Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Missing women’s inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal said the officer depicted in a series of bondage photos posted online is Corporal Jim Brown, who had a peripheral role early in the Pickton investigation, passing on a small amount of information to Vancouver police. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Missing women’s inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal said the officer depicted in a series of bondage photos posted online is Corporal Jim Brown, who had a peripheral role early in the Pickton investigation, passing on a small amount of information to Vancouver police. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

'Embarrassed' RCMP brass launch probe of officer’s bondage photos Add to ...

The RCMP has launched a code of conduct inquiry into the behaviour of a Coquitlam police officer who posted disturbing, graphic photos of himself and women engaged in simulated acts of bondage and torture.

When the head of the Coquitlam detachment learned of the photos, he decided that they did not warrant an inquiry. The investigation was ordered after Assistant Commissioner Randy Beck, acting commanding officer of the Mounties’ B.C. Division, learned more about the case.

More Related to this Story

“While we must strike a balance between an individual’s rights and freedoms when off duty and the RCMP Code of Conduct, I am personally embarrassed and very disappointed that the RCMP would be, in any way, linked to photos of that nature,” Assistant Commissioner Beck said in a statement released late on Thursday.

The commission of inquiry into police handling of the Robert Pickton murders of women from the Downtown Eastside is also taking a look at the situation.

Inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal said the officer depicted in the photos is Corporal Jim Brown, who had a peripheral role early in the Pickton investigation, passing on a small amount of information to Vancouver police.

Mr. Oppal said in an interview he has asked commission counsel to dig further into the circumstances.

“These are serious allegations concerning Brown’s conduct, and I just want to make sure that there isn’t any link between that and the Pickton investigation,” he said.

The RCMP statement said the officer in charge of the Coquitlam detachment learned of the photos in December, 2010. “However, he believed they existed only on the member’s personal flash drive, and thus, after consultation, he did not believe it met the threshold for a Code of Conduct violation.”

In March, 2012, the same officer learned the photos were on a personal website. “At that time, he began another investigation, and the photos were subsequently removed,” the RCMP statement.

The statement did not name Cpl. Brown or the senior officer. It also did not disclose when the decision was made to hold a code of conduct inquiry.

“As this situation evolved and additional information came to my attention, a code of conduct was ordered and that investigation is being led by the Richmond RCMP,” the asst. commissioner said.

“In keeping with the RCMP’s commitment to hold our members to a higher standard, I am taking the unusual step of asking an external police agency to independently review our internal Code of Conduct investigation.”

The statement said it would be inappropriate for the RCMP to comment further while the investigation is going on.

In one of the staged photos, a naked woman is being choked and slashed. Another shows a sword held against a woman’s throat, while in others, women are handcuffed or behind bars in a cage.

Former Mountie Mike Webster, who is now an expert on police psychology, said he learned of the photos several months ago.

He said the RCMP should have launched an immediate code of conduct review.

“Police are held to a higher standard than the rest of us,” Mr. Webster said. “If it was my neighbour, fine. But this is a policeman, and the public places its trust in this individual, and now he behaves in this way …”

He said the attitude of the police officer might also affect his duties.

Cpl. Brown has been placed on administrative duties. He previously worked on the RCMP’s organized crime investigations unit.

Even worse than the photos, Mr. Webster said, was the RCMP’s initial decision that the circumstances did not justify a code of conduct inquiry. “It’s like they always do. They make it worse. They downplay, they minimize unacceptable conduct. They sweep it under the rug,” he said.

Cpl. Brown has been placed on administrative duties. He previously worked on the RCMP’s organized crime investigations unit.

Provincial Justice Minister and Attorney-General Shirley Bond said she is “clearly unhappy” about the kind of message the case sends to the public.

“We expect more from our police and I am disappointed in this particular situation,” she said, in a statement. “It’s important that British Columbians have confidence in the men and women who serve in our communities every day, as police officers.”

 

In the know

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular