Police watchdog appealing decision for Elsner Twitter investigation

Discipline hearing slated to begin Friday on harassment allegations

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) is appealing the decision of a Supreme Court judge to quash the external investigation into “sexually charged” Twitter messages for suspended Victoria police chief Frank Elsner.

Elsner, who apologized for his behaviour and remains suspended with pay, filed a petition with the request in March 2015, claiming the commissioner had no jurisdiction to commence a public trust investigation since the matters had already been dealt with through an internal investigation.

The petition was heard by B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson in November, but the decision to quash the investigation wasn’t made until this month.

In August 2015, the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board launched an internal investigation after a concern was brought to their attention regarding Twitter messages exchanged between Elsner and the wife (an officer with the Saanich Police Department) of an officer under his command.

The board voted to keep Elsner on as chief while imposing undisclosed discipline, but the OPCC ordered its own investigation after conducting a review.

Throughout the review, however, more information surfaced from the city police union that led to a second investigation involving workplace harassment.

A discipline hearing is slated to begin Friday on allegations that Elsner engaged in unwanted physical contact with female staff at the police department, made unwelcome remarks of a sexual nature and inappropriate comments that could be seen to objectify female staff members, and inappropriately stared at female staff members.

editor@vicnews.com

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