VicPD now sole respondent in human rights complaint

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal dropped former police chief Jamie Graham and Insp. Jamie Pearce from a complaint filed by Cst. David Bratzer.

The Victoria Police Department is now the sole respondent in a human rights complaint filed by VicPD Cst. David Bratzer.

Bratzer filed a human rights complaint against VicPD, former police chief Jamie Graham and Insp. Jamie Pearce in 2013 for restricting his public communications as a member of the U.S.-based organization LEAP, Law Enforcement Against prohibition. Bratzer is an outspoken member, advocating for drug legalization.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal dismissed Graham and Pearce from Bratzer’s complaint on Dec. 16.

In his complaint, Bratzer said he was restricted from participating in a harm reduction forum at Victoria city hall in 2010 by Graham, and was told by Graham and Pearce to seek approval before speaking publicly on matters that contradict the police board policy positions.

Tribunal member Robert Blasina said the Tribunal decided to dismiss Graham and Pearce from the complaint because it would neither benefit Bratzer according to the Code, nor further the purposes of the Code.

“The allegations against Chief Graham and Insp. Pearce, if proven, do not indicate a level of individual culpability that would justify their inclusion as individual respondents,” wrote Blasina.

However, Blasina also wrote, “There is no dispute that VicPD, Chief Graham and Insp. Pearce have sought to restrict, and have restricted Cst. Bratzer’s activity as a member of LEAP, and that VicPD continues to restrict his activity.”

Blasina added, “That [Bratzer] expresses his beliefs outside of working hours, does not unequivocally excuse him from the scrutiny of his employer. I find that Chief Graham and Cst. Pearce were acting within the scope of their managerial authority on behalf of the VicPd.”

Graham is now retired, and Pearce no longer supervises Bratzer.

A date for a hearing involving VicPD as the sole respondent has not been set.