Chair-Initiated Complaint: Shooting death of Mr. Valeri George at Buick Creek, in the Fort St. John area of British Columbia on September 30, 2009

October 6, 2009

File No.: PC-2009-2863

As Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, I am initiating a complaint into the conduct of those unidentified RCMP members present at the shooting death of Mr. Valeri George at Buick Creek, in the Fort St. John area of British Columbia on September 30, 2009.

The facts as presently known indicate that on September 26, 2009, the Fort St. John RCMP were contacted with respect to Mr. George. Mr. George allegedly shot at the tires of a vehicle containing his spouse and children and returned to his residence following a failed attempt to speak with them. The RCMP North District Emergency Response Team (ERT) were mobilized to the area, and on September 30, 2009, they were deployed on the scene. On that date, Mr. George left his residence in his vehicle at a high rate of speed. ERT members fired on the vehicle, and Mr. George was fatally struck.

I am initiating this complaint with the full appreciation that the RCMP has deployed its Major Crime Unit to investigate this incident and that the RCMP will be ordering an Independent Officer Review. It is not my intention to prejudice the RCMP investigations. However, I will be closely monitoring RCMP progress as it relates to the investigations underway so that I can ensure, at their completion, a timely response to this complaint.

I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Mr. George. Accordingly, pursuant to subsection 45.37(1) of the RCMP Act, I am today initiating a complaint into the conduct of all RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in this incident, as well as matters of general practice applicable to situations of this nature and, more specifically, those in which RCMP Emergency Response Teams are deployed. Specifically:

  1. whether the RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in the events of September 26 to September 30, 2009, from the moment of initial contact through to the subsequent death of Mr. Valeri George complied with all appropriate training, policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements relating to the use of force; and
  2. whether the RCMP national, divisional and detachment-level policies, procedures and guidelines applicable to such an incident and to situations in which RCMP Emergency Response Teams are deployed are adequate.
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