Dear Friend of the BCCLA
Normally at the end of the month we’d send you a list of the rights violations we’ve been working on. This month I want to tell you about what might be the biggest issue we’ve ever uncovered. Thanks to our contacts made over our recent northern outreach tour, and our partnership with strong aboriginal organizations like the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, we have been able to uncover three videos of what we believe are abusive interactions between aboriginal men and RCMP officers in Williams Lake, as well as what appears to be clear retaliation against a local media outlet for trying to tell the story of RCMP and aboriginal relations in the community. We’re sending the information to the media this morning.
Lloyd Gilbert was tied to a chair for over three hours and forced to urinate on himself in what we thought at the time was an isolated incident of problematic policies and lack of judgment. It proved to be the tip of an iceberg. Lloyd’s video led us to Curtis Billy.
Curtis Billy was sitting in his cell when he was tackled by Warren Brown, the head of the RCMP in Williams Lake and pinned down by four RCMP officers. Bleeding and in pain, he was dragged into court for his trial. His lawyer demanded to know what happened and the matter is back in court today with Staff Sgt. Brown testifying. Curtis was allegedly refused medical attention, even though he said he was having difficulty breathing. His video led us to Oren Mostad.
Oren Mostad was punched repeatedly in the booking area of the Williams Lake RCMP detachment after he pulled his arm away from an RCMP officer and was then tackled to the ground. He says he was asking why he was being arrested after showing up at the station to ask why the RCMP had seized his guns. He was never charged with any offence in relation to the hunting rifles, but the incident in the video caused police to believe the officer involved had been assaulted, and Oren was charged with assaulting a peace officer. Oren’s video led us to information that yet another video of a separate incident might exist. We’re still following up on that one, and who knows where that video will take us.
The head of the RCMP in Williams Lake is Warren Brown. Brown is the first man in on Curtis Billy and the voice in the media defending the decision to tie Lloyd to the chair for three hours. When he read a local news story from WelcomeToWilliamsLake DOT ca saying RCMP officers were harassing aboriginal customers at a local bar, Brown appears not to have investigated the serious allegations. Instead he cut the media outlet from the RCMP press release distribution list and personally sent them an e-mail saying so and advising them not to report the contents of his e-mail.
When our team started digging, we found a B.C. Supreme Court case that said that Warren Brown had started work as a Delta Police Department officer. While there, Brown was investigated by his Chief for of deceit, discreditable conduct and abuse of authority and then was forced to attend a discipline hearing. The BCCLA doesn’t know if there ever was a discipline hearing. At some point, either before or after that hearing, Brown quit Delta PD and moved to the RCMP.
Thanks to your support, we uncovered this story and will be making it public this morning. We wanted you to be among the first to know, because you made it possible. Of course, as usual, the RCMP will be investigating and will be the investigated, but we’re working on that issue too.
We’re counting on you to ensure accountability for the RCMP not just in Williams Lake, but across British Columbia. $100 a month makes a huge difference because it makes us possible for us to invest staff hours in education, litigation, and advocacy. $50 a month means that we can keep pushing for the release of the Clayton Alvin Willey video from Prince George and get justice for his untimely death. Even a pledge of $10 a month means we can do outreach to people in communities like Williams Lake that would otherwise never hear from us and lack resources for knowing and protecting their rights.
Your dollars are an investment in justice and RCMP accountability to ensure better policing for everyone.