Jonathan Riley (Digby County Courier) – A member of the Municipality of Digby’s police advisory board has lodged two formal complaints against the head of the Digby RCMP detachment.
Thomas Haynes-Paton, 76, of Barton, first filed a complaint in April this year about what he calls an unprovoked verbal assault received from “an unknown constable” at a roadside stop.
Haynes-Paton did not know who the officer was when he made the initial complaint. His second complaint, filed in May, concerned a visit to Haynes-Paton’s home by detachment commander Staff-Sgt. Phil Barrett in May.
Haynes-Paton says Barrett came to his house to discuss the complaint.
“Then he dropped a bombshell on me, catching me totally off guard,” Haynes-Paton said in his formal complaint. “He told me that on that day, working with a cadet officer, he himself was the officer in question.”
Haynes-Paton says it was disheartening and intimidating to be sitting alone is his house with the officer he was complaining about.
In a normal complaint process, when the Commission for Public Complaints receives a complaint about a member of the RCMP, the RCMP carry out the initial investigation and report back to the complainant. If the complainant is not satisfied with the report, then the CPC carries out a review.
RCMP spokesperson Staff-Sgt. John Ennis said last week he could not comment on an ongoing investigation, but said in cases where it might be problematic to have a local officer carry out the investigation, the RCMP will appoint a member from an outside detachment.
After Barrett’s visit and a follow up phone call from Barrett, Haynes-Paton received notification by mail from the RCMP that Staff-Sgt. John deWinter of the Bridgetown detachment would be the investigating officer.
DeWinter visited and interviewed Haynes-Paton on May 11 and Haynes-Paton said the visit “helped restore some of my trust and relieve some of my growing anxieties.”
Haynes-Paton says the initial encounter took place last Nov. 17 on the off ramp at Exit 26 at Digby.
He said he received confusing and conflicting commands from Barrett at a checkpoint and that Barrett then shouted at him in “his booming and very angry voice.”
In Haynes-Paton’s follow-up complaint, he wrote that Barrett “scared the shit out of a law-abiding 76-year old citizen.”
When Barrett visited in May, Haynes-Paton says he believed Barrett was the official representative of the CPC.
“On principle, I have concerns about RCMP investigating RCMP or about any government agency investigating itself,” he wrote in his formal complaint about the visit. “Nonetheless, local solutions are always important.”
Since that visit, Haynes-Paton says a local resolution is no longer possible and he awaits a report from deWinter and the CPC.
Ennis says such complaints are normally dealt with within six months but others do take longer.
FG_AUTHORS: RCMP Watch