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Victoria police sergeant who was twice convicted of assault retires

Jan 28 2012

Sgt. George Chong, the Victoria police sergeant twice found guilty of assault, is retiring.

The 30-year veteran has been on leave since late late year to use up his vacation and his retirement will be effective Feb. 1.

Chong was given a suspended sentence and 12 months probation for assaulting 34-year-old Frank Blair in police cells while jail staff was trying to fingerprint him on Jan. 15, 2010.

Chong lost his temper after Blair used a racial slur against the Asian officer. Chong applied a choke hold that rendered Blair unconscious. He let Blair fall to the cement floor, which left the man with a cut to his mouth that required 15 stitches.

Chong was not fired from the department, despite the fact that the Victoria police department said it would rarely hire someone with a criminal record, particularly not a violent conviction such as an assault.

Victoria police spokesman Const. Mike Russell confirmed Chong was leaving but said "we never comment further on a members retirement when they decide it is time to retire."

In a separate internal Police Act investigation into the jail cell assault, Chief Jamie Graham found that while Chong did neglect his duty as a police officer, he did not use unnecessary force or abuse his authority. Chong was suspended for five days without pay.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, the body which oversees departments' internal investigations, has not yet agreed with Graham's decision and has the authority to overturn it.

After changes to the Police Act, an officer can still have discipline noted on their service record even after they leave the force, preventing an officer from avoiding discipline by retiring.

Commissioner Stan Lowe will be releasing his decision in early February, said acting deputy commissioner Dave Airey.

Lowe is also considering advising police departments to suspend internal code of conducts investigations until after a criminal trial so they can examine all the evidence put forward when deciding on discipline, Airey said.

Chong pleaded guilty to an off-duty assault in relation to a roadrage incident in June 2008, in which Chong tackled a pedestrian to the ground. He was given a conditional discharge, nine months probation and was ordered to undergo anger management.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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