Two Vancouver officers used an interview room in police headquarters to shoot a video mocking internal sexual harassment investigations and then shared it with their colleagues, according to a new report from B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC).
The 2019 video, which served to “ridicule and minimize” these probes, was spread to “numerous” officers, including a supervisor, who simply forwarded it on without taking any action, reads the OPCC’s annual report.
Four unidentified officers were disciplined after an investigation ordered by Commissioner Clayton Pecknold, but he took the matter a step further, recommending that the Vancouver Police Board take a closer look at what had happened.
“The commissioner noted a concerning attitude amongst the officers involved where very troubling misogynistic behaviour was being explained as ‘black humour,'” an appendix to the report says.
“In addition, there was considerable dissemination of the video prior to it being brought to the attention of the VPD executive or Professional Standards Section.”
Pecknold called on the police board to examine the facts of the case, with special attention paid to the “apparent cultural factors” at play, and to review the VPD’s training and policies on respectful workplace behaviour.
The board has since passed a motion to refer the OPCC’s recommendations to its human resources committee for consideration, and has requested more information from the VPD about how it handles bullying and harassment complaints, the report says.
Officers were on duty and in uniform
The annual report is a summary of all the police conduct complaints and investigations overseen by the OPCC in 2021-2022, and it includes brief descriptions of the cases that prompted Pecknold to recommend improvements to the police departments involved.
The details on the video in question are sparse, but it was filmed some time between June and July of 2019.
“The video was made using police facilities while the members were on duty, during a break, and in uniform,” the report appendix says.
There is no further information about the sexual harassment investigations that the officers belittled, other than that they were underway when the video was filmed.
The two officers who made the video were both suspended without pay for five days and given written reprimands for misconduct, according to the report.
Another officer who forwarded the video to colleagues received a written reprimand, and the supervisor who failed to take action after receiving the video was suspended for one day without pay for discreditable conduct and neglect of duty.
CBC has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department for comment.
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