Complaint lodged over Coquitlam bear incident

Ex-conservation officer takes case of three arrested for cellphone seizure to province's police security branch

A former conservation officer has made another complaint in the hope of having an independent investigation of the handling of the arrests of three residents of the Coquitlam neighbourhood of Chineside during a bear capture July 30.

Bryce Casavant has filed his latest complaint with Brenda Butterworth-Carr, director of police services for the province's policing and security branch, on behalf of the residents arrested: Tony Faccin, Susan Flint and a third man who asked that his name remain confidential.

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Casavant wants the branch to investigate an allegation that a conservation officer dragged a man from the steps of his home and whether it's lawful for the conservation service to keep cellphones confiscated during the arrests. If that can't be done, Casavant requested the chief conservation officer "consider alternative solution options outside of formal criminal processes."

The three were detained by Coquitlam RCMP and their phones confiscated. Although they were released by the police they were charged by the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) for interfering in tracking and killing a family of bears. In his complaint to Butterworth-Carr, Casavant wrote he had filed a companion complaint with the RCMP Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for turning the phones over to the BCCOS.

Casavant had previously sent complaints to the BC Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and the BC Independent Investigations Office, but both told Casavant they did not have jurisdiction over the BCCOS.

Casavant was suspended by the conservation service in 2015 for refusing to put down two black bear cubs. He is currently doing doctoral studies at Royal Roads University in Victoria.

ggranger@tricitynews.com

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