Chair-Initiated Complaint: Death of Victor Duarte in Langley, British Columbia, on October 29, 2012

File No.: 2013-0073

January 10, 2013

As Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, I am initiating a complaint into the conduct of those members of the Langley RCMP Traffic Section involved in speed enforcement along O Avenue in Langley, and who attempted to stop a pickup truck at approximately 5:26 p.m. on October 29, 2012.

The facts as known indicate that on October 29, 2012, members of the Langley RCMP Traffic Section conducting speed enforcement along O Avenue discerned that a passing vehicle was associated with a prohibited driver. The vehicle did not stop following members' attempts to wave the vehicle to the side of the road. As a result, two unmarked RCMP vehicles followed the vehicle in an attempt to conduct a traffic stop. The members shortly ceased efforts to approach the vehicle. Shortly thereafter, the vehicle was involved in a collision, as a result of which Mr. Victor Duarte's vehicle was struck. Mr. Duarte died at the scene, and the driver of the suspect vehicle was seriously injured.

The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia was informed of the serious incident, and asserted jurisdiction. That Office determined on December 20, 2012, that there was no basis on which to conclude that any of the involved members had committed a criminal offence in relation to the incident.

Notwithstanding the conclusion of the Independent Investigations Office that there is no basis on which criminal charges may issue, the Commission plays a valuable and distinct role that does not address criminal culpability, but rather assesses whether RCMP member conduct in a particular instance was in accordance with established policy, procedures and legislation, whether such policy is appropriate, and whether any remedial recommendations should be made.

Given the foregoing, as well as the Commission's continuing interest in policy and practice relating to police vehicle pursuits, I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to initiate this complaint in the public interest. Accordingly, pursuant to subsection 45.37(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act (RCMP Act), I am today initiating a complaint into the conduct of all RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in this incident, specifically:

  1. whether the RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under the authority of the RCMP Act involved in the events of October 29, 2012, from the moment of initial identification of the suspect vehicle to the time of the collision, complied with all appropriate training, policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements relating to speed enforcement and police vehicle pursuits; and,
  2. whether the RCMP's national, divisional and detachment-level policies, procedures and guidelines relating to speed enforcement and police vehicle pursuits are adequate.

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