NDP calls for review of how RCMP handles sex assault complainants

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said he was shocked when he watched a video broadcast on APTN News of a Kelowna RCMP member interrogating an Indigenous teenager after she filed a sexual assault charge.

“It was disgusting to watch that video. The fact that this time and day a survivor would be treated in such a way is just a complete lack in sensitivity, awareness of how someone should be dealt with,” said Singh at an event in Winnipeg.

“A complaint of that nature should be respected and taken seriously.”

The video which is from 2012 shows the teen being questioned by the officer in an interrogation room.

In the video, the male officer, who is alone with the girl, interviews the teenager for more than two hours.

No one else is present.

RCMP: “Were you at all turned on during this? Even a little bit?”

Girl: No.

RCMP: “Physically you weren’t at all responsive to his advances even maybe subconsciously?”

Girl: “Maybe subconsciously but no I was really scared. I didn’t consent but I didn’t say no.”

RCMP: “So you just went along with it?”

Girl: “I was scared I didn’t know what else to do.”

In a different part of the video, this exchange.

Girl: “Well, it depends if he had like a knife or something, I’d probably just listen to what he had to say.”

RCMP: Okay, that’s fair. This (NAME REMOVED)  fellow didn’t have a knife.

Girl: “But, we were in his house, he had anything he wanted.”

RCMP: “And you also knew how to get up and run out of the house, right?

Girl: “Yeah.”

RCMP: “I mean, he’s taking your clothes off. How much of a fight did you put up for him not to take your clothes off?”

Girl: “But, I don’t remember him taking my clothes off.”

RCMP: “But, you told me- like I’m reading in your statement here where it says he took your pants and shirt off and your phone fell out of your pocket when your shirt came off.”

Girl: “I remember that, but I don’t- like it’s hard to explain. Like I didn’t think. There’s a fight or flight response.”

Singh is calling for a review into the way police handle sexual assault cases.

“They need to be trained appropriately, make sure the questions they are asking are appropriate and that there’s this general sense of treating human beings with respect and dignity particularly someone is marginalized and vulnerable after going through an assault of that nature.”

James Favel who is with the Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg works with vulnerable people every day.

He says protocols need to be put into place.

“When we’re dealing with street involved people we always have the male female balance and I think that should be carried forward in all these kind of industries,” said Favel.

“When you have a single male police officer working with a traumatized female youth that’s not an appropriate balance there you need to have a woman in there to deal with her.”

In a statement to APTN, the RCMP said it would not comment on the video, nor would Commissioner Brenda Lucki be available for interviews.

“We do understand there is a greater discussion taking place around sexual assault investigations,” said the statement.

Leah Gazan is running for the NDP in the upcoming federal election.

She says the video is proof of the challenges Indigenous women face with police services.

“Still much work to do and women need to have a safe place to go and they need to know that when they’re not safe that they will be protected,” she said.

“What happened was unacceptable and it needs to be addressed seriously.”

As for the review, federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who oversees the RCMP told the House of Commons Wednesday that the Mounties have changed their methods since 2012.

He did not signal that the video would be reviewed.



Reporter / Winnipeg

Brittany joined the APTN news team in October 2016. She is Ojibway and a member of the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba. Before coming to APTN, she graduated with a joint degree in communications from the University of Winnipeg and Red River College.

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