Kamloops man dissatisfied with RCMP handling of discrimination complaint - InfoNews

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Kamloops man dissatisfied with RCMP handling of discrimination complaint

Leslie Carty, 56, of Kamloops had a gun pulled on him by a police officer nearly a year ago. Police believed Carty was breaking into his own shed at his downtown rental property across from the Kamloops RCMP detachment.
February 22, 2019 - 12:15 PM

KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops man who had a gun drawn on him by a police officer nearly a year ago in his own backyard says he is not satisfied with the outcome of his public complaint filed against the RCMP officer about why police believed he was breaking into his own shed.
 
Leslie Carty, 56, feels he was racially profiled being an African-Canadian man who was having trouble getting into his backyard shed to check on his motorcycle more than a year ago at his downtown rental property. Prior to renting out his home, he had lived at the downtown location for around seven years.
 
On Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018 he finished work early one afternoon and went to check on the battery of his motorcycle to see if it needed to be charged.
 
“I was on the property maybe five minutes total,” he says. “Basically my key wasn’t working for the shed so I messed with it.”
 
He finally got it figured out and had just gotten to his motorcycle when the door flew open. At first, he thought it was his tenant.
 
“I turn around to face a police officer just outside the door... with two hands holding his revolver at my chest.”
 
Carty says he immediately put his hands up and told the cop he owned the property.
 
“I’m like ‘Woah, I live here,’” he says. “And he’s yelling at me to get out of the shed.”
 
Carty was listening to music through headphones and told the officer he was going to take his earbud out so he could hear him better.
 
“I am standing and I’m saying ‘dude I live here’ and he’s saying ‘get out of the shed,’ so he didn’t hear me repeatedly say I live here,” he says. “I start walking towards him and he backs up still pointing his gun at me and gives me room to get out of the shed and as I get out of the shed I look to my left and there is another officer with his hand on his holster.”
 
Carty says he told the officer he was going to unzip a small grey body bag he was wearing which had his licence in it to prove he owned the house.
 
“I unzipped my bag with my right hand and opened it with my left hand so he could see in my bag,” he says adding that the officer still had his gun pointed at him. “When he saw the wallet he leaned forward and at that point, he lowered his gun to the ground with two hands between his legs.”

Carty says he flipped open his wallet to show the officer the licence.

“He was like ‘Oh my god, I am so sorry’ and he holstered his gun and [said] we thought you were breaking in so we came over,” Carty says, adding that the officer shook hands with him before leaving.

The backyard shed where Leslie Carty was confronted by police on Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018. The building in the background is the Kamloops RCMP detachment on Battle Street. Police had been observing Carty from a window at the detachment and believed he was breaking in.
The backyard shed where Leslie Carty was confronted by police on Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018. The building in the background is the Kamloops RCMP detachment on Battle Street. Police had been observing Carty from a window at the detachment and believed he was breaking in.

 
But Carty and his wife still had questions. What made him suspicious? Why did the officer pull a gun? Was it because of his skin colour?
 
Carty’s wife, Shelaigh Garson, was gardening on the property that same day and was never confronted.
 
“Nobody held a gun at my chest or broke in or yelled anything at me,” Garson says. "What made him look suspicious?'"
 
Carty made formal complaints, which were investigated by the RCMP and determined police were acting appropriately given the circumstances.
 
"There was nothing that the [police officer] said or did that indicated any racial bias in responding to the incident," the report states.
 
Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Jodi Shelkie says officers did not know Carty was the homeowner at the time.
 
"The officers were responding to the suspicious activity they saw, not the individual," she says.
 
Brandishing a sidearm while interrupting a break in — as the officer presumed — was not a breach of protocol.
 
Carty says he had hoped his concern wouldn’t have gotten this far, but after nearly a year of waiting for the final report, the outcome of the investigation complicated matters further. For example, an officer who was observing the confrontation between police and Carty from a window at the detachment told investigators the officer on scene had his service pistol drawn for just under five seconds.
 
"His explanation of the chain of events… vary greatly from my story which really upset me," Carty says. "He minimized that."
 
The complaint of a possible break and enter in progress came from the RCMP itself — by officers observing Carty on the property 150 metres from the downtown detachment. One officer noticed Carty was of a "darker complexion" but no one knows if the officer who confronted him was still present in the office when this observation was made, the report says.
 
Carty is now considering his options, including a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal or a civil lawsuit as well.
 
"The thing is, if [the police officer] would have said ‘yeah I screwed up’ and owned it then maybe we would be able to have a conversation to get past this, but we basically felt like we got stonewalled," he says.
 
Carty and Garson both agreed they weren't satisfied with the answers they received. Carty says this isn't the first time he has been approached by police for something he believes to be minor. Since the incident, he says he has suffered mentally and has had issues sleeping.
 
"Walking black is a thing I figured when I moved to Kamloops I wouldn't have to deal with... but this was the last straw," he says.


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