Today, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will release a preliminary decision regarding a complaint of political discrimination against the Victoria Police Department. This particular decision will focus on whether senior police officers at VicPD can be held personally liable for illegal conduct in this matter, setting an important precedent in police accountability. The decision will be released shortly after12:00pm PT at the following link (no further release will be forthcoming, so interested journalists should contact Darby Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information):
In 2010, the Victoria Police Department banned Constable David Bratzer from speaking off-duty as part of an expert panel on harm reduction. Since then, he has faced progressively severe restrictions regarding his off-duty advocacy for drug policy reform.
In 2013, after years of harassment, and fearing for his livelihood, Constable Bratzer filed his complaint citing “political belief” as a protected ground of discrimination in Section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code. In advance of the decision today, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is publicly affirming its support for his struggle to regain his voice:
“150,000 police officers, judges, prosecutors and civilian supporters from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition stand with Constable Bratzer in his efforts to contribute to public debate while off-duty,” stated Stephen Downing, a retired Deputy Chief from the Los Angeles Police Department. “Police reform is a vital issue in North America today, but we can only advance the profession of law enforcement through open and honest dialogue.”
David Bratzer, 37 years old, is in his tenth year of service with the Victoria Police Department. In 2008, he joined Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, becoming one of the first serving police officers in North America to publicly call for an end to the failed War on Drugs. He has twice testified before the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs against “tough on crime” drug legislation, and last year he was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for community leadership.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is a group of law enforcement professionals who want to end the war on drugs.
More info: http://www.copssaylegalizedrugs.com