Nova Scotia

Halifax police respond to Tyson and Cirbie Bishop case

After the fallout from a CBC report that brought to light a violent "home invasion" by police, the Halifax force is trying to reassure people it dealt with the problem properly.

'99% of our police officers do an excellent job every single day,' says chief

Jean-Michel Blais says the vast majority of police officers do a great job, in spite of the challenging circumstances under which they work. (CBC)

After the fallout from a CBC report that brought to light a violent "home invasion" by police, the Halifax force is trying to reassure people it dealt with the problem properly.

In 2008, Tyson and Cirbie Bishop, a brother and sister, were holding a Halloween party when police responded to two noise complaints by a neighbour. The evening ended with two officers entering their home illegally and one of the siblings being shocked by a Taser.

"It was a home invasion. They invaded my home," said Tyson Bishop.

The pair filed a complaint with Halifax Regional Police, but an internal review found police did nothing wrong. However, when the siblings appealed to the Nova Scotia Police Review Board, it found Const. Jordan Gilbert used excessive force and abused his authority.

The penalty was a two-week suspension without pay, one year of close supervision and an order to be assessed for anger management.

“Ninety-nine per cent of our police officers do an excellent job every single day, in spite of all the challenging circumstances out there,” said Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais in an interview with CBC News.

In a statement, Blais added there are "numerous measures in place in Nova Scotia to ensure police accountability to our citizens, including public complaints, internal investigations, civilian oversight and independent investigations and adjudications."

Mayor Mike Savage also backs the work of the police department.

“I don't think there's a pattern here. Every city of any size has some circumstances, but I think most people know that the Halifax police, the people who enforce laws in Halifax, deal with our kids, are real community mentors. I think they do a very good job,” he said.

The Bishops filed a personal injury lawsuit, which is ongoing, but it was later ruled the $66,000 in legal fees they've racked up won't be taken into consideration in any potential award.

Clarifications

  • The original version of this article stated that the Bishops filed a personal injury lawsuit after courts ruled their legal fees wouldn't be recouped. In fact, the court's ruling on legal fees is part of the ongoing, yet-to-be-resolved personal injury lawsuit.
    Oct 15, 2014 1:33 AM AT

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