RCMP not held accountable

Yesterday we linked to a short piece on APTN on Yukon women’s groups’ hope for accountability and justice at a code of conduct hearing for two RCMP officers accused of drug-assisted sexually assault.

The tribunal has now dismissed the charges and Yukon women are speaking out. Yukon News has more detailed coverage:

The disciplinary hearing held for two former Watson Lake RCMP officers lasted less than two hours.

It was scheduled to run the entire week.

Officers Graham Belak and Shawn McLaughlin were accused of raping a former nurse in the southern Yukon town in March 2009 and were acquitted of the sexual assault charges by Justice Leigh Gower in Yukon Supreme Court in March 2010.

“Many of the women that were in the courtroom in Watson Lake yesterday felt betrayed,” said women’s advocate Lois Moorcroft. “Yukon women expected that this code of conduct hearing would be about the conduct of the members, that it would not be about the conduct of the woman they had sex with.”

It also seems likely that the survivor is an Aboriginal woman, making victimization rather than protection by the (white, male) police even less surprising, and perhaps more upsetting. The police across the country have a poor record caring about and protecting Aboriginal women (and Aboriginal people in general) as can be seen especially in their inadequate action in regards to missing and murdered Aboriginal women. For more information on that topic, definitely make sure that you watch the fantastic film, Finding Dawn (you can watch the whole film online).

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