A Nova Scotia woman has lodged a complaint with the federal RCMP watchdog after listening to an inadvertent voicemail message in which several “Neanderthal” officers could be heard cursing and making light of a domestic assault she had reported.
The woman’s problems began last week when she was hosting a family gathering at her house near Parrsboro in Cumberland County. She said her partner became angry and he stormed out of the house with her cellphone.
Concerned that he would start harassing her friends and family whose names were stored in the phone, she set off to retrieve it from her boyfriend’s house in Springhill, approximately 35 kilometres away.
While driving there, she swerved to avoid a deer on the road and ended up plunging her car down an embankment, she said. Wet and cold, she said she walked for about an hour before a passing motorist picked her up and delivered her to her boyfriend’s house in Springhill.
Her boyfriend was still angry and refused to hand over her phone, she said.
"He had already called the police — his friends, as he says — that I was there assaulting him," she told CBC News on Monday.
She said he started assaulting her.
"He had me around the neck," she said. "He threw my coat and my shoes out."
She said he was dragging her by the hair and trying to throw her out the door when RCMP arrived. Some officers drove her home. When they questioned her about her car accident, she told them her boyfriend had assaulted her.
On Wednesday morning, with a blizzard closing in on Nova Scotia, RCMP investigators from the Oxford detachment told her to report to the Parrsboro detachment so officers could photograph a facial injury she suffered in the alleged assault.
While she was at the Parrsboro detachment, an Oxford RCMP member called her home phone. He didn’t leave a message — but he also failed to properly end the phone call, so the woman’s voicemail continued to record as members in the Oxford detachment discussed her case.
"The way she was talking she was very nonchalant about everything," one officer can be heard saying in the conversation.
At one point they questioned the nature of her injury.
"She said it was from the f—king door jamb or something like that, on the door," one officer said. Then he adds, "It’s f—king foolish."
Another officer replied, “So is the f—king accident.”
Shortly after that, one officer said, “So did she deserve to get hit?” He then laughs.
Parts of the conversation are inaudible, with at least one talker being too far away from the phone to have his voice picked up.
But the woman had heard enough.
"I was ashamed to be a female from Nova Scotia," she said, struggling to maintain her composure. "How could I do my own job to advise people to contact the RCMP for help? When it was clearly apparent that there was no help to be had."
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