Pubdate: Thu, 10 Nov 2005
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 The Province
Author: Ian Austin


But Legal Society Vows Further Battle On 50 Brutality Complaints

An angry Pivot Legal Society is planning its next legal move after 
the final report from Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld 
into allegations of police abuse.

In a dramatic change of tone from an earlier interim report, Ryneveld 
is now satisfied with police actions taken regarding 50 complaints of 
police brutality Pivot filed in June 2003.

"Only 11 of 39 officers co-operated with the investigation," said 
David Eby, a lawyer with Pivot. "As far as we're concerned, this 
isn't satisfactory."

Pivot wanted a public inquiry into the allegations, while Ryneveld 
said with policy and procedure changes in the pipeline no inquiry is needed.

"I am satisfied that the public interest would not be served by 
holding public hearings with respect to any of the outstanding 
complaints in question," Ryneveld wrote. "I am persuaded that the 
review by the Vancouver Police Board into both the use of force 
policy and the breach of peace policy will result in improved police 

Eby said a group of the society's lawyers will gather to plan their 
next move, to be announced on Monday.

Eby said an independent RCMP investigation substantiated abuse in 14 
of the cases, but Vancouver police Chief Jamie Graham had his 
officers re-investigate and "unsubstantiate" those charges.

"We don't understand how that can happen," said Eby.

Ryneveld blasted Graham's interference earlier, but now predicts the 
abuse is a thing of the past.

"There is reason for optimism that, in light of a change of attitude 
by the VPD and changes in policy recommended by the Vancouver Police 
Board, the underlying problems will likely not reoccur," he wrote.

Eby said his clients, many of them poor and marginalized, took a 
large risk by going public with the hope that more would be done.

"Our clients will believe it when they see it," said Eby of 
Ryneveld's prediction of less abuse in the future. "A lot of people 
put their necks on the line."

The Vancouver Police Department issued a terse press release, stating:

"We acknowledge that it has been a long and expensive process 
involving more than two years of investigations, hundreds of police 
hours and more than a million dollars in expenses. We are pleased 
that this matter has been concluded and with the conclusions that 
have been reached."
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