UPDATE: West Van police, RCMP differ over ‘investigation’

A spokesperson for the West Van Police department says they're conducting a "review" not an "investigation" despite RCMP statements.

Note: update at bottom of story

Although an RCMP media release into a wild arrest on the weekend in Revelstoke clearly states the West Vancouver Police Department (WVPD) is investigating the Revelstoke RCMP, a spokesperson for that Lower Mainland police force says it’s not so.

Cst. Lisa Schmidtke is the media spokesperson for the WVPD. In a Jan. 17 telephone interview, she said that WVPD officers were in Revelstoke conducting an independent “review of the apprehension” of the suspect and his subsequent jailbreak attempt. Schmidtke underscored that the incident file remains with the RCMP, and referred questions to them. This is in contrast to a Jan. 16 media statement from the RCMP: “As the West Vancouver Police Department is conducting this independent investigation, any media inquiries should be directed to them.”

Schmidtke said a section of the Police Act states that police must review incidents in which prisoners are injured while in custody. She characterized the review as routine.

The Times Review had lots of questions, but Schmidtke said she wasn’t into a position to answer details such as how badly the prisoner was hurt, or whether firearms were involved, because the incident was still under review.

Cst. Schmidtke maintains the file is still with the RCMP, and referred further questions to them.

However, on Jan. 18, Vancouver-based RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Rob Vermeulen has told the Times Review that the RCMP are not in a position to answer these detailed questions about the arrest, citing the ongoing investigation into the RCMP by the WVPD, as well as the ongoing criminal proceedings against John Murrell. Police do not typically comment on cases that are before the courts.

Although Murrell was injured during the arrest, Vermeulen said he was also unable to comment on the extent of his injuries.

“We’re not discussing that right now,” Vermeulen said. “That’s before the courts so we can’t really get into the entire sequence.”

Vermeulen said the distinction between a “review” or an “investigation” is one without a difference; the WVPD can interview subjects and will report on their findings. The WVPD are conducting “an independent investigation into the incident,” Vermeulen said in a Jan. 18 telephone interview.

Meanwhile, John Murrell appeared in court in Kelowna on Jan. 17, and is slated for a bail hearing in Salmon Arm Provincial Court on Jan. 24.

Update, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 4:45 p.m.

Cst. Lisa Schmidtke of the WVPD contacted the Times Review on the afternoon of Jan. 18 to provide further clarification into the incident. She provided the following statement:

I would like to provide some clarification around the West Vancouver Police Department’s role in the investigation of an RCMP incident. The complexities of this matter may have contributed to any mis-communication that has occurred.

The RCMP investigated and charged Mr. MURRELL and, during his apprehension, injuries were sustained by both Mr. MURRELL and an RCMP officer. The WVPD will be reviewing the entire incident but are thoroughly investigating the apprehension aspect as this is where the injuries are believed to have occurred. Thus, this is the area where a perceived conflict of interest could occur.

I regret any misunderstanding that may have occurred.

Cst. Lisa Schmidtke

Correction: A previous version of this story accidentally swapped ‘RCMP’ for ‘WVPD’ in one sentence, stating that Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said the RCMP were conducting an independent investigation, when in fact it meant to say the WVPD were conducting an independent investigation.

 

Just Posted

Applications for 2019 Revelstoke Community Foundation about to close

This year there is more than $65,000 to distribute

‘This province has never ending secrets’: Canada jays in Revelstoke largely unstudied

John Woods spoke at the last CRED Talk on Canada’s unofficial national bird

Readers weigh in: Should shock collars on dogs be banned?

We asked and you had a lot to say. Here’s some of what

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

Shuswap facility adds 60 long-term care beds

Mount Ida Mews hosts grand opening of second phase in Salmon Arm

Crews continuing to clear rock north of Summerland

Site has had no movement for the past eight days

No gas in Okanagan town as lone station closed for renovations

Falkland’s Petro Canada will remain closed for renovations until March 1

Most Read