SASKATCHEWAN COALITION AGAINST RACISM
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SCAR DISAPPOINTED WITH HANDLING OF COMPLAINT
The Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism (SCAR) is raising questions after the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) publicly released their investigation findings in regard to the complaint filed by Regina resident Brooke Watson. “We certainly do have questions of the Commission and of the Regina Police Service following the release,” said Bob Hughes SCAR spokesperson. “We were alarmed to see a reference by the PCC, in their letter to Ms. Watson, to the fact that some of her allegations were of a criminal nature and that they had forwarded the investigation to the Crown Prosecutor’s office to see if charges could be brought against her. Such a veiled threat against complainants will certainly give others cause to ponder about whether filing a complaint is worth it since they risk being charged if they are unable to prove the allegation. Contrary to the PCC and the RPS, we believe that encouraging, rather than discouraging complaints, tends to create much safer conditions for officers and the public alike,” stated Hughes. The investigation revealed that the officers knew the address of Ms. Watson’s mother yet, for some reason they decided to not take her there. Rather, the investigation states that they “could not drive randomly around as (Ms. Watson) could not provide any useful information. Yet the officers already had the address of her mother. Chief Hagen stated in the media, shortly after the incident, that he disputed the allegation by Ms. Watson that she had been taken toward the Regina Oil Refinery yet the findings of the PCC confirms that officers drove her out on the Ring Road, around the city, to Winnipeg Street, which is just yards away from the refinery. One would have thought that Chief Hagen, or someone, might have been able to put them self in Ms. Watson’s shoes and realized how terrifying that must have been for her. Ms. Watson spoke of being cold in the car and the investigation revealed that the rear windows of the cruiser were down which, on this very cold evening would support her beliefs that the heater was turned off. What difference does it make what the cause of the lack of heat in the back of the cruiser was? The fact was that she felt cold. Ms. Watson stated that one of the officers told her repeatedly to “shut the fuck up”. The PCC states in their findings that the officers, (now within video view at the station), dealt with Ms. Watson in a calm, professional manner and that the officers denied swearing at her. What officer in their right mind would admit to swearing at her?
“The fact is that a significant portion of Regina’s citizens have serious concerns about some RPS practices and have little or no trust in the current complaint processes. That reality makes for a community that is unsafe for citizens and police alike. The question arises, “Can we all work together to change that, or will the Regina Police Service just continue to attempt to discredit or threaten to charge anyone who dares to bring forward a complaint,” asked Hughes.
CONTACTS FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism