Thursday, November 29, 2007

The incredible rubber Mountie cleared

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP has concluded that the killing of Ian Bush, who was shot in the back of the head by an RCMP officer, was "self-defence." There was no explanation of the amazing contortions that the shooter, Constable Paul Koester, would have had to perform in order to manage this feat.

The new Commissioner of the RCMP stated that he disagrees that there is a problem with the public perception of the RCMP's integrity when it investigates itself. After this report, it seems to me that there's plenty more problem where that came from.

Video interview with Ian's bereaved mother here.

UPDATE: (November 29) Here is the full text of the report. And here is the money quote from the Vancouver Sun:

In a physical feat even RCMP investigators conceded was worthy of a contortionist, the Constable got the gun behind his own back, up to the back of Bush's head and shot him.

He refused to reenact what happened for investigators and the coroner's inquest that was held earlier this year.

UPDATE: (November 30) Gary Mason has a good column on the affair in today's Globe and Mail (subscriber wall). He notes that the RCMP investigated themselves once again, this time on behalf of Paul Kennedy, the civilian "watchdog" who exonerated Constable Koester in his report. Here is Mason's conclusion:

[S]omeone should take a look at the independence of Mr. Kennedy's office. Can he really call himself an independent civilian oversight commissioner when there appears to be nothing arms length about the relationship between his investigators and the people he's investigating?

Mr. Kennedy needs to have his own team of investigators conducting reviews of RCMP investigations such as the one held into the Bush shooting.

Having the RCMP investigating an RCMP investigation on behalf of the country's RCMP civilian oversight commissioner is wrong.

UPDATE: (December 1) More on the Kennedy Kover-up: blood-spatter expert Joseph Slemko speaks out. (H/t Mound of Sound). Slemko also reports that he was threatened by an RCMP officer at a recent police conference: "You watch your back." Lovely.

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