Victoria officer found guilty of assault, allowed to keep job

Sgt. George Chong's guilty verdict may prompt review: police chief



A veteran Victoria police officer, who has been found guilty of assaulting a prisoner, does not pose a risk to the public and won’t be fired, says Victoria police Chief Const. Jamie Graham.

Sgt. George Chong, a 29-year veteran of the force, was convicted in provincial court Tuesday for putting Frank Blair in a chokehold. The prisoner lost consciousness, fell to the floor, hit his head and split open his lip.

Blair was being fingerprinted in the Victoria Police Department’s jail block in January 2010 when the assault happened.

With uniformed officers sitting behind him in the Victoria courtroom, Chong stood while provincial court Judge Herb Weitzel found him guilty of assault and handed him a suspended sentence and 12 months probation.

Chong, the brother of Ida Chong, Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA and a B.C. cabinet minister, was ordered to report to a parole officer by end of day yesterday (Nov. 24). He must also undergo counselling, and have no contact with Blair over the next year.

“If I thought the public was at risk, or I thought there was some reason why he could not work here, he would not work here,” said Graham at a hastily called press conference the same day Chong was convicted. “I don’t think that’s the case.”

Chong’s use of a lateral neck restraint on Blair “was justified under those circumstances,” Graham said.

Chong is taking annual leave, which will expire at the end of February.

The chief acknowledged this isn’t the first time Chong has caused problems. In 2008, the sergeant was involved in an off-duty road-rage incident for which he received a court-imposed conditional discharge from his duties and nine months probation.

Graham said Chong’s most recent “mistake” and conviction will require another review.

With the criminal case now over, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner will make a decision next month based on a separate Police Act hearing on Chong’s use of force. The commission has three routes it could take, such as ordering a public hearing.

Chong and his lawyer Dennis Murray declined to comment. Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong did not respond to an interview request.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

Thousands filled Centennial Square in June for the peace rally for Black lives, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd in the U.S. (Black Press Media file photo)
Survey seeks input on racism in Greater Victoria

Confidential answers to inform work with immigrants and marginalized people

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks in Georgia Strait

Pod spotted between Comox and Texada Island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Most Read