Friday, January 30, 2009

Underwriting police brutality in BC

Lifting the arms of a handcuffed man up behind his back while tripping him facefirst onto a concrete cell-block floor causing skull fracture and permanent brain damage is "more force than was necessary" but not "police brutality", concluded Robert Hutchison, retired B.C. Supreme Court Justice acting as adjudicator for the B.C. Police Complaint Commission, "reluctantly" yesterday.

The police constable, Greg Smith, has since been suspended with pay after being arrested last month over allegations of uttering threats in connection with an unrelated domestic dispute.

The victim, Thomas McKay, was a Camosun College student arrested for public drunkenness after celebrating the end of his exams. He was incapable of attending the hearing.
The incident occurred in April 2004.

2004? Why is the BCPCC just getting to this now?

The Victoria Police Dept twice tried to dismiss McKay's complaints as unsubstantiated.
An earlier examination of the case by the Deputy Chief of the Victoria Police Department Bill Naughton in 2006 and again in 2007, which included the same police video tape of Const. Greg Smith sweeping McKay's feet out from under him while raising his handcuffed wrists behind his back, concluded that allegations of abuse against Const. Smith were not warranted, so no disciplinary measures were necessary.

The City of Victoria, however, reached an out-of-court settlement last year for an undisclosed amount in a civil lawsuit filed by McKay’s family. The settlement binds him to confidentiality.

Meanwhile, Willow Kinloch, who was awarded $60,000 in her police brutality claim against the Victoria Police when she was 15, has been informed that the police plan to appeal the jury's decision in her case.

We pay for the police, we pay for the investigations into police conduct, we pay for the higher ups to absolve them, we pay for the hearings, we pay for the settlements to victims, we pay for the police appeals to the settlements, and ultimately we pay for the growing lack of public trust in the police.
Cross-posted at Creekside

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