Vancouver police accused of violating duty to co-operate with independent probe

The Independent Investigations Office has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court seeking an order forcing Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer to compel seven officers to take part in interviews with civilian investigators.  (DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo)  

VANCOUVER—The chief of the Vancouver Police Department and several of his officers are facing legal action alleging they violated their duty to co-operate with an independent civilian investigation of a fatal police-involved shooting.

Albert Phipps, interim director of the Independent Investigations Office, has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court seeking an order forcing Chief Adam Palmer to compel seven officers to take part in interviews with civilian investigators.

The IIO is examining the shooting of 38-year-old Daniel Rintoul during an alleged robbery and stabbing at a Canadian Tire store on Nov. 10, 2016.

According to the petition, the seven officers will not speak to independent investigators without first reviewing videos of the shooting, though the office has rejected the request, saying the videos could distort their memories.

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But the Independent Investigations Office says police have a statutory duty to co-operate and it wants the court to force Palmer to require his members to do that.

“No discretion can be said to exist when it comes to the chief constable’s powers to compel his members to comply with their statutory duty to co-operate with an external investigative agency tasked in the public interest with investigation of incidents involving police-related death or serious harm,” the petition says.

It adds that if a police chief had the power to control his officers’ participation in an independent investigation, it would “fundamentally undermine” the purpose of the Independent Investigations Office.

“The history of this matter reveals a misapprehension as to the (police department’s) legal duties,” the petition…

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