Lack of transparency equals lack of respect from RCMP

Two & Out
By James Peters
January 29, 2016 - 2:04pm Updated: January 29, 2016 - 2:43pm

KAMLOOPS — On March 22, 2011, Archie LePretre was killed by a couple of wannabe gangsters while playing basketball at Stuart Wood Elementary School in downtown Kamloops. 

The next day, before any arrests had been made, Kamloops RCMP released a few details of the killing and the victim, including LePretre's name and home city. 

RCMP also said the killing was gang-related, even though LePretre was not necessarily a gang member himself. 

It was important that the police came forward with this information. 

A homicide is not simply a crime against an individual; it is a crime against a community, a crime against society as a whole. 

The public deserves to know who the victim is and what circumstances led up to the victim's death. 

In the LePretre case, Travis Johnny and Anthony Scotchman were eventually arrested, and have now entered guilty pleas on the charges they are facing. 

Fast forward to the past week in Kamloops. 

Our city has seen not one, but two homicides since last Friday. 

In each case, RCMP have refused to release all but the most vague details about what happened. 

We don't know the identities of the victims, and we don't know anything about the circumstances of their deaths. 

While local media have applied pressure to the local detachment, that pressure has been met with a party line stating information is being withheld in an effort to maintain the integrity of the judicial process. 

We don't ask for every investigator's complete notebook, but in this case, we don't even know the victims' names. 

The Mounties have assured us that the homicides were isolated and we as a community have nothing to fear. 

In keeping silent, the RCMP are being far too secretive, and are showing ill respect for the public's right to transparency when it comes to the police force we employ and are expected to trust. 

That trust has been abused before, and that is one reason why transparency isn't simply what we expect, it's what we demand. 

These crimes were committed in this community and against this community, and it's about time our RCMP Serious Crime Unit treats the other victim with some decency and some respect.