RCMP rapists, child abusers and violators of Aboriginal woman and girls in British Columbia.
If you didn’t read the story, you should.
If you read it you are undoubtedly experiencing feelings of shock and disgust for Canada’s longest serving Police agency.
According to the report the allegations were levelled by “respected” New York human rights watchdog “Human Rights Watch.”
Allegations that an Aboriginal woman was raped by four (4) RCMP Officers and threatened with death if she reported the incident. Allegations of excessive force that include assault on a seventeen year old girl, assaults with pepper spray, tasers and an “attack” with a K9.
“In five of the ten towns Human Rights Watch visited in the north, we heard of allegations of rape or sexual assault by police officers,” the report says.
If these shocking allegations are true we should all be outraged.
The problem is, the “respected human rights watchdog” failed to disclose any of the identities of the women making the accusations.
It makes me question the motivation behind the press release.
In fact, it makes me question the motivation for the entire exercise.
A five-week investigation, ten (10) northern British Columbia Towns visited, eight-seven (87) interviews conducted with forty-two (42) indigenous women and eight (8) indigenous girls, all for what?
To compile an anonymous report so Human Rights Watch could make a media splash?
If you want to find people who’ll make complaints of excessive force against Police Officers they’re not all that difficult to find. The Provincial Remand Center, Headingley Correctional Institute, Stoney Mountain Penitentiary and Portage La Prairie Correctional Institute for women are full of potential candidates. I doubt you’ll ever meet anyone who was punched by a cop, pepper sprayed or tasered who has the awareness to arrive at the conclusion their behaviour had something to do with the event in question.
Allegations of rape, sexual assault or child abuse take these complaints to another level.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper correctly “called out” Human Rights Watch by urging them to share the required information with the Police so the allegations can be properly investigated. He apparently doubled down by asking the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to investigate.
The problem with the release of the report is the material is anonymous and untested.
Complaints of this nature merit a serious, professional and thorough investigation. An investigation that ought to be conducted by experienced, professional investigators. Professional investigators are skilled seekers of the truth.
Any professional investigator will tell you allegations of any description carry little weight when they’re made under the cloak of anonymity. Anonymous allegations made by a group of people who’ve had a historically antagonistic relationship with law enforcement officers requires even greater scrutiny.
After conducting hundreds of victim and witness interviews during high-profile criminal investigations I’m never surprised by the depths of deception people sink to when reporting information to the Police. Witness accounts often morph considerably when the reporting person is asked to sign their name to a sworn witness declaration form under the threat of prosecution for providing false testimony.
Professional interviewers are aware of the fact that witness accounts must not be accepted at face value. Keen intuition, critical thinking and probing questions often reveal a much different reality than original versions of events.
When it comes to allegations of sexual assault or child abuse, people in the court of public opinion often default to verdict of guilty as charged.
If Human Rights Watch was really interested in doing a public service then they should have had a plan for the meaningful disclosure of their investigative findings before they ever entered into such a high-profile undertaking. Anything less is simply irresponsible and reckless. Truth and justice are always sacrificed when sensationalism and special interest are primary considerations.
I, for one, will keep an open mind until the RCMP accusers decide to make legitimate formal complaints to a professional investigative body.
It’s time to “put up or shut up.”