Retired judge to review conduct of VPD officers who handcuffed 12-year-old

Click to play video: 'Legal fight over VPD wrongful detaining of Indigenous man and his granddaughter'
Legal fight over VPD wrongful detaining of Indigenous man and his granddaughter
WATCH: The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is applying to intervene in a BC Human Rights Tribunal case against the Vancouver police. The case stems from the handcuffing of a man and his granddaughter when they tried to open a bank account at BMO in Vancouver in 2019. – Jun 16, 2021

Two Vancouver police officers could face discipline over the handcuffing of a 12-year-old Indigenous girl and her grandfather who were trying to open a bank account in December 2019.

The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner said Thursday it had appointed retired provincial court judge Brian Neal, Q.C., to review the officers’ conduct.

Read more: Security footage released in case of B.C. Indigenous man, granddaughter handcuffed outside bank

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The officers’ conduct had initially been reviewed under the Police Act by Victoria Police Chief Del Manak. His decision has not been made public due to privacy provisions in the act, the OPCC said.

“Upon review, the Commissioner considered that there was a reasonable basis to believe the decision of the Discipline Authority (Chief Manak) was incorrect,” a spokesperson for the OPCC said in an email.

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“This process will occur at arm’s length from the OPCC under retired judge Neal acting as Discipline Authority.”

Click to play video: 'Exclusive: Office of Police Complaint Commissioner orders review of mistaken arrest'
Exclusive: Office of Police Complaint Commissioner orders review of mistaken arrest

Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter were handcuffed by Vancouver police officers responding to a report of a fraud in progress as the pair sought to open a bank account at a BMO branch on Dec. 20, 2019.

Johnson said he had been asked for identification and gave his Indian Status card. According to a 911 call transcript, the bank’s branch manager reported Johnson had given a fake ID, that the two were South Asian, and that the bank had been told by the “Indian government” to call police.

READ MORE: Indigenous man, 12-year-old granddaughter handcuffed after trying to open account at Vancouver bank

When police arrived, they took both Johnson and his granddaughter outside and handcuffed them, but said they were being detained, not arrested.

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The pair were released when police realized they had done nothing wrong.

Police say they were unaware the pair were Indigenous before detaining them.

BMO and the police have since apologized.

Maxwell has launched a human rights complaint about the incident.

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