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

EDITORIAL: What does being a Corn Capital really mean?

The Observer has been asked to help Agassiz become a bigger Corn Capital. But what does that mean?

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Harrison looks to test viability of solar power

Harrison has applied for a grant to see whether solar power is an option for its village buildings

Agassiz man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read