Robert Taman quits Manitoba Police Commission over IIU concerns

Robert Taman says he has resigned as a civilian member of the Manitoba Police Commission over concerns that police officers are investigating themselves.

Winnipeg Police Service member has joined Independent Investigation Unit, Taman says

Manitoba Police Commission member Robert Taman, left, at a news conference announcing the creation of the Independent Investigation Unit in 2015. On Friday, Taman said he has resigned from the commission because an active police member has joined the IIU. (Bert Savard/CBC)

A civilian member of the Manitoba Police Commission has quit over concerns that police officers are investigating themselves.

Robert Taman was appointed to the nine-person commission in 2011 but said he has resigned due to a "difference of opinion."

Taman said an active member of the Winnipeg Police Service joined the Independent Investigation Unit last week, and that was when he decided he had to resign.

"To have them actually conduct an investigation against one of their former brothers in a crime situation, I think they would have a difficult time separating themselves in the situation, and I just feel it should be an outside source," he told CBC News on Friday.

"It has to be done a certain way. And I don't think anything has gone awry; I think everybody's trying hard to put together something that's going to work. I just think sometimes things aren't done quite the way they should be done, because it doesn't quite fit within the government parameters."

Taman has advocated for accountability and integrity in policing since his wife, Crystal, was killed in a crash involving an off-duty Winnipeg police officer in 2005.

A provincial inquiry looked at the botched police investigation into the crash and recommended establishing a police commission and independent investigation unit.

Members of the Manitoba Police Commission are appointed by the provincial government.

The commission assigns civilian monitors to investigations conducted by the Independent Investigation Unit when someone dies or is seriously injured in incidents involving police officers.

IIU director Zane Tessler was not available to comment on Friday.

Taman said while he has respect for members of the Manitoba Police Commission and the work they do, he feels he could not stay given the circumstances.