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Vancouver officer suspended 5 days for drunk driving; watchdog reviewing

Const. Samuel Cheung crashed into an occupied van in Delta in 2022 while off duty
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The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is reviewing a proposed discipline decision against a Vancouver police officer who drove drunk and crashed into a van in July 2022. Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters in Vancouver, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A B.C. police watchdog has ordered a discipline decision review after a Vancouver officer who crashed into an occupied van while impaired was suspended for just five days.

Const. Samuel Cheung was off duty and driving drunk on July 2, 2022, when he rear-ended a vehicle in Delta that had multiple children inside, according to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

Delta police officers arrived on scene and gave Cheung a breathalyzer test, which he failed. The OPCC says Cheung had also tossed a can of beer that was inside his vehicle into the bushes at the accident scene, and that another beer can was found beneath his vehicle.

Officers took Cheung back to the Delta Police Department headquarters, where he again failed a breath test, confirming his blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. He was issued a 24-hour driving prohibition and released on an undertaking to appear in court.

Almost one year later, on April 18, 2023, Cheung pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.

The OPCC also ordered an investigation into Cheung’s conduct, which concluded on Feb. 28, 2024. The discipline authority assigned to the case, Superintendent Trevor Burmachuk with the Vancouver Police Department, found that Cheung had engaged in discreditable conduct and should be suspended five days without pay.

The OPCC’s police complaint commissioner, Prabhu Rajan, has since disagreed with that proposal, however. The commissioner has the power to order a review by a retired B.C. judge if they believe the discipline authority’s decision is incorrect.

In the case of Cheung, Rajan said he doesn’t believe the suggested five days reflects the severity of the misconduct. Rajan noted in a notice of review on May 10 that numerous people, including children, were in the van Cheung struck and that he made efforts to conceal he had been drinking by throwing away a beer can.

Rajan said a retired judge will be assigned to Cheung’s case as quickly as possible.

The OPCC oversees and monitors complaints of misconduct against municipal police officers in B.C.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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