Mayor has "open mind" in police re-review

Mayor Sam Sullivan says he's willing to take a second look at Pivot Legal Society's complaint that then–Vancouver police Chief Jamie Graham stalled an RCMP investigation into police abuses in the Downtown Eastside.

As chair of the Vancouver police board, Sullivan summarily dismissed the complaint on May 14, stating, among other things, that Graham was set to retire anyway and would no longer be subject to disciplinary action.

But police complaint commissioner Dirk Ryneveld disagreed and reversed Sullivan's decision. In his June 21 order, Ryneveld directed Delta police Chief Jim Cessford to review the Pivot complaint. Graham stepped down from office on August 13, nine days before his five-year contract as Vancouver police chief ended.

Deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce Brown told the Straight that after completing the investigation, Cessford will send his report to "both the discipline authority who is Mayor Sullivan and our office". According to Brown, Sullivan will make the initial decision about what to do with Cessford's report.

"There was a conversation [by Ryneveld] with Mayor Sullivan asking if he felt that he could still be in a position to review a report, with new information in it presumably, and feel comfortable in making a decision, and he [Sullivan] felt that he could," Brown said.

Brown acknowledged that it's "a bit of an unusual process" to have Sullivan decide again on the complaint that he had earlier dismissed.

"There was a discussion between Mr. Ryneveld and the mayor," he said. "We certainly were aware that Mayor Sullivan had dismissed the complaint, so we wanted to talk to Mayor Sullivan about his feelings with respect to his position as discipline authority. Did he feel he was in a position to act as discipline authority? He convinced us that he would be in a position to do so. He dismissed it for certain reasons”¦but if there's new information that comes to light, then certainly he would be prepared to review that with an open mind."

Jim Chu assumed office as Vancouver police chief on August 14. A formal transfer of command is being arranged in the coming weeks. Chu won't speak to the media until after the ceremony.