Victim calls sentencing circle ‘appalling’
One of the police officers involved in a dangerous incident last summer during a vehicle pursuit calls a planned aboriginal sentencing circle for the offender “appalling.”
Douglas Jensen is slated to take part in a sentencing circle on the Tk’emlups Indian Band reserve on Sept. 20, after being convicted earlier this year of assault with a weapon and assaulting a peace officer.
In July 2011, Jensen nearly ran over a Kamloops RCMP constable during a high-speed chase.
The 35-year-old Jensen is on the Kamloops RCMP’s prolific-offender list and has 60 convictions on his criminal record.
The Crown has in the past identified Jensen as a member of the Redd Alert, an Alberta-based native street gang with members in Kamloops.
Jensen was also banished from Tk’emlups land in 2010 after racking up a string of criminal charges.
One of the officers involved in last summer’s incident — who no longer works at the Kamloops detachment and spoke to KTW on the condition of anonymity in fear of being reprimanded for speaking out — said he was not consulted by the Crown at any point in the decision to pursue a sentencing circle for Jensen.
“They say that it’s an opportunity to present himself and face his victims but, at the same time, nobody’s asked me anything,” the constable said.
“Basically, the officers involved in the file, none of us were consulted.”
According to the Tk’emlups Indian Band, one of the main objectives of circle sentencing is to hold the offender accountable to his or her victims and the greater community.
The constable said he has been invited to the sentencing circle ceremony, but refuses to attend because he would have to pay his own way to Kamloops.
“How is it fair that you’re going to face your accusers, but none of your accusers are going to be there?” he asked.
“I’m banging my head against the wall. I’m asking for answers.”
RCMP Staff Sgt. Doug Aird, head of the Kamloops rural detachment, which oversees policing of the Tk’emlups Indiand Band reserve, said he has been told none of the officers involved in last summer’s incident are willing to attend.
Aird said he is attempting to set up a meeting with Crown prosecutor Iain Currie, the lawyer handling Jensen’s file, to discuss the sentencing circle from the RCMP’s perspective.
KTW unsuccessfully attempted to contact Currie for comment. Kamloops RCMP Supt. Yves Lacasse said he was unable to comment on the sentencing circle.
An information meeting regarding the sentencing circle is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 19, between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Tk’emlups Gymnasium.