Vancouver police officers face new review in case of detained Indigenous man

VICTORIA — A retired judge has determined that a further investigation is needed in the case of two Vancouver police officers and their alleged treatment of an Indigenous man.

The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner had initially ordered an investigation into the officers' conduct involving the detainment of Max Johnson in December 2019, when he attempted to open a bank account for his granddaughter.

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Victoria Police Chief Del Manak carried out the initial investigation, determining no disciplinary action was needed.

But the police complaints commissioner concluded there "was a reasonable basis" the decision was wrong and appointed a retired judge to independently review the case.

Retired justice Brian Neal says the case will proceed to a disciplinary process, which could lead to a future proceeding where the officers face questioning and witnesses are called.

Marilyn Slett, the elected chief of the Heiltsuk Nation, says in a statement that the band -- of which Johnson is a member -- is pleased with the latest development but wants recognition of the systemic discrimination they say occurred.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2021.

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