KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The RCMP has confirmed four of its officers and three civilian staff members are being investigated for allegedly watching a video monitor as two female inmates had sex in a jail cell.
Insp. Tim Shields said in a news release Tuesday the allegations are that for seven minutes on Aug. 18, four RCMP officers, two civilian cell guards and a civilian watch clerk — all of them men — watched the two women engage in what appeared to be consensual sex without intervening.
The women had been arrested in two unrelated incidents for causing a disturbance and being drunk in public and were being held in a cell that is monitored by closed-circuit video, said Shields.
The RCMP issued a news release last Friday saying four of its officers in Kamloops were under investigation for “actions and/or inactions” at the jail earlier this month, but no other details were provided.
Over the weekend, there was a news report detailing the sexual encounter, but the report remained unconfirmed until Tuesday’s news release.
Shields said supervisors learned about the incident five days after it occurred, and now criminal investigations have been launched into the actions of all seven.
The four officers — a corporal and three constables — face internal code-of-conduct reviews. The City of Kamloops, which employs the three staff members, is also investigating.
“The RCMP has taken quick and decisive action to deal with the obvious code-of-conduct implications surrounding this incident,” Shields wrote in the news release.
“The cell block CCTV system captured the entire incident that took place inside the cell involving the two women, and it also clearly depicts which RCMP and municipal employees were present, in what order they arrived, and the duration they remained.”
Shields said the criminal investigation is also looking at the sexual activity of the women, although he didn’t elaborate. The release from last Friday indicated the investigation was targetting just one of the women in the cell.
The supervising corporal has been on the force for 20 years, while the constables have been with the RCMP for one, two and seven years.
The corporal has already been placed on administrative duties and the three constables are still on active duty, but Shields suggested that may soon change.
“The duty status of all four of these members has been reviewed by the acting commanding officer of E Division and a decision regarding their duty status has been made,” he said.
“This decision will be made public after the four members have been advised.”
E Division is the RCMP’s hub in British Columbia and is headquartered in Vancouver.
It’s the latest embarrassment for the RCMP in a province where the force has come under particular scrutiny.
The most high profile controversy involving RCMP officers is the death of Robert Dziekanski, the Polish immigrant who died at Vancouver’s airport in October 2007 after four officers stunned him repeatedly with a Taser.
It’s also not the only investigation targeting officers in Kamloops.
Earlier this month, 50-year-old Wilbert Bartley was shot and killed by two constables in an unmarked police van after he rammed his SUV into the vehicle. Calgary’s municipal police force is investigating.
And the RCMP announced several weeks ago that two other constables have been charged with assault. One case involves an incident that occurred when an officer was on duty, while the other relates to a bar fight outside of work.