B.C.'s police complaint commissioner to oversee VPD response to handcuffed judge

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VANCOUVER — The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in B.C. says it has asked the Vancouver Police Board to review an incident that resulted in a former judge being handcuffed by its officers.

An email from office says retired B.C. Supreme Court justice Selwyn Romilly did not file a complaint about the May 14 incident where he was detained as officers mistook him for a suspect who was assaulting pedestrians.

Romilly is the first Black person appointed to B.C.'s high court and the suspect was also Black, although Romilly is decades older than the wanted man, who was arrested a short time later.

The commissioner's office says it received third-party complaints about how officers responded to the situation and decided to handcuff Romilly.

The police board, as the governing body of Vancouver's department, handles all concerns related to service delivery, training and policies, but the commissioner's office says it will oversee the board's response.

Days after the arrest, Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer publicly apologized to Romilly for the detention, saying it would have been an unsettling and traumatic experience.

The statement from the commissioner's office says it may also make recommendations to the police board or may make further recommendations to government about the case.

The next meeting of the board is June 24, but an agenda has not yet been posted.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press