SURREY â€” Surrey RCMPâ€™s top cop is sticking to his guns over his decision to release to the public the names and photos of gunfire victims related to a series of shootings in Surrey and North Delta since the beginning of March.
Concern was raised Friday that the Surrey RCMP might be vulnerable to a lawsuit for doing so.
At a Surrey Board of Trade luncheon Friday, where Fordy was guest speaker, the police chief was roundly applauded for his stand.
â€œI am the person completely responsible for the release of that information,â€ he told his audience. â€œI assume all criticism that might go with that release. I made that decision based on my desire to advance the investigation.â€
Fordy said he knew his decision came with some risk.
â€œI expected criticism,â€ he said. â€œI anticipate more criticism.
â€œI believe it was the right decision. I would do it again,â€ he said to much hand clapping.
The names and photos were released during two press RCMP press conferences in past weeks where Mounties expressed concerns the individuals were not co=operating with investigators.
To date there has been 23 shootings in Surrey and North Delta and police believe many of those are related to a drug turf battle between groups of Somalian and South Asian decent.
To date there has been one fatality. Arun Bains, 22, the nephew of Surrey-Newton NDP MLA Harry Bains, was shot dead last weekend and laid to rest Friday. He was not among those whose photos were released by police.
During the most recent Surrey RCMP press conference, Fordy said some of the victims and have so far been uncooperative with police and have tried to brush off investigators with comments such as "’The bullets fell from the sky…I will take care of myself…Don’t you worry about it…No need for you cops to be here.’
"One of the victims also told investigators that he knew who the shooters were, what the motive was, but he did not wish to tell the police,â€ Fordy said. â€œAs you can imagine, this lack of cooperation has significantly impacted our abilities to advance a prosecution at this stage."
Surrey city councillor Dave Woods, a former Surrey Mountie, weighed in on Fordyâ€™s decision.
â€œI want to personally applaud you for that,â€ he told the chief. â€œI know the city council strongly supports you.â€
Concern was raised from British Columbia Civil Liberties Association lawyer Laura Track that the Surrey RCMPâ€™s decision to release the names and photographs of the shooting victims constituted a â€œpotentialâ€ invasion of privacy that â€œcould put these individuals at risk of greater harm.
â€œOur concerns are in this particular case those individuals have not been charged or accused of any particular crime,â€ she said.
Track told the Now she is not representing anyone who might be contemplating legal action against the RCMP over the matter.
Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr said the decision to release the names and photographs was not taken lightly.
â€œThereâ€™s a moral obligation to give information if you can stop violence,â€ he said, challenging those with information about the shootings to â€œlook in the mirror.
â€œItâ€™s on you,â€ he said.
Carr noted that there are thousands of Surrey residents who donâ€™t want to get shot.
â€œWhat about their civil liberties?â€ he said. â€œWe donâ€™t need a community to be afraid, we want them to be out, walking the streets.â€