Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Independent probe of RCMP required

  • Print

The Human Rights Watch report on the allegations of RCMP abuses, criminal assaults and misconduct of aboriginal women and girls in northern British Columbia is compelling and disturbing. In 10 towns, the organization interviewed 42 women and eight girls who told stories of physical, sexual and verbal assaults by officers. Some allegations date back many years, others are recent. HRW's findings came out of a wider inquiry into the disappearances and murders of women and girls along the notorious Highway of Tears, the stretch of Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Prince George.

The human-rights group is joining the call by the native associations for an unwieldy national inquiry into the violence against aboriginal women and girls, arising from the 600-odd cases of missing and murdered women across Canada.

In the specifics of the serious allegations against RCMP in northern British Columbia, however, HRW makes the legitimate demand for an immediate investigation by a civilian-led body.

The RCMP has asked that specifics of the allegations be turned over so it can investigate, but that is inappropriate. There is widely held distrust, HRW noted, of the force by the indigenous people. Some of the abuses catalogued in the report released last week spoke of assaults that occurred after women and girls called police for help.

For years, there have been allegations against police across Canada by advocacy groups collecting details and data of murdered and missing native women. This new report, however, is forceful in the mass of anecdotes from a confined geographical area. The group also spoke to seven current and former RCMP officers.

The call for a national inquiry is not uniformly supported among advocates and victims' families. The decision by Parliament to call an-all party review, with hearings across Canada, can prove useful if it reports in a timely manner on the circumstances of the missing and murdered, and police responses to calls for help.

The Harper government referred the HRW report to the Commission for Complaints Against the RCMP, but the group cautioned that the commission's process is to rely first on the RCMP to collect evidence.

The allegations of criminal conduct and abuse of police power in northern B.C. must be investigated by a civilian body with sufficient resources and authority. If the complaints commission cannot handle the probe itself, an out-of-province civilian commission must be asked to do the job.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2013 A10

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weekend springtime weather with Doug Speirs - Apr 19

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google