A British Columbia man who is suing the RCMP claims he walked naked out of his shower to find a female uniformed Mountie standing in his bedroom.
Kirk Forbes says the encounter in his Coquitlam home in June 2022 left him “shocked, confused and embarrassed.”
Mounties say in a news release issued Tuesday that the officers entered the home when they found that it appeared “insecure.”
In a notice of civil claim filed in July, Forbes says it was only after he asked the woman why she was in his home that she identified herself as an RCMP officer, then asked him his name and said she was there to serve him a traffic ticket.
Forbes was told the violation happened in Pemberton, but he says in the claim he was unaware of any traffic violation.
He says after he got dressed, he went to his living room where he found a male officer searching his home.
He was told the officers had knocked on his door and “it had flung open” so they went in, the claim says. The female officer then “joked mockingly that perhaps they should investigate whether a break-in had occurred.”
Forbes says he was unsatisfied with that explanation and with the officer’s levity, which made him feel unsafe. He became “increasingly upset, angry and shocked,” the claim says.
It says the Mounties served him his violation ticket and left the home.
In the lawsuit, Forbes alleges the RCMP officers “abused their authority and power,” by walking into his home without his permission or a warrant to serve the ticket.
The Coquitlam Mounties say in the news release they are aware of the claim and that officers entered “what appeared to be an insecure premise” to serve a traffic violation ticket.
RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said in an interview that because there is litigation pending, there are limitations on what she can disclose. But she said there are circumstances in which an officer can enter someone’s property.
“There’s case law that if there’s an insecure premise that police have a duty to make sure that nobody’s injured inside and the only way you can do that is to enter,” she said.
She said examples include “a window being smashed, or a door opening or maybe the doors already open — those types of things.”
The RCMP news release says the resident raised concerns about the officers’ presence in his home, but police believed they had “dealt with those concerns informally” before the man initiated a formal public complaint.
Forbes said in the statement of claim that he initially contacted the Coquitlam detachment and made an informal complaint about the situation. He said he was told they would investigate and report back to him.
After several weeks without an update, he said he went to the detachment, where a receptionist allegedly referred to him as “the shower guy.”
“It was apparent to the plaintiff that the incident had been discussed amongst other members and employees of the Coquitlam RCMP detachment which caused the plaintiff further anxiety, embarrassment, and upset,” the lawsuit said.
This, the lawsuit said, is what led him to make a formal complaint to the Civilian Complaints Commission for the RCMP on May 12, 2023.
The RCMP statement says the incident is now under investigation, which will include a review of documentation, radio transmissions, and the informal process.