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Misconduct complaint against VPD officer under review after 'dynamics of domestic violence' ignored: OPCC

Last Updated Jun 1, 2020 at 8:09 pm PDT

FILE -- The building that houses the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in Victoria, B.C. (Source: OPCC.bc.ca)
Summary

The complaint against Cst. Neil Logan alleges 'abusive, belligerent and aggressive behaviour' toward his girlfriend

Logan was found to have committed misconduct when he smashed his windshield, complaints of physical abuse were dismissed

The OPCC found the original decision did not fully consider the complainant's evidence, failed to consider trauma

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A disciplinary decision that dismissed allegations a Vancouver police officer repeatedly struck his girlfriend in the face is being reviewed because it failed to fully consider the victim’s evidence, and relied on myths and stereotypes about the dynamics of domestic violence.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) ordered the review of a misconduct claim against Cst. Neil Logan Monday.

Alyssa LeBlevec filed the complaint in September of 2017.

She was in a relationship with Logan at the time, and her complaint outlined allegations of “abusive, belligerent and aggressive behaviour” during a trip the two took to Oregon in late-September.

In the complaint, LeBlevec says Logan abused her after he became too drunk to drive.

“With Ms. LeBlevec driving, an argument took place and Cst. Logan reportedly became angry and broke the windshield of the vehicle. Ms. LeBlevec also reported that Constable Logan struck her on the side of her face with a backhand slap. She pulled the car over, where the argument continued at the roadside outside of the vehicle. The complainant reported that upon approaching her, Cst. Logan struck her across her face and she began pushing him away as he was attempting to hold her in a bear hug despite her telling him to stop,” reads a summary from the OPCC.

“While continuing the drive back to their motel, Ms. LeBlevec reported that Constable Logan began punching the windshield again. Once they were at the motel, they were sitting on the couch talking, when Constable Logan had ‘jumped back into the same rants as earlier.’ Ms. LeBlevec reported that when she cut Constable Logan off, he reached out and struck her on the side of the face.”

The Professional Standards section of the VPD reviewed LeBlevec’s complaint and found ‘the evidence appeared to support a finding of misconduct by Cst. Logan,'” according to the OPCC.

A disciplinary hearing found that Logan committed misconduct “in relation to punching the windshield of his vehicle in front of his partner,” says the OPCC.

All other allegations in the complaint were dismissed  due to a “lack of clear, convincing and cogent evidence to support that Constable Logan used physical force on Ms. LeBlevec

Logan was suspended for six days and ordered to attend 12 sessions with a psychologist for “emotional regulation.”

LeBlevec appealed this finding, arguing that her evidence has been consistent, and that she deserves an opportunity to refute Logan’s version of events.

The OPCC agreed.

“In his decision, the Discipline Authority preferred and accepted Constable Logan’s assertion that he did not strike Ms. LeBlevec. In my view, this was without proper consideration of the totality of the evidence before him including corroborating evidence,” the decision reads.

“Appropriate weight was not afforded to the evidence provided by Ms. LeBlevec. She provided messages she sent to a friend shortly after the incident occurred corroborating that Constable Logan had used physical force on her. The evidence is also consistent that Ms. LeBlevec was in a state of sobriety and would therefore not have her memory impugned by intoxication. The evidence from Ms. LeBlevec has been consistent.”

The OPCC further notes that the decision only cites evidence given by Logan, and does not mention any evidence submitted by LeBlevec.

The OPCC also found that the original decision failed to consider the “dynamics of domestic violence” when dismissing the allegations of physical abuse because it questioned why LeBlevec  “didn’t just leave” after the first assault, and suggested the complaint was made because LeBlevec was jealous after discovering an affair.

“The Discipline Authority has placed much weight on these factors and referred to Cst. Logan’s submissions that ‘these were not the actions of someone who legitimately feared for her life.’ Those assumptions are inconsistent with well-understood dynamics of trauma in the context of relationship violence,” the OPCC decision reads.

The OPCC has rejected LeBlevec’s request for a public hearing, but agreed to conduct a full review of the case.

LeBlevec did file a police report in Oregon, but no criminal charges were laid.