B.C. First Nation calls for removal of RCMP officer over 'racist' social media posts

Police force says 'non-conduct-related administrative process' underway involving officer

B.C. First Nation calls for removal of RCMP officer over 'racist' social media posts

A First Nation in British Columbia is calling for the removal of an RCMP officer over his social media posts that they describe as “racist”.

The officer in question is Constable Adrian Robinson, according to the Heiltsuk Tribal Council. The posts were on the Facebook page of a person named Adrian Reubenstein, the council noted, and images of the posts were shown on a CTV News video report.

Heiltsuk Tribal Council Chief Marilyn Slett, on Friday, sent a letter to the Bella Bella detachment of the RCMP alleging that the officer posted "racist text and images,” according to the report.

The suspension and removal of the officer should be RCMP’s response to “a potentially volatile and escalating safety situation, after the discovery of a series of racist posts made by Robinson on his Facebook account,” according to the First Nation.

In one post, a white man was shown wearing an Afro-style wig, and the caption read "Black and Proud”.

Another social media post shows a man dressed in a colonial-style uniform in front of a Union Jack, with a comment: "Now, what's to be done about these pesky natives stirring up trouble in the colonies."

"It is unacceptable for police officers serving in Indigenous communities to have these kinds of attitudes," said Slett's letter to the detachment. "This is an urgent community safety issue. Our nation has zero tolerance towards racism in our community."

Last week, Heiltsuk leaders met with RCMP officials about the issue, according to the CP report.

The RCMP officials told them a transfer process was underway for the officer, but it could take 45 to 90 days to complete.

In a statement, Supt.-Cmdr. Brian Edmonds of North District RCMP said that the police force is aware of the concerns and a "non-conduct-related administrative process" involving the officer is underway, according to the CP report posted on CTV News.

Recently, lawyer Rob Rakochey – who was awarded a King's counsel (KC) title in March – resigned from his partnership at Field Law after he sent out an email that his own law firm described as “disrespectful and misogynistic.’

Social media posts before officer joined service

Edmonds, in a statement, noted that the RCMP was "committed to finding the right balance between addressing the concerns through a fair process and the importance of individuals (and) community having trust and confidence in their police officers and the RCMP,” according to the CP report.

However, he also pointed out that the social media posts were made "approximately nine to 17 years" before the officer joined the RCMP.

Late in 2023, the Senate Committee on Human Rights urged the federal government to review the workplace conditions of Black, Indigenous, and racialized employees of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) following reports of racism in the institution. Three unions previously filed complaints over the CHRC's treatment of Black and racialized employees, calling on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to address systemic anti-Black racism and anti-Black sexism in the commission.

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