Following the inquest into the death of Raymond Silverfox, Yukon RCMP Superintendent Peter Clark demonstrated an improved standard of responsibility for managing individuals under his command.
“. . . I acknowledge that the RCMP did not meet the high standard of care we have established for ourselves and that you should expect us to achieve. I want to speak openly about this and how the RCMP has reacted.
Before I do that – I would first like to again express my sincere condolences and regret to Mr. Raymond Silverfox’s family, his loved ones, his friends and his community.
I am shocked and disappointed, as are many members of the RCMP that Mr. Silverfox had to endure the insensitive and callous treatment he endured while he was in our care.
We have failed you and we have failed ourselves.
I can only imagine how difficult it must have been hearing about how he was treated while in custody.
He deserved much better from us and there is no question that we fell short… we didn’t live up to your expectations or the standards we have set for ourselves….and for that…we apologize . . . “
I have written much here at Northern Insights about failures at the highest levels of the RCMP. There have been many situations where wrongdoing was clear to any reasonable person yet admission of error was not in the RCMP playbook. And, since recognition of error is a precursor to correction, similar incidents were repeated. The organization has been unwilling to learn from its mistakes.
There are signs of change. Sup’t Clark’s near unequivocal apology is one of those. It took 18 months and questions remain unanswered but this is a far better performance than we have seen in typical deaths in custody. One issue that I see as troubling and inadequately explained is that the audio recordings from the cell block were not transcribed until April 2010, three days before the Coroner’s Inquest. It is beyond belief that experienced investigators of sudden death paid no attention to the audio tapes for almost a year and a half.
But, this is an improvement in the RCMP’s self-examination. Citizens must continue paying close attention and the organization must keep improving. Read more at the Whitehorse Star.