B.C.’s two largest Indigenous groups are calling for the public release of a video Vancouver police officers made, where they mocked an internal sexual harassment investigation.
The video’s existence was made public on Tuesday (Nov. 22) when the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner released its annual report on municipal police force misconduct cases.
In the report, the OPCC revealed that two Vancouver officers filmed a video of themselves uniformed, on duty, and at the Cambie Street police headquarters in 2019, making fun of an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual harassment within the VPD. The video was then circulated throughout the force, including to a supervisor, none of whom addressed it sufficiently, according to the OPCC.
The two officers who made the video were suspended for five days without pay and ordered to undergo training on respectful workplaces.
Commenting on the discovery, Police Complaint Commissioner Clayton Pecknold described the video as “troubling misogynistic behaviour.”
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and B.C. Assembly of First Nations is now calling for its public release.
“This is unacceptable and it needs to be brought to light,” Melissa Moses, women’s representative for UBCIC, said Thursday, while speaking on a panel about ending violence against women.
She and the two other panelists spoke extensively about the connection between violence against Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people, and racism and sexism within police forces.
Because the Vancouver officers’ misconduct was investigated by the police department’s own discipline authority, its proceedings fell under the Police Act and are not public. The OPCC said it doesn’t have authority over that.
Black Press Media has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department, but hasn’t received a response as of publication time.
Editor’s Note: A response from the OPCC has been added to this story.