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Monday, December 7, 2009
Contact: Bruce Dean, 250-298-7256
Video and background links included
A Victoria man has filed a misconduct complaint regarding police chief Jamie Graham and undercover Victoria police operations.
On November 30, Graham told a crowd that a police officer drove a busload of people to Victoria for the Olympic Torch Relay protest October 30. The remarks were recorded by Vancouver 24 hours reporter Bob Mackin and made headlines across the region. (See link, below.)
On Friday, December 4, freelance photographer Bruce Dean filed a complaint with the Police Complaints Commission alleging that Graham violated the police code of conduct by exposing undercover operations at a security conference in Vancouver.
"In the past, the Victoria police have harassed me for taking photographs, and they used the excuse of protecting undercover officers," Dean says. "To turn around and make jokes about infiltrating protest groups exposes the department to public scorn and ridicule. Graham has damaged whatever integrity the police may have had."
Dean says Victoria police have harassed him several times while he was photographing street scenes. In 2007, officers detained him, seized his camera and deleted several images while informing a surprised Dean that one of the subjects in the photos was an undercover officer. The police complaints commission later ruled that the officers' actions were justified.
Dean's complaint against Graham reads, in part: "Disclosing or indentifying [an] undercover officer is a serious offense that can jeopardize officer safety. This was the justification used by the Police Complaints Commission for the violation of my Charter rights and for … destruction of evidence and my personal property."
"If the remote possibility of disclosing the identity of an undercover officer is an offence serious enough to suspend my freedom against unreasonable search and seizure, then the Victoria Chief of Police must be held accountable. His intentional revelation can be no less serious than when I inadvertently photographed an undercover officer," the complaint concludes. (See links, below.)
In October 2009, Dean documented two other incidents that he says show police violated his rights. Two days before the Olympic Torch Relay began, he says undercover Victoria officers approached his 11-year-old daughter in the street and frightened her. (See link, below.) The same week, he was videotaping the Torch Relay when he was "assaulted" by a security officer.
Graham is no stranger to misconduct complaints. During his term as Vancouver police chief, Downtown Eastside residents made over 50 complaints that included police beatings, torture, and illegal strip searches. Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld found Graham did not cooperate with an RCMP investigation into substantiated complaints of brutality and misconduct. He faced discipline for three counts of discreditable conduct, but avoided penalties by retiring in 2007. (See link, below.)
Many in Victoria question why the outgoing Police Board installed Graham as Victoria's police chief in 2008, replacing the disgraced Paul Battershill.
In the run-up to the Vancouver Olympics in February, police actions are drawing public scrutiny. Earlier attempts to infiltrate anti-Olympic groups, the recent detention of US public radio host Amy Goodman, and new anti-free-speech bylaws have raised serious concerns about possible violations of civil liberties. Police seem to be targeting indigenous activists, anti-poverty groups, and homeless people for harassment.
Last week, No2010 Victoria issued a challenge to Chief Graham to defend his policies and explain why his department is trying to infiltrate social justice advocates who are exercising their legal rights to criticize the government's abuse of indigenous people, the homeless, and the environment. (See link, below.)
Bob Mackin's report on Graham's remarks about the undercover officer (with audio) http://blog.canoe.ca/van2010/2009/12/02/graham_cracks_up_security_audience
Scanned images of Bruce Dean's December 4 complaint to the Police Complaints Commission.
Page 1: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2636/4165323456_ba8c8d9cfe_b.jpg
Page 2: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2775/4165292984_d9985eede5_b.jpg
Bruce Dean documents the official response to police officers accosting his young daughter in October 2009 (with audio) http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/video/2039
"Ex-police chief Jamie Graham guilty of misconduct," Georgia Straight, Oct 23, 2008 http://www.straight.com/article-166997/exchiefs-ruling-misconduct
No2010 Victoria challenges police chief to a debate about spies and civil liberties http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/node/2205
Photo: Don Denton, News staff