One citizen alleges police misconduct during Stanley Cup riot night

Complaints office expected more action in riot's wake

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has received one complaint from a citizen alleging misconduct on the part of an officer who worked the night of the Stanley Cup riot.

Deputy Police Complaint Commissioner Rollie Woods said privacy legislation prevents him from revealing details of the complaint but added he was satisfied an incident occurred between an officer and the citizen.

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Its the type of complaint that I would expect would be resolved informally without an investigation, said Woods, a former Vancouver police officer who was in charge of the departments internal affairs section, now called Professional Standards.

If that occurs, both the officer and complainant would have to agree to an informal resolution, said Woods, whose office in Victoria received the written complaint last week. The complaint has since been forwarded to the Vancouver Police Department.

The Courier reported online Monday that neither the VPD nor the RCMP had received any complaints from citizens related to the riot which erupted on the night of June 15 after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The first task of VPD investigators will be to determine the identity of the officer, who may not be a member of the VPD, said Woods, noting the complainant was unable to identify the officer or police department.

On the night of the riot, the VPD was in command of hundreds of its officers, along with 100 RCMP and several officers from municipal detachments. Woods said the complainant recorded the time and location of the incident and that will help investigators identify the officer.

If the subject of the complaint is an RCMP officer, the complaint will be turned over to the RCMPs public complaints office. If it is a member of the VPD or an officer from a suburban detachment, then the officers department will handle the matter with oversight from the police complaint office.

Woods said his office expected to receive more complaints after the riot because of the mayhem and hundreds of people who clashed with police. In preparation, his office checked with the VPD after the riot to determine when the riot act was read.

To have almost no complaints except for this one, its pretty surprising, Woods said. We actually had developed a strategy to deal with complaints because we expected there would be numerous just because this type of event generates numerous complaints. Im not canvassing people to complain, if theres no good reason, but yeah, I think its pretty amazing.

At the G20 Toronto Summit in June 2010, that provinces police complaint office received about 300 complaints. Dozens were also lodged in 2006 in Edmonton after the Edmonton Oilers lost Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final against the Carolina Hurricanes.

A B.C. government-ordered review is underway into the June 15 riot, along with three internal reviews being done by the city, fire department and police department. Crown counsel has yet to approve any charges against more than 30 people who turned themselves into the police.

mhowell@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Howellings

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