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Victim of alleged RCMP assault shocked no charges laid

Chris Bush (Nanaimo News Bulletin) – A Nanaimo woman is shocked no charges were laid against two Nanaimo RCMP officers following an alleged police brutality incident in March.

Camilla McGuire, 53, alleged she was struck in the face by one of the RCMP members who responded to her homeon Cedar Road March 2.

The officers attended after McGuire called paramedics to help her son, 20, who suffers from depression and anxiety.

An altercation broke out between McGuire, her son and police. McGuire alleges she was struck in the face, cuffed and put in a choke hold by one of the officers and that she suffered six fractures to her face and teeth, which required emergency reconstructive surgery, and a concussion.

“I have nerve damage still and my face I have titanium plates in it,” she said.

McGuire and her son were arrested, but released that evening.

Nanaimo RCMP called for an independent criminal review, which was handled by several Victoria Police Department investigators.

Victoria Police Department announced Thursday the investigation was concluded with no charges against any of the parties involved.

But McGuire said the investigation is incomplete because neither she, her son nor her husband were ever interviewed.

“As far as I’m concerned this is not a thorough investigation unless you talk to the victim,” she said.

McGuire said her lawyer, Cameron Ward, would not allow police to interview her without him being present.

Const. Mike Russell, Victoria Police spokesman, said investigators attempted to interview McGuire several times.

“We made seven attempts to interview her through her through her lawyer, but were turned down every time,” Russell said. “So it wasn’t for a lack of trying. It was for a lack of co-operation.”

Russell said he does not know why investigators were turned away.

“We want to do the most thorough investigation and get to the bottom of it, but when we’re hamstrung at a certain level of the investigation it really adds frustration for our officers,” Russell said.

He said the paramedics who attended the McGuire home were interviewed, along with numerous other witnesses.

He said the paramedics who attended the McGuire home were interviewed along with numerous other witnesses.

“We put our file to Crown and the charge decision ultimately rests in their hands,” Russell said.

Ward said he was surprised to learn that an assault charge would not be laid.

“[The officer] punched an unarmed woman in the face with so much force that she required hospitalization and surgery and is now left permanently traumatized by the attack,” he said in an e-mail to the News Bulletin. “My impression is that the police investigation of [the officer’s] conduct was a complete sham. The handling of this case reveals once again why police should not be investigating police. I am asking for the Report to Crown Counsel and hope to receive a copy soon.”

Supt. Norm McPhail, Nanaimo RCMP detachment commander, said he wants to reassure the public the RCMP tries to deal with such matters with as much transparency as possible.

“We want the public to be satisfied and confident that we’re doing all that we can do and that if there is any inappropriate behaviour that it’s dealt with swiftly and correctly,” McPhail said. “We’re not the one’s who are the decision makers. We’re the ones being examined and I fully support that transparency and really would like to see that transparency reflected at all levels.”

He said it is also important that his officers know they are supported and not forced to second guess themselves when making decision under difficult or dangerous circumstances.


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Categories: Public Complaints.

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  1. Nanaimo Mounties are cleared in punching incident

    Danielle Bell, Daily News
    Published: Saturday, August 27, 2011
    Nanaimo Daily News

    Nanaimo RCMP officers will not be charged after a incident that left a 53-year-old woman with metal plates in her face.
    The McGuire family is devastated no charges will be laid after what they describe as an uprovoked attack.
    Victoria police officials announced on Friday an investigation concluded Nanaimo RCMP officers were “in the lawful execution of their duty,” but did not elaborate.
    Police will also not recommend charges against Camilla McGuire and her 20-year-old son Lawrence, who were arrested during the March 2 incident at their Cedar Road home after the family called 911 for crisis support.
    After accusations of assault were made against Nanaimo RCMP and by the police themselves, Victoria police were requested for an independent criminal review. The McGuires also say they were never interviewed as part of the police investigation.
    “The news is devastating. Is (video recording) the only way police will be held accountable?” said McGuire on Friday. “If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone else. We are not going to let this go.”
    The McGuires retained a Vancouver-based lawyer and filed formal complaints with the Com-mission for Public Complaints against the RCMP shortly after the incident.
    McGuire suffers from permanent nerve damage from the punch, which knocked her to the ground and fractured her face in six places. She underwent emergency surgery.
    McGuire, who works with police as part of a community support team for families and children, had concerns about the agitated behaviour of one of the officers at the mental healthrelated call.
    As she walked inside her home to phone dispatch about those concerns, she said she was grabbed by the arm and punched in the face.
    “My reaction to it is shock,” said husband Ray after learning police would not be charged. “It’s wrong, it’s undue use of force. They don’t care who’s looking as long as they’re not on film.”
    The McGuires do not have an update from the complaints commission, an independent agency that works to ensure complaints about RCMP officers are investigated fairly. They have asked their lawyer to look into the decision.

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