Delta’s police board says it “will be reviewing our internal policies and practices,” in the wake of an incident where a woman was allegedly assaulted by the police chief’s wife.
The board issued a statement on Saturday morning about the June 6 incident, pledging a “fair and independent” investigative process, and condemning racism.
School teacher Kiran Sidhu told Global News she had climbed the rocks in front of a home to escape a rising tide at Centennial Beach.
When she touched a fence, she alleges Chief Neil Dubord’s wife Lorraine yelled at her, compared her to a beached whale, and sprayed her in the face with a hose.
Sidhu told Global News there were multiple people crossing the rocks at the time, but that she was the only one singled out for abuse.
“It’s really hard not to see why she may have picked on me as a woman of colour who was by myself, and she’s got all this privilege in this giant house on the beach and she’s a white lady,” she told Global News on Thursday.
In its statement, the police board said it takes the allegations seriously.
“Confidence and trust in community policing is critical and we wish to restate our earlier commitment to create a safe, just and inclusive community for all residents and visitors in Delta,” reads the statement.
“We absolutely and unequivocally condemn racism and fully recognize that together we all need to do more to combat racism, hatred and discrimination in our community.”
Sidhu reported the incident to Delta police, but says she was told the file was closed after four days and without an in-person interview.
She then lodged a complaint, which resulted in the Surrey RCMP picking up the file.
Kash Heed, former B.C. solicitor general and former West Vancouver police chief, says an outside agency should have been brought in to investigate from the start.
“Who within the Delta Police Department knew this was actually taking place, and what were the policies of the department with respect to someone so close to the chief of police being involved in an incident of this nature?” he said.
Devon Young, one of the organizers of an anti-racism rally at Delta City Hallon Saturday, said she believes the incident was discrimination.
“It’s really upsetting any time it’s shown how blatantly there is racism in this community,” she said.
“It’s especially upsetting that it is a prominent family in the community. I think it’s just an eye-opener for anyone who wasn’t sure it’s all around us.
Lorraine Dubord has since issued an apology in the Delta Optimist for “the way the situation was handled.”
The Delta Police Board says it will be holding an open meeting on Tuesday, June 30, at 9 a.m.
“We encourage members of the community to participate in the open session, but recognize that while we want to hear your concerns, we may not yet be in a position to formally respond to all questions at that time,” said the board.
With files from Nadia Stewart and Srushti Gangdev