NEWS
07/08/2011 08:21 EDT | Updated 09/07/2011 05:12 EDT

Jamie Graham, Victoria Police Chief, Subject Of Probe Into Comments About Olympic Protesters

CP

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VICTORIA - B.C.'s police complaint commissioner has asked a retired judge to determine whether Victoria's police chief behaved inappropriately when he suggested an undercover officer drove a bus full of anti-Olympic activists to a protest in the months leading up to the Vancouver Winter Games.

The Victoria Police Board concluded earlier this year that Chief Jamie Graham engaged in "discreditable conduct" when he told a security conference that an undercover officer drove a bus full of protesters to a rally at the start of the Olympic torch relay in the fall of 2009.

That finding prompted Graham to ask for a hearing known as a review on the record, in which an adjudicator such as a judge reviews related documents and hears submissions from the complainant and the officer.

Commissioner Stan Lowe announced Friday that he's appointed retired judge Allan Filmer to conduct such a review, which he said is in the public interest.

Graham's comments, made at a security conference in Vancouver in November 2009, were the subject of a complaint by activist Bruce Dean.

The complaint alleged Graham's comments may have endangered the safety of an undercover officer, though Graham later insisted he was joking and didn't know whether an officer was driving the bus.

Dean's complaint prompted two separate external reviews by the RCMP.

The first concluded the complaint was unsubstantiated, which promoted Dean and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association to ask for another look.

A second review found the opposite, describing the comments as a "highly inappropriate" attempt at humour and recommending a finding that the chief engaged in "discreditable conduct."

The Victoria Police Board agreed, and decided to issue Graham a written reprimand.

Graham is now asking for a review of that finding.

It's not the first time Graham has landed himself in trouble over an ill-fated attempt at humour.

When he was chief of the Vancouver Police Department in 2006, Graham left a bullet-riddled shooting target on the desk of the city-manager along with a handwritten note that said: "A bad day at the range is better than the best day at work."

The city manager complained, and the issue eventually reached the police complaints commissioner, although the matter was dropped after the Vancouver Police Board accepted an apology from Graham.