Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell. (City of White Rock)

Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell. (City of White Rock)

Semiahmoo First Nation chief has no plans to resign from Surrey Police Board

Harley Chappell believed his father’s connection to Hells Angels ‘was common knowledge’

Harley Chappell says he has no plans to resign from the Surrey Police Board.

The Semiahmoo First Nation chief – responding to suggestions that he should step down from the board due to perceptions of an association between himself and members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club – said he brought up the issue with the other board members in their most recent meeting, on Tuesday (Dec. 15).

“From what I gather, I have their complete support moving forward,” he told Peace Arch News Friday, adding that he is excited to be a part of the board and to be able to represent the the people of South Surrey and the SFN and bring an indigenous perspective to the development of a new Surrey Police Service.

Chappell became the centre of controversy after pictures posted on Facebook – showing him posing with members of the White Rock chapter of the Hells Angels – surfaced the week before last.

Police have long accused the Hells Angels of being involved in organized crime, and Chappell’s father, Philip, was a member of the White Rock chapter until he left in 1992, when Chappell was 15 years old.

The pictures, which show Chappell posing beside a group of men and motorcycles, were taken at a memorial event in 2018. Two of the men have been identified as White Rock Hells Angels Brent Milne and Douglas Riddoch.

“I can’t speculate on why this came up, and why now,” Chappell said. “But it’s important that I address this for the people of South Surrey and the people of the Semiahmoo First Nation.”

Chappell added he feels a need for there to be “an understanding of who I am as as person.”

READ ALSO: ‘No association with Hells Angels’ – Surrey Police Board member under fire for 2018 photos

“I do need to clear the air,” he said.

“I was attending a memorial for the mother of a childhood friend. These men were former associates of my father. That was the only connection, that’s as far as it went. The relationship there is not my history, it’s my father’s history.

“I have nothing to hide. I’m not afraid or ashamed of my history, or afraid or ashamed of my father and his history with the Hells Angels.”

Asked about what memories he had of his father’s involvement in the club, Chappell said he remembered little.

“I was shielded a lot as child, growing up in that environment,” he said.

Vetting done by the office of solicitor general Mike Farnworth before he was appointed to the police board had shown his own record as “unblemished,” he said, although he was surprised to learn that his father’s past connections hadn’t been noted at that time.

READ ALSO: Farnworth says posting photo of Surrey Police Board member with Hells Angels ‘not the wisest thing to do’

“People in Semiahmoo knew who my family is, and who my father was. I do apologize in that regard – I was running on the assumption that it was common knowledge.”

Chappell said that, since leaving the club, his father has worked hard to leave that part of his life behind.

“I love my father, and one thing he’s taught me is a very strong and very hard work ethic and I’ve carried that with me into whatever I do,” he said.

He noted that when he left the Semiahmoo Reserve at the age of 18, his own intention had been been to leave permanently, but that his subsequent life had shown him that he could be of service to the community, ultimately prompting him to come back to reclaim his roots and run for chief four years ago.

“Life has been anything but a smooth road – it’s full of ups and downs, but I’ve been able to build adversity into strength and into an open-minded world view,” he said, adding that his experience has given him a special understanding of the experience of the disadvantaged and the marginalized.

“I think of what one of my elders told me – ‘you respect everyone’,” he said.

“I have respect for human beings. I have respect for everyone, regardless of their history and their past. Is that a downfall? No – that’s a good trait to have. The ability to see people as human beings is a good thing.”

And Chappell said he looks forward to being able to bring that perspective to the police board.

“I see the transition to the Surrey Police Service as being monumental,” he said.

“Being involved in that, to see it through the indigenous lens is a huge. I’m excited to be part of building a progressive and inclusive police service, and I see my upbringing as part of my ability to do that.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Hells AngelsPoliceSurrey

Just Posted

(Clockwise, from top-left) Brenda DeJong, Carol Jones, Marcia Strang, Cathy Collis and Mark East star in the upcoming Sidekick Players Zoom presentation of the Norm Foster play “Halfway There,” directed by Carroll Lefebvre, on May 22, 2021. (Submitted photos)
Delta’s Sidekick Players continue ‘Foster Zoom Fest’ with ‘Halfway There’

Tsawwassen-based theatre company hosting another online performance on Saturday, May 22

Sergeant Mike Sanchez of the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team speaking with students. (Photo: RCMP).
Surrey RCMP’s anti-gang program goes virtual amid COVID-19 pandemic

Presentations aimed at youth available to be booked

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Discussions about Surrey-owned land in Langley should be behind closed doors, councillors say

That’s what Councillors Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and former Surrey mayor Bob Bose say

Little House Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Society COO Debbi McKenzie stands in front of the society’s namesake facility with Phoenix Drug Alcohol Recovery and Education Society CEO Keir Macdonald. (Submitted photo)
Delta’s Little House Society merging with Surrey-based Phoenix Society

Merger ‘came together in a really organic way’ as societies have been working together for two years

Elsje Hannah stands in the old safe at the Healing Place Counselling Centre in the Dale Building. Hannah converted the old safe into a chapel-area for quiet reflection for clients at her practice, which includes the not-for-profit Soul Matters Counselling. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Not-for-profit counselling service opens in Cloverdale

Soul Matters Counselling is located on 176th in the Dale Building

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read