Vancouver officers who handcuffed innocent Indigenous man, granddaughter may face discipline


A pair of Vancouver police officers may face discipline for detaining an innocent Indigenous man and his granddaughter outside of a Bank of Montreal branch in December of 2019.

Maxwell Johnson brought his 12-year-old granddaughter, Tori, to the Burrard Street branch, where he’d been a member for five years to open up an account for her.

However, after suspecting them of fraud, a BMO employee called 911.

The pair, who are both members of the Heiltsuk First Nation, were outside of the branch in handcuffs just minutes later.

The bank later apologized and admitted that they were wrong.

Johnson and Tori filed human rights complaints against the bank and the Vancouver police last November.

In addition, the Officer of the Police Complaint Commissioner ordered an investigation into the actions of the responding officers.

The investigation was carried out by Victoria Police Chief Del Manak, who determined that no discipline was necessary.

However, on Thursday, CTV learned that the commissioner decided to seek a second opinion, after deeming Manak’s findings could be incorrect and appointed a retired judge under the Police Act to conduct an independent assessment.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the commissioner’s office saying.

“I can confirm that Mr. Brian Neal, Q.C., retired provincial court judge, has determined that the matter will now be remitted to a disciplinary process, which could include a discipline proceeding," the statement says.

"This process will occur at arms length from the OPCC under retired judge Neal acting as discipline authority. At this stage in the process, misconduct has not yet been proven.”

If misconduct is ultimately proven, the officers could face disciplinary action, or corrective measures.