A police roadblock near Slocan during the hunt for Peter de Groot in 2014. (Black Press Media file)

B.C. officer who killed man sues watchdog, alleges investigation too long

Corp. Brian Burke shot Peter De Groot in a cabin near Slocan in October 2014

An RCMP officer who killed a man during a confrontation near Nelson has launched a lawsuit against the provincial police watchdog alleging the investigation that cleared him of any wrongdoing after the shooting took too long.

Corp. Brian Burke says in a statement of claim that the Independent Investigations Office took on the case a day after he shot Peter De Groot in a cabin near Slocan in October 2014.

The statement, filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Aug. 31, says it took 3 1/2 years for the office to issue the decision that Burke acted lawfully and was justified in using deadly force.

When the investigations office issued its report in March, it acknowledged that the probe took an “unfortunate” length of time.

The lawsuit asserts that the delay was because the office failed to use properly trained experts and didn’t gather all the relevant evidence.

None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court and a statement of defence hasn’t been filed.

READ MORE: RCMP cleared in death of De Groot

READ MORE: De Groot family slams investigation report

The office’s chief civilian director, Ron MacDonald, wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit Thursday, saying he wanted to respect the court process.

“The IIO’s response to the allegations will be made within the context of our pleadings, but I don’t think ethically it would be appropriate for me to talk about them outside the court,” he said.

RCMP deputy commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr said after the report was release that the delay compounded the trauma and was unacceptable for De Groot’s family, the officers involved and the community.

Burke’s statement of claim says he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2010, but at the time of the shooting he was healthy.

His PTSD symptoms returned after the shooting, the lawsuit says.

“As a result of the chronic stress caused by the lengthy investigation, Burke went off work due to a disability in April 2017,” the lawsuit says. “Burke remains off work and is unable to work due to disability.”

MacDonald said the reasons for the delay were set out in the report released in March.

“The fact that the original pathology report suggested that the affected person was shot in the back, which then led the IIO to other investigations,” he said, adding that more information was eventually received that made it clear no officer had committed an offence.

The report says the initial evidence that De Groot had been shot in the back was later countered by analysis from pathologists.

Burke’s lawsuit asks for damages and calls on the court to determine that the investigations office was negligent.

“The losses Burke suffered are reasonably foreseeable consequences of the IIO’s negligent investigation, or in the alternative, negligence,” the statement alleges.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna man speaks up for limb loss awareness after losing leg

Ralph Zaiser is getting used to life as a recent amputee

UPDATE: Kelowna man given 4 year sentence after creating pimp operation on dating site

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Recovering Kelowna addict rises above her past

Victimized by systems suppose to help, a woman tries to fix her life

Plugged in: Kelowna teen thriving with professional eSports U.S. team

Russel Van Dulken turned his love and skills of gaming into a career

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Shuswap woman asks that people stop swiping daffodils from memorial bed

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Most Read