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The apparent attitudes and techniques on display in the video were profoundly outdated, offensive and wrong, Goodale added, stressing the RCMP and all police forces must work continuously to conduct themselves appropriately.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

Editorial: Slow down and stop the animal slaughter on our roads

You should slow the heck down for your own safety, anyway.

Olympic skier from Nanaimo suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Electrical appliance failure likely caused apartment fire that killed Saanich resident

Large parts of the Richmond Road apartment building remain uninhabitable following June 21 fire

Vancouver Island fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

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

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

VIDEO: Victoria airport guests see dinosaur surprise

Two boys dressed as raptors get a shock when their grandmother comes to greet them

Nanaimo man gets jail time for posting explicit photos of ex-girlfriends

Man’s name cannot be revealed to protect victims’ identities

Former Greater Victoria badminton coach pleads guilty to 8 counts of sexual abuse

All charges relate to incidents taking place from 1970 to 1984

‘Irresponsible’ cigarette tossing blamed for two brushfires on Pat Bay highway

Fires could have started from any of the “dozens” of discarded cigarettes, says chief

North Island thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

UPDATE: RCMP arrest second person in North Island arson investigation

Police say suspects identified, house fire ‘not random’

Fraser Institute releases latest B.C. high school rankings

Fastest improving schools are in cities including Agassiz, Kitimat and 100 Mile House

Most Read