BC Prosecution Service announced Monday that Queen’s Counsel (QC) lawyer Richard Fowler has been assigned by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk to the case following a request by Surrey RCMP.
A statement to media stated Juk “concluded that, in light of the nature of the allegations, the Mayor’s position as a public official in a senior position of authority, and the ongoing public discussion about the change from the RCMP to a municipal police force in Surrey, a Special Prosecutor should be appointed.”
The appointment is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice.
There is a gulf of bitter disagreement between the two sides.
Just last May McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition called some RCMP officers under investigation for a death “untrained murderers” on Twitter. The city’s ethics commissioner had to inform council, “All Council Members should review their personal and organizational social medial presence to be sure that the accounts with which they are associated are responsibly administered.”
McCallum claims on September 4 he was “run over” by a car and “verbally assaulted” while grocery shopping.
This is said to have occurred while members of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey advocacy group was collecting signatures outside for its certified Elections BC referendum initiative to call a vote on the transition.
Those members have since launched a complaint against McCallum for illegally interfering in the initiative.
Based on social media posts from campaign members such as coordinator Ivan Scott, McCallum confronted the group, which had been collecting signatures for a petition to call a referendum on the municipal police transition, from Surrey RCMP to Surrey Police Service.
The group alleges McCallum said he would send bylaw officers to investigate alleged infractions for popping up a signature tent. The group had permission to be outside the store, at the time.
McCallum initially made no mention of having his foot run over to media on the day the incident occurred. He has since alleged being run over and being verbally accosted by at least one member.
Surrey RCMP is requesting assistance from any potential witnesses with information or dash camera footage of the altercation involving McCallum and possibly a gray Ford Mustang, around 12:30 p.m. on September 4 at the Save on Foods located at 3033 152nd Street.
Since the altercation McCallum has banned seven group members from attending council meetings, claiming they call in and do not keep their comments on topic.
Scott called the ban ridiculous.
Keep the RCMP in Surrey members, particularly Scott, and McCallum have had a tumultuous public relationship, as Scott routinely phones into council meetings only to be cut off by McCallum for not staying on the agenda’s topic.
The group is hoping the petition gains enough signatures for the provincial government to call a local referendum on the transition, which is now well underway but is facing significant delays and questions over transparency and cost uncertainty.
Keep the RCMP in Surrey recently filed a complaint against Surrey Police Service with the BC Office of Information Privacy Commission after it was discovered in a freedom of information response that Chief Norm Lipinski was using a private email address to conduct police business.
The complaint followed a legal threat by the service against the group for publicizing the response that contained the email.