A West Vancouver police officer is suing his department and former West Vancouver police chief and former solicitor general Kash Heed for putting him through the wringer with a police complaint he says his bosses should never have pursued.
Const. Michael Bruce filed the lawsuit against Heed, the West Vancouver Police Department and another police inspector, Sheila Sullivan, in B.C. Supreme Court April 15.
Bruce said in court documents the complaint - which took four years to resolve - left him with stress, anxiety and a $27,000 legal bill.
All of the more serious charges of misconduct against him were eventually dismissed.
In 2008, Bruce was investigating a credit card fraud in West Vancouver when he was hit with allegations that he had forged a witness's signature on a photo line-up, then lied about it to department investigators.
Senior members of the department looked into the allegations, eventually concluding there wasn't enough evidence to support them.
But according to Bruce's lawsuit, Heed intervened, and insisted the case be forwarded to B.C.'s Office of Police Complaints Commission.
In 2009, Heed resigned to enter politics and Acting Chief Constable Jim Almas was still reviewing the file when Sullivan "maliciously" sent the complaint to the police complaints office "knowing that by forwarding the investigation to the OPCC it would be approved for further investigation and charges," according to the lawsuit.
The investigation took four years before all serious charges were dropped. The only charge upheld involved Bruce's failure to keep proper notes, for which he received a one-day suspension.
In the lawsuit, Bruce accused Heed and Sullivan of "gross negligence and malicious and willful misconduct" in allowing the complaint to go forward. He said both senior police officers "failed to exercise reasonable care, skill and professional judgment in their investigation of the allegations," adding that they ignored witness statements that would have exonerated Bruce and "interviewed in a manner that was patently unfair. . . ."
The police department has not yet filed a statement of defence.
Bruce's father, former West Vancouver staff sergeant Doug Bruce, is also suing Heed for defamation claiming comments he made implied Bruce was using sick leave as a way to avoid facing his own disciplinary hearing in 2008.
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