Halifax councillor says RCMP sent 'inappropriate' email over traffic stop

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Coun. Waye Mason said the update was sent after an investigation began about the incident and is 'inappropriate.' (CBC - image credit)
Coun. Waye Mason said the update was sent after an investigation began about the incident and is 'inappropriate.' (CBC - image credit)

A Halifax councillor is calling for a new communication policy after RCMP sent an email about an incident that is the subject of a police complaint to some councillors.

Waye Mason said the update was sent after an investigation into a controversial traffic stop began and the email is "inappropriate."

"Making claims about the potential outcome of an investigation that is still underway causes me great concern," said Mason.

The email was regarding a July traffic stop involving Dean Simmonds, a superintendent with the Halifax Regional Police. Simmonds says he was driving near North Preston, N.S., when he was pulled over by the RCMP and ordered out of the car at gunpoint.

He and his wife, who was a passenger in the car at the time, have filed a complaint about the incident. His wife, Angela Simmonds, was elected as MLA for Preston in August.

Mason said communications from RCMP should go through the Halifax police commission and questioned why only some councillors received the email when the entire council votes on the RCMP budget.

'Accepted practice,' says RCMP

According to an emailed statement from the RCMP, it is "accepted practice" to communicate with councillors who have RCMP detachments in the areas they represent.

A spokesperson for the RCMP, Cpl. Lisa Croteau, wrote that the acting chief advised the councillors of the complaint fromt he Simmonds and also noted "that should new information come to light through this investigation, we would take any and all appropriate actions."

Mason has written a letter to the Halifax police commission about his concerns, although he said he's unsure the RCMP would follow a new communications policy.

"There are some questions about that after the RCMP refused to apologize for street checks after being asked to do so by the board, which is also very disappointing," said Mason.

But according to the RCMP statement, "the Nova Scotia RCMP would welcome the opportunity to participate in the development of any such communication policy by the board of police commissioners."

Mason's request was briefly discussed at the police commission on Monday when it was raised by a new commissioner, Harry Critchley.

The chief superintendent for the RCMP, Janis Gray, asked if the issue should be discussed in private.

But the clerk advised that the letter from Mason was a public document. A discussion about the development of a new communications policy was put off until the board's next meeting in October.

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