VicPD chief’s comments ruled ‘discreditable’

  • Feb. 17, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Roszan Holmen

News staff

Victoria police Chief Jamie Graham made highly inappropriate comments regarding protesters at the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, according to the findings of a new investigation.

Graham’s remarks were made at the Vancouver International Security Conference, one month after the Oct. 30 relay.

According to an audio recording made by a journalist, Graham said, “you knew that the protesters weren’t that organized when on the ferry on the way over they all rented a bus … And there was a cop driving the bus.”

In response to a complaint about the remark, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner called for an investigation.

The results of this first investigation found no misconduct by Graham, but the commissioner called for a second review after receiving a second complaint by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

The findings of the investigating officer, RCMP Chief Superintendent Rick Taylor, were released this week.

“The comments were highly inappropriate in that setting and context, and a very poor attempt at humour on Chief Graham’s part at the expense of members of a protest group,” Taylor wrote.

There is no evidence that Graham knew of an undercover officer acting as the bus driver, his report continues.

Taylor concludes that Graham committed “discreditable conduct,” defined by the Police Act as off-duty conduct which brings discredit to the police.

What comes next is yet to be determined.

As police board chair, Mayor Dean Fortin serves as the discipline authority in the case.

“I propose to reprimand the member in writing,” wrote Fortin in a letter to the chief and complainants.

Both parties will have a chance to speak to the investigation’s findings and the proposed disciplinary action at a pre-hearing conference.

Graham would not comment on whether he plans to admit to or appeal the allegations of misconduct.

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