Jamie Graham disclosed
Olympic undercover operation
Katie DeRosa, Canwest News Service, Dec. 7, 2009
Victoria police chief Jamie Graham. Photo: Files, Times Colonist.
A Victoria man is accusing Victorias police chief of misconduct, saying Jamie Graham jeopardized the safety of an undercover agent by blowing his cover during a speech last week in Vancouver.
The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner is investigating an official complaint filed Monday by Bruce Dean, a freelance photographer and activist. It was one week after Graham let slip that an undercover officer spied on protesters from the Lower Mainland by driving the bus they rented to get them to downtown Victoria the day of the Olympic torch relay. Graham was speaking to a room full of people at the annual Vancouver International Security Conference.
Dean said Grahams stupid faux pas compromised the safety of the undercover agent at the wheel of the bus and revealed to the anti-Olympic demonstrators that police had infiltrated their group.
Theres no way he should be releasing that information, said Dean, who was part of the protests on Oct. 30. That right there is discreditable conduct on its own.
Dean said Grahams behaviour is even more egregious considering the fact that in 2007, a Victoria police officer seized Deans camera and deleted images, saying that he had photographed an undercover officer. He filed a complaint to the police complaint commissioner, but the officer ultimately ruled that the officers actions were justified.
He said his rights were violated in the name of protecting undercover officers, yet Graham is flouting that principal by making light of sensitive police operations.
If the remote possibility of disclosing the identity of an undercover officer is an offence serious enough to suspend my freedom against unreasonable search or seizure ... then the Victoria Chief of Police must be held accountable, Deans complaint reads. His intentional revelation can be no less serious than when I inadvertently photographed an undercover officer.
The RCMPs Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit said they do not comment on specific investigational techniques and could not say in what capacity undercover agents were used during the start of the torch relay.
Spokesman Staff Sgt. Mike Côté would not say whether Grahams disclosure put investigational techniques in jeopardy but said theres no bells and whistles going off at the ISU.
David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said Grahams comments have destroyed the level of trust between police and protesters which increases the risk for confrontation between police and protesters throughout the Games.
Deputy police complaints commissioner Bruce Brown confirmed that the complaint was received Monday.
Brown said its reasonably rare for a civilian to file a complaint against a police chief. We get 500 complaints a year. Five to 10 might involve a chief, he said.
The complaint will be investigated by another chief constable or senior RCMP officer, Brown said. Under the Police Act it must be completed in less than six months.
The discipline authority will be Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, as chairman of the Victoria police board.
Victoria police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton said Graham will cooperate with the investigation and will not be commenting until its over.
Its not the first time Graham has been accused of misconduct. During Grahams tenure as Vancouver police chief, an RCMP investigation was launched into claims of police brutality in Vancouvers Downtown Eastside. Delta police Chief Jim Cessford found Graham guilty of discreditable conduct for failing to encourage his officers to cooperate with the investigation. He retired before he could face any discipline.