, suggesting "these were not the actions of someone who legitimately feared for her life," according to the police complaint commissioner.

"Those assumptions are inconsistent with well understood dynamics of trauma in the context of relationship violence," Pecknold wrote.

The review ordered by Pecknold will be conducted by retired provincial court judge Brian Neal. Dates have yet to be scheduled for the process, which will be a "paper review" in which Neal reviews evidence collected during the investigation into Logan's conduct.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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