An investigation into a WhatsApp chat group where current and former Nelson police officers are alleged to have shared racist comments and memes has found that there is enough evidence to recommend disciplinary action.
That acknowledgement came from the Office of Police Complaint Commissioner this week, following a probe which began in February after Nelson Police Chief Donovan Fisher ordered an inquiry into the chat group and the activities in it between the years 2018-2020. Eight current officers were included in the original complaint, and two of them were cleared of wrongdoing, the commissioner said.
The remaining six are now facing discreditable conduct allegations, while one also faces a neglect of duty allegation.
What is alleged to have been said or shared in that chat group has not been made public, neither was the investigation into it. It was after a leak this summer that the probe became known.
"The officers for whom allegations have been found to be substantiated now have the opportunity to prepare submissions regarding facts they believe mitigate the proposed discipline," a joint statement from the police department and the City of Nelson reads. "The submissions can then be presented to the Discipline Authority at a Discipline Proceeding, which will take place in the coming weeks."
The consequences for the officers could range from the officers being cleared of wrongdoing to resulting in a full dismissal. The city said it will not comment on the investigation until after the disciplinary proceeding.
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