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Nelson, B.C., police officers sent inappropriate text messages, investigation finds

An investigation by Vancouver police has substantiated allegations made against a number of current and former members of the police department in Nelson, B.C.

Investigation looked into inappropriate messages, memes posted to WhatsApp group by some Nelson police members

A black-and-white short pickup truck. It has a police badge and text that reads 'POLICE Nelson' on the side.

An investigation by Vancouver police has substantiated allegations made against a number of current and former members of the police department in Nelson, B.C.

Vancouver police, on behalf of the Office of the Public Complaints Commissioner (OPCC), the civilian body that oversees complaints against municipal police forces in B.C., looked into allegations of inappropriate messages and memes posted to a WhatsApp chat group by some members of the Nelson Police Department between 2018 and 2020.

Deputy Police Complaint Commissioner Andrea Spindler said last year that an investigation was ordered on Feb. 3, 2022, after a request from the department's chief constable.

The allegations being investigated concerned the participation of eight officers in a WhatsApp chat group and the sharing of inappropriate content and messages, including alleged racist comment.

Nelson police said Wednesday in a statement that "both current and retired Nelson Police Department members facing allegations of discreditable conduct have had these allegations substantiated."

It went on to say an allegation of neglect of duty against one officer was also substantiated.

Two current members have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

It is not clear what specific allegations have been substantiated and exactly how many officers are implicated.

'Only the first step'

In a statement Wednesday, Spindler said an external discipline authority, in this case, a senior Vancouver police officer, determined there was enough evidence to take the matter to a disciplinary proceeding.

"This is only the first step in the disciplinary process after an investigation has been conducted," Spindler said.

The external discipline authority will preside over a formal disciplinary proceeding to determine whether the officers committed misconduct. If misconduct is proven, the authority may impose disciplinary or corrective measures, up to and including dismissal, the OPCC said.

The officers have the ability to request further investigation and to make submissions to the discipline authority, according to Spindler.

"At this early stage of the discipline process, no final determinations have been made as to whether or not any officers committed misconduct," she said.

The office said there are no specific timelines for when the discipline authority must make a decision.

Nelson Police Chief Donovan Fisher said the findings come after the department has faced a challenging year.

"Although these findings are troublesome, we are determined to learn from this and grow as an organization," Fisher said in a statement.

The City of Nelson has said it will provide no further comment.

– With files from Corey Bullock

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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