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Delta Police officer charged with murder to appear in court

WATCH:  Delta Police officer Cst. Jordan Macwilliams was part of an emergency response team called out to deal with an armed man.  He’s now facing second degree murder charges.  Rumina Daya has more on growing band of support.

VANCOUVER – A Delta Police officer, charged with murder in connection with a shooting two years ago, is scheduled to appear in court today.

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Cst. Jordan MacWilliams was charged with second-degree murder in October after an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office.

Police were called to the casino’s parking lot on Nov. 8, 2012, after reports of a man with a gun. Mehrdad Bayrami was shot and killed during a standoff that lasted a number of hours.

The Delta Police Department has been selling wristbands in support of MacWilliams and more than 2,500 have been sold so far:

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Tom Stamatakis, President of the British Columbia Police Association, calls the murder charge “outrageous”.

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“Lives were in jeopardy when Constable MacWilliams responded to a call, and on that day he performed his duties according to the training that he received as a police officer, and as part of the Delta Emergency Response Team,” said Stamatakis. “If our officers now have to fear that their judgement in deadly situations will subject them to murder charges, their natural reaction will be to hesitate, and that hesitation could have dangerous and deadly consequences, both for police, and for the public that rely on law enforcement.”

“Throughout the incident, Constable MacWilliams was acting in the lawful execution of his duties. The extraordinary and almost unprecedented decision to pursue a murder charge against this officer is absolutely unconscionable in this case,” he added. “If I can take any comfort, it has been in the outpouring of support from the Delta community for this young man. Obviously the community understands their police personnel are dedicated professionals, and for that, I know all our members are grateful.”

WATCH:  Former RCMP officer Leo Knight tells Global News why he’s supporting Constable MacWilliams

Read the full open letter from Delta police Chief Constable Jim Cessford, released in October:

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This morning, Constable Jordan MacWilliams was charged with Second Degree murder as a result of a fatal shooting during a police incident at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster. This incident occurred almost two years ago and, given the independent nature of the investigation, I am not aware of many of the details regarding the file. I will say that I respect and understand the role of Crown Counsel and the Independent Investigations Office; I do support civilian oversight and believe it is a necessary function of maintaining public trust and confidence.

Because this matter is now before the courts, I am not in a position to make any comment relative to the charges against Jordan. This is a difficult situation and my thoughts are with Jordan and his family. While we have no control over the process or its outcome, we do have the ability to support Jordan, as his friends and colleagues, while he faces these challenging times.

I must also caution you that many police officers, including members from this department, will be testifying in court on this case. It is not appropriate for us to be discussing the details of our involvement with any one. Any of these discussions could be subject of disclosure and open to question during the trial.

In light of what has happened, it is important that we continue to be proud of who we are and the integral role we play in society. We sign on to this job knowing that we will face risk. In our experiences we know that while it can be dangerous and difficult, it can also be remarkable. I believe that none of us starts our tour of duty with the intention of causing harm to another person; in fact our singular focus is to keep our citizens safe, and deal with crime and public disorder. I believe that when difficult or adverse decisions are made, we must hold our heads high and continue to maintain the integrity of our profession. Most importantly, we must support each other through the good times and the bad.

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As police officers, we are called upon to make instantaneous, life-or-death decisions. We sometimes encounter violent situations that force us to react in a manner to protect the public and ourselves. These decisions will be the subject of intense examination by governing bodies, who will hold us accountable to our actions for years thereafter. While no other profession is under the microscope to the same degree as policing, no other role in society is granted the same powers as the police. With our powers, we must also accept scrutiny.

One of our core values is Courage; defined as our ability to overcome adversity. Now is the time for us to show tremendous courage and leadership.

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