Information coming from sources within the offices of the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIOBC) in the past week is stunning. Apparently, there is no one currently acting as the Chief Civilian Director and there won’t be for the next two weeks.
Richard Rosenthal hasn’t been around but for brief sightings since he went on some type of approved administrative leave in the Spring when his wife took ill and later died. Another source tells me he has recently registered at Simon Fraser University in a graduate program in the Criminology department.
In the interim, at the end of July, the government issued a “Cabinet order,” according to news reports at the time, which I presume is an Order In Council, appointing Clinton J. Sadlemyer, the IIO’s Director of Legal Services, as the Acting Chief Civilian Director.
This occurred in the wake of a RCMP involved shooting in Ft. St. John outside a BC Hydro public hearing on the Site C dam project. A man inside disrupted the meeting by throwing tables around and hurling epithets which resulted in the police being called. This man soon left.
As police arrived they were encountered by another man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask who was armed with a knife. According to information released by the police, he was acting “in an aggressive manner, refusing to comply with directions.” One of which was undoubtedly, “Drop the knife.”
The result was that 48-year-old James Daniel McIntyre was shot by the RCMP and died.
The IIO asserted jurisdiction and began their investigation. Kellie Kilpatrick, the Executive Director of Public Accountability, a fancy title for media spokesperson, was on site and conducted several media briefings.
A day later the hacktivist group Anonymous issued a press release claiming McIntyre was one of theirs and vowed revenge against the RCMP. What they did manage to do was find a bunch of personal information about Kilpatrick and published it on the internet.
This prompted a risk assessment within the IIO and Kilpatrick’s home and security adjustments were made. Kilpatrick, needless to say, became worried for her safety.
But all of this is the back story to why there is no CCD for the next two weeks.
Last week, according to my sources, in the IIO offices, they held a lunch Halloween potluck party. Sadlemyer, in a stunning display of insensitivity, entered the room wearing – wait for it – a Guy Fawkes mask.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Complaints were immediately initiated and the PSA, the HR department of the provincial government, got involved and an assistant deputy minister. The decision was made to suspend Sadlemyer for two weeks, apparently without pay.
The mind boggles.
In their media statement at the end of July, the IIO said there were “legal reasons” for the cabinet order. Ralph Krenz, speaking for the IIO said, “We need somebody who can officially act with the confidence of the legislature.”
One wonders if, after these two weeks in the penalty box, anyone will be able to say that Sadlemyer can still act with the confidence of the legislature?
With Rosenthal still on some unspecified leave after so much criticism of the lack of leadership and a host of other missteps, cock-ups and questions about his own fitness for the job, where does this leave the IIO moving forward?
Since the IIO was launched in September, 2012, it has been beset with all manner of criticisms, at least 8 internal investigations and at least 26 departures of their original staff complement of 32. And this, the government would have us believe, is the organization that police should have confidence in should they become involved in a situation that involves serious injury or death.
For Fawkes sake.