The investigation of abuse of authority allegations against a Nelson Police officer has been handed on to a retired judge for a final decision.
The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner received a complaint from Nelson’s Ron Bendle who claims he was the victim of misconduct at the hands of Sgt. Nate Holt during a traffic stop in 2021.
The OPCC assigned Sgt. Scott Hyde from the Vancouver Police Department to investigate.
After reviewing all the evidence Hyde concluded there were reasonable grounds to believe Bendle’s claim was substantiated. However, Nelson Police Chief Donovan Fisher, who serves as the disciplinary agent, concluded the opposite at the end of May.
Hyde’s investigation led him to believe Holt initiated first contact with Bendle and suggested the threat posed against him and the other officer on the scene was reasonable but argued Holt’s use of force was disproportionate and unreasonable.
Fisher’s investigation led him to believe the threat posed against the two officers was significant enough to use whatever force was necessary. He concluded that although the situation was not handled textbook style, he believed Holt acted reasonably and lawfully under the circumstances and cleared Holt of misconduct.
In a follow up email, the OPCC told Vista Radio that during any OPCC investigation if Police Complaints Commissioner Clayton Pecknold disagrees with the outcome, he may appoint a retired judge to adjudicate and make the final decision.
The OPCC stated that after reviewing Fisher’s decision, the commissioner determined there is “reasonable basis to disagree” with his decision of no misconduct and has appointed the judge to take another look at the case.
Bendle is also suing the police department.