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Victoria Police Chief Guilty of 'Discreditable Conduct'

Remarks over undercover cop driving anti-Olympic protester bus cause Graham more grief

by Zig Zag

Victoria Police Chief Guilty of 'Discreditable Conduct'

Also posted by Zig Zag:

Back in November 2009, Victoria police chief Jamie Graham caused minor controversy when he claimed that anti-Olympic protesters had rented a bus driven by an undercover cop. The bus took protesters to the start of the Olympic torch relay on October 30 2009, in Victoria. Vancouver-based members of the Olympic Resistance Network (ORN) rented the bus.

Despite several hundred police being deployed, the protest was able to successfully disrupt the start of the torch relay with some 400 people marching for several hours in the rain, forcing the relay to detour and cancel some sections of the route. Speaking at a conference on international security in Vancouver a few days later, Graham stated:

“You knew that the protesters weren't that organized when, on the ferry on the way over, they all rented a bus...They all came over on a bus. And there was a cop driving the bus.”

Graham would later claim it was just a joke, and he had no idea whether or not an undercover cop had been involved. But Bruce Dean didn't find it very funny. A Victoria-based freelance photographer, Dean had been previously charged with exposing undercover cops at a rally ('jeopardizing an undercover officer's safety'). After he learned of Graham's comments, Dean filed a complaint with the Police Complaint Commissioner in December 2009.

Last May, an RCMP officer found nothing wrong in Graham's comments: a decision that was challenged by the BC Civil Liberties Association. A second investigation was ordered by the PCC, this time by Chief Superintendent Rick Taylor of Burnaby RCMP. He concluded that Graham had made “highly inappropriate” remarks in “a very poor attempt at humour... without considering their impact and weight.”

In his report, Taylor found that Graham's remarks “did cause concern amongst senior police personnel engaged in planning and security operations” for the torch relay and 2010 Games. Taylor found Graham guilty of discreditable conduct.

Victoria mayor Dean Fortin, chairman of the Victoria police board, has recommended that Graham be reprimanded in writing, although it is not yet clear what, if any, other disciplinary measures will be taken against Graham. As a former Vancouver police chief, Graham was frequently involved in controversy, including sending a shot-up target poster to a member of city council.

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