Abbotsford Police officer cleared of misconduct

The Office of the Public Complaint Commissioner has reviewed a complaint stemming from a 2009 strip search in Abbotsford.

An Abbotsford Police officer has been cleared by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) of misconduct related to a strip search in 2009.

The officer, whose name has been redacted in the OPCC ruling on the matter, had been accused of abusing her authority during the traffic stop of a suspected drug dealer.

According to the documents, two officers were transporting a prisoner from hospital to police cells on Aug. 15, 2009, when the prisoner told them he recognized a female drug dealer driving a vehicle in the area.

The officers pulled over the car in the 32500 block of South Fraser Way, and were joined by a third officer in a separate cruiser.

A police check indicated that the woman, whose named was also redacted in the documents, was awaiting disposition of charges for drug trafficking, as well as breaching her conditions.

All three officers noticed the smell of burning marijuana coming from the woman’s vehicle as they approached it.

The suspect was “lippy and mouthy” and did not follow police directions, the OPCC report stated.

Her vehicle was searched, and no drugs were found. A female officer then told her she was required to be strip-searched.

The driver’s vehicle had a temporary permit that was two hours away from expiring. The officer gave her the option of being searched at the police station or in the washroom of the nearby gas station, to save time and avoid her car being towed when the permit expired.

She opted for the immediate search, through which no drugs were found. The woman was released without charges, but filed a complaint with the Abbotsford Police Department 18 months later, alleging that there had been no grounds for the strip search.

The matter was turned over to an APD sergeant, who concluded that there had not been any police misconduct or abuse of authority.

Chief Bob Rich concurred with the findings, but the OPCC decided there was “reasonable basis to believe the discipline authority was incorrect” in determining there was no misconduct, and a review was held.

OPCC adjudicator William J. Diebolt concluded that there had been reasonable and probable grounds for the officer to conduct the strip search. These grounds  included that the suspect was known to be involved in the drug trade, she had difficulty in following police instructions, and marijuana could be smelled coming from her vehicle.

“The evidence which I accept convinces me that the search was conducted in an appropriate and acceptable manner,” Diebolt stated.

 

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

Just Posted

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

Abbotsford charities see hike in demand for services during pandemic

Archway Food Bank and Salvation Army work hard to help those impacted

What do you think about these seven proposed Abbotsford pot shops?

Council will decide upon four locations for Abbotsford’s first legal cannabis stores

Return-It depot in Abbotsford part of aluminum-can pilot project

Customers won’t have to separate alcohol and non-alcohol cans from each other

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion to eastern Lower Mainland

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

Most Read