Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

A video of a Mountie interrogating a young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse in B.C. foster care drives home in a “visceral way” a reality that Canadians should be shocked by and one that they need to see, former Truth and Reconciliation commissioner Murray Sinclair said Friday.

The 2012 video was released publicly by APTN this week as a result of a court proceeding and has prompted political reaction, including from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who called its contents “absolutely abhorrent.”

In the video, the officer can be heard asking her questions, including whether she was “at all turned on … even a little bit” during the abuse she is describing.

The young woman replies that she was not, adding she was ”really scared.”

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP under fire after video shows officer interrogating Indigenous girl who reported sex assault

The apparent attitudes and techniques on display in the video were profoundly outdated, offensive and wrong, Goodale added, stressing the RCMP and all police forces must work continuously to conduct themselves appropriately.

In an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, where Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge is now a senator, Sinclair said Friday that Canadians have been told over many years that this type of treatment continues but he’s not sure they believe it.

Any parent would be very quick to complain to the supervising officers over that interrogation, Sinclair said, noting the young woman was not an accused person and should have been treated more carefully and respectfully.

“I appreciate that there are many out there, perhaps, who say that we could make the point without people seeing the video — but we do make the point without videos like that,” Sinclair said.

“I don’t think people believe us until they see it … That’s what the official RCMP position is, that we don’t mistreat witnesses, particularly sexual-assault victims.”

Canadians want to have faith, confidence and trust in police agencies and officers, Sinclair added.

“When they see that, it should shock them,” he said. ”It should cause them to question the integrity of what it is they are being told by those agencies of policing and it should cause them to be more supportive of those who say that police officers need more oversight.”

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP’s ‘heinous’ treatment of Indigenous teen disclosing abuse ‘a pattern’

Policing is expected to be a key theme in the upcoming report by a federal commission on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. It is scheduled to be released in Gatineau, Que. on June 3.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard that the vast majority of Indigenous women who had been sexually victimized in residential schools felt they were not believed if they spoke to police, Sinclair said.

“They were of the view that not only did the officer not believe them but that he — and it was almost always a male — was disrespectful towards them,” he said.

“As a result, I expect that the same kind of evidence would have come out at the hearings of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry and so I would not be surprised that they highlight that fact again in their report.”

The video’s release also highlighted the issue of sexual abuse suffered by young people, particularly Indigenous girls, in the foster-care system.

In 2016, B.C.’s then child representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond produced a report documenting that least 109 girls were the victims of sexualized violence while in government foster care and that 74 of them were Indigenous. The case of the teen in the 2012 recording was among them.

On Thursday, she said the video is far from an isolated case, noting that provincial and federal politicians know well there has been “major difficulty” with this issue for some time.

“The heinous way in which this young person was treated, being alone in an interrogation room, being treated as though she was a criminal, not a victim, and also the poor training, the suggestion that somehow a victim of sexualized violence is enjoying the sexualized violence, this is so fundamentally offensive but is a pattern I’ve seen again and again,” she said.

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Canadians smoke less according to community health survey

Obesity and heavy drinking rates remain steady

Armoury event highlights Canada’s D-Day efforts in Normandy

Event runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Bay Street Armoury

Bed Races on Beacon teams make final preparations

CCM Construction ready to defend their title on July 7

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

Pepper’s Foods will start selling jams previously sold through roadside stand

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read