MP Nathan Cullen has tabled legislation in the Canadian parliament
that would prevent the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from investigating
its own in situations where there are concerns about officer misconduct.
The legislation comes on the back of a
report by a parliamentary RCMP watchdog that concluded that
there was a need for an independent body to investigate incidents
resulting in deaths and serious injuries of people in police custody.
The RCMP currently conducts its own internal investigations when
there are suspicions that a Mountie has acted inappropriately in
the course of her or his duties.
was commissioned on the back of numerous complaints about internal
investigations that found no wrongdoing on the part of officers
despite evidence to the contrary. Such incidents include the 2005
death of Ian Bush, 22, who was arrested on a minor offence and shot
in the back of the head after being transported to the police detachment;
an incident in Manitoba where an RCMP member was accused of sexually
assaulting an inmate in a detachment cell block; and numerous instances
of assault, bodily harm and the improper use of force. In the majority
of such cases, no charges were recommended by the RCMP’s internal
investigatory body nor were any charges laid.
that has drawn the sharpest criticism of the RCMP amongst the general
public was the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski, a disoriented Polish
traveler who became agitated upon his arrival at Vancouver International
Airport. RCMP officers at the scene tasered him to death, saying
that he had been acting in a threatening manner. Video evidence
later emerged showing that the RCMP spokesman had lied about the
incident to the media: