Report claims racism and racial profiling by RCMP in B.C.

Report highlights claims of police misconduct in B.C.

Mounties in northern and rural B.C. are facing allegations of racial profiling, excessive force and poor training in a new "temperature-taking" report charting public perception of the RCMP.

More than 300 people in 14 communities met with the BC Civil Liberties Association to compile the report, which also documented areas of police conduct and policy that were widely supported.

David Eby, the author of the report, says officers who walk or bike their beat or are otherwise involved in community life were almost universally praised across the province.

But accounts of First Nations people and the homeless being maltreated, especially by rookie officers, were alarmingly common, Eby added, as were concerns about a lack of public accountability. "Even if it's only a perception, [Mounties] need to go out and address the perception," he said Wednesday.

In a release, the BCCLA acknowledged none of the grievances had been investigated, but said it was "sharing these concerns as a whole with the RCMP and the province to encourage them to identify trends and resolve some of these systemic issues."

"If the RCMP feels that they need to be investigated then they should certainly investigate them," Eby said.

RCMP detachments in Williams Lake, Prince George and Terrace were all pinpointed as problem areas.

In Terrace, concerns about police brutality and fear of retaliation for filing complaints were widespread. One unnamed participant complained about being "attacked" by an officer and having his back and neck broken.

"All of the cops in Terrace covered for the guy, and nothing ever happened," he said.

The RCMP issued an official response Wednesday morning, arguing that feedback to individual detachments "tends to be very supportive" and expressing disappointment that local politicians, First Nations leaders and the force itself were not consulted for the report.

"The turnout to the town hall meetings in some communities was very low, and the sentiments expressed in the report do not reflect the sentiments of the community as a whole," Insp. Tim Shields said. Shields added that drugs, alcohol and mental health issues account for the majority of police calls, and "any effort to curb these addictions are welcomed by the RCMP."

To read the full report, visit the BC Civil Liberties Association website.

© 2010 All Rights Reserved.

Type of incident: