VPD says Graham will be cleared in current controversy

Vancouver police Chief Jamie Graham is being investigated under the Police Act in connection with donations to the Vancouver Police Foundation. The Vancouver police department issued a November 23 news release stating that three contributors-Electronic Arts, the Wosk family, and Harmony Airways-gave approximately $50,000 to the foundation. Half came from Harmony Airways, which is owned by entrepreneur David Ho.

According to the VPD release, a "senior member" of the department had concerns about tax issues and asked for a review by the RCMP commercial crime section. "The results of the investigation conducted by the RCMP, assisted by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, was that there was no wrongdoing by anyone and that was confirmed by a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Attorney General's office," the VPD stated.

Bruce Brown, the deputy police complaints commissioner, told the Georgia Straight that the Vancouver police board chair, Mayor Larry Campbell, forwarded the RCMP report to his office. Brown said that this triggered an investigation of Chief Graham under the Police Act, which must be concluded within six months unless an extension is granted.

"We have a copy of a fairly lengthy report done by the RCMP," Brown said. "There are a number of people identified in that, but I wouldn't be able to identify who brought foward the initial complaint."

The VPD claimed in its news release that media falsely stated that Ho had paid for hotel rooms at a conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in Vancouver in 2004. "In any mass conference booking of hotel rooms it is common for the hotel to include a few complimentary rooms," the VPD purported. "Chief Graham and two other executives of the CACP stayed in those rooms and all others were billed."

The VPD also insisted in the news release that Graham will be cleared because the investigation concerns the same issue that the RCMP already reviewed. Ho is a former Vancouver police-board member and owner of MCL Motor Cars.

Several years ago, the Burrard Street dealership supplied a Jaguar, decked out in RCMP colours, to the North Vancouver RCMP detachment for community relations. At the time, Graham was the commanding officer in North Vancouver.

Graham is the latest in a series of police chiefs who've been caught up in unwanted controversies. His predecessor, Terry Blythe, retired not long after a B.C. Supreme Court judge found that a now-deceased inspector, Ken Doern, had given "truthful" testimony in a wrongful dismissal suit filed by a former officer, Kim Rossmo. Blythe's testimony sharply contradicted Doern's "truthful" version of events.

In 1999, the police board fired Blythe's predecessor, Bruce Chambers. This came months after CKNW Radio reporter George Garrett had revealed that Chambers received a roadside suspension.

Another former Vancouver police chief, Bill Marshall, resigned in 1994 after being charged with neglect of duty under the Police Act for an incident in November 1983. At the time, Marshall was an inspector and the duty officer when a constable used a baton to strike a Native man, Alfred Richard Mountain, who was lying on the floor handcuffed behind his back.

According to testimony at a public inquiry, a sergeant told Marshall what had happened in the jail that night. The inquiry commissioner, retired judge Lloyd McKenzie, concluded that Marshall didn't ensure that the matter was "promptly and properly" investigated by the internal-investigation section.

Yet another former chief, Walter Mulligan, resigned in the mid-1950s and fled to California after allegedly accepting bribes from bookmakers. According to author Ian Macdonald's 1997 book, The Mulligan Affair (Heritage House), a public inquiry concluded that Mulligan took bribes, but he was never charged under the Criminal Code. The provincial government ordered the inquiry after an officer in the gambling section made an unsuccessful suicide attempt; later, Macdonald wrote, another officer in the section killed himself while the inquiry was underway.