The British Columbia government says the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will lead a probe into allegations of historic misconduct by members of the Prince George RCMP detachment, and the failure of the force to act on the complaints.
A statement from the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, says the allegations are disturbing and are being taken very seriously.
The independent commission that ensures the impartial examination of complaints about the RCMP already issued an interim report to the RCMP commissioner about the matter and Farnworth’s office says the commissioner agreed with the report’s findings and recommendations.
The minister’s statement says he spoke with his federal counterpart minister Marco Mendicino about the case and B.C.’s director of police services has now ordered an independent investigation by an external agency.
Farnworth says the Assembly of First Nations and family members of alleged victims were informed before the independent investigation was announced.
The Toronto Star newspaper first reported in November 2022 that a video allegedly showed an RCMP officer sexually harassing an Indigenous teen, but the tape was stolen, the now-retired officer denied the claims and the complaint was covered up.
Farnworth’s statement supports the “ongoing dedication” of family members, survivors, community leaders and partners to respond to violence against Indigenous Peoples.
“Our government is resolute in its commitment to ending systemic violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people, particularly in northern B.C. and the cases which involve the police,” Farnworth said in the statement.
A timeline for the investigation was not provided and Farnworth said no further comment will be made while the case is active.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2023.