The Abbotsford Police Department is recommending a charge of assault against an RCMP officer accused of attacking and injuring a 17-year-old girl.
The teen suffered injuries to the left side of her face and said she was struck after Williams Lake RCMP responded to 911 calls on Sept. 10, 2011.
“She’s upset by it, and certainly there is a certain amount of trauma, both physical and emotional,” said Abbotsford police spokesman Constable Ian MacDonald. “I think that this has been a pretty impactful issue for her as you can imagine, as it would be for anyone.”
Physical contact between the RCMP officer and the girl allegedly took place in the rear seat of a patrol car, though their accounts of what transpired differ.
The Abbotsford department is not recommending charges against the teen.
Inspector Warren Brown of the Williams Lake RCMP detachment initiated an internal investigation against the officer in September. Abbotsford police took up an independent criminal investigation shortly after. It has forwarded its report to the Crown, which must approve and lay charges.
The officer remained on active duty until January, when he was withdrawn from operation and placed on non non-operational duties.
“Williams Lake is an extremely challenging detachment to work in,” Insp. Brown said Wednesday afternoon. “Within B.C., we’re usually in the top three for violent offences and calls for service.”
He voiced concern over how the incident would reflect on RCMP forces.
“I don’t want the alleged conduct of one officer to tarnish the reputation and good work that so many dedicated police officers and employees here too. I guess at the end of the day, that’s what concerns me most.”
In a statement read to the pressWednesday , Superintendent Rod Booth - acting North District Officer - said that an initial misunderstanding had resulted in the Williams Lake detachment first recommending charges against the teen, which were approved and laid by the Crown, but subsequently withdrawn.
Following consultation with the family, the RCMP invited an impartial First Nations observer to monitor the independent Abbotsford police investigation.