The Vancouver Law Courts. (Black Press Media file)

The Vancouver Law Courts. (Black Press Media file)

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force over alleged harassment and malicious prosecution

Jeffrey Van Woerden was acquitted of assaulting a known gang member during an arrest

RCMP officer Jeffrey Van Woerden says his career first started to go sideways nine years ago when he issued a violation ticket to the wife of a retired Mountie.

He claims that’s when his once successful career was sabotaged, first with improper pressure to cancel the ticket, which was followed by ongoing harassment and later a “malicious prosecution” followed by internal disciplinary proceedings.

Van Woerden filed a lawsuit against the RCMP in civil court in Vancouver on April 19 claiming a long list of damages, including post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of income, security costs, mental distress, and legal fees.

While Van Woerden points to the motor vehicle ticket as the start of his harassment within the RCMP, it was his arrest of known gang member and violent offender James Vidal in 2013 that really got him into hot water.

It was Nov. 17, 2013, when Van Woerden pulled over a taxi carrying Vidal and his girlfriend as part of an impaired driving check stop. What occurred next was the subject of dispute for six years, with Van Woerden claiming he was assaulted by Vidal, and Vidal claiming he was assaulted by Van Woerden.

“Vidal physically resisted being placed under arrest, verbally and physically assaulting the Plaintiff (Van Woerden) in the process,” according to Van Woerden’s civil claim, which is technically against the Attorney General of Canada and the B.C. Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

Vidal was charged with assault of a police officer and resisting arrest. But at trial, Van Woerden claims the RCMP dropped the ball regarding video evidence shot by Vidal’s girlfriend. Eventually, the were charges dropped. In dismissing the charges, the judge went so far as to say Van Woerden’s evidence was unreliable, non-credible and his actions “were not lawful.”

Van Woerden’s civil claim says the RCMP then had the video enhanced and the police force “maliciously and/or negligently” also concluded he acted illegally. Van Woerden was charged with assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and perjury.

“The allegations demonstrate conduct that is not in keeping of my expectations for our members,” RCMP Supt. Deanne Burleigh, officer in charge of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment said at that time. “Const. Van Woerden will now have an opportunity to answer to these allegations in court.”

In February 2019, Van Woerden was acquitted on all counts in BC Supreme Court.

In his civil claim, Van Woerden says the RCMP should have known that Vidal had been convicted of serious crimes and he had a reputation for violence, including resisting arrest and should have taken that into account. He said Vidal’s photo was posted on the prolific offender board at the detachment listing him as armed and dangerous, violent and an escape risk, and physically described as 5’11” and 345 pounds.

In an unrelated incident, Vidal was murdered in a hail of bullets just 18 days after Van Woerden’s acquittal. No one has been charged in that homicide.

READ MORE: B.C. Mountie acquitted of 2013 assault of a man murdered Sunday in Chilliwack

READ MORE: IHIT identify Chilliwack homicide victim as James Vidal

A statement about the civil claim issued by Van Woerden’s lawyer Michelle Tribe said he now is “merely seeking to reinstate his life back to the point it would have been minus harassment and wrongful prosecution by the RCMP.”

The statement said the events of the last 7.5 years have had a significant impact on Van Woerden and his family, which has included threats made against him along with the allegations made by the RCMP.

“Ultimately, the Van Woerdens have lost their dream home, their community and Mr. Van Woerden’s career. They are in the process of trying to rebuild what they have lost.”

The RCMP has not yet filed a response.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
editor@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The Sparwood Golf Club received $1,206.12 for a lighting project as part of its wider renewal efforts. (Image contributed by Columbia Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies)
CFKR allocates over $11,000 to Elk Valley community programs

Over $50,000 was dished out between the communities of the Kootenay Rockies

RDEK is calling for nominations for their Volunteer of the Year award in all six electoral districts.
RDEK posts operating surplus as pandemic reduces costs

The RDEK has posted a operational surplus of $8 million as local… Continue reading

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Fernie Ghostriders head coach Jeff Wagner has committed to two more years with the team. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Fernie Ghostriders coach departs: Wagner moves to Coquitlam

Jeff Wagner will move to the Lower Mainland as associate coach and director of scouting with the Coquitlam Express

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Then-finance minister Kevin Falcon presents his last B.C. budget, Feb. 21, 2012. The province was emerging from the 2009-10 recession and repaying federal incentive to cancel the harmonized sales tax. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Political veteran Kevin Falcon set for second run at B.C. Liberal leadership

Vancouver MLA Michael Lee announces on the same day

Conservation Service Officer Kyle Bueckert holds a gold eagle that was revived from acute rodent poisoning Monday, May 12. Photo: Submitted
‘Obviously, he’s a fighter’: Golden eagle, recovered from poisoning, back in Kootenay wild

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

Most Read