The National Police Federation is criticizing the prolonged investigation regarding the three Prince George RCMP officers who were charged yesterday (June 8) with assault for a 2016 arrest.
“The NPF supports oversight and believes that complaints against Members of the RCMP need to be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and most importantly, resolved in a timely and effective manner out of respect for all parties,” says National Police Federation president Brian Sauvé.
Yesterday, the BC Prosecution Service announced charges for an incident that was captured on video in February 2016 which depicts the arrest of two individuals from a stolen truck.
“The NPF and all RCMP Members recognize the very real and pressing need to ensure that cases that involve police use of force are properly reviewed and, where appropriate, investigated. We support and work to protect every Canadians’ right to be treated fairly and equally,” says Sauvé.
The charges followed an internal investigation and an investigation by Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO).
The police watchdog ultimately referred the matter to the BCPS for charge assessment.
“This case in Prince George launched in February 2016, took well over two years for the IIO to investigate and another two years for the Crown to approve charges for an incident that thankfully ended in only minor injuries for the two individuals that have since pled guilty to the crimes for which they were pursued and arrested,” says Sauvé.
“These RCMP Members have continued to serve their communities diligently and professionally while this protracted investigation took place, and now face additional years of uncertainty awaiting trial and verdict.”
Constables Kyle Sharpe and Wayne Connell have each been charged with one count of Assault Causing Bodily Harm, while Constable Josh Grafton has been charged with one count each of Assault with a weapon and obstruction of justice. The officers remain on active duty.
“The brave men and women who stand up to protect Canadians from those that would do them harm deserve better than to be subjected to a prolonged four-and-a-half year investigation,” says Sauvé.
“Just as the RCMP need to consider all ways to continuously improve and enhance the delivery of services to those we serve, the IIO and Crown need to look at real ways to improve their process of investigations.”
The NPF represents over 20,000 RCMP members across Canada.