'Total humiliation': Encounter with RCMP leaves Thompson crisis response workers feeling mistreated
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 6:48PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, May 17, 2018 6:32PM CST
Two crisis response workers in Thompson say they feel mistreated and humiliated after an encounter with an RCMP officer.
Chris Chubb and Rhoda Ross said they were driving around 10 p.m. May 2 debriefing about the recent tragedy in Nelson House when they were pulled over about a kilometer outside Thompson.
“He was very aggressive in nature, verbally and he basically just totally ignored what we had to say,” said Chubb in an interview with CTV News Wednesday.
Chubb said he was travelling between 60 and 70 km per hour in a100 km zone.
Chubb said the officer accused him of driving drunk, and he asked for a breathalyzer, but the officer made him do visual tests and a walking sobriety test.
He said the officer called another officer to the scene, before police had his vehicle towed away.
Chubb said he's diabetic, was hungry and shaking a little during the incident.
He asked the officer for a ride back to the city twice, but said him and Ross had to call a cab instead.
"Nobody should go through that mental anguish like I started getting pains in my neck because I was getting stressed out,” said Ross.
“We didn't have that much money, we barely had money so I was worried, what if we didn't have money, would they just leave us out there,” Ross added.
"It was total humiliation and total abuse of authority. We were okay. It should have never happened," said Chubb.
Manitoba RCMP sent a statement to CTV News:
“The Thompson Detachment has referred the matter to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP for further investigation. The CRCC is an independent agency, created by Parliament, to ensure that complaints made by the public about the conduct of on-duty RCMP members are examined fairly and impartially. As this is now a formal public complaint, we are unable to provide you with details until the CRCC concludes its report.”
Chubb and Ross said they would like an apology and see RCMP officers receive more cultural sensitivity training.
“What they did to us was wrong because we weren’t doing anything wrong. We were going for a ride,” said Ross.
UPDATE: On Thursday, the RCMP detachment commander in Thompson, Insp. Kevin Lewis, responded with these comments:
"Given that this case is currently being reviewed, we cannot comment on the particular circumstances of this incident. However, police officers are responsible to ensure road safety and driver fitness. Police officers can stop vehicles to ensure sobriety and driver fitness. During a vehicle stop where there are reasons to believe a driver is impaired, a police officer will determine if alcohol is factor. If an officer does not believe alcohol is a factor, a breathalyzer test would not be a helpful tool in determining what is causing driving behaviour as it only tests for alcohol.
After ruling out alcohol impairment, a police officer will use other techniques to determine if the driver is impaired by drugs. Police officers are trained in "Standard Field Sobriety Testing" techniques to help determine if a driver is impaired by legal and/or illegal drugs. The techniques used in determining drug impairment require the driver to complete physiological and coordination tests.
If a police officer believes that alcohol and drugs are not a factor after conducting a series of tests, the driver can then be assessed to determine if there are other factors impacting their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, such as being tired, suffering from ill effects of a medical condition, or other conditions. Based on the officer's assessment, the officer can choose to temporarily revoke the driver's licence to ensure the safety of the driver, passengers and the public.
When a vehicle is impounded, officers stay with the vehicle until it is towed and ensure people have a safe way home while officers remain at the roadside."