Alberta agency investigates historic allegations of RCMP assaulting local girls in Prince George, B.C. IG News

IG News Updates,

The British Columbia government says the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will lead an investigation into the force’s failure to act on allegations and complaints of historic misconduct by members of the Prince George RCMP detachment.

A statement from the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, said the allegations are troubling and are being taken very seriously.

The independent commission to ensure a fair investigation into complaints about the RCMP has already released an interim report to the RCMP commissioner about the matter, and Farnsworth’s office says the commissioner agrees with the report’s findings and recommendations.

The minister’s statement said he spoke to his federal counterpart, Minister Marco Mendicino, about the matter, and that B.C.’s director of police services has now ordered an independent investigation by an outside agency.

Farnsworth says the Assembly of First Nations and family members of the alleged victims were informed before the independent investigation was announced.

accused of historical falsification

The investigation would include allegations that the RCMP harassed Indigenous girls in Prince George, and later allegations that a video showing this harassment disappeared after reporting it to police.

This was prompted by a November 2022 story in the Toronto Star newspaper detailing a report by the Citizens Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) into the missing tapes.

The CRCC found that the RCMP failed to properly investigate the allegations of the missing tapes, which under the RCMP’s own code of conduct could amount to criminal charges relating to obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy or misconduct.

It said any purported videotapes could be considered “supporting evidence of his suspected criminal conduct with underage sex workers in Prince George”.

Speaking to CBC News, ASIRT executive director Mike Evenson said his team would investigate both sets of allegations.

“We’re going to go through the file first … but if we uncover allegations of criminal activity in relation to sexual abuse [in] Prince George or the recent allegations of a coverup, we’ll handle all of that.”

Police action ‘unacceptable’

In a release, B.C. Assembly of First Nations territorial chief Terry Teague said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the investigation after years of calling for justice.

“First Nations people in Prince George have been the target of violence, racism and discrimination by the RCMP for decades,” he said in a written statement.

“These actions are unacceptable from the Canadian National Police Force, and the individual officers responsible must be held accountable.”

The Toronto Star first reported in November 2022 that a video allegedly showed an RCMP officer sexually assaulting an Indigenous teen, but the tape was stolen, claims the now-retired officer denied, And the complaint was covered.

Farnsworth’s statement supports the “ongoing dedication” of family members, survivors, community leaders and partners to respond to violence against Indigenous peoples.

“Our government remains steadfast in its commitment to end systemic violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people, particularly in Northern BC and those involving police,” Farnsworth said in the statement.

A timeline for the investigation was not provided and Farnsworth said there would be no further comment while the matter is active.