'All for ourselves and nothing for other people' seems in every age of the world to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. -Adam Smith "All the 'truth' in the world adds up to one big lie." Bob Dylan "Idealism precedes experience, cynicism follows it." Anon

August 23, 2011

Rogue Cops: a few bad apples or a rotten barrel?

Chain The Dogma    August 23, 2011

Rogue Cops: a few bad apples or a rotten barrel?

The shocking cruelty of police towards a serial killer's rape victim

by Perry Bulwer

Last week I started watching the TV series, The Wire. Yes, I know I'm several years late, but that's how I watch TV these days. I wait for a series to conclude, then obtain the entire series to view at my leisure rather than conforming to broadcast schedules. It is also much easier to remember characters and plot lines from episode to episode and season to season that way. So far I've only watched the first four episodes of season one, but even though those episodes aired in 2004 they still seem freshly ripped from today's headlines.

I am thinking particularly of the depiction of incompetent, violent police officers and their corrupt superiors. Of course, such depictions are nothing new, corrupt cops being a popular Hollywood trope, but the real rogues are often worse than those fictional ones. The Rodney King incident in 1991 helped illustrate that fact in a way that was impossible for the police to cover-up. Police brutality and abuse of authority are as old as policing itself, of course, but until the advent of video technology they always had a way to cover up their crimes through collusion. They still do that today, but it is much harder when there is video evidence often taken by witnesses. That type of evidence of police brutality has greatly increased now that most citizens carry cell phone cameras with them. However, instead of dealing with the problem of rogue cops who abuse their powers, law enforcement officials seem determined to criminalize filming police in public places.

What's good for the police apparently isn't good for the people -- or so the law enforcement community would have us believe when it comes to surveillance.

That's a concise summary of a new trend first reported by National Public Radio last week -- the trend whereby law enforcement officials have been trying to prevent civilians from using cellphone cameras in public places as a means of deterring police brutality.

Oddly, the effort -- which employs both forcible arrests of videographers and legal proceedings against them -- comes at a time when the American Civil Liberties Union reports that "an increasing number of American cities and towns are investing millions of taxpayer dollars in surveillance camera systems."

Then again, maybe it's not odd that the two trends are happening simultaneously. Maybe they go hand in hand. Perhaps as more police officers use cameras to monitor every move we make, they are discovering the true power of video to independently document events. And as they see that power, they don't want it turned against them.


Law enforcement officials, of course, don't like the cellphone cameras because they don't want any check on police power. So they've resorted to fear-mongering allegations about lost lives. But the only police officers who are threatened by cellphone cameras are those who want to break civil liberties laws with impunity. The rest have nothing to worry about and everything to gain from a practice that simply asks them to remember the all-too-forgotten part of their "protect and serve" motto -- the part about protecting the public's civil rights.

In some jurisdictions, such as California, the law already shields violent police officers. Here's an excerpt from a recent investigative report  there:

March 21, 2009, was one of the bloodiest days in the history of the Oakland Police Department and California law enforcement.


[Sgt. Patrick] Gonzales would emerge from the day’s dramatic violence as a department hero; some colleagues nicknamed him “Audie Murphy,” the most decorated American soldier of World War II. But to many in the black and Latino neighborhoods Gonzales polices today, he has long been known as something else: a loose cannon. During Gonzales’ 13-year career he has shot four suspects, three fatally. “He’s left a trail of victims in his wake,” says Cathy King, the mother of one of Gonzales’ shooting victims, “but he’s [considered] a valued member of the police department.”

Multiple lawsuits alleging wrongful death, excessive force, illegal searches and racial profiling incidents involving Gonzales have resulted in $3.6 million paid by the city in settlement money. Law enforcement experts say he fits the profile of the “bad apple” minority in OPD that is responsible for most of the allegations of brutality that plague its relationship with the city’s communities of color. And the Board of Inquiry report on the bloody events of March 21, 2009, places significant blame for the carnage on Gonzales’ decisions.

Yet, Gonzales has been consistently promoted and deployed into sensitive situations throughout his career, and without public outcry. That’s because few know about either his record or his promotions. His extensive personnel file is today off-limits to the public, thanks to a dramatic rollback in the transparency of law enforcement records following a California Supreme Court ruling five years ago. The 2006 decision, in Copley Press v. Superior Court of San Diego, effectively classified all records of individual law enforcement officers, even those employed by contractors.

The arc of Gonzales’ career, from a patrol officer in the Eastlake neighborhood to a sergeant on the SWAT team at the heart of one of OPD’s darkest days, tells the story of a department’s broken accountability system, now pushed behind a wall of secrecy.

I do not buy the "bad apple" argument. If Gonzales was merely a bad apple, why did he keep getting promoted? If he was a bad apple, so were his superiors, which suggests the entire barrel was rotten. There are just too many cases of police misconduct (I'm referring to the U.S. and Canada) for it to be a matter of a few corrupt cops. The problem is rooted in police culture and training. I do not know how else to explain the brutal behaviour of Ontario police towards a woman bound, beat and raped by a serial killer.

A woman who was bound and sexually assaulted by her then-neighbour, Col. Russell Williams, says the police left her tied up for five hours after responding to her 911 call.

Laurie Massicotte says Ontario Provincial Police officers told her they had to leave her in the harness, fashioned by Williams, until an OPP photographer arrived to take pictures of her in the restraint.

"I was left for five hours, still in my harness, still tied up, naked, lying under a comforter," Massicotte, 47, told the Ottawa Citizen in a telephone interview Friday.

"Five hours, no medical attention. I was in total shock. I didn't know what the heck was going on."

The OPP, she said, treated her like a criminal in the early hours of the investigation.

One officer told her neighbour, Massicotte said, that police suspected she was trying to "copycat" what happened to another sexual assault victim in Tweed, Ont., 12 days earlier.

"It was really, really, really bad," she said.


Massicotte was blindfolded and bound. Her clothes were cut from her with a knife. She was forced to pose while Williams took photos.

The ordeal lasted 3 1/2 hours. Williams left her in a makeshift straitjacket — her arms were cinched to her sides — but she still managed to dial 911.

The police told her she would have to stay in the restraint until the ident unit arrived. When photos were finally taken five hours later, Massicotte said she was then allowed to put on a bathrobe, and taken outside for three more hours while police combed her house for evidence.

She went through a lengthy interrogation before an OPP officer "finally confessed to me that this similar situation happened 12 days ago and we didn't warn anybody about it."

After the incident, Massicotte said she felt violated and terrorized by Williams — and "betrayed" by the police. She said she now suffers from post-traumatic stress and anxiety.

To recap, Laurie was tied up, beaten, and raped for 3 1/2 hours by a serial rapist and killer. When police arrived an obviously traumatized Laurie was left naked and tied up for 5 more hours because they did not believe she was a victim, but instead thought she was a criminal. Then when they finally untied her she was forced to wait another 3 hours outside while police continued their investigation. So, her rapist abused her for 3 1/2 hours, but the police abused her for 8 hours. But that was not the final indignity. Not only did the police think she was faking her own assault, they had failed to warn her that a similar attack had occurred just two weeks earlier. That failure in their duty of care to Laurie will be one of the claims in her lawsuit against the police force.

So, is that a case of a few bad cops, or an indication of a systemic failure in police training and oversight? Could those police officers really not tell the difference between a traumatized sex assault victim in shock and someone merely pretending to be? Are they trained to assume everyone they deal with is a criminal until they can prove otherwise? It certainly seems so, as the Robert Dziekański  case suggests. He was the innocent Polish man killed by police tasers in the Vancouver airport. They then tried to cover up what they did by giving false evidence. It was not just the four RCMP officers involved who colluded on their evidence and tried to mislead the investigation and inquiry. An RCMP spokesperson gave a false version of events to the public before anyone was aware that a witness had taken a video of the incident. No wonder police departments want to criminalize filming the police.

Post Script: I continued this theme of police misconduct in the blog post  "Sexual harassment in the RCMP and the failure to catch a serial killer" at the first link below.



  1. Russell Williams' victim sues police over 'betrayal'

    CBC News September 25, 2011

    An Ontario woman who was sexually assaulted by convicted killer Russell Williams says she has filed a $7-million lawsuit against the disgraced former base commander of CFB Trenton, his ex-wife and provincial police because she feels betrayed by the people she thought would protect her.

    In an exclusive interview Sunday with the CBC's Dave Seglins with questions screened by her lawyer, Laurie Massicotte said the September 2009 attack and the aftermath of the police investigation of her case has left her almost unable to function.

    "I don't even know who I am anymore," she told Seglins. "It's just really bad. I just feel really bad. I don't know what to do. I guess I'm still in shock and I haven't been able to come out of it."

    Massicotte filed a statement of claim in the Superior Court of Justice on Friday for damages, including pain, suffering and emotional and mental distress stemming from being bound and sexually assaulted by Williams in September 2009.

    Massicotte was Williams's second victim and has accused the Ontario Provincial Police of failing to protect her and give her enough information about a previous sexual assault in the town of Tweed, Ont.
    In her statement of claim, Massicotte raises the spectre of another, as-yet-unreported third sexual assault victim, saying she was told by justice officials during Williams's trial that he committed two sexual assaults prior to the night he broke into Massicotte's home.

    "The biggest question would be the fact that I wasn't warned about this," she said during the interview. "I wasn't warned about previous incidents."

    In the document, Massicotte describes being beaten, tied up at the wrists and blindfolded by Williams, who then sexually assaulted her and took several photographs and videos of her.

    About five hours later, after Williams left her home, she managed to dial 911, only to be told not to move — her hands still bound — while police teams investigated for several more hours. She alleges during this time, she was referred to over the police radio as "being crazy."

    Massicotte also alleges investigators told her neighbours that she was faking the attack and "copycatting" the earlier attack in the neighbourhood, which she said she wasn't aware of.

    She also said she was never taken to the hospital, tested with a rape kit after the attack, or examined for DNA trace evidence. It was only at Williams's trial that she learned he had broken into her home two previous times before the night he assaulted her.

    After 12 hours with investigators, she says an officer then apologized and told her a similar incident happened 12 days earlier just down the road from her and police did not warn the public.

    "I felt betrayal," she said in the interview. "I felt that they were judging me, they weren't believing me. Lack of empathy. For professionals that I counted on protecting [me], that I always looked up to and didn't feel that I had to live in fear because I felt that they would be there to protect me and everybody, just lack of empathy, not keeping me informed as to what was going on."

    In her statement of claim, Massicotte alleges investigators initially excluded Williams as a suspect "due to his position" as the senior military officer in charge of the nearby airbase, and allowed him to pass during surveillance of traffic coming and going from the main highway the day after she was attacked.

    Massicotte also alleges one of the local police officers whose daughter went to school with one of her daughters shared information about her assault improperly, and the information was disseminated at school and in the community verbally and by electronic means.

    read the full article at:


  2. RCMP officer 'scornful' of shooting report, mom says

    CBC News October 12, 2011

    The parents of a woman slain in Mission, B.C., say they have a new reason to believe the conduct of an RCMP officer cost their daughter her life — an audio recording of the 911 call, which they've exclusively released to the CBC. Mark and Rosemarie Surakka have received an audio recording that the RCMP was compelled to turn over to them which the couple says reveals a careless attitude by the investigating RCMP officer. The Surakkas’ daughter, Lisa Dudley, and her boyfriend, Guthrie Jolan McKay, were shot in their home in the Fraser Valley community, east of Vancouver, on Sept. 18, 2008. But police didn’t discover the victims until days later.

    Immediately after the shootings, Dudley’s neighbour called the RCMP to report he’d heard several gunshots and the sound of a crash coming from the home. The officer who responded, Const. Mike White, soon arrived near the property, but never got out of his car and did not talk to the man who’d made the 911 call. White left the scene a few minutes later, reporting he’d found nothing suspicious.

    Four days after the gunshots were heard, another neighbour peered into the house through a window and saw the body of McKay, 33. Paramedics were called and found Dudley, 37, still alive, but she died before reaching the hospital. At a disciplinary hearing earlier this year, White suggested he never spoke to the neighbour who’d called 911 because he had trouble locating the man’s house in the heavily treed neighbourhood that had many gated driveways.

    A recording of a phone conversation White had with a police dispatcher at the time was not part of the evidence. The Commision for Public Complaints Against the RCMP only released the recording to Dudley’s family after the office of Canada's Information Commissioner threatened court action to order the force to turn the recording over. The transcript reveals a light-hearted tone in the conversation between White and the RCMP dispatcher.


    "It was almost a scornful laugh,” said Dudley’s mother, Rosemarie Surakka, told CBC News after hearing the recording. “In my heart, it confirmed [White] had no intention of doing anything." Surakka said White should have gotten out of his vehicle or at least have spoken with the 911caller.
    “It would have been different, I know it would have. Lisa would have lived, I know she would have lived,” her mother said.

    The phone call should have been considered at White's hearing, said Dudley's stepfather. "We don't feel there was any intent really to hold him accountable,” Mark Surakka said.


    At his RCMP disciplinary hearing, White said he was "disappointed" with his actions that night and was also disappointed his name had been "associated negatively" with the incident. White eventually admitted to disgraceful conduct, received a reprimand and was docked one day’s pay. He since has been promoted to corporal.

    read the full article at:

  3. Slain B.C. woman's mother files lawsuit

    CBC News October 28, 2011

    A B.C. mother is suing the provincial and federal governments, alleging her daughter's charter right to life was violated when the RCMP failed to investigate the gunfire that killed her.

    Lisa Dudley died in September 2008 after being shot in her home in Mission, along with her companion, Guthrie McKay.

    Although a neighbour called 911, the RCMP officer who went to the scene never got out of his car and did not speak to the neighbour who had notified police.

    It was later revealed that the officer, Const. Mike White, also dismissively laughed off the 911 call in a conversation with his dispatcher.

    Dudley, 37, was found alive days later, but died en route to hospital. McKay was found dead in the home.

    The lawsuit filed Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court alleges that, had the RCMP done its job, Dudley would be alive today, said Monique Pongracic-Speier, the lawyer for Dudley’s mother, Rosemary Surakka.

    "The essence of the lawsuit is that the RCMP response was so inadequate that it amounted to a deprivation of her right to life, because when she was found she was alive and she subsequently died," Pongracic-Speier said.

    Pongracic-Speier said the situation might be different if Dudley had died right after she’d been shot, but that’s not what happened.

    “This is a woman who was alive for four days, stuck to her chair by dried blood, and who expired while paramedics were attending to her," the lawyer said.

    Suits alleging police violations of charter rights are not uncommon, but they usually revolve around arrests, searches or death in custody.

    Ruling provides precedent
    Last year, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that financial damages can be awarded for constitutional breaches.

    Because the suit alleges a constitutional violation, the officers involved aren't named as defendants, but referred to as agents of the state.

    Surakka is suing the Attorney General of Canada, B.C.'s Solicitor General and the District of Mission, which technically employs the RCMP.

    Const. White was reprimanded and docked a day’s pay after an RCMP disciplinary hearing in connection with his actions the night of the shooting. He has since been promoted to the rank of corporal.


  4. Serial killer Russell Williams's neighbour sues after suspected in crimes

    By Dave Seglins, CBC News November 28, 2011

    A man who lived next door to Russell Williams in eastern Ontario is suing the serial sex killer, a neighbour and local police for wrongfully implicating him in the former military commander's crimes.

    Larry Jones and his wife, Bonnie, filed their $1,575,000 suit late Friday in Peterborough, Ont.

    Jones is suing Williams for the emotional and mental distress suffered as the subject of an intense police investigation, while Williams did nothing to alert police that they had the wrong man.

    Williams — the disgraced former base commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario — pleaded guilty to 88 charges and was sentenced in October 2010 to two terms of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the first-degree murders of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd. He was also sentenced to 10 years for each of his two charges of sexual assault and two charges of forcible confinement, as well as one year for each of the other 82 charges.

    Also named in the suit are neighbour Laurie Massicotte, Jones's former in-law, Jonas Kelly, the Ontario Provincial Police and police overseers in connection with the search of the Jones family home and the tarnishing of Larry Jones’s reputation in the Ontario community of Tweed.

    “Why haven’t I got an apology for what they did? It was totally wrong what they did,” Larry Jones told CBC News in an exclusive interview at his home Sunday.

    “It’s pretty upsetting — still to this day — and it will be until the day I die. I want to let everybody in the country know … we had nothing to do with this. It’s probably the worst day of my life the day police came to my house.”

    The statement of claim contains allegations that have not been proven in court.

    Jones’s nightmare began when he returned home from partridge hunting in late October 2009 and found dozens of police officers scouring his home. He was taken in for questioning and, according to his statement of claim, officers also interrogated his wife of 40 years, asking whether Larry "participated in bondage."

    He was told the investigation was related to a string of break-ins and two late-night home invasions and sexual assaults around the community on Cozy Cove Lane in Tweed. Word quickly spread through the the tightly knit community that Jones was a suspect in the investigation.

    Williams, who lived next door to Jones and just three doors away from one of the assault victims, was a respected base commander at CFB Trenton and had not yet been interviewed or questioned by police when Jones was interrogated. ...

    Calls investigation ‘negligent’

    Jones’s statement of claim alleges local OPP investigators were negligent and acted on spurious information that contradicted Massicotte’s statements to police.

    According to the suit, Massicotte told police the attacker was “not a tall or big person … between 30 to 40 years of age.” Jones was 65 at the time, stood 5-feet-9 inches tall, and weighed approximately 215 lbs.

    The suit suggests some OPP members continued to suspect Jones months after he passed both polygraph and DNA testing.

    Jones claims an officer even said, “Sorry about all this, you have been cleared 100 per cent. Go home, put your feet up and have a cold beer.”

    But when Jones's wife Bonnie tried to retrieve seized items at the local OPP detachment three months later, she was “advised by OPP officer Russ Alexander that the police were continuing to investigate Larry for the attack,” according to the lawsuit documents.

    On Jan. 27, 2010, while police were searching for missing Belleville woman Jessica Lloyd, Jones reported a break-in at his shed on Cozy Cove — the scene of earlier attacks.

    His suit claims Alexander was dismissive and asked, “What do you want me to do about it?” ...

    read the full article at:


  5. Dziekanski perjury trial timeline frustrates mother

    CBC News December 26, 2011

    The mother of Robert Dziekanski says delays in prosecuting the police officers involved in her son's death are prolonging her suffering.

    The Polish man died after four Mounties used a Taser stun gun to subdue him at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007.

    Last year, a public inquiry found much of the officers' testimony wasn't credible, but it will be up to two more years before the four stand trial for perjury.

    Constables Bill Bentley, Kwesi Millington and Gerry Rundel, and Cpl. Benjamin (Monty) Robinson are facing the charges regarding their testimony during the inquiry.

    Thomas Braidwood, the retired judge who headed the inquiry, described some of the Mounties' testimony as shameful and said they had made "deliberate misrepresentations for the purpose of justifying their action.”

    That was 2010. It took another year for a special prosecutor to lay perjury charges.

    Only last week were trial dates confirmed for all four officers.

    Mother says 2-year wait 'is too long'

    Each will be tried separately, the first next October, the last a year later, in 2013.

    "Two years is too long to wait. I have to do something again," Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski, told CBC News.

    Cisowski also said she has had no peace since her son's fatal confrontation with the RCMP.

    David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the delay doesn't serve anyone's interest.

    "You've got the transcript from the inquiry. You've got the videotape from the incident. How is this a complicated or challenging matter? Why is it taking so long? I think those are questions we can appropriately ask," Eby said.

    Darryl Davies, a criminology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, said the trial delays and the RCMP's handling of the case are appalling.

    Davies told CBC News that new RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson must deliver on his promise to change the direction of the force.

    "If he doesn't address this issue, then he has failed from Day 1 from the get-go," Davies told CBC News.

    Trial dates based on lawyers' schedules

    Special prosecutor Richard Peck said the trial dates were set to fit the lawyers' schedules.

    All four officers are pleading not guilty.

    For the past several years, each officer has been on the payroll but deemed "not operational," a vague term the RCMP will only say means they are not involved in actual policing.

    Further questions to several of the officers' lawyers went unanswered.

    The Canadian government is paying the officers' legal bills.


  6. Mountie docked pay for assaulting inmates


    OTTAWA — A Mountie whose blog was shut down by the national police force earlier this year for calling aspiring models "second-class, working whores" and "skanks" has been docked 10 days pay after admitting to assaulting two inmates in a cellblock.

    One of the inmates was handcuffed when RCMP Const. Shawn Kropielniski lost his temper in 2010 and lifted up an accused by his lapel and dragged him into a cell only to then "hip toss" him onto the floor, and press his knees into his charge's back.

    An RCMP disciplinary board ruled against the constable.

    It's not the first time Kropielniski lost his cool on an accused in the cellblock. In fact, in November 2009, Kropielniski elbowed an accused in the head, knocking him off a chair and onto to the floor in the RCMP cellblock in Bonnyville, Alta. In that case, the officer, now in his late 30s, also hit the accused in the head with a closed fist.

    Kropielniski later pleaded in criminal court and apologized. An Alberta judge cited several supportive character reference letters when she ruled that even though Kropielniski pleaded guilty, he would be spared jail.

    The court heard about the RCMP officer's "good sense of humour."

    And the court also heard that the officer sought anger-management treatment, had expressed remorse and said he had disappointed his family, the RCMP and himself.

    Once he pleaded guilty to the 2009 assault, prosecutors in Alberta dropped the 2010 criminal charge.

    Earlier this year, Kropielniski's personal blog was shut down by the RCMP. In one entry, he complained about testifying in court against an accused. He wrote: "After sitting through four hours of bulls---, poor fashion taste, and annoying people, it was showtime."

    One of his blog entries was titled "Why being a police officer sucks."

    The Mountie admitted to disgraceful conduct for excessive force at a disciplinary hearing held in Ottawa earlier this year.

    The RCMP disciplinary board ruled that Kropielniski disrespected an accused's "dignity" by using excessive force.

    In its ruling against the constable, the board noted that Kropielniski had been disciplined back in 2007 for forwarding an "offensive" email via the RCMP's internal email system.

    For that internal problem, Kropielniski received counselling — the minimum informal disciplinary action under the RCMP Act.

    In his latest disciplinary ruling, on Sept. 30 in Ottawa, the RCMP internal-affairs board said, "Constable Kropielniski has agreed to abide by a code of conduct an he must keep this obligation in mind at all times. The nature of his profession demands that, as peace officers, members must hold themselves to a much higher standard of conduct than what is expected from a member of the general public. Members must live by a much stricter code of self-discipline and this is even more important when engaged in the very duties for which they are trained."

    Kropielniski was an Edmonton police officer before joining the RCMP.

    The constable, convicted in criminal court, was docked five days pay by the Mounties for each assault in the cellblock.


  7. Sober B.C. senior fined for drunk driving,

    By Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun January 11, 2012

    An 82-year-old Cranbrook woman with medical problems maintains she was made to stand in the midnight chill for more than two hours while RCMP officers attempted 15 times to obtain a breath sample.

    When the stone-cold-sober pensioner with poor lung capacity was unable to blow hard enough to activate the roadside screening device, Margaret MacDonald was cited for failing to blow, her licence was suspended, she was fined $500 and her car was towed.

    Old but no fool, she quickly went to the local hospital where she had her blood tested for alcohol and obtained a medical certificate that said there was none — zero, nada — in her system.

    “I know if you don’t have proof, no one will believe you,” MacDonald explained. “That’s what possessed me to go to the hospital. The Mounties weren’t going to get away with saying I was drunk or had been drinking.”

    When she complained to the detachment, a corporal tried to help her out and gave her a letter supporting her appeal.

    It didn’t matter a whit — the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles adjudicator still found her guilty under the province’s controversial drunk-driving laws.

    “I may only have six months, maybe a year; when you’re in your 80s you don’t know how long you have left,” the spunky senior told me Tuesday.

    “Why should I have to spend my days fighting this? I’m on a fixed income and it’s already cost me $6,000. I consider this whole matter to constitute a substantial wrong and a miscarriage of justice that could have been avoided if the officers involved had not jumped to the conclusion that I was impaired, had not completely ignored me, had discussed anything with me and had given me a chance to explain anything. Not one of them even asked if I had had a drink.”

    The RCMP haven’t resolved her complaint — she’d like to be reimbursed by the force for her out-of-pocket expenses — and she is seeking a judicial review of the adjudicator’s decision.

    On May 21, MacDonald visited a friend in Jaffray, about 50 km southeast of the city.

    During dinner to celebrate an engagement, she says she had a sip of champagne in a token toast about 6 o’clock.

    A Mountie doing a routine traffic check on Highway 3 stopped her on her way home around 11:45 p.m. He stuck his head in the driver’s side window, chatted with her and told her to beware of elk.

    About 45 minutes later, in Cranbrook, a few blocks from her house, MacDonald mistakenly turned into the wrong lane and drove around a median. She felt dumb, but got home and parked her car.

    She was at her front door when a car pulled up and the driver beckoned to her. She thought the woman was lost.

    After pointing out her bad driving, the woman told MacDonald she was an off-duty cop and a patrol car was on the way to give her a breathalyzer test. She left when the cruiser arrived.

    The responding RCMP officer and auxiliary asked MacDonald to blow into the roadside screening device.

    She was unable to generate sufficient breath but they kept trying, and trying, and trying — 15 times, according to the material filed with the adjudicator.

    “One would have thought they might have considered that due to health and age I was unable to complete the test,” the nevertheless feisty MacDonald said.

    “At the age of 82, I have developed various health problems. Five years ago, I had pneumonia and was told by my doctor that I have scarring on one of my lungs; I have from time to time mild to mildly severe lung congestion.”

    The Mounties kept her standing outside wearing only a pair of sandals, a cotton skirt and a light blouse on a night that Environment Canada says the temperature hovered about 11 C. She said she had to “beg” to go to the bathroom.

    The elderly woman began to become more stressed, upset and cold as their efforts continued: “It took me two days to warm up afterwards.”

    continued in next comment:


  8. continued from previous comment:

    MacDonald estimated she was forced to stand for nearly an hour in the middle of the cul-de-sac in the glare of the cruiser’s headlights, her neighbours watching from their windows.

    “This was very embarrassing,” she added. “I was traumatized due to the treatment from the RCMP.”

    When they realized she wasn’t able to give a breath sample, the junior Mounties called a superior. MacDonald thought it took him about half an hour to arrive.

    On leaving his car, she maintained he roughly grabbed the roadside screening unit, inserted it in her mouth and sharply ordered her to blow.

    “I could not blow at all,” she said. “I was traumatized, cold and close to tears. When I could not blow, the senior RCMP banged his fist on the squad car and shouted at me: ‘Blow, blow … Your tongue is in the tube. You are doing this on purpose. You are slurring your words. You are drunk. I can smell alcohol on you.’ I said, ‘I don’t drink.’ He barked: ‘They all say that!’”

    She was cited for failing to provide a breath sample, given a Notice of Driving Prohibition for three months, told to pay a $500 fine and informed her car would be immediately towed.

    “I was crying,” MacDonald recalled. “I was humiliated. I cleaned out my car and a tow truck took it away. By this time it was about 2:45 a.m. I was exhausted, freezing cold and still crying.”

    Too upset to sleep, MacDonald decided if the RCMP were going to claim she smelled of booze, she wasn’t going to take it.

    “I would get a blood test,” she concluded. “I took a cab to the Cranbrook hospital where I was given a blood-alcohol test at about 3:50 a.m. The test showed there was zero-per-cent alcohol in my blood.”

    It was a long weekend, so on the Tuesday morning she went to the RCMP detachment and complained.

    After a cursory investigation, the corporal provided her with a letter saying: “I believe it is only fair that this Driving Prohibition and Vehicle Impound be terminated and removed from your driving record as soon as possible to mitigate any further impact to yourself.”

    He could not rescind the immediate roadside prohibition but helped her file an appeal. That cost MacDonald another $200.

    “I don’t usually drink — the last time I had anything to drink was a half glass of wine at Easter dinner in April,” MacDonald confided.

    “I was treated as guilty of driving while impaired without anyone even asking me if I had had a drink … I have had a motor vehicle licence for 63 years without any other incident. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. I was standing in the cold, lungs congested, legs hurting and dry mouth. They did not care.”

    The oral hearing was held June 1 and her appeal was denied June 9.

    A few days later, MacDonald suffered a mild, stress-related heart attack and was in hospital for five days.

    Her attempt to seek redress in B.C. Supreme Court was put on hold late last year because the drunk-driving provisions were already under review.

    On Dec. 23, Justice Jon Sigurdson gave the province until June 30 to correct flaws in the drunk-driving legislation because parts were unconstitutional — but only insofar as they applied to those who blow a “fail” on the roadside device, which indicates a blood-alcohol level of over .08.


  9. Massive Toronto police corruption trial begins

    By Dave Seglins, CBC News January 16, 2012

    Five former Toronto police drug squad officers who were accused of beating and robbing suspects of drugs and large sums of money will go on trial Monday, accused of a conspiracy in which they allegedly falsified official police records to cover their tracks.

    The charges against John Schertzer, Ned Maodus, Joe Miched, Ray Pollard and Steve Correia date back to the late 1990s and police drug busts they performed in which the Crown alleges the officers themselves committed a range of offences — from conspiracy to obstruct justice, to theft, assault, perjury and extortion.

    The five have all pleaded not guilty and on Monday will face a jury, after more than a decade and $14 million spent on investigations and prosecution in what is the largest case of alleged police corruption in Canadian history.

    In addition, between 1999 and 2003, the federal Department of Justice, without any explanation, stayed some 200 criminal cases against accused drug dealers arrested by the officers. Prosecutors did so long before the officers were charged or given a chance to defend themselves against allegations of misconduct.

    Six officers were originally charged in January 2004 after a Toronto Police Special Task Force led by a single RCMP chief superintendent spent three years investigating.

    In 2008, a trial judge stayed all charges, ruling that delays by the prosecution infringed on the officers’ rights.

    But in 2009, Ontario’s Court of Appeal rejected that and ruled a trial should proceed for five of the six officers, noting the complexity of the case. (Charges against Richard Benoit, though, were dismissed.)

    continued in next comment:


  10. continued from previous comment:

    Toronto’s former mayor John Sewell, who heads the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, said prosecutions of alleged police corruption in general can take years, likening them to organized crime trials in which defendants challenge every legal decision and ruling.

    “And they just go on and on and on forever,” Sewell told CBC News, “because they hope, or the strategy seems to be, that they can drag things out for long enough that witnesses are going to die, that they’re going to move away, maybe to another continent, people are going to retire, everyone’s going to forget what really happened.”

    Indeed, in the Toronto police case headed to court on Monday one witness has died, another has left the country and memories of all involved have no doubt faded.

    “Well it’s pretty extraordinary, to say the least," said criminology professor Simon Holdaway. Based in the United Kingdom, Holdaway studied the Toronto Police force extensively throughout the early 2000s. "One expects a public service to be able to sort out and go to trial quickly, and the police being one of, if not the, primary public service,” he said.

    “I found it a policing system, in terms of its culture, that was kind of like 15 years behind what was happening in the U.K. It was extraordinary, really,” Holdaway told CBC News, noting that unlike in Canada, in the U.K. all major police forces have dedicated anti-corruption units trained to rapidly deal with allegations of internal wrongdoing.

    The five accused have long asserted they are victims of a "witch hunt" within Toronto police and in 2003 several of them launched a $116-million lawsuit alleging "malicious prosecution" and "abuse of process" against the force, its then-chief Julian Fantino, as well as city overseers. The lawsuit remains on the books, awaiting the outcome of the criminal trial.

    All but one of the five men set to stand trial have retired from the force, many of them spending many years "suspended with pay" while collecting full benefits.

    In November 2007, former Det. Sgt. John Schertzer — who led the group of accused officers who were all members of Team 3 of the TPS Central Field Command drug squad — retired with full pension as he turned 50, with 32 years of service to the force.

    Steve Correia, 44, is still on the force but has been suspended while collecting full pay since he was charged criminally in January of 2004.


  11. Charge G20 officers, police watchdog orders

    By Dave Seglins, CBC News January 20, 2012

    Ontario's top police complaints watchdog has concluded five officers involved in the now infamous arrest of G20 protester Adam Nobody should be charged with misconduct for using unnecessary force and for discreditable conduct, CBC News has learned.

    CBC News has obtained a report produced by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) on Nobody's violent takedown on the lawn of Queen's Park in Toronto on June 26, 2010.

    The report, which was given last week to Toronto police Chief Bill Blair, orders him to lay disciplinary charges against five Toronto constables: Michael Adams, Geoffrey Fardell, David Donaldson, Oliver Simpson and Babak Andalib-Goortani.

    The OIPRD report also raises new questions about Nobody's conduct at the protest.

    It concludes officers had reasonable grounds to arrest him, accepting officers' statements that Nobody had threatened to kick the police officers' "heads in."

    As well, the report says Nobody's complaint that he was assaulted a second time as he was moved, with his hands restrained, to a police transport wagon could not be substantiated due to "insufficient evidence."

    "I'm very grateful somebody else believes me … and that other people are going to have to face retribution for attacking me," Nobody told CBC News in an exclusive interview. "I was getting pummelled and beaten. Police officers were holding my arms."

    But Nobody flatly rejects the OIPRD acceptance of officers' statements that he was agitating the crowd or uttering threats.

    "I did not threaten to kick any officer's head in. I was standing there. They were approaching us. I'm like, 'Why are you coming at us? We're not coming at you.' Again, we [were] at Queen's Park, the designated protest area!"

    He also stands by his allegations of a second assault: "I know it happened — [They] know it happened."


    The OIPRD report also reveals an intriguing twist that's raising questions about Toronto police supervision. Adams, an officer accused of using unnecessary force on Nobody, was involved in a police takedown May 5, 2010 – just seven weeks earlier – in which 18-year-old Junior Manon was fleeing police on foot when he was tackled and died from what a pathologist determined was "positional asphyxia."

    The SIU cleared Adams of any wrongdoing in Manon's death, which is currently the subject of a coroners' inquest in Toronto.

    Nobody questions why Adams was on the frontlines of the G20 arrest squads when he was still the subject of two mandatory investigations — one by the SIU and a second done internally by Toronto police.

    "He shouldn't have been out there if he's still under investigation," Nobody said. "For something as serious as a death? Like, how many cops were in Toronto that day, thousands? You needed one more who's being investigated? I think it's careless of his supervising officers, and all the way up the ladder."

    Toronto's police chief declined a request to comment on either the OIPRD report or the fact Adams was allowed to remain on frontline duty during the G20, given the probes into Manon's death.


    read the full article at:


  12. RCMP's Taser use in 2003 death slammed in report

    CBC News January 31, 2012

    The RCMP in B.C. is coming under fire again for the use of Tasers and restraints in the death of a Prince George man, and for the internal investigation conducted after his death.

    In 2003, Clay Willey was hog-tied and shocked with two Tasers simultaneously by officers at the Prince George detachment. He died hours later in hospital.

    An autopsy later found Willey had cuts, bruises and broken ribs but ultimately died from several heart attacks brought on by a cocaine overdose.

    The report from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, which was issued on Tuesday, raises questions about the way police dealt with his arrest and the investigation that followed.

    At the time of his arrest Willey was high on cocaine and causing a disturbance on the streets of Prince George. After the RCMP arrested him, Willey continued to struggle and that's when officers decided to pepper spray him and hog-tie him.

    The report found it was reasonable for the officers to hog-tie Willey in order to restrain him, even though it was no longer part of police procedure, because the officers had no other equipment on hand at the time.

    "Constables Graham, Fowler and Rutten utilized an appropriate level of force when effecting the arrest of Clay Willey," said the report.

    But how Willey was treated at the police detachment did raise concerns for the CPC. It found police dragged him by his feet out of the police vehicle and then face down through the detachment.

    "Constables Caston and O’Donnell failed to treat Mr. Willey with the level of decency to be expected from police officers when they removed him from the police vehicle and transported him to the elevator," it said.

    It also found one officer's failure to secure his firearm and another officer's decision to draw her firearm during the transfer were a violation of RCMP policy.

    Inside the detachment Willey continued to struggle against the arm and leg restraints, so two officers then zapped him with their stun guns simultaneously in an attempt to subdue him.

    The independent report found, "the simultaneous use of the CEW by constables Caston and O’Donnell was unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive in the circumstances."

    The report also said the RCMP officers didn't get Willey medical help quickly enough, and he died after suffering several cardiac arrests en route to the hospital in an ambulance.

    The report also found several problems with the subsequent police investigation, including a failure to properly secure the scene, the cleaning of a police vehicle prior to its examination, failure to collect officers' footwear as evidence, the failure to recognize the loss of Willey's cellphone and failure to interview the officers in a timely manner.

    "Neither the criminal nor conduct aspects of the police involvement in Mr. Willey’s death were adequately investigated or addressed."

    The report from the Complaints Commission points out the RCMP agreed with virtually all of its findings and recommendations, but said the force took too long to respond to an interim report, which was completed 14 months ago.

    Prince George RCMP have scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning to respond to the report.

    In 2010 a public inquiry into the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport concluded RCMP were not justified in using a Taser against the Polish immigrant and that the officers later deliberately misrepresented their actions to investigators.


  13. Judge rules RCMP punch unjustified and excessive

    CBC News February 3, 2012

    A Kelowna RCMP officer and dog handler has been found guilty of assault after punching a man nearly two years ago.

    Const. Chris Brinnen testified 24-year-old Kyle Nelson was being belligerent, swearing and giving him the finger outside a bar in February 2010.

    Brinnen told the court he chased Nelson down and only struck him when Nelson turned to take a fighting stance.

    But Nelson told a very different story.

    He testified he was leaving a bar when Brinnen gave him the finger. Nelson says he returned the gesture, and the RCMP officer threatened to throw him in the drunk tank.

    Nelson told the court Brinnen drove his SUV towards him. Nelson said he was scared and fled into a fenced alleyway, and when he heard Brinnen behind him, turned and raised his hands in surrender.

    'What are you doing? You're a cop'
    "And that is when he took like four steps towards me and just punched me right in the face," said Nelson after testifying in November 2011.

    "He put me in a headlock, threw me up against the fence, threw me down on the ground, got on my back, the dog had my foot in his mouth and I said 'What are you doing? You're a cop.' "

    In her judgement, Judge M.E. Shaw said the fact that Brinnen gave Nelson the finger was an "unfortunate, unprofessional and impulsive response."

    She ruled Brinnen did not strike Nelson in self-defence as he claimed.

    Rather, she found the officer did not have reasonable and probable grounds to arrest Nelson, making the force he used "unjustified and excessive."

    Outside the courthouse on Friday, Kyle Nelson's mother Heather called her son to tell him the news.

    "He's ecstatic," she told reporters.

    Brinnen has been an RCMP member for 14 years, and remained on-duty while the case made its way through the courts.

    His sentencing is scheduled for April 24.


  14. Montreal cops investigating more police brutality allegations


    Montreal police are investigating allegations of brutality among their ranks after a video of an officer hitting a protester surfaced on the Internet. It comes on the heels of a decision to suspend two Montreal cops temporarily for the repeated Tasering in 2007 of a man who died four days after his arrest.

    The video, shot during a protest against university tuition hikes on Jan. 27, shows a police officer approaching a protester and striking him in the stomach using the butt end of his baton. The officer proceeds to shove the young man several times as protesters yell for him to stop.

    “What we saw was pretty simple,” event organizer Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois told the daily La Presse. “We have a police officer who walked up to someone and hit him while this person was simply holding a banner.”

    The protester does not appear to have made any threatening gestures toward the officer, but police said over the weekend it was too early to determine whether the use of force was unnecessary.

    “Every time an officer uses force on the job, we look into it and determine whether or not it was appropriate,” said Sgt. Ian Lafreniere of the Montreal police. “In this case, we’ll review the footage.”

    In a separate case, a decision released Jan. 30 by the Quebec police ethics committee orders that Montreal police Const. Yannick Bordeleau be suspended for 20 days without pay for excessive use of force when he Tasered Quilem Registre six times when the officers pulled him over for a traffic violation in October 2007.

    Const. Steve Thibert, his partner during the arrest, has been ordered suspended for five days without pay for not stopping his partner after the first use of the Taser, which the ethics committee ruled was appropriate.

    “The severity of the misconduct in the present case was indicated by the use of the (Taser) on Mr. Registre five additional times after the first usage,” the report said in its conclusion. “Officer Bordeleau just screamed at Mr. Registre during the second, third and fourth (Taserings) to show his hands.”

    There is no date for the imposition of the suspensions and it is possible the officers will appeal.

    Fo Niemi, executive director of the human-rights watchdog group Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, said the punishment is not sufficient.

    “Of course not,” Niemi said. “The amount of times they Tasered him was very inhuman. Many people thought there should have been an outright dismissal” of the officer who Tasered Registre.

    Registre died in hospital Oct. 18, 2007, four days after the Tasering. Coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier ruled that while cocaine and alcohol might have contributed to his death, it was “difficult to believe” the Taserings played no role.

    Niemi said the committee was in a bind because there is very little jurisprudence in Quebec on disciplinary action for police officers’ excessive Taser use. The ruling notes that there is only one court decision on such discipline and it is currently being considered for appeal.


  15. RCMP sued for B.C. in-custody homicide

    CBC News February 7, 2012

    The parents of Clayton Willey say they are filing a civil suit against the RCMP to try to prove Prince George police officers were responsible for their son's death while in custody.

    Gloria and Brian Willey say they don't believe the RCMP Complaints Commission report published last week, which found arresting officers at the Prince George detachment were not responsible for Willey's death in 2003.

    At the time of his arrest, Willey was high on cocaine and causing a disturbance on the streets of Prince George. After he was arrested, Willey continued to struggle so officers hog-tied and shocked him with two Tasers simultaneously.

    He died hours later after suffering several cardiac arrests en route to the hospital in an ambulance.

    Willey's father Brian says he can't live with the commission's findings.

    "If he's hog-tied, how on earth can he be a threat to anybody? It's impossible. If you watch the tape, every time the red light goes off, they are tasering him," he said.

    "How many times? 40-50 times? I'm not sure. I didn't count. But this is not justice. This is torture. And then they murdered him."

    An autopsy found Willey had cuts, bruises and broken ribs but ultimately died from cardiac arrest brought on by a cocaine overdose.

    The RCMP report found it was reasonable for the officers to hog-tie Willey in order to restrain him, even though it was no longer part of police procedure, because they had no other equipment on hand at the time.

    But it also found that the simultaneous use of two Tasers "unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive in the circumstances" and said RCMP officers didn't get Willey medical help quickly enough.

    Lawyer for Willey's parents, Simon Wagstaff, says a notice of claim has been filed to begin court proceedings.


  16. Mission double homicide suspect pleads guilty

    CBC News March 19, 2012

    A Surrey man accused of killing two people in Mission, B.C., in 2008 has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.

    Jack Woodruff, 53, pleaded guilty in the shooting deaths of Lisa Dudley, 37, and Guthrie McKay, 33, in New Westminster Supreme Court Monday. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

    His lawyer told the court Woodruff "regrets everyday" shooting Dudley and McKay in the incident involving a marijuana grow-operation.

    Woodruff told the court he pleaded guilty to show his wife, five children and six grandchildren he takes responsibility for his actions.

    He also implicated two others already charged in the murders, Bruce Main and Justin McKinnon. Woodruff was charged in 2011 and has since been held in custody.

    Police criticism
    The families of the two victims were in court in New Westminster to hear the plea.

    The RCMP has come under heavy criticism in this case for not following up on a 911 call of shots being fired.

    A neighbour found Dudley bleeding and tied to a chair in her Mission home four days after the first call to police.

    An officer had been sent to the home when the shots were initially reported, but he said he didn't see anything unusual and didn't get out of his car to investigate.

    Dudley's family complained she might have survived if officers had searched the house.

    Family members were further outraged when the officer who failed to check the house was docked a day's pay at an RCMP disciplinary hearing.


  17. No charge against Vancouver officer who fatally shot man

    The Canadian Press March 19, 2012

    A Vancouver police officer who repeatedly fired at a man and killed him with a shot to the head nearly five years ago will not be charged.

    Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe said Monday that extensive investigations have not produced any evidence to suggest Const. Lee Chipperfield used unnecessary or excessive force in handling the incident.

    Chipperfield was among several officers who responded to a 911 call about a man's erratic behaviour on the night of August 13, 2007.

    He fired multiple shots at Paul Boyd, who was mentally ill and swinging a bicycle chain.

    A coroner's inquest in 2010 heard Chipperfield shot Boyd eight times and fired the final shot, which hit the illustrator's head -- even after his partner told him to hold fire and disarmed the man.

    Chipperfield testified he believed Boyd was still armed. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/12/15/bc-boyd-shooting-inquest-bipolar.html

    The officer said he fired a shot at Boyd's head when he failed to see any blood from the previous shots and thought Boyd was wearing body armour.

    Boyd's father has claimed his son was on his hands and knees when he was shot. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2007/08/20/bc-policeshooting.html

    David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, is hoping the province's new independent investigation office will provide some accountability for officers shooting every bullet in their handguns.

    Eby questioned why it took five years to conclude the case and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner's use of psychologist who said in a report that Chipperfield's emotional reaction to the events and a restricted focus rendered him "inattentionally" blind.

    "The only result of this five-year-long investigation is ever more tortured explanations for an officer's actions in shooting a disarmed and badly injured man in the head."


  18. RCMP seeks to fire B.C. Mountie guilty of obstruction

    CBC News March 23, 2012

    The RCMP's commanding officer in B.C. is seeking the dismissal from the force of Cpl. Benjamin Monty Robinson, who was found guilty Friday of obstruction of justice in connection to a fatal traffic accident in which he was involved while off duty. Assistant RCMP Commissioner Norm Lipinski told reporters after Robinson's verdict was handed down that he now faces a series of disciplinary hearings, and that Lipinski had discussed the matter with Commanding Officer Craig Callens. "The commanding officer is seeking his dismissal," Lipinski said.

    Justice Janice Dillon ruled Robinson deliberately obstructed the investigation of the collision that killed motorcyclist Orion Hutchinson, 21, in 2008. Robinson was driving his Jeep when it collided with Hutchinson's motorcycle in an intersection in the suburb south of Vancouver. During the trial the court heard how Robinson told officers at the scene that he went home after the crash and had two drinks of vodka. The defence argued Robinson had the drinks because he was an alcoholic, not because he was trying to interfere with the investigation.

    But the Crown argued he took drinks to frustrate any investigation into whether he had been drinking and driving, and the judge agreed. The judge said she found his act of drinking the two shots of vodka and telling the police officers at the scene about it "willfully designed to set up the defence he learned during his police training." Robinson knew that would make it impossible to extrapolate what he drank before he drove, she said.

    Dillon also concluded that Robinson had lied to officers at the scene about having two beers before driving, when he had actually had five, and that he had been wilfully vague in describing the exact amount of vodka he had drunk.

    The family of Orion Hutchinson broke into tears as the judge delivered the scathing indictment of Robinson's credibility. Robinson's conduct was "quite apart from what one would expect" from a trained off duty police officer, Dillon said, and called his use of his children to explain why he fled the fatal crash an "inexplicable perversion." Robinson's two children were in his vehicle at the time of the crash, and he told police he gave his driver's licence to witnesses and took them home immediately after the crash to protect them from the incident. He testified that was when he had the drinks to steady his nerves before returning to the crash site.

    Outside the court Orion Hutchinson's mother Judith said Robinson should now face consequences from the courts and from the RCMP. "The RCMP should immediately suspend him without pay and terminate him and then do an internal investigation of their own, which should have been done two years ago," Hutchinson said.

    Lipinski said the RCMP extended its condolences to the Hutchinson family. "I can only imagine how difficult this process has been for the family of Orion Hutchinson. On behalf of the RCMP I wish to express our sympathy and sorrow for what they’ve had to go through, and what they continue to go through," Lipinski said.

    Robinson is expected to be sentenced at a later date. The maximum sentence is 10 years, but neither the Crown nor family would speak to what penalty they hoped for. A coroner's investigation also concluded in 2010 that Hutchinson, the motorcycle driver, was also impaired and speeding at the time of the crash.

    Robinson is one of four officers charged in the death of Robert Dziekanski, who was jolted several times with a Taser at Vancouver's airport in 2007. All four are scheduled to stand trial on perjury charges in 2013.


  19. I will never call the cops again, widow tells inquest

    CBC News March 26, 2012

    A coroner's inquest in Burnaby, B.C., has heard the recording of the panicked 911 call Heather Hannon made after her common-law husband locked her out of their townhouse following a drunken argument on a fateful night in August of 2010.

    The call brought police to the house where they shot and killed Alvin Wright, then 22, after a confrontation in the couple's upstairs bedroom.

    Hannon told the inquest that she, Wright, his brother and a friend were already drunk when they decided to go to a Cloverdale strip bar for more drinks. When the time came to leave, Alvin wanted to drive home and became angry when Hannon refused and then left without him.

    When he got home, he kicked her out of the house and she called police.

    On the 911 recording played at the inquest on Monday, a man could be heard swearing.

    Heather Hannon told the dispatcher: "I've never seen him like this."

    The dispatcher asked her: "Can you get out of the house?"

    Hannon replied: "Please come, now."

    According to police testimony given in the course of a B.C. police complaints commission investigation, police arrived to find Wright upstairs, hiding in a closet, armed with a hatchet and hunting knife.

    Police said they shot Wright when he failed to respond to their warnings, and advanced on them.

    When Hannon was asked if she expected police to shoot Alvin when she called them, she broke down in tears.

    She said: "I'll never call the cops again, for anything."

    Notes from special meeting requested
    A 2011 Vancouver police investigation into the incident cleared the officer who shot and killed Wright.

    But lawyer Don Sorochan, who is representing Hannon in a lawsuit she launched against the RCMP, asked that the Langley detachment superintendent be compelled to testify at the coroner's inquest.

    Sorochan said he wants to know why police held a special meeting called by the detachment superintendent the morning after the shooting. He said he wants the notes from that meeting made available.

    Sorochan also wants the police force to explain why Hannon was held without charge for RCMP questioning, and why her cell phone was confiscated.


  20. Fatal shot fired as armed man approached, Mountie says

    CBC News March 28, 2012

    An RCMP officer who shot and killed a man in his bedroom in Langley, B.C., has told a coroner's inquest that he tried to get the man to drop a knife before he fired.

    Sgt. Don Davidson described how he entered Alvin Wright's small bedroom on Aug. 5, 2010, to find him hidden in a partially closed closet with a knife in one hand and a hatchet in the other.

    Police had been called to the townhouse Wright shared with his common-law wife, Heather Hammond, after Hammond had called 911 during an argument with Wright.

    In animated testimony laced with obscenities, Davidson told the inquest that without dropping the weapon, Wright stepped toward him, asking more than once to be shot.

    The officer fired one shot and Wright dropped to the floor, saying, “I wasn’t going to stab you, dude,” Davidson said.

    Wright died later in hospital from massive internal bleeding.

    Testimony halted

    In the midst of questioning Davidson Wednesday, lawyer David Eby asked for an adjournment, saying he was worried about the man’s state of mind.

    "I was extremely concerned about the professionalism of [Davidson] and I was concerned about his mental health," Eby told reporters later.

    After a 40-minute break, Davidson resumed his testimony.

    Eby also took issue with Davidson's account that Wright came straight at him, saying the forensic pathologist's evidence is that the fatal bullet entered his body on an angle.

    "There's any number of possible explanations,” Eby said outside the hearing room later. “But I can tell you the one that doesn't make any sense is that Mr. Wright was facing directly toward the officer given the direction of the bullet."

    Davidson told reporters that he did his duty that night and that given the same circumstances, he'd do it again.

    Wright's father, Allan Wright, said he found the officer's account hard to believe.

    "It's a police account of what happened. It's not conducive of my son's nature. In my view its probably fabricated," Wright said.

    Separate investigations by the Vancouver police and the B.C. Police Complaints Commissioner cleared Davidson of any wrongdoing in the shooting.


  21. B.C. shooting death jury calls for more Taser training

    Coroner's jury reports back on death of Alvin Wright at hands of RCMP

    CBC News March 29, 2012

    More RCMP officers should be trained in the use of Tasers and other intermediate weapons, a B.C. coroner’s jury has recommended after hearing the case in which a Langley man died after he was shot by police.

    The jury made its recommendation late Thursday in connection with the death of Alvin Wright, in August 2010.

    Wright was shot by a police officer responding to a 911 call about a violent domestic dispute. Wright died later in hospital from massive internal bleeding.

    Among its seven recommendations, the jury said, “More RCMP members should be fully trained and certified on alternative means of intermediate weapons to be used while on duty such as a Taser.”

    It also recommended police always announce themselves when entering such a situation, and should wear large reflective signs marked “Police” on the front and back of their vests.

    Another recommendation called for the RCMP to review, “current practice and training respecting command, control and communication during multi-officer operations.”

    The officer who fired the shot, Sgt. Don Davidson, told the inquiry that he and other officers identified themselves as police when entering the second floor of Wright’s Langley townhouse.

    Davidson said Wright was found hiding in a closet with a hunting knife in one hand and a hatchet in the other. When he refused to drop the weapons and advanced toward Davidson, the officer shot him, the hearing was told.

    Police were dispatched to the residence after Wright’s common-law wife, Heather Hammond, called for help during an argument in which she said Wright had locked her out of their home.

    Hammond filed a lawsuit against the RCMP a few months after the shooting.

    The shooting was subject to separate investigations by the Vancouver police and the B.C. Police Complaints Commissioner, both clearing Davidson of any wrongdoing.


  22. The following report may explain why there are so many "bad apples" in the RCMP. The force seems to attract a lot of undesirables with criminal or questionable backgrounds. All they have to do is successfully lie about their past and they are in.
    Some RCMP applicants self-incriminate during polygraph test


    Want to be a Mountie? Careful what you say during your job interview.

    From 2005 to 2011, an estimated 150 individuals who signed up to be law enforcers with the national police force ended up becoming the subjects of investigations after they admitted to "serious" — and previously undetected — criminal offences during the applicant-screening process, according to the results of an internal RCMP survey of regional recruiting units shared with Postmedia News.

    Most of the admissions were made during what's known as the "pre-employment polygraph interview and examination," officials said.

    In some cases, answers given by job applicants in their recruitment questionnaires caused such "grave concern" that recruiters felt duty-bound to call attention to the information.

    The RCMP was not able to provide details of each of the alleged crimes, but, in general, the agency identifies "serious criminal offences" as murder, sexual assault, accessing and possessing child pornography, arson, forcible confinement, robbery and weapons-related crimes.

    We have received admissions to almost all of those listed, as well as cases of domestic violence," RCMP spokesman Sgt. Greg Cox said in an email.

    It is not known how many of the roughly 150 flagged individuals were subsequently charged or exonerated. The RCMP doesn't keep track of that information.

    Is it possible any of them ended up being hired?

    "We would only hire a person who was exonerated of the alleged offence(s) and meets all existing standards for regular member police officers," Cox said.

    While admissions of past serious crimes don't happen often — there were more than 13,000 individuals screened during that period, the force says — they can present a bit of a conundrum as the RCMP is forced to weigh public safety against a job applicant's right to privacy.

    Information provided by an applicant during the screening process is considered personal under federal privacy laws, but the law does allow for disclosures of personal information in limited circumstances where the "public interest" is deemed to carry more weight.

    An "urgent" briefing note forwarded to the commissioner's desk in Ottawa last year and released under access to information illustrates the dilemma.

    The briefing note, prepared by recruiting officers in Saskatchewan, referred to the case of a job applicant from Manitoba who admitted to a serious crime — exact details were redacted — during the pre-employment polygraph.

    The recruiting officers, seeking permission from a commanding officer to disclose that information to criminal investigators, wrote that disclosing the information could pose a "threat" to the applicant's privacy.

    But to not disclose the information could "adversely impact the administration of justice or ultimately affect the public's confidence in the law enforcement community."

    "The decision should be balanced against the immediate and long-term foreseeable impact on the applicant's privacy rights and charter rights, as well as the protection of any existing or potential future victims," they wrote.

    In the end, public interest won out and Assistant Commissioner Bill Robinson, commanding officer of "D" division in Manitoba, authorized the release of information to criminal investigators.

    Sgt. Line Karpish, a "D" division spokeswoman, said this week the investigation is still ongoing.

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    During the early recruitment stages, applicants are asked a range of questions, including whether they owe any gambling debts, experimented with or sold illegal drugs, committed an act of domestic abuse or had sex with someone without their consent.

    In late 2005, the polygraph interview and examination was introduced in the recruitment process to help recruiters assess "truthfulness" and verify that prospective recruits are who they claim to be on their application forms, questionnaires and in their interviews, according to the RCMP's website.

    But, "no one had foreseen that we would start to receive information about crimes of such a serious nature at this interview," Cox said.

    Cox said the RCMP's response to each admission of a crime varies and is dealt with on case by case.

    "The applicant's charter and privacy rights are of paramount concern in the treatment of serious criminal admissions," he said.

    "The rights, expectations, and safety of any identified victim(s) are given equal consideration."

    Since 2007, the RCMP has been required to notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner each time it plans to disclose personal information in the public interest. This allows the privacy commissioner to express any concerns.

    Valerie Lawton, a spokeswoman for the office, said this week that she was not aware of any concerns that her office has had in recent years with the RCMP's disclosures.

    She added that job applicants are informed of what the consequences might be if they admit to a serious crime during the recruitment process.

    Before applicants do the questionnaire and polygraph, they have to sign a consent form acknowledging that if they admit to having committed a serious criminal offence, that information could be passed on to law enforcement or some other authority, such as a child-protection agency, for investigation.

    "The RCMP strongly discourages any applicant from completing the applicant questionnaire or attending the (pre-employment polygraph) interview and examination if you believe this notice applies to you" candidates are warned.

    Yet, they still do it.

    "Why people tell you the things they tell you, sometimes you wonder," Karpish said.


  24. Mountie assault conviction nets absolute discharge

    CBC News April 24, 2012

    An RCMP officer in Kelowna, B.C., who was found guilty of assault earlier this year will not end up with a criminal record.

    Const. Christopher Brinnen was handed an absolute discharge for punching Kyle Nelson in the face outside a Kelowna nightclub in February 2010.

    Brinnen was on duty with other officers outside the club when Nelson, 24, started taunting them. When Nelson fled, Brinnen chased him down and punched him in the face.

    In her ruling, the judge said any conditions she would have put on Brinnen, including anger management courses and community work, have already been completed by the officer.

    Nelson's mother, Heather Nelson, said she is disappointed by the ruling.

    “I mean, he's found guilty and you know, there was no punishment, no penalty," Nelson said.

    But Brinnen's lawyer, Neville McDougall, says his client has already suffered from media attention and a reduction of income when he was forced to go on administrative duty for two months.

    "It's an unfortunate circumstance, but it's fair," McDougall said.

    Brinnen returned to active duty on April 2.


  25. Mounties disciplined for bad behaviour

    Cases of impaired driving, watching porn and sex with prostitutes described in report

    By Kathleen Harris, CBC News April 24, 2012

    RCMP officers have been reprimanded for impaired driving, careless use of firearms, using the force's computers to access pornographic websites and cavorting with prostitutes, according to the Mounties' most recent disciplinary report.

    In the last reporting period for 2010-2011, 65 regular and civilian members faced formal discipline hearings; 13 of them resigned from the RCMP and one was dismissed. Other code of conduct violations included using excessive force, having sex in an unmarked RCMP vehicle and filing false overtime claims.

    RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Julie Gagnon said an officer or civilian member can be subject to criminal proceedings as well as formal discipline for code of conduct breaches.

    “Depending on the circumstances, criminal and internal proceedings can take place concurrently, or the disciplinary process may take place after the criminal proceedings are completed,” she told CBC News.

    There were also 156 cases of informal disciplinary incidents that warranted corrective or remedial actions such as counselling, special training or increased supervision. Those include incidents such as publicly criticizing the force, uttering threats, uniform or dress violations, disobeying orders or oaths, or disgraceful conduct.

    The RCMP has been under intense criticism after widespread complaints from female officers about sexual harassment in the forces began to emerge last November. Commissioner Bob Paulson vowed that tackling the problem would be his top priority when he was appointed just weeks later.

    Appearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Status of Women Monday, Paulson blamed the culture of an institution that hasn’t kept pace with advancing equality rights in society at large.

    Gagnon said the RCMP is also working to update the broader complaint and disciplinary system.

    “The RCMP, in partnership with Treasury Board and Public Safety, is currently examining options to modernize discipline, grievance and human resource management processes,” she said.

    The annual report, which was released in February, is the third published after a government directive in 2008 designed to make the disciplinary process more transparent and accountable.

    The directive to overhaul the process by then-public safety minister Stockwell Day also called for national standardization of policies and protocols and more thorough monitoring and coordination of files.

    It also required the RCMP to give the government notice of any major disciplinary cases.

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    In the last year reporting year, 57 members were suspended – including 52 with pay and five without pay.

    Stoppage of pay and allowances are invoked only in “extreme circumstances” when it would be inappropriate to pay a member his or her salary, such as if the person is in jail awaiting trial, or has been absent without authority for seven days, according to the report.

    The disciplinary process was criticized recently by British Columbia RCMP Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, who called it "absolute madness" that it is so difficult to dismiss or suspend a member without pay. He called for more local management control over who is hired and fired.

    The disciplinary report shows there have been anywhere from 61 to 106 new formal disciplinary cases recorded in the last 11 years.

    “Canadians have rightfully high expectations of their national police service and it is the RCMPs responsibility to live up to those expectations,” it reads. “Public trust is critical to our organization and it is essential that we maintain the high standard of conduct that has been demonstrated throughout the RCMP’s long history.”

    Some of the disciplinary cases summarized in the report:

    A constable received a reprimand and forfeiture of five days’ pay for allowing a prostitute actively soliciting sexual activity to enter personal vehicle for sexual activity.

    A constable received a reprimand and forfeiture of 10 days’ pay for impaired driving.

    A constable was dismissed for sexual assault and inappropriate comments of a sexual nature; reporting for duty while under the influence of alcohol.

    A staff sergeant received a reprimand and forfeiture of 10 days’ pay for making a false statement to a Canada Border Services Agency official.

    A civilian member received two reprimands and two forfeitures of seven days’ pay for use of controlled substances and theft.

    A constable received a reprimand and forfeiture of five days’ pay for operating a motor vehicle at excessive speeds without legitimate operational purpose causing damage of vehicle beyond repair.

    A constable received reprimand and forfeiture of one day’s pay for excessive force.

    A constable received reprimand and forfeiture of five days’ pay for improper use of government credit card.


  27. Medal of Bravery winner involved in 2 fatal police chases

    CBC News April 26, 2012

    There is growing outrage in a community near Cornwall, Ont., after a police officer was awarded a Medal of Bravery for an incident in which the high-speed pursuit of a suspect ended in the death of three people.

    Gov. Gen. David Johnston handed Akwesasne Mohawk police Const. Michael Biron the medal last Friday for putting his own life at risk to attempt to rescue an elderly couple after a van collided with their car on Nov. 14, 2008.

    The award is contentious because Biron had been the driver of a police vehicle in pursuit of the driver of the van, who was suspected of smuggling cigarettes. At the height of the chase, Biron's vehicle was pursuing at speeds reaching 160 km/h.

    Equally troubling for residents in the community is that six months ago, Biron was involved in a second police chase that ended with the death of a young couple.

    In the 2008 incident, Biron was in pursuit of the suspected cigarette smuggler when the suspect's van collided with a car. Both vehicles burst into flames.

    Canada Border Services officer Yves Soumillon also responded to the crash from the Canadian port of entry on Cornwall Island, just metres from the crash site.

    Biron and Soumillon rushed to the car and tried to open its damaged doors and save Edward and Eileen Kassian, both from Massena, N.Y. They were unable to rescue the 77-year-old couple before flames engulfed the vehicle. The driver of the van also died.

    Michael Kassian, the couple's son, called the award an injustice for his family and their friends.

    "I don't think he did anything to save their lives," said Kassian. "I think he did more using poor judgment based on the fact that he ensued this chase."

    After the collision, Biron was charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death, but those charges were later dismissed.

    New York State Democratic congressman Bill Owens said that based on the Kassian family concerns, he is contacting Ottawa to find out why the award was given to Biron.

    Timmy Currier, the chief of police for Massena and a neighbour of the Kassians, said he believes Biron stepped over the line.

    "We're not going to pursue for minor violations. and most particularly, we're not going to pursue when people's lives are in danger … either the person being pursued, or the officer or innocent bystanders. In the Kassians case, their death was avoidable," said Currier.

    In the 2011 incident, 19-year-old Amber Aliff was driving her car with two passengers when they ran a stop sign. Biron set off in a brief pursuit from the Mohawk territory and into New York State but broke off the pursuit at an intersection.

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    A few hundred metres from the intersection, the car crashed into a tree, killing Aliff and 22-year-old passenger Dakota Benedict.

    "I just believe that if he had stopped chasing them at the border then they'd be here today," said Benedict's mother, Michelle Sawatis.

    Residents of Akwesasne have started a petition to remove Biron from the police force.

    In a joint statement released Thursday, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Commission and the Akwesasne police said Biron was nominated for the award without their knowledge or involvement.

    They said they would not be providing comment on "a process in which they did not participate."

    A spokeswoman with the Office of the Secretary of the Governor General said the award was given in recognition of Biron putting his own life in danger to attempt to rescue another person.

    "It is not related to any other incident that might have taken place following this event," said Marie-Pierre Bélanger in a statement.

    Bélanger said witnesses, investigators and police officers are contacted as part of the research process, but not family members of the victims of the crash.

    Michael Kassian said he was never contacted about the award, and said if he had been, he would not have endorsed any award for Biron.

    "It's a slap in the face," said Kassian.


  29. B.C. police shooting video sparks calls for new probe

    Mentally ill man crawling when killed by Vancouver officer's shot

    By Curt Petrovich, CBC News May 28, 2012


    New video of a fatal shooting by a Vancouver police officer nearly five years ago is provoking calls to reopen the investigation into whether it was justified.

    The video shows the last moments of Paul Boyd, a 39-year-old mentally ill animator, who died after an altercation with Vancouver police in August 2007.

    Boyd can be seen on his hands and knees on Granville Street, moving toward Const. Lee Chipperfield, who is pointing a gun.

    The view is briefly obscured when Boyd crawls in front of a car, and Chipperfield fires the last of nine shots at him. The fatal bullet struck Boyd in the head.

    The disturbing video is the only one known to be recorded of the incident.

    It was captured by Andreas Bergen, a tourist from Winnipeg, who was visiting Vancouver with friends. At the time, Bergen didn't think his shaky, dimly lit video was valuable because there were dozens of witnesses closer to the scene than he was.

    But in March of this year, B.C.'s police complaint commissioner issued a report, concluding there wasn't "clear, convincing and cogent evidence … that Chipperfield used unnecessary force or excessive force during his incident."

    Bergen said he read an account of the decision and became concerned.

    "I kind of felt guilty," Bergen told CBC News, "[Because] I have the tape and I think the tape will help to resolve some of that confusion. I don't think it was necessary to shoot Paul. Especially not eight times. And especially not in the head."

    The video didn't capture the entire event in which Boyd — who was suffering from bipolar disorder and paranoia — fought with police, striking two officers with a bicycle chain and lock.

    The video also doesn't show Boyd absorbing punches from police, blows from their batons and even several bullets fired to his midsection, yet not giving up.

    Although Chipperfield told investigators he thought Boyd was on his feet when he fired the fatal shot, a psychologist who was consulted by the police complaint commissioner theorized that the stress of the incident rendered the officer "inattentionally blind."

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    B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch considered the case twice and both times concluded "there is insufficient evidence to establish that the officer's use of force was excessive in the circumstances."

    Boyd's father said he appreciates that police have a lot of leeway when it comes to using lethal force. But after seeing the video, David Boyd said he believes Chipperfield should be removed from active duty, if not taken off the force.

    "He should never have fired that shot," Boyd said. "I'm sure the police, if they were willing to say so, would agree he never should have fired that shot. He was firing at an unarmed, injured man, at the time."

    Boyd said Vancouver police have never apologized for killing his son and, although he has come to terms with his son's death, he still finds the video disturbing.

    Boyd said he appreciates for the first time how easily a bystander could have been injured by police gunfire. Chipperfield fired nine shots in total, but six bullets passed through Paul Boyd's body and one missed completely.

    "And I'm not even angry at Const. Chipperfield, really. I'm sorry for him, really, if anything. I would hate to be in his skin right now, knowing what he's done."

    David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the video should lead authorities to re-examine whether the final shot was justified.

    "I think that's the question people should be asking themselves when they look at this video and see a man who's disarmed, crawling on the road," Eby said after viewing the sequence.

    There is a lull of 23 seconds between the eighth and ninth shots, during which time another officer managed to grab the bike chain Boyd had been wielding.

    B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch said after Boyd was killed, a pair of Vise-Grip pliers was found in his pocket.

    But Eby said the video makes it clear to him that Boyd posed no threat to anyone before the final shot.

    "I say a police officer needs to look at a scenario where someone is disarmed and crawling on the road, and say, 'I'm not gonna shoot this person in the head.' I would like them to make that call."

    Eby wants B.C. police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe to take another look at the case.

    Lowe told CBC News that the video "appears to be a very important piece of evidence … I think probably the Criminal Justice Branch would be very interested in having a view."

    The Vancouver Police Department turned down an invitation to see the video and declined to comment on whether it's significant.


  31. RCMP commissioner pledges to rid force of bad apples

    CBC News May 28, 2012

    The RCMP's disciplinary process is so bureaucratic and out of date that "bad apples" end up staying on the force long after they should be thrown out, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said in a remarkably frank open letter to Canadians on Monday.

    Paulson, who has held the top job at the force for six months, pledged to work on modernizing the disciplinary process, which can now take years to resolve a case.

    "I am trying to run a modern police force with a discipline system that was current 25 years ago," he writes. "Right now, this framework limits my ability to ensure our members' conduct is properly managed and corrected or, when necessary, to see to it that the bad apples are sent packing." The RCMP's current disciplinary process is enshrined in the RCMP Act.

    Paulson's comments come as public confidence in the force has been badly shaken by damaging reports of disgraceful conduct by some officers — conduct that often went unpunished.

    Six months ago, a CBC News investigation revealed allegations of a widespread culture of sexual harassment that allowed unacceptable behaviour to continue within the RCMP. Several current and former female officers in the force have since made similar allegations .

    Last week, it was revealed that an RCMP Sgt. Don Ray in Edmonton was demoted and will be transferred to B.C. after he admitted to having sex with subordinates, drinking with them at work and sexually harassing them over a three-year period. Some wondered why the officer wasn't fired.

    Paulson noted that "sometimes, [unacceptable] behaviour is met with punishment that just does not cut it."

    In his open letter, Paulson says Canadians can expect to hear about more cases of unacceptable behaviour. "They are the inheritance of past behaviours and attitudes," he says.

    Paulson also decried what he called the "administratively burdensome and bureaucratic decision-making process" that can see discipline cases tied up for years.

    "It's unsatisfactory that we have to continue spending your tax dollars to pay individuals that don't deserve to be in the RCMP."

    Paulson says he's started working on changing attitudes and behaviour at the force. "Since my appointment, I've clarified my expectations to my senior managers and all RCMP employees, and I have taken steps to address situations where I had the authority to do so."

    But he acknowledges that "legislation alone is not enough to keep your trust," saying reforms must be guided by a commitment at each level of the RCMP to foster a respectful workplace.

    "The challenges facing the RCMP are significant, but we will create a modern and even stronger organization that continues to make you proud," he pledges.

    "The men and women of the RCMP are up to this challenge, and those you encounter deserve your respect and support."

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    Paulson also wrote to Mounties directly, specifically mentioning the disgraced Mountie Ray and calling his behaviour "outrageous."

    An internal disciplinary board found Ray guilty of serial misconduct involving sexual harassment and drinking on the job. His punishment included losing a rank and 10 days pay and a transfer from Alberta to British Columbia.

    “It is a sad stain on our reputation, and I understand the province of British Columbia’s concerns about his transfer,” Paulson wrote.

    The commissioner says all future disciplinary transfers will be reviewed.

    Paulson also warns Mounties that “if you, as a member, cannot conduct yourself professionally — as the professional police officer who has been entrusted with special powers over your fellow citizens — then I need you to leave this organization. I feel as though the organization is under threat right now, and my primary duty is to protect Canadians and to protect the RCMP.”

    In his letter, Paulson notes: “The media are seeking and have obtained several records of decision in a number of recent and historical cases, as is their right. I expect salacious and troubling details of member misconduct to surface and be the source of much criticism of the force. Hang in there and try not to let these stories interfere with the tremendous work you do every day on behalf of Canadians.

    “Some of these stories are historical, some are recent, and sadly some are not yet widely known.”


  33. Alta. police asked to review Vancouver police shooting video

    CBC News May 29, 2012

    Police investigators from Alberta will conduct an independent review of a cellphone video of the fatal shooting by Vancouver police of a mentally ill man in 2007, which was released by CBC News on Monday.

    The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been requested to review the new video and witness information as in independent body by the B.C. Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, according to a statement released by the Vancouver Police Department on Tuesday morning.

    Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond said the review was ordered to ensure that British Columbians have confidence in their police.

    "This is a very sensitive case, which is why we have asked the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, an experienced, independent investigative agency, to consider the case in light of new information. I know that the Vancouver Police Department agrees that this matter be investigated externally and will fully co-operate with the ASIRT investigation."

    Video shows man crawling
    The video shows the last moments of Paul Boyd, a 39-year-old mentally ill animator, who died after an altercation with Vancouver police in August 2007.

    Boyd can be seen on his hands and knees on Granville Street, moving toward Const. Lee Chipperfield, who is pointing a gun. The view is briefly obscured when Boyd crawls in front of a car, and Chipperfield fires the last of nine shots at him. The fatal bullet struck Boyd in the head.

    The disturbing video is the only one known to be recorded of the incident. It was captured by Andreas Bergen, a tourist from Winnipeg, who was visiting Vancouver with friends. At the time, Bergen didn't think his shaky, dimly lit video was valuable because there were dozens of witnesses closer to the scene than he was.

    But in March of this year, B.C.'s police complaint commissioner issued a report, concluding there wasn't "clear, convincing and cogent evidence … that Chipperfield used unnecessary force or excessive force during his incident."

    Bergen said he read an account of the decision and became concerned and contacted CBC News to release the video. The video didn't capture the entire event in which Boyd — who was suffering from bipolar disorder and paranoia — fought with police, striking two officers with a bicycle chain and lock.

    The video also doesn't show Boyd absorbing punches from police, blows from their batons and even several bullets fired to his midsection, yet not giving up.


  34. Was the killing of Paul Boyd an appropriate use of deadly force? Hardly

    By Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun May 29, 2012

    Frank Paul, Robert Dziekanski and now Paul Boyd — once again a dramatic, heart-wrenching video has surfaced belying the official B.C. police version of how a civilian died at their hands.

    The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, an independent body that investigates officers in that province, on Tuesday began reviewing the bystander’s footage of the fatal August 2007 confrontation between Boyd and the Vancouver police department.

    Attorney-General Shirley Bond made the damage-control announcement of the arm’s-length assessment shortly before the provincial coroner’s service issued a release saying it too would review the case.

    The newly discovered recording belies the official criminal justice branch account of Boyd’s death that was based on the police investigation. And it reinforces the belief among his family and civil rights advocates that Boyd’s killing was an improper use of deadly force.

    The video further tarnishes the much-discredited system the province depends on to oversee police.

    “How is it that the VPD investigators did not canvass these witnesses for what they saw?” complained Robert Holmes, B.C. Civil Liberties Association president.

    “The video shows the photographer was in proximity to the shooting. The failure of the VPD to control the scene and canvass witnesses for evidence is very troubling.”

    Andreas Bergen, a Winnipeg man visiting Vancouver at the time of the tragedy, gave the pictures to CBC.

    Once again a B.C. police investigation into one of their own looks shoddy, once again the branch looks complicit in a coverup and once again the complaints commissioner looks like a crony.

    As late as Monday, deputy police complaints commissioner Rollie Woods was insisting there was no reason to reopen the case.

    What unmitigated gall.

    In 2009, former judge William Davies condemned the justice system’s response to Paul’s needless death.

    The 47-year-old Mi’kmaq was dragged unconscious by two VPD officers from a cell in December 1998 and dumped in an alley where overnight he froze to death.

    A year later, in June 2010, retired appeal court judge Thomas Braidwood released a damning report from the inquiry into Polish immigrant Dziekanski’s death at Vancouver International Airport, where he was Tasered by Mounties.

    He said the RCMP officers were guilty of “shameful conduct” and they are awaiting trial on perjury charges.

    In both case, the videos exposed the misconduct by making blatant the attempts to hide or minimize fatal police errors.

    It is staggering that the VPD, the branch and the complaints commissioner mishandled this case while those inquiries were dominating the media.

    A talented and well-loved animator who suffered from bipolar disorder, the 39-year-old Boyd was shot dead by Vancouver Police constable Lee Chipperfield.

    First, no independent third-party investigation occurred — the VPD did it.

    Second, the branch took two years to decide it wasn’t going to lay a charge.

    It stated in a 2009 release: “While Mr. Boyd was struck and knocked down or partly knocked down by seven shots, he continued to get up and advance or attempt to get up and advance on the officer after each shot.”

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    The video captures a disarmed and wounded Boyd crawling haltingly across Granville Street.

    Twenty-three seconds after the fusillade, one more rang out.

    “According to the officer Mr. Boyd was on his feet and practically vertical when the last shot was fired,” the criminal justice branch declared.

    He wasn’t according to some witnesses, the pathologist and I think the grainy, shaky video supports that view.

    Regardless, the inquest didn’t begin until the fall of 2010.

    Afterwards, calls for a review of Boyd’s death were rejected despite contradictions between the police account, civilian witnesses and forensic evidence.

    The police union defended Chipperfield as making a hard, tough decision in the face of a threatening man who was terrorizing the public.

    But that’s why he shot Boyd seven times.

    The question is why 23 seconds later, the delusional man was shot again — the final round, a bullet to his head.

    Chipperfield, who joined the force in 2003, testified that he opened fire to stop Boyd from advancing toward several officers, failing to obey commands to drop his weapon and get down on the ground.

    He said he shot Boyd in the head because he kept getting up, advancing toward police and he thought he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

    His testimony was contradicted by other officers and the pathologist who said Boyd was most likely on his knees when hit by the final bullet.

    The CJB release suggested Chipperfield could reasonably have feared for his safety.

    Really? After he put seven slugs into Boyd’s torso?

    Watch the video. (http://bit.ly/JTg0Zx)

    It is impossible to believe Chipperfield was still afraid after he unleashed that first barrage. Boyd had been disarmed and pumped full of lead; he was on his hands and knees hemorrhaging.

    Chipperfield had 23 seconds to assess the threat.

    Count to 23.

    It is a long time: The 1971 Boston Bruins scored three goals in 20 seconds.

    Watch the video, and ask yourself if the final shot was an appropriate use of deadly force or an execution?


  36. Mistakes made in fatal shooting, former B.C. top cop says

    CBC News May 30, 2012

    A former B.C. solicitor general says amateur video released this week shows that Vancouver police failed to follow procedure in the shooting death of a mentally ill man.

    On Wednesday, Liberal MLA Kash Heed screened the video taken by a tourist as police confronted Paul Boyd, who had become violent and threatening on a Vancouver street on the night of Aug. 13, 2007.

    The incident ended after police fired a ninth shot, which hit Boyd in the head and killed him.

    Heed, also a former Vancouver police superintendent and a former West Vancouver police chief, had supported the officers’ actions based on five previous investigations that laid no blame against them.

    "After reviewing the incident I have a different opinion,” Heed said Wednesday. “I'm glad that we are now focusing on an outside agency to come in and review this incident. The minister of justice made the correct call here," Heed said.

    The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has been called in by Attorney General Shirley Bond to examine the video and interview the man who recorded it. The BC Coroners service also said Tuesday it was reviewing the results of its inquest into Boyd’s death in light of the new information.

    The cellphone video was shot by Andreas Bergen, of Winnipeg, who brought it to the attention of CBC News after becoming concerned when he read reports about the outcome of the investigations into the incident.

    Boyd can be seen in the video, crawling slowly on all fours toward Const. Lee Chipperfield, who fired the fatal round.

    Heed said a well-trained officer would not have fired that shot under the circumstances.

    "Because if the threat is no longer the threat that was posed originally, when you applied your force, of course, you must go to a different level to control the individual.”

    Forensic psychologist Michael Elterman, who also screened the video Wednesday, agreed with Heed.

    Elterman also dismissed a finding quoted that Chipperfield was under such great stress he was made “inattentionally blind” to the apparently reduced level of danger actually posed by Boyd.

    “It’s difficult to understand how this theory of perceptual blindness, or inattentive blindness, could have been operating in this situation,” said Elterman. “Another theory is the police officer panicked."

    It’s not known when the results of the Alberta police investigation will be made public.


  37. Vancouver police chief apologizes for 2007 shooting

    CBC News May 31, 2012

    Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu has apologized to the family of a man shot dead by an officer in 2007 and says the department will fully cooperate with the new investigation into the death.

    Paul Boyd was killed by an officer on Granville Street in August 2007 after he attacked officers with a bicycle chain. It was later learned he was suffering from a psychotic incident at the time

    Several investigations cleared the officer of any wrongdoing, but after CBC News uncovered a cell phone recording showing Boyd crawling on his hands and feet moments before he was shot, a new investigation by a special team of police from Alberta was ordered by the province.

    Chu pointed out there has already been four reviews of Boyd's death. But he said the new video justified another investigation and the VPD would cooperate fully.

    "I'm very sorry the events unfolded the way they did that day," said Chu. "I was very disturbed by the video. It was very troubling to see that."

    He said the department has created a new web page to link together publically available documents related to the shooting.

    Const. Lee Chipperfield, the officer who shot and killed Boyd has also been pulled from frontline duty and has undergone new training and consultation with psychology experts, said Chu.

    He has since been assigned to the forensic identification unit, said Chu.


  38. Suspended B.C. Mountie says theft due to PTSD

    Const. Derrick Holdenried accuses force of discrimination

    By Jason Proctor, CBC News June 18, 2012

    A Burnaby, B.C., mountie says the RCMP discriminated against him by suspending him without pay for problems caused by post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Const. Derrick Holdenried was charged with theft in January 2011 after he was accused of stealing $22 in loose change from a community policing station.

    The charge was ultimately stayed, and psychologists have attributed the 39-year-old's behaviour to post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of attending a "horrific" suicide scene.

    Holdenried says he's been left in limbo — a victim of the RCMP's desire to look like it's being tough on "bad apples."

    "The job made me sick," he told CBC News.

    "I am not a bad apple. I am a good person who is trusted and respected and loved by those who know me. I have struggled for two years to deal with this, and it's damaged my family. It's damaged me, and it's damaged the image of the RCMP as well — and I regret that.

    "But I need the RCMP to understand that there is a lot more going on here than just 'a bad apple.'"

    The RCMP wouldn't comment on the specifics of Holdenried's case, except to say a date for a formal disciplinary hearing has yet to be set.

    Possible sanctions could include "reprimand, loss of up to 10 days pay, demotion and dismissal."

    Holdenried says he's been told the force wants to get rid of him.

    He appealed his suspension without pay in Federal Court and filed a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission claiming the RCMP "failed to accommodate him and his disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, when it took a disciplinary approach to conduct caused by disability."

    He questions the decision to pursue criminal charges and release his name to the media. He says publicity around the case has devastated his family and made it impossible for him to find other work while he appeals his suspension without pay.

    Holdenried feels he's been dealt with harshly — especially compared to other high-profile cases of RCMP misconduct like a recent decision to demote and transfer a member who had sex with subordinates and exposed himself to a co-worker.

    "It would seem that members who act out violently or abuse alcohol, there doesn't seem to be the same consequences that I'm facing. So if I had drove while impaired and been caught — I'm not sure I'd be sitting here today with the story I have," he says.

    Holdenried graduated from RCMP Depot in January 2009 at the age of 35. He left a job at Ikea, where he worked for years as a manager, to pursue a dream of policing. His father was a police officer, and he says he always dreamed of public service.

    According to documents filed in the court case, RCMP began investigating him in November 2010 when a member of the Burnaby School/Youth Section complained change had gone missing from her desk. One supervisor told her to lock her drawer, and at another point, she considered leaving a note for the thief to see.

    Instead, supervisors mounted a camera above the desk and an electronic sensor on the drawer, in which they placed a steadily increasing amount of change.

    On three occasions, the camera caught Holdenried removing a total of nine toonies and four loonies. He was interviewed on Dec. 8, 2010 and immediately admitted taking the money, initially blaming the behaviour on "stupidity."

    RCMP member services referred Holdenried to a psychologist, who diagnosed post-traumatic stress-disorder linked to his attendance at the suicide of an 84-year-old man who shot himself in March 2010.

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    According to the investigation notes: "All surfaces in the room were covered with a fine spray of blood and other tissue" and it took "substantial force to pull the rifle" from the man's hands.

    Holdenried spent hours in the room, taking dozens of pictures of the scene and the wounds.

    "Really, that scene is seared in my head," he says. 'I don't think I've ever seen anything as troubling as that.

    "That scene, and what I was confronted with on that day, would vividly come to mind at any number of times. And it could be the smallest trigger and then I'd be in that room, smelling the smells and seeing what I had dealt with on that day."

    In the months leading up to the thefts, Holdenried became withdrawn and tired. He started binging on junk food and drinking as much six litres of pop a day.

    Rick Hancock, the psychologist who diagnosed Holdenried, wrote a letter on his behalf to the RCMP.

    "I believe the taking of loose change from an office desk is symptomatic of Const. Holdenried's psychological condition following the discovery of the horrific suicide," Hancock wrote.

    "If I had had the opportunity to assess Const. Holdenried in the spring or summer of 2010, I would without a doubt have suggested that he consider a stress leave from work."

    The RCMP asked a psychologist from its behavioural sciences group to review Hancock's opinion.

    Dr. Teal Maedel wrote her report without meeting Holdenried. She says that while it is clear he may be suffering from work-related symptoms of PTSD, "it is very difficult to say with certainty that post-traumatic stress disorder was the causal factor in Holdenried's thefts."

    Based on that opinion, Assistant Commissioner Daniel Dubeau stopped Holdenried's pay on May 13, 2011.

    Last month, a Federal Court judge refused to hear his request for judicial review of that decision because he hasn't exhausted the internal RCMP grievance process.

    But his lawyer argued that could take up to three years.

    Holdenried says both Veteran's Affairs and Employment Insurance have accepted claims based on his PTSD diagnosis. And he apologized to the constable whose change he took, offering to make restitution. She asked for $20.

    "I've always been honest about what I did," he says. "And I took responsibility. I've made my apologies. I've dealt with the criminal case which resulted in a stay of proceedings. I've done everything that's been asked of me and more to correct this as much as I can. What I would expect is accommodation."

    Holdenried says even if he can't be a front-line officer, he would like to be part of the RCMP. He notes that a Crown counsel also recently contacted him to testify in connection with a criminal case he investigated while still on duty.

    "I asked if he was aware of the situation I was in and if that was a concern," he says. "He has no concerns with me testifying and doesn't see it as an issue.

    Commissioner Bob Paulson recently wrote an open letter to Canadians vowing to speed up the force's disciplinary process.

    Holdenried says he applauds any attempt to do that, but he says it has to be accompanied by attempts to understand the problems members face.

    "The discipline process must be more streamlined and must be able to deal with a number of the issues the RCMP is facing. But there's so much more to this than simply a discipline issue," he says.

    "I was an excellent member of the RCMP who had a human reaction to a very traumatic event. But they don't want to hear it. It doesn't matter. But it matters to me and other people who find themselves in this situation — it's going to matter to them. And any adjustment to a discipline process has to take that into account."


  40. The original version of the article posted below referred to Cpl. Benjamin (Monty) Robinson as a "bad apple", but that phrase was removed from this revised version. I am certain that the RCMP prefer to label Robinson as bad apple to deflect attention away from the real problem, which as I write in the main article above, is the rotten barrel of police training and culture.

    Disgraced B.C. Mountie resigns before sentencing

    CBC News July 20, 2012

    A disgraced RCMP officer who was found guilty in connection with a 2008 traffic fatality and was involved in the death of Robert Dziekanski quit the force, just as his sentencing hearing opened in Vancouver.

    Cpl. Benjamin (Monty) Robinson was found guilty in March of obstruction of justice following a collision in Delta, B.C., that killed motorcyclist Orion Hutchinson.

    On Friday morning just as the sentencing hearing for the disgraced corporal was getting underway in B.C. Supreme Court, Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens announced Robinson had voluntarily submitted his discharge papers.

    Callens said he would have preferred to fire Robinson, but he immediately signed his discharge instead.

    "While I have been clear that I was seeking his involuntary dismissal, the opportunity to discharge him from the organization this morning was one which eliminated further delays, costs and uncertainty," said Callens.

    "Mr. Robinson’s career with the RCMP has ended. As a private citizen, he is no longer subject to any disciplinary actions under the RCMP Act; however, he is still subject to the ongoing criminal matters," he said.

    Robinson was facing an internal Code of Conduct investigation and was suspended from the RCMP with pay since the 2008 collision. But an RCMP spokesperson couldn't clarify who was paying Robinson's legal bills and exactly how much Robinson had been costing the force.

    At the sentencing hearing Crown prosecutors asked for a sentence of three to nine months jail time or a 12- to 18-month conditional sentence for Robinson, while his own lawyers asked for a three- to six-month conditional sentence.

    Robinson, who was off-duty at the time of the 2008 accident, left the scene before police arrived and went home to consume more alcohol, although he returned to the scene a short time later.

    At the trial, Justice Janice Dillon dismissed Robinson's defence in which he had claimed he had walked to his Delta, B.C., home a short distance away and had two shots of vodka to calm himself because he said that's what an alcoholic would do.

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  41. continued from previous comment:

    In her strongly worded judgment, Dillon said Robinson used his own police training in a deliberate attempt to obstruct justice. By drinking after the accident, there was no way police could determine if he had been impaired prior to it.

    Dillon also concluded Robinson had lied to Delta police officers who came to the crash scene, understating how much he had been drinking at a party just before the crash.

    Hutchinson, who died at the scene, was also found to have consumed alcohol before the crash.

    Dillon said she would impose a sentence on Robinson July 27.

    Earlier, Hutchinson's father read out a victim impact statement to court.

    Glen Hutchinson described becoming mentally unbalanced after his son's death. He said he lost his career and his relationships with his daughter and wife. He said he has tried to take his own life several times.

    "Right now, aside from still being alive, I have nothing," he said, weeping.

    "I will not witness Orion growing old, and there's a deep pain endured every single day in the struggle to find a purpose in life."

    Oustide court, Hutchinson's friend David Van Den Brink said the sentencing recommendations presented in court weren't harsh enough.

    "It should be worse," he said. "If you're trained to do something right, it's really hypocritical if you're arresting people for this. And then you do the exact same thing and worse, and then you lie about it and you have no remorse for it and you continue to lie. You won't stand up and take responsibility for your own actions."

    Robinson is also one of four RCMP officers awaiting trial on a perjury charge in connection with the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver airport in October 2007.

    Robinson was in charge of the team of officers who dealt with the disturbed and frenetic Dziekanski by quickly stunning him repeatedly with a Taser.

    Sentencing submissions in the obstruction case could go all day Friday and the judge might reserve her decision following that.

    The Crown and the defence are expected to put forward arguments on the length of sentence that should be imposed.


  42. Vancouver officers face probe for not warning woman of murder tip before her death

    By Mike Hager, Vancouver Sun August 8, 2012

    Two Vancouver police officers will face an external investigation into allegations they neglected their duty by failing to warn a Surrey murder victim she was at risk of being killed.

    Tasha Rossette, 21, was found stabbed to death five days after a confidential informant tipped police that her boyfriend intended to kill her. She was four months pregnant with his child and had a three-year-old daughter at the time of the November 2005 murder.

    Const. Craig Bentley received the tip and told his supervisor Staff Sgt. John Grywinski, but the two decided to continue investigating it before notifying Rossette. Both were working with the Integrated Gang Task Force at the time.

    Her boyfriend, Amjad Khan, the man named by the informant, and Naim Mohammed Saghir, his alleged accomplice, were charged a year after Rossette was found in her Surrey apartment by her horrified twin sister. Her throat was slashed and she had been stabbed more than 40 times.

    News of the tip stayed out of the public eye for seven years while an internal police investigation — spurred by Crown concerns about Bentley’s pre-trial evidence — inched along in its review of the officers’ inaction.

    In the meantime, the victim’s mother, Simone Rossette, had filed a second complaint, which was dismissed after a six-month investigation by the department in 2009.

    The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner requested more information about the dismissal and ordered the police to revisit the allegations. Eighteen months later, the OPCC said it could not even determine if anyone was actively investigating the allegations and ordered an external police department to begin a separate review.

    The allegations about the officers’ conduct came to light Tuesday after a judge turned down the pair’s “overly technical” attempt to have the OPCC’s order for an independent review quashed.

    Bentley and Grywinski had argued that, after being cleared of any wrongdoing in an internal investigation, the OPCC had no jurisdiction to re-evaluate their conduct using the same facts.

    The victim’s mother is still hoping to find out why her daughter wasn’t told of the threat.

    “It’s just really surprising that it’s gone on this long,” Rossette told The Sun on Wednesday. “It’s seven years for everybody else, but it’s like it just happened for us and it’s like time hasn’t healed [anything].”

    In her ruling this week, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Laura Gerow chided the officers for waiting so long before filing a petition to stop the external review into their conduct.

    “This is not a case where the petitioners are caught by surprise or can point to any prejudice,” Gerow said in the ruling.

    Rossette said her family is still in “deep mourning,” not helped by the battle to have the officers’ conduct investigated, coupled with a new murder trial for her daughter’s alleged killers.

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  43. continued from previous comment:

    In June 2008, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Khan and Saghir guilty as charged, but a September 2011 appeal overturned their murder convictions and a new trial is set to begin next January.

    At the first murder trial, the Crown argued that Khan didn’t want the responsibility of Rossette’s unborn child and feared its birth would bring shame to his family.

    Ravi Singh, a friend of both Khan and Saghir, testified at the original trial that after Rossette refused an abortion, Khan allegedly said “[t]he only way to get rid of this problem is to kill her.”

    Singh testified that he had spoken to both men several times about taking care of Khan’s “problem.” He said Saghir told him that he had “to slice the bitch’s throat because she was fighting back.”

    And Singh said Saghir had what appeared to be scratch marks on him on Nov. 20, 2005 — the last night Rossette was seen alive and with Khan.

    The convictions were overturned by a three-judge panel that criticized the way the Crown cross-examined Khan and propped up the credibility of its “unsavoury witnesses.”

    As the various legal challenges proceed, Rossette said family and friends continue to grapple with the young mother’s brutal death.

    “Even Tasha’s friends still go to her grave and sit around and take her flowers.”


  44. VPD officer faces hearing for pushing disabled woman

    CBC News August 8, 2012

    A disciplinary hearing is scheduled to begin Wednesday for a Vancouver police officer who pushed a disabled woman to the ground two years ago.

    A surveillance video shows Const. Taylor Robinson shoving Sandy Davidsen on a Hastings Street sidewalk in June 2010, then walking away with two other Vancouver police members.

    Davidsen suffers from multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

    "I’ve never even received an apology from the officer for being pushed down," said Davidsen. "I’d like to see him receive more than just a slap on the wrist for what he’s done."

    In December 2010, Crown Counsel approved assault charges against Robinson. However, the charges were later stayed and he was ordered to complete an alternative measures program.

    Earlier this year, Robinson was found to be in abuse of authority and neglect of duty.

    Scott Bernstein, Davidsen’s lawyer, said he hoped Const. Robinson would be suspended for a number of days.

    "He should have to partake in mandatory training that would teach him how to deal properly with people with disabilities," said Bernstein.

    A decision is not expected for several weeks.


  45. RCMP emails reveal tension as force faces changes

    CBC News August 10, 2012

    RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson's pledge to restore public confidence in the national police force — following a number of high-profile scandals — has created tension among some members, who feel he is lumping all officers into the same category, a recent email exchange obtained by CBC News reveals.

    But the head of the organization says change is necessary and it requires "all hands on deck."

    A staff sergeant from B.C. wrote to Paulson after the RCMP chief issued a video statement focusing on the need for solid police work, accountable leadership, discipline and a respectful workplace.

    Paulson has been vocal about the need to rid the force of its "bad apples" and the government recently introduced legislation to give the commissioner more powers to discipline or fire those who give the force a bad name.

    Staff Sgt. Tim Chad, however, wrote to Paulson saying trust is missing between officers and senior managers, who are trying to create a new culture within the RCMP when only a few are to blame for its woes.

    "We are not all a bunch of screw-ups but it is evident we are all being lumped into that category and we are not valued and trusted," he wrote in an email in July.

    Chad also said the RCMP senior executive committee is pursuing changes to benefits without proper consultation with employees.

    "We are being paid lip service and this is of grave concern," he wrote.

    Paulson responded by suggesting that Chad is "living under a rock" if he thinks that the RCMP does not require an "all hands on deck" approach to restoring the public's trust.

    "Wake up Man, this organization is at risk," he wrote.

    Paulson stuck by his comments in an interview with CBC News and said the RCMP troubles didn't start with recent accusations of sexual harassment but go back years, including a pension scandal and the Taser-related death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport.

    "When some of our members think of our challenges as being a PR exercise that is being dominated by some bad behaving members then we do the organization a disservice," Paulson said.

    The RCMP is facing a number of lawsuits from women who allege they were subject to harassment and bullying on the job. One class-action suit has been filed by hundreds of current and former Mounties.

    Paulson said the RCMP needs to make fundamental changes or risk losing the trust of Canadians.

    "The employees in the RCMP need to understand what's at stake," Paulson told CBC. “And not everybody does. A lot of people do but not everybody does."

    Chad declined a request for comment saying it would violate policy.

    Staff Sgt. Mike Casault, from the RCMP's staff relations program, said he has heard similar complaints from other officers but said it is due largely to the widespread changes coming to the organization.

    Along with the changes to the way officers are disciplined, the RCMP announced it would overhaul employee health, disability and support services to reduce costs.

    "There are some members out there that are getting disgruntled, discouraged and so Tim [Chad] is not the only one," Casault said.

    Mounties are dealing with a number of unknowns and many are looking for clarity about what's in store, he said.

    Paulson was promoted to commissioner in November of last year and pledged to transform the RCMP to restore morale within the force and trust with Canadians.


  46. 30-year North Vancouver RCMP veteran slams Commissioner Paulson

    By Mohammed Adam, The Ottawa Citizen August 14, 2012

    OTTAWA — A 30-year veteran of the RCMP has sent an extraordinary letter to Bob Paulson blasting him for the way he is handling the problems facing the force, saying he has no respect for the commissioner’s stewardship.

    In a scathing letter, a copy of which has been obtained by the Citizen, Peter Kennedy, an officer with the North Vancouver Detachment, said RCMP top brass have failed one of Canada’s most revered institutions, and years of mismanagement has eroded confidence and trust in the force. The recent sexual harassment allegations by female officers are only the tip of the iceberg, Kennedy said. Using words like “immature” and “arrogant” to describe some of Paulson’s recent actions, Kennedy said he used to be proud of the RCMP, but not any more.

    His letter follows an earlier email exchange between Paulson and another critical B.C. officer, Staff. Sgt. Tim Chad.

    When the Citizen called the North Vancouver Detachment to speak with Kennedy, a reporter was told the officer was not working Monday.

    “There is a lot more than sexual harassment happening in this organization. There is bullying, intimidation, exclusion, veiled threats and more. The RCMP is slowly eroding because of management’s refusal to admit failure, or even step up to the proverbial plate. What image are you trying to protect. That ship has passed and sunk ... We are no longer the image on the post card purchased by tourists,” Kennedy, who included his badge number in the letter, wrote.

    “Management keeps on failing with a big fat F.”

    Addressing Paulson, he went on, “You do a good interview on television and say all the right things. But words will not help this organization in any way. Never have and never will. I have seen many commissioners come and go ... They used all the right words also. None have measured up to what a police officer should be or even the way one should behave.”

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  47. continued from previous comment:

    Controversy has been swirling around the RCMP for years over a number of high-profile bungles, including the Tazer death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport. But things appear to have come to a head following allegations by female officers of widespread sexual harassment within the force.

    Paulson, whose mandate upon appointment included the restoration of confidence, has vowed to clean up the force with a call for a cultural change. But his efforts have not been met with universal acclaim among the rank and file, some of whom believe the problem lies with the managers.

    Kennedy’s letter follows an email sent earlier to Paulson by Chad, who criticized the commissioner for “talking down” to members of the force “like we are all a bunch of screw ups.” Chad also warned that trust between senior managers and rank and file has disappeared.

    The commissioner’s response accusing Chad of “living under a rock” and saying the officer’s statements “reveal an ill-informed arrogance” that is “at the heart of what ails us” appear not to have gone down well with Kennedy.

    “I find your reply to him aggressive, insulting arrogant, condescending and immature,” he wrote.

    “All S/Sgt. CHAD was trying to tell you, there is a trust issue between management and its members. They are not being engaged. A man asking for a little understanding and help, was bullied by the very person who is supposed to help not only him but all of us. This email would be somewhat acceptable if it had been written by an angry teenager. However it was written by a 25 year member of the RCMP that should have better leadership skills ...”

    When Paulson calls for a change in attitude, Kennedy believes it should start at the top, noting that “most of the problem with these harassment investigations is the fact that they were handled by what is now your management team.”

    “At this time I do not have very much respect for your actions. You are at this point a man of words only. Your words are falling on deaf ears commissioner,” he said.


  48. Dissident Mounties threaten to expose force’s ‘orchards of Bad Apples’

    Brian Hutchinson | National Post August 15, 201

    VANCOUVER — On the heels of a bitter public spat between Canada’s top Mountie and two B.C.-based officers who criticized him, a new group of disgruntled officers has emerged, sniping at RCMP brass and threatening to expose certain “investigative files” and compromising pictures of members whom it deems unworthy of the uniform.

    The Re-Sergeance Alliance announced itself in an anonymously written email to media outlets this week. Claiming to speak for “slightly over 500 members” inside the RCMP’s E Division in B.C., the group apparently formed as two local officers were sending letters under separate cover to Commissioner Bob Paulson, chastising him and other senior RCMP managers for a host of controversies and alleged institutional failures.

    “Our Alliance is slowly now moving across the nation,” reads a missive posted this week on its website. “So those of you whom our leadership has ‘Handled’ for so many years, our so-called orchards of ‘Bad Apples,’ we simply state your time has arrived and your corruption is about to see the light and justice of your fellow Canadians.”

    The RCMP has been rocked in recent months by accusations of inappropriate — even criminal — conduct levelled at some members, a preponderance of them based in B.C.

    Several female members have filed lawsuits alleging harassment at work, as well.

    Mr. Paulson has been attempting to mend fences since his appointment as RCMP commissioner in November. He acknowledges the force needs to be reformed, and that it employs a number of wayward officers who aren’t easily dismissed under current rules. He believes proposed changes to the RCMP Act will bring accountability to the internal disciplinary process and will make it easier for him to fire Mounties who commit crimes.

    “It’s unsatisfactory that we have to continue spending your tax dollars to pay individuals that don’t deserve to be in the RCMP,” Mr. Paulson wrote in an open letter to Canadians in May. “I know that legislation alone is not enough to keep your trust … I have started working at changing attitudes and behaviours within the RCMP.”

    Some Mounties aren’t satisfied. In an email sent to the commissioner in late July and leaked to the media, RCMP Staff Sgt. Tim Chad dismissed the commissioner’s promises as “lip service” and accused him of “talking down to us like we are all a bunch of screw-ups.”

    Mr. Paulson responded in kind. “Your attempt to discredit my effort to have an honest discussion with the staff of the RCMP strikes me as a cheap and unsophisticated insult when you suggest that I am talking down to members,” reads his email in reply to the staff sergeant, who works from a detachment just outside Vancouver. “Wake up, Man, this organization is at risk.”

    His tone upset a second veteran Mountie; he fired off his own letter to the commissioner. “I find your reply to [Staff-Sgt. Chad] aggressive, insulting, arrogant, condescending and immature,” wrote Const. Peter Kennedy, who is based in North Vancouver. “At this time I do not have very much respect for your actions. You are at this point a man of words only…. Management keeps failing with a big fat F.”

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  49. continued from previous comment:

    The dissident Re-Sergeance Alliance has stepped up the attack on RCMP brass, posting on its website anonymously penned screeds containing unsubstantiated accusations about a number of current and former members. They also call into question Mr. Paulson’s sincerity and undertakings as commissioner.

    Mr. Paulson was unavailable for comment Wednesday. An RCMP spokesman in Ottawa said the force does not respond to “anonymous web postings.”

    Another posting defends Mike Webster, a B.C.-based psychologist who treats approximately 25 Mounties suffering from work-related problems. Mr. Webster has for years been critical of RCMP leadership, describing it as “cultish,” “xenophobic” and “unhealthy.”

    The RCMP informed him by letter earlier this month that it will no longer pay for services he provides its officers. “Your lack of objectivity in both your clinical work and public commentary towards the RCMP have weakened your effectiveness in treating your RCMP client base,” the letter read.

    The RCMP has also lodged a complaint against Mr. Webster with the College of Psychologists of British Columbia, the body that regulates the profession in the province.

    Reached at his office on Denman Island, on B.C.’s West Coast, Mr. Webster said he wasn’t surprised at the blacklisting. RCMP brass have expressed their displeasure with him before. “I wear it as a badge of honour,” he said. “I’m interested to see how the College will deal with this.”

    Mr. Webster said he will continue to meet with an “RCMP members support group,” some two dozen officers who gather near Vancouver once a month to discuss their various workplace problems. He will offer his services free of charge, he said.

    He noted that one of the support group members is Peter Kennedy, the North Vancouver corporal who recently criticized Mr. Paulson.

    Mr. Webster acknowledged he has a relationship with the Re-Sergeance Alliance, as well. “I have intimate knowledge of them,” he said. They are real RCMP members, he insisted, not frauds. “They are credible people.”


  50. Vancouver police officer filmed kicking handcuffed man

    CBC News August 16, 2012

    Vancouver police have launched an investigation after one of their officers was caught on CBC video kicking a restrained and handcuffed suspect in the chest.

    Ryan James Felton, a 39-year-old from Surrey, was arrested by police after being accused of taking $150 in cash and $250 in merchandise from a sex shop. He then ran around a residential neighbourhood in his underwear in what police have called "an apparent bad reaction to drugs".

    The B.C. Civil Liberties Association says the officer's actions are borderline criminal, and shows that the Vancouver Police Department has not learned from other recent high-profile cases involving excessive force.

    "This is somebody who is handcuffed, virtually naked, sitting on the sidewalk, getting kicked. And that's not acceptable," said BCCLA spokesman David Eby.

    The incident happened at 8:15 p.m. PT Wednesday night at the corner of 15th and Fir Street in the Shaughnessy area, when police cars swooped into the upscale neighbourhood.

    Police were responding to a call about a robbery at a store and reports that a man was taking off his clothes and trying to enter a home.

    The circumstances leading up to the incident are unclear, but police can be seen arresting a man in his underwear, asking him if he has a gun, and questioning him about drugs. In the video, the man, in handcuffs, does not appear to put up a struggle.

    But as a CBC producer films the scene, a plainclothes officer kicks him in the chest, with enough force to snap the suspect's head back. He then falls to one side, still handcuffed.

    "When you have somebody who is... very clearly not a threat and you use force, there's no legal authority to do that," Eby said.

    The Vancouver Police say the officer involved will “not be deployed operationally” until an investigation is conducted.

    “The Vancouver Police Professional Standards Section has initiated an investigation into the actions of a plainclothes police officer who allegedly committed an assault by kicking a handcuffed prisoner in the chest,” the force said in a statement.

    The Abbotsford Police Department has also been asked to conduct an external investigation of the incident.

    Police say the suspect, Felton, was taken to Vancouver General Hospital on Wednesday night, treated for a drug overdose, and returned to police custody.

    He has been charged with one count of robbery.

    view the video at:


  51. Chilliwack corporal’s critical letter latest dig at RCMP management

    By Douglas Quan, Postmedia News August 16, 2012

    Distrust of the RCMP's senior managers by rank-and-file members is widening by "leaps and bounds," according to a letter sent recently by a 39-year veteran of the RCMP in British Columbia to his member of Parliament.

    The letter, obtained by Postmedia News, is the latest salvo against RCMP leadership by disgruntled officers, who say their concerns are not being addressed.

    Cpl. Loren Chaplin writes that the force "needs to be burnt to the ground, metaphorically speaking, and either resurrected from the ashes with clear new focus and direction ... or it needs to be buried once and for all as having outlived its intended purpose."

    Chaplin said that officers are stressed out, burned out and tasked with doing more with less, and harassed or bullied if they "stumble or balk under the load."

    If the government is insistent on continuing with its national and international policing role, then municipal or provincial contracts need to be scrapped, he said.

    RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. His staff says he is currently away on summer leave.

    Insp. Marc Richer, a national spokesman in Ottawa, said in an e-mail that the "obsession with making public these intended private communications only serves to undermine the majority of hard working members who are dedicated to the well-being of the communities they serve and safety of all Canadians.

    "No organization can undergo change without facing concerns from its employees. It is a situation where all have a contribution to make so that over time the situation improves."

    Reached by phone Thursday, Chaplin, who is currently on medical leave from the force in Chilliwack and plans to retire in January, said current efforts to reform the RCMP amount to nothing more than "tinkering."

    Those who believe that RCMP managers, who were responsible for the force's problems to begin with, can now fix those problems are "delusional," he said. His letter, addressed to Conservative MP Mark Strahl, is the third critical letter to surface in recent weeks from an RCMP member in B.C.

    On July 30, Staff Sgt. Tim Chad of the Ridge Meadows RCMP wrote to the commissioner saying that he and his colleagues were tired of being talked down to as if they were a "bunch of screw ups" and that reforms within the force are being carried out without proper consultation and instead being "forced upon us." He also expressed concerns that benefits and working conditions were being eroded.

    Paulson replied in an e-mail that Chad was "living under a rock if you think that our current situation ... does not warrant an 'all hands on deck' approach to restoring the public trust."

    "Wake up man, this organization is at risk," he said.

    Paulson acknowledged that changes are underway to the way health care is managed but that benefits will not decrease. Changes to the disciplinary process will still be carried out with the "greatest respect for due process," he added.

    After that e-mail exchange went public, Peter Kennedy, a veteran Mountie in North Vancouver, sent a letter to Paulson accusing him of being arrogant and condescending to Chad.

    "All S/Sgt. CHAD was trying to tell you, there is a trust issue between management and its members. They are not being engaged," he wrote.

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    This week, an anonymous blog site claiming to represent more than 500 current and former RCMP members emerged, stating that the only way change was going to occur within the force was from the "bottom up."

    The blog said the force's "rotten apples" need to be pushed "directly into the light" and that members need to demand their removal from the organization.

    "It's time for us as Canadians to rise to the challenge and take back the Force for our Fellow Canadians and demand justice for them, as we are better than this," said the blog, which has since been taken down.

    Simon Fraser University criminology professor Rob Gordon said Thursday that he feels some sympathy for Paulson. When the commissioner was appointed in November, he inherited a "maelstrom of problems that he's had to sit down and work his way through."

    "In eight months you're not going to turn around what's been building for 25 years," he said. "It's unfair to criticize him for not achieving that miracle."

    Clearly, he said, there are some members who are entrenched in their old ways and disapprove of all the changes that are happening, he said.

    Staff Sgt. Mike Casault, a member of the national executive of the RCMP's staff relations program, said Thursday he's not certain that the letters and the blog are necessarily indicative of a groundswell of discontent in the force.

    "There are some who have voiced their displeasure. But there are lots who go about their daily work. ... They just want to do a good job and go home safe."

    The reforms underway are creating uncertainty and panic among some officers but staff relations representatives are doing their best to ensure that officers' benefits, working conditions remain intact, he said.

    Rob Creasser, a spokesman for the Mounted Police Professional Association, a group of officers seeking the right to collective bargaining, said he believes the letters and the anonymous blog reflect widespread distrust in the senior mangers to create "meaningful change" in the force.

    He said the issue is not that members don't want change; they just don't think that Paulson and his senior executives can bring about real change without "buy in" from front line officers.

    Creasser said he is "hopeful" that more members will come forward to air their grievances in public.

    "The gloves have to come off."


  53. Ontario judge rebukes top Mountie in leaked letter

    By Curt Petrovich, CBC News Aug 17, 2012

    An Ontario judge has admonished RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson for the way he has dealt with dissent within the force. Ontario Superior Court Justice Brian Abrams wrote Paulson a letter, taking him to task for his tone and choice of words in responding to internal criticism during an email exchange between Paulson and B.C. Staff Sgt. Tim Chad. "After some deliberation I felt compelled to write a note," Abrams says in correspondence obtained by CBC News.

    In the email exchange — which was leaked to the public — Chad complained that Paulson was portraying rank and file members as "a bunch of screw-ups". Paulson replied, reprimanding his subordinate. While Abrams wrote the comments were unbecoming of both officers, the judge — a retired Mountie himself — levelled his criticism at Paulson. "While I take no position with respect to the substantive matters discussed in the correspondence, I was surprised by the tone," Abrams writes, after noting his regimental number when he was a member of the force. "To tell a subordinate they are 'living under a rock', that they are 'unsophisticated' and that to 'inform yourself ... it will take an effort', are not words I would have expected to read in correspondence coming from the Office of the Commissioner," he added.

    Abrams's letter was leaked on the heels of one from North Vancouver Const. Peter Kennedy, who likened the commissioner to an "angry teenager" who is "aggressive, insulting, arrogant condescending and immature." In a statement to CBC News, Paulson dismissed Kennedy's complaints, writing: "For every email from the likes of Const. Kennedy, I get a pile of supportive — it’s about time — messages." But the letter from Abrams may not be as easy to dismiss. In it, Abrams offers Paulson two admonitions. One is from his grandmother, who told him: "Just because you may be right doesn't always give you the right to say so." The other, Abrams says, he learned from the lawyer who was his articling principal, who cautioned him never to write a letter he wouldn't want to see on the front page of the Globe and Mail, introduced in court, or that your mother would be embarrassed to read.
    "All good advice, I think", Abrams concludes.

    Lawyer Walter Kosteckyj, a former Mountie, says the letter from a sitting judge is a remarkable indication that Paulson may be losing the moral authority to restore the RCMP's reputation. "I don't think the RCMP can fix this problem on their own anymore," Kosteckyj said. NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison says while the spate of leaked internal correspondence indicates deep structural problems within the RCMP, he doesn't think too much should be read into Abrams' letter. "And I don't think this public debate of what is essentially private correspondence is helpful in solving the larger problems", he says.

    Julie Carmichael, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, wouldn't comment on the correspondence. "What I can say is that our Conservative government is committed to ensuring Commissioner Paulson has the tools he needs to restore pride in Canada's national police force. Minister Toews recently tabled the Enhancing RCMP Accountability Act to do just that," Carmichael said. The RCMP also refused to comment on the letter. "It is unlikely that we would respond to what is likely a private communication between two parties", Sgt. Greg Cox told CBC News, noting that Paulson is on vacation.

    Mohan Sharma, the acting executive legal officer for Ontario's chief justice confirmed Abrams wrote the email. "It was the expression of a purely personal view," Sharma told CBC News in an email. "Justice Abrams has no further comment."


  54. It is sad that the RCMP seems to have become, from what I have read, an agency where officers that are not fit to serve other agencies want to work. I know of 1 officer who, before becoming an officer, was dating an escort and had a personal/professional relationship with an escort after being sworn in. And to say that these officers are in the top 2 best payed police forces in the country makes me cringe at the wasted funds.

  55. Police complaints office rejects officer's 1-day suspension

    CBC News August 21, 2012

    The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has rejected a one day suspension for a Vancouver Police officer who pushed over a disabled woman on a downtown eastside sidewalk.

    Const. Taylor Robinson was captured by surveillance video walking shoulder to shoulder down the Hastings Street sidewalk on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside with two other officers in June 2010.

    When the trio encounter Sandy Davidsen, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy and was walking with obvious difficulty, Robinson can be seen pushing Davidsen to the ground in the video.

    The incident outraged the public and in December 2010, Crown Counsel approved assault charges against Robinson.

    However, the charges were later stayed and Robinson was ordered to complete an alternative measures program.

    But earlier this year, an investigation by the New Westminster Police Service "determined the evidence appeared to substantiate the allegations" of abuse of authority and neglect of duty.

    As a result the Vancouver Police Department proposed suspending Robinson for one day and and that he undertake one day of specified training in available force options and appropriate responses.

    But the Police Complaint Commissioner has determined a one-day suspension doesn't reflect or adequately address the seriousness of Robinson's misconduct.

    In a statement issued by the Pivot Legal Society, Davidsen said she supports the rejection of the discipline by the OPCC, and hopes that there will finally be some meaningful consequences for the officer.

    "He never really apologized" said Davidsen, "The letter sent was just a justification for pushing me and then he didn't even take the time to sign it."

    In the letter of apology to Davidsen, Robinson said he thought she was reaching for his firearm and instinctively pushed her away, and that he regretted how much force he used and that he did not help her back to her feet and check if she was okay afterwards.

    A new disciplinary hearing will now be held to investigate the incident. Davidsen's lawyer Scott Bernstein said he has requested the OPCC appoint a retired judge rather than have a police officer review the case.

    "All too often police disciplining police results in a slap on the wrist. To restore public faith and promote a culture of responsibility among officers, British Columbia must end the practice of police investigating and disciplining police once and for all."


  56. Why Sandy's case matters

    by Scott Bernstein, Health and Drug Policy Campaigner, Pivot Legal Society August 22, 2012

    Yesterday started with my cell phone ringing at 6:08 a.m. I crawled out of bed to answer, and discovered that a reporter was on the other end asking if I could do an interview. Sensing my before-coffee grogginess, perhaps, she asked if I would like five minutes to "compose myself" and said that she could call back. I gratefully accepted.

    This reporter was on the ball to be sure; our press release about the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) decision to reject a one-day suspension as adequate discipline for the officer who brutally shoved Sandy Davidsen to the ground had only gone out eight minutes before. That was the first of about fifteen interviews yesterday on both radio and TV. I tried to communicate all that has happened so far in Sandy's case out and stress to the media why this case is so important. That work seemed to pay off, as the story was picked up by the CBC, Globe and Mail, The Province, and the Vancouver Sun, to name only a few media sources.

    With my phone ringing off the hook all of yesterday, and I didn't get much chance to reflect as I ran from interview to interview. Today, though, in a bit of a quieter moment, I am closer to understanding why this case resonates so deeply with the media and the public. Sandy is a sympathetic figure to be sure. She's about 100 pounds and has both cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. It's hard to believe that three 200+ pound officers thought she was a threat. So, as Constable Robinson doggedly sticks to his story that Sandy was "grabbing" his gun - despite all of the evidence to the contrary - I think people understand how unbelievable that story really is. But, even more so, I think the video of the incident shows a level of callousness on the part of the police that most people find truly shocking. The police are here to "protect and serve", but there they are, on film, not only shoving a disabled woman to the ground, but not even making an effort to see if she was hurt or to help her up. They just walked away. Sandy, was neither protected nor served by the police. Instead, she was treated like she didn't matter.

    This case is important to Sandy and to many of the residents of the Downtown Eastside. Being shoved to the ground and neglected is, unfortunately, what many residents of this community experience symbolically day after day. For Sandy, this case is about seeing justice done. She wants to feel recognized and validated. After two years, she'd like some positive resolution and to hear the officer take responsibility for his actions instead of offering excuses. She'd like to be compensated for what's been done to her by the police so that she might someday afford a motorized wheelchair and doesn't have to stumble along the sidewalk. For our community, this case is important because all too often we've seen the police abdicating responsibility for their actions.

    In a rare step, it seems that the OPCC is exerting some pressure and won't let Cst. Robinson get off with a slap on the wrist. If this case can somehow improve the climate of policing in the Downtown Eastside, it will be a victory for Sandy and for the DTES. Maybe this case will be one small step towards having a civilian oversight for ALL police disciplinary matters. In any case, Pivot will continue to support people like Sandy and work to see that this injustice doesn't happen again.


    Scott Bernstein
    Health and Drug Policy Campaigner


  57. Homeless death toll continues to climb

    BY JOHN BONNAR, rabble.ca | AUGUST 14, 2012

    The photo, featuring a yellow candle burning brightly, hung over the Toronto Homeless Memorial board as a symbol of hope that one day homeless deaths will be a thing of the past.

    For now though, anti-poverty and housing activists continue to gather on the second Tuesday of every month to honour those who’ve died on the streets of Toronto the previous month.

    Passersby were reflected in in the plexiglass cover of the Homeless Memorial Board that now contains the names of over 600 men, women and children.

    On a cool August morning, people drifted in and out of the Church of the Holy Trinity, a sanctuary for homeless people that’s open six days a week.

    Since the early part of the 20th century, the Church has been ministering to the needs of people in the inner city.

    On Tuesday, the smoke from the barbecues rose high above the trees in the grassy area just south of the Church.

    The corporate community hosted an event in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank to which no uninvited guests were allowed entry. Business people only. Not even the homeless people who sat on the benches a few yards away.

    Those who work in the plush office buildings overlooking the Labyrinth dropped non-perishable food items into the drop boxes as they entered the restricted area.

    The music blared out of the large black speakers, drowning out the conversation of the homeless couple scanning the list of names on the Memorial board.

    The event was closed off to the public. Security personnel floated around the perimeter. Nine chefs sweated above the oversized grills.

    Near noon, the lineup to get into the event stretched into the courtyard, almost reaching the entrance of the Eaton Centre.
    The memorial candles were lit shortly after noon and handed out to a couple of dozen mourners, before one person who died in July was added to the board.

    Her name was Cindy Foster.

    For almost 10 years, Cindy was part of the community at Sanctuary Ministries, a church in downtown Toronto.

    “She had this big, huge, curly red hair and a terrific laugh,” said Doug Johnson-Hatlem, a street pastor at Sanctuary. “She had a very tough life living on the streets.”

    After she’d been housed for four years, Cindy received an eviction notice nine days before she died of cancer in hospital.

    “She wasn’t even there and she got evicted,” said Greg Cook, an outreach worker at Sanctuary.

    “Which is often indicative of the nature of poverty and how precarious housing is.”

    In addition to Cindy, two other names were added to the board. One died in October 2008; the other in November 2011.

    After a moment of silence, housing activist Michael Shapcott stepped up to the microphone and announced a new national homelessness initiative called the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness whose mission is to create a national movement to prevent and end homelessness in Canada through the development of 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness in communities across the country.

    “We need to move from crisis responses (like shelters and soup kitchens) to solutions -- permanent, appropriate, safe and affordable housing with the support necessary to sustain it,” wrote the Alliance on its website.

    “We’ve had other national homelessness organizations over the years,” said Shapcott. “But groups have a life span and then they move on.”

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    Shapcott also mentioned that Sanctuary will be holding a meeting on Thursday, September 6 at 1 p.m. around the issue of social profiling of homeless people.

    “Social profiling is a fancy term for the prejudice and discrimination that people who live on the streets experience because of their lack of housing,” he said.

    “So we know that police treat homeless people differently than they treat people who are housed. We know that social services and many others treat homeless people differently than they treat people who are housed.”

    In their forum on September 6, people are invited to talk publicly about social profiling and how to end it.

    An hour before Tuesday’s memorial, Greg Cook said he witnessed a police officer issue a $65 ticket to a homeless person because he smelled Listerine on the man’s breath.

    “I don’t know,” said Cook. “There may be a law about that but I haven’t heard that one before.”

    While that police officer was writing up the ticket, Cook said he saw another officer allegedly rifling through a homeless man’s bag without a warrant.

    “He was looking for the man’s medication, but didn’t ask permission to look through the bag,” he said.

    “Then he threw it back down on the ground. Just really bullying and harassment in my opinion. And the gentlemen were just sitting there on the bench.”

    Cook, who spends a great deal of time as an outreach worker walking the streets building relationships with homeless people, said it’s common practice for police officers to ticket or write notes on homeless people.

    “Which is profiling,” said Cook. “Essentially, it criminalizes poverty.”

    At the end of the memorial vigil, Sherman Hesslegrave, the minister at the Church of the Holy Trinity, invited everyone inside the church for lunch.

    “I have no idea what they’re offering across the way,” he said.

    “But it looks like that’s a ticketed event and ours is not. You’re all welcome.”


  59. RCMP Commissioner had staff stand guard at his wedding

    by SEAN SILCOFF, The Globe and Mail August 27 2012

    Members of the RCMP’s iconic Musical Ride team spent a recent Thursday afternoon in another ceremonial role – acting as an honour guard at RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson’s wedding – a part that normally isn’t played by officers on duty.

    The Mounties, when first contacted by The Globe and Mail, said the officers were volunteers, which is the practice, but when pressed revealed they were on a paid shift.

    Commissioner Paulson and Erin O’Gorman, a director-general in Transport Canada, were married at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Ottawa on Aug. 16. The bride wore a strapless white gown; the groom was in his RCMP uniform, said guest and parishioner Marlene Pignat.

    The low-key wedding was attended by about 80 guests – plus a full “honour guard” consisting of eight RCMP officers dressed in their red serge uniforms, who formed a bridal arch with their lances. “They were dressed in all their finery,” said Ms. Pignat. “It was very nice. The couple seemed to be relaxed and enjoying the moment.”

    When The Globe enquired the following day, RCMP spokesman Corporal David Falls said the eight officers were members in training from the Musical Ride branch who volunteered to be at the wedding.“These duties were performed voluntarily at the end of their workday,” Cpl. Falls said in an e-mail.

    But sources familiar with the situation say the eight trainees were in fact assigned to attend the wedding as part of their regular duties. Because the wedding happened at 4 p.m., their shift was changed that day to start at noon instead of 7 a.m.

    When pressed for clarification, Cpl. Falls acknowledged the wedding in fact happened “in the middle of the [modified] shift” and that the commissioner requested an honour guard. But the spokesman insisted the trainees “were polled for their possible interest in this event. They were not assigned.” Again, sources familiar with the situation say that in fact they were assigned and did not volunteer.

    While the officers were not pulled from active police work – they are spending the year learning to ride and care for horses before joining the ceremonial riding team next year – they were assigned to attend a private function on their employer’s time, to the benefit of their boss.

    Commissioner Paulson has made it his mission to clean up the troubled organization.

    The Globe made several attempts to contact Commissioner Paulson, who is on leave until Sept. 4. He was not available for an interview, and it is unclear whether he knew the officers were on duty.

    One retired high-ranking RCMP official who asked not to be identified said he’d never heard of anyone being assigned during their working hours to perform honour-guard duties at a colleague’s wedding. “These are things that in the past would have been looked past, but in this day and age, when everybody’s looking at how we spend the public purse, they aren’t.”

    Tim Killam, a retired deputy commissioner with the RCMP, pointed out the officers pulled in for wedding duty were performing a ceremonial role in their regular day jobs in the first place, and that RCMP officers regularly show up at sporting events and other public forums as part of their assigned duties to do little more than stand upright and look iconic. “We do honour guard all over across this country because people look at the RCMP as a national symbol. How do you say no to that?” he said. “We’ve been doing it forever and people want it. People are proud of traditions. This is a duty I would think [the trainees] would want to do. It’s a great gig. It’s this, or what do you do back at the stable?”


  60. White Rock RCMP officer charged for fatal high speed pursuit

    CBC News August 27, 2012

    A White Rock RCMP officer has been charged with dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm following a high speed chase that resulted in the death of a pedestrian in May 2011.

    The charges were laid following an external investigation by the Vancouver Police Department, which alleges Const. David Bickle failed to follow numerous federal and provincial guidelines regarding pursuits.

    On May 18, 2011 Bickle attempted to stop a vehicle on Marine Drive, but the driver refused to stop and eventually collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Thrift Avenue and Johnson Road.

    The driver then accelerated through the intersection on a red light, striking and killing pedestrian Marilyn Laursen, 56.

    The driver, Dyle Danyliuk, was arrested, charged and pleaded guilty to four charges. He scheduled to be sentenced in September.

    After the incident, the RCMP asked the VPD to investigate the actions of Const. Bickle, a two-year member of the force, who was working alone that night. White Rock was Bickle's first posting.


  61. Whistleblower claims RCMP targeting him

    CBC News August 27, 2012

    A man who complained to the RCMP that one of its officers posted bondage photos online says that after he reported the Mountie, he and his wife were terrorized by police during a raid on their home.

    The man, whose name is not being made public, told CBC News that the raid occurred after he reported to the RCMP that Cpl. Jim Brown, of Coquitlam, B.C., had posted several bondage-type photos of himself with women on a website with a purported 1.7 million members.

    The RCMP is investigating Brown's connection to the photos.

    But the man said seven officers — bearing a warrant that said the search was being carried out as part of an investigation into alleged defamatory libel — raided his home and seized several computers and cell phones.

    The man said the officers told his wife that he was likely cheating on her because he had been lurking on the website where he found the photos of Brown.

    "After assisting the RCMP regarding this matter we have been targeted by those in Organized Crime Section," the man wrote in a letter to CBC News.

    The raid on the whistleblower’s home came a few days after a blog was posted online by a group called the Re-Sergeance Alliance, which claims to represent 500 Mounties. The blog post alleged corruption by RCMP management and accused the force of trying to cover up Brown's scandalous photos.

    The blog was quickly pulled down and all RCMP officers were advised of a new policy restricting members writing on social media.

    Micheal Vonn, a lawyer with B.C. Civil Liberties Association, calls the RCMP actions an inappropriate use of police resources, because defamation belongs in civil court.

    Vonn also said she believes the defamatory libel section of the Criminal Code is unconstitutional.

    “When we look at these arcane, highly suspect provisions of the Code and we see the police going after their own critics, we have reason to be very concerned indeed,” said Vonn.

    he RCMP has told CBC News there was no “raid” on the man’s home but a legal search that had judicial authorization and that its officers were respectful.


  62. Mounties criticized in B.C. jail sex case

    The Canadian Press August 29, 2012

    An investigation by the RCMP Public Complaints Commission has found that three officers accused of watching two female inmates have sex in a jail cell without intervening demonstrated a lack of professionalism.

    The commission said Wednesday that, while the RCMP investigation of the incident was thorough, the force failed to recognize an issue that could lead to a perception of bias when the force investigates its own members.

    The commission made four recommendations, including that the RCMP consider amending its policy in connection to when an investigation should be turned over to an external agency.

    The Elizabeth Fry Society filed the complaint after the August 2010 incident came to light.

    The women -- who had been arrested separately and were both clearly intoxicated -- were being held in the drunk tank when the officers and a guard allegedly watched them have sex via closed circuit TV.

    Cpl. Kenneth Brown, Const. Evan Elgee, Const. Stephen Zaharia and guard David Tompkins still face breach of trust charges in the case.


  63. Reliance on expert in B.C. police shooting under scrutiny

    By Curt Petrovich, CBC News August 29, 2012

    The father of a man shot by Vancouver police while he crawled on his hands and knees is asking investigators re-examining the case to question the use of an expert who cleared the officer involved in the shooting.

    David Boyd says he believes the Vancouver Police Department and B.C.'s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner should never have relied on the opinions of police psychologist Bill Lewinski.

    "It seems like he was the kind of witness you call in if you want to have the police exonerated," Boyd said.

    Boyd's son, Paul, was shot eight times following an altercation with police in 2007. But it was a final shot to the head while Boyd was on the ground and disarmed that killed the mentally ill animator.

    Stan Lowe, the police complaints commissioner, retained Lewinski as an expert and devoted some detail to his opinions in his final report into the shooting. The report was released in March.

    Lowe wrote that Lewinski "reasonably explained" why Const. Lee Chipperfield fired on an unarmed man by concluding the "intense emotional reaction to the events, coupled with a restricted focus," had, "rendered him inattentionally blind."

    Although Boyd was on the ground some distance away, Lowe says Lewinski's analysis was that the emotional intensity of the event left him "shooting to save his life rather than being focused on shooting to stop Mr. Boyd."

    David Boyd says when he learned Lewinski's opinion was involved in clearing Chipperfield, he was upset.

    "There's no point in asking someone when you know what the answer's going to be," he says. "And I think it just makes the whole thing laughable [that] they would go to someone like this."

    Lewinski is a behavioural scientist and executive director of a private, for-profit police training business in Minnesota called Force Science Institute Ltd. He's also a professor emeritus of Law Enforcement at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

    The former Canadian social worker and school teacher is frequently sought after by U.S. police forces that are facing civil or criminal cases following lethal shootings. Lewinski has been recognized as an expert in reaction, perception and memory by a number of state and federal courts in the U.S.

    But his credentials and research have also been attacked by lawyers for plaintiffs suing the police. A few have successfully had Lewinski barred from testifying.

    Three years ago, Pasadena, Calif., civil rights lawyer John Burton represented the family of a man who was shot while he was obeying police to get on the ground. Burton argued that Lewinski's opinions explaining what happened were "nonsense," "bogus" and "pseudo-scientific gloss."

    The judge agreed, barring Lewinski from testifying because his testimony lacked "scientific foundation."

    Burton is unequivocal: "My advice would be to treat Lewinski for what he is; he's partisan, he's paid for, he always testifies for the police officer and he will always justify a shooting," he says. "If that's what you want, is some pseudo-scientist with a PhD after his name to get up there ... let a cop off the hook for a bad shooting, he's your go-to guy."

    Two years ago, Lewinski was quoted that although his research could be used to prosecute police, he doesn't have time for that and with the size of his organization, he focuses on police.

    Oakland, Calif., lawyer Michael Haddad sees it differently.

    "When someone hires Bill Lewinski, they're not hiring an impartial expert," Haddad told CBC News.

    Haddad is president of the The National Police Accountability project, an organization of civil rights lawyers in the U.S. In 2006, Haddad represented the family of an undercover cop who was shot by two rookie officers.

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    The city hired Lewinski to testify in a civil suit, and Haddad says the psychologist was ready to give evidence that other officers who heard their colleague reveal his identity before he was gunned down could have been mistaken because of the stress of what happened.

    The city eventually settled out of court, but not before Haddad spent seven hours taking Lewinski's deposition.

    "He's a very charming guy," Haddad says. "But ultimately what I learned about him was that he went to a correspondence school of psychology."

    Lewinski received his PhD from Union Institute and University in Ohio in 1988.

    "He did his courses over the internet," Haddad says. "At the end of it, they gave him a degree of a PhD. He called himself a police psychologist. I believe at the time I took his deposition, there was nobody else in the United States with that title. He made it up."

    Two years ago, Chicago lawyer Melvin Brooks questioned Lewinski prior to this testimony in a case in which a police officer shot an armed teenager who was running away from him.

    In a motion filed with the court, Brooks argued Lewinski's degree "is not worth the paper it is written on," and that Lewinski had conceded he is not an expert in biomechanics, use of force, ballistics, or any of the "hard sciences" like anatomy or physics.

    Brooks lost his motion to bar the psychologist from testifying.

    He also lost the civil suit against the police. In allowing Lewinski to give evidence, the judge cited his "extensive 40 years of experience domestically and abroad," noting his explanations "were helpful to the jury."

    "You know the courts are buying into it for the most part," Brooks says. "Which is somewhat unbelievable to me, because it's really not based on science."

    In analyzing the shooting of Paul Boyd, Lewinski's opinion was that the stress of the incident rendered the officer who did the shooting, "inattentionally blind."

    "Inattentional blindness" is a subject University of Illinois psychology professor Dan Simons knows well. While at Harvard, he and a colleague conducted experiments which demonstrated people can fail to notice things in front of them if they're focused on something else. They co-authored a popular book on the subject in 2010.
    Simons found that when asked to concentrate on a video of people passing basketballs around, they frequently failed to see a person wearing gorilla suit walk right through the scene.

    Simons, who's studied the phenomenon for 15 years, says he's asked nearly every week to testify in court for one case or another. He says always declines, because while inattentional blindness may be an explanation for errors in judgement, you can never be certain. As for the Boyd case, Simons is reluctant to weigh in.

    "It sounds like a case of misperception as opposed to inattentional blindness," he offers tentatively.

    Simons says years ago, Lewinski asked him to come and talk at one of the many training seminars he offers to law enforcement. Simons declined.

    "Within the scientific world, he doesn't really do anything on inattentional blindness that I know of. So would he count as an expert in the scientific world? No."

    Lewinski declined repeated requests for interviews over the past several weeks. A spokesperson for his Force Science Institute indicated Lewinski was busy conducting training and in court. CBC News was provided with a two-page biography that notes Lewinski's, "groundbreaking findings have been presented at peer-reviewed conferences," and have been, "published in peer-reviewed journals."

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    Following a request for details of the peer-reviewed research, CBC News was referred to Lewinski's website, which lists a number of articles he's written. One he co-authored was published in Psychological Science, a top science journal. Many others appeared in a law enforcement publication and a police trade magazine called The Police Marksman.

    Rollie Woods, B.C.'s deputy Police Complaint Commissioner says Commissioner Stan Lowe was, "aware of Dr. Lewinski's background, what his expertise was, what his C.V. was, and also that there was some controversy around his opinions and research."

    But Woods told CBC News, "Dr. Lewinski does offer a reasonable explanation as to what may have occurred."

    Woods says Lewinski was retained because he'd already provided his opinions to the Vancouver Police Department and the Commissioner wanted to see if new evidence would change Lewinski's mind about what happened. It didn't.

    "I am certain that the commissioner would have weighed all the evidence", Woods said. "There are 6,000 pages of documentation in this file. Dr. Lewinski's report is only a few pages long and the commissioner told me...he only put a small amount of weight in this piece of evidence."

    Woods says Lewinski billed the commission $3,000 US to essentially repeat his earlier findings.

    Woods suggested it was a bargain, considering the cost of some expert opinions. Lewinski's 2008 fee schedule obtained by CBC News, shows he charged $475 an hour to read or write reports, $950 an hour to testify in court, and $3,800 dollars to be retained as an expert.

    David Boyd believes B.C.'s police complaint commissioner undermined its own investigation by enlisting Lewinski to look at the shooting that killed his son.

    "The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner had not done an independent assessment, really," he said. "They'd just gone back to the same — I will use the word 'expert.'"

    Boyd now wants to the civilian-led investigators who are re-examining the entire case to pay special attention to the use of Lewinski.

    It would appear they are.The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is slowly combing through the boxes of evidence and past reports that led B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch to decide against laying charges against the police.

    Gary Creasser, team commander for the southern region office of ASIRT, told CBC News that the agency is, "looking at not only Mr. Lewinski's opinion, but we're looking at all the evidence that's before us now. We are looking at everything."


  66. B.C. police watchdog bars use of psychologist

    by Curt Petrovich, CBC News August 30, 2012

    B.C.'s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner says it will never again consult a controversial expert who was the subject of a CBC News investigation.

    The opinions of U.S.-based psychologist Bill Lewinski helped clear a Vancouver constable after the officer shot Paul Boyd dead in 2007. Boyd was wounded, disarmed and crawling on the ground when he was fatally shot.

    CBC News found that when Lewinski is not training police or doing research, he testifies as a police expert in court.

    His explanations for police-involved deaths frequently point to an officer's stress before a lethal shooting, and often touch on "inattentional blindness" — a cognitive phenomenon that can result in an observer failing to see things on which they're not focussed.

    So it was with the opinion Lewinski gave the Vancouver Police Department and B.C.'s Police Complaint Commission to account for why VPD Const. Lee Chipperfield shot Paul Boyd.

    Following the CBC stories, Deputy Police Complaint Commissioner Rollie Woods indicated in an email to CBC News the Commission, "would not use Lewinski."

    "I know the difficulty we have with these use-of-force opinions, they are for the most part in favour of the police and in my experience, biased towards the police," Woods wrote.

    Woods’ admission surprised David Eby, Executive Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

    "I didn't think that is something I'd hear from the Police Complaint Commission's office," Eby said Thursday.

    Eby says he can't understand why the Commission relied on Lewinski at all.

    "We certainly agree it's the right decision not to use him again. We hope that in the future they're more careful of who they're hiring."

    It appears the Commission is also looking to be more cautious.

    Eby says Woods has now asked the BCCLA to submit a list of experts the Commission can draw on who are free from any police bias, real or perceived.

    Eby says he never thought the Commission would accept recommendations from his group, which has been a frequent critic.

    "We're glad to supply that support to the OPCC," Eby said. "We don't think it's that complicated to find an expert that's financially independent of police, has recognized qualifications, and testifies for both prosecution and defence in these matters."

    Eby doesn't believe that providing a list of experts it endorses will jeopardize the Commission's independence.

    "I think it's entirely appropriate the OPCC would be coming to the B.C. Civil Liberties Association to ask us who we think experts should be because they are apparently accepting experts cart blanche from the police."

    It's not clear how the Commission plans to use the recommendations from Eby's group.


  67. RCMP officer on trial for Vancouver Island shooting

    CBC News September 4, 2012

    An RCMP officer will go on trial in Duncan, B.C., today, charged with aggravated assault for shooting an unarmed man during a traffic stop nearly three years ago in the Vancouver Island community.

    Constable David Pompeo pulled over Chemainus resident David Gillespie for allegedly driving while prohibited in September 2009.

    At the time, Gillespie said he was complying with the officer's order to get on the ground, when he was shot through the neck.

    An internal RCMP code of conduct investigation found Pompeo guilty of disgraceful conduct.

    He was put on desk duty at the Duncan RCMP detachment after the incident, but was later transferred to Nanaimo RCMP, where he is on active duty.

    Victoria police also investigated the incident, resulting in the charge laid by Crown prosecutors.

    David Eby, the executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said it's unusual to see criminal charges against police officers actually going to trial.

    "This case is a reflection of a slow shift in British Columbia around increasing police accountability and increasing use of the criminal justice system to actually lay charges and to go to court," said Eby.

    "So many of these cases, the officer is charged and then it's diverted from the criminal process through some kind of community service or a letter of apology."

    Eby said he plans to attend the trial in Duncan this week and Gillespie is expected to testify.


  68. B.C. man shot by RCMP testifies in officer's trial

    The Canadian Press September 5, 2012

    A Vancouver Island man says he did exactly what police commanded him to do seconds before he was shot by an RCMP constable nearly three years ago.

    During the first day of testimony in the aggravated-assault trial of Const. David Pompeo, William Gillespie told a court in Duncan, B.C., that after being pulled over by police on the night of Sept. 18, 2009, he got out of his vehicle, onto his knees and reached in front of himself to get on the ground.

    The resident of Chemainus, B.C., said Tuesday he then heard the loudest bang he's ever heard and saw a big flash of light.

    "I felt like I got hit by a freight train," said Gillespie.

    “My body was on fire. I was just shocked. It was beyond words what was going on. I knew I'd been shot. I just couldn't believe it."

    Gillespie said he was even more surprised, given the police officer, later identified as Pompeo, said nothing before he fired his weapon.

    "I remember lying on the ground," said Gillespie. "I remember blood gushing out all over my face. I remember tasting it. I remember choking on it."

    Not at issue during the eight-day trial is whether or not Pompeo discharged his weapon, striking Gillespie with the bullet. Crown prosecutor Todd Patola and defence attorney Ravi Hira have agreed on that point.

    The crucial question of the trial is whether or not the officer was justified in shooting Gillespie, and Patola is arguing Pompeo was not.

    The court heard that on the night of the incident Pompeo and his partner had been driving an unmarked pickup truck when they pulled over Gillespie for suspicion of driving while prohibited.

    Gillespie and his friend, Dale Brewer, had been trying to find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting but couldn't and decided to head home.

    Gillespie said he drove no more than 21 metres from the main road into Brewer's driveway once he heard the police siren and saw flashing red-and-blue lights.

    "Panic set in. I got nervous and realized that the police were behind me and I figured there was nowhere to go so I just pulled into Dale's driveway where I was going in the first place," Gillespie said.

    He said there was nowhere better to pull over and he didn't see the problem in pulling into his friend's driveway.

    "Dale and I were both ordered out of the car at gunpoint," Gillespie said. "I heard both officers. They were both shouting the same command — to get your hands on your head, get down on your knees and onto the ground.

    "I made sure, I made bloody sure, that he knew that I had nothing in my hands," said Gillespie.

    And while nearly blinded by the high beams of the officer's pickup truck, Gillespie said he complied with their orders.

    Gillespie is scheduled to face cross-examination Wednesday.


  69. Note from Perry Bulwer: I first heard this report on CBC Radio this morning. There was some information in that radio report not mentioned in this article below. It included an interview with a man who was violently assaulted by one of the police officers in this story. The wife of the assaulted man said that the officer who assaulted her husband had the demeanor and behaviour of someone on steroids or drugs. Unsurprisingly, it was the man charged and convicted, not the rogue cop. The man said he was going to see if his case could be reopened, given this scandal of steroids and date rape drugs being trafficked by an off duty police officer.


    Niagara police probe steroid, drug allegations within ranks

    By Dave Seglins and John Nicol, CBC News August 17, 2012

    Police in Niagara region are grappling with allegations of steroid use and drug smuggling involving their own officers in the wake of an arrest of one constable by U.S. authorities in April.

    CBC News has learned that Niagara Regional Police Service supervisors have launched an investigation following the arrest of Const. Geoff Purdie, a decorated 13-year veteran of the force and a former police instructor at a local college. A number of front-line officers within its Fort Erie, Ont., detachment have also been reassigned.

    A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent charged Purdie with conspiracy to export and distribute controlled substances after tracking Purdie's repeated trips from Fort Erie into Niagara Falls, N.Y., to pick up packages which, according to U.S. investigators, were sent to a private mail box filled with drugs.

    A U.S. criminal complaint filed with the court says authorities seized a number of packages containing testosterone, Valium, Xanax, anabolic steroids and the main ingredient used to make GHB, commonly known as the "date rape drug," which had an estimated street value of $580,000.

    The ongoing investigation involves members of the U.S Department of Homeland Security Border Enforcement Security Task Force, which is made up of eight U.S. law enforcement agencies, two specialists from Canada Border Services Agency, and officers from Toronto, Peel and Niagara police. The alleged smuggling network may have reached Brampton, Ont.

    “[Purdie's] been suspended with pay and our professional standards group will — and are — conducting an investigation,” Niagara police Chief Jeff McGuire told CBC News.

    However, McGuire refused to confirm how many other officers are under investigation.

    CBC News spoke to numerous sources both in and outside the police service who say there is a shakeup underway at the Fort Erie detachment, particularly on the "C Platoon" where Purdie worked.

    Chief McGuire played down the staff changes and was only willing to say that a number officers within the Fort Erie detachment have been reassigned. He also said one additional officer has been suspended pending further investigation.

    "Getting into any details in relation to any officers’ suspensions and reason, or where they work is not fair to the officers at this point,” McGuire said.

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  70. continued from previous comment...

    According to the U.S. court documents, the shipments of drugs Purdie allegedly picked up were sent to a U.S. mail box that was registered to the owner of FITMASS, a fitness and nutritional supplement store in Niagara Falls, Ont.

    The documents offer no hints as to what investigators suspect was the ultimate plan for the ingredient used to produce the date rape drug.

    However, according to the arresting officer, U.S. and Canadian investigators are probing whether Purdie was involved in supplying steroids to a network across southern Ontario.

    The owner of FITMASS refused to speak to CBC News when reporters approached his store this week.

    “Some of that has come to our attention and will be investigated,” McGuire told CBC News when asked whether he was concerned about steroid use or trafficking by any of his officers.

    Steroid use in and of itself is not illegal Niagara police spokesman Derek Watson said the force does not have a specific policy relating to steroids.

    "However, it is covered under our general order relating to conduct,” he said.

    Selling and distributing the controlled substances without the proper licensing is against the law. Numerous police forces in Canada and the U.S. have grappled with steroid abuse among officers who use the drugs for bodybuilding.

    But some have run afoul of the public in instances of “roid rage,” where erratic behaviours and abuses of power by officers have been attributed to use of the drugs.

    Police supervisors have also cautioned officers against the use of steroids given that their supply is usually dependent on illegal underground networks.

    Chief McGuire, who only assumed his position as head of NRPS in June, also indicated that proving steroid use is not as simple as identifying officers who appear burly or very muscular.

    “We’re all different and a lot of people you can’t judge looking at them and suggest they may be on steroids," he said. "And quite frankly, I haven’t met the 730 police officers here, as yet, so if there is any allegation or suggestion of wrongdoing that comes out of any investigation, I’ll be sure that it’s investigated to the end because I‘m not going to tolerate misconduct or misbehaviour.

    “I made that quite clear from the time that I got here.”

    Purdie has been released pending his next court date, which has been put over until Oct. 2, Katie Baumgarten, an assistant U.S. attorney, told CBC News.


  71. BC unleashes independent police watchdog on RCMP and civilian police forces

    By Dene Moore, The Canadian Press September 10, 2012

    VANCOUVER - Starting Monday, police incidents in British Columbia that end in fatalities or serious injury will be investigated by an outside agency.

    The provincial Independent Investigations Office will open its doors, taking over reviews for incidents involving RCMP, 11 municipal police departments, provincial Transit Police and one First Nations police force operating in the province.

    The office fulfills the primary recommendation from public inquiries into two high-profile police-involved deaths: Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver airport in October 2007 after being stunned with an RCMP Taser and Frank Paul froze to death in a Vancouver alley where he was taken by Vancouver police after being ejected from the city drunk tank.

    B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond will officially open the office on Monday alongside IIO director Richard Rosenthal.

    Bond has said the office will strengthen the public's faith in police by ensuring that incidents of death or serious harm are investigated in an impartial way.

    Mark Surakka, whose daughter lay dying for four days after an RCMP officer failed to properly investigate a 911 call, said the office has been a long time coming.

    But Surakka has many questions, and he's hesitant to believe the new watchdog will be able to hold police accountable for their actions.

    "I think it's an important step," Surakka said Sunday.

    But he fears the office's recommendations and decisions will not be binding on the police agencies, or that it may still fall to police to report themselves in cases of injury.

    "We found out by accident," Surakka said of the circumstances of his daughter's death, a case which would likely not fall under the auspices of the IIO. "That makes me sort of hesitant to endorse it fully."

    In his daughter's case, it wasn't until Surakka began asking questions that it was revealed that a 911 call came in the day she and her partner were shot at a marijuana grow operation near Mission, B.C. The RCMP officer who responded to the call did not get out of his vehicle.

    Lisa Dudley lay in the house for four days before a neighbour found her. She died en route to the hospital.

    The officer involved lost a day's pay and received a letter of reprimand, and the RCMP changed its policy to require officers to speak directly to a caller who dials 911.

    "They have always been able to do what they want. There has been no accountability," Surakka said of RCMP.

    In order to maintain impartiality, the government has stipulated that none of the investigators hired by the office can have served as a police officer in B.C. within the past five years.

    The Surakkas say that's not good enough.

    Having even former officers involved is putting "a wolf in the hen house," said Rosemarie Surakka.

    "They really shouldn't have police in there to help them. What they need is somebody completely neutral, and from the outside."

    continued in next comment...

  72. continued from previous comment...

    David Eby of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said his group, which has long advocated the creation of an independent watchdog, is glad to see this day finally arrive.

    "We think that it's a long overdue improvement in police accountability in our province," Eby said.

    But the association would still like the IIO mandate expanded to look at past cases, such as the shooting of Ian Bush, a 22-year-old sawmill worker who was arrested for having an open beer at a hockey game in Houston, B.C., and ended up shot in the head in an RCMP cell in October 2005.

    The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP investigated and found the shooting by Const. Paul Koester acted in self-defence, but concerns linger about this and several other cases, Eby said.

    "A number of these cases are ongoing concerns in the communities where these people come from," he said.

    The association would also like to see the IIO take over investigations of allegations of sexual assault against police officers. And they will be watching closely to see that police co-operate with the independent watchdog, Eby said.

    Ontario has used an arms-length watchdog to conduct investigations into police-involved deaths since 1990, but it has come under fire for having too close a relationship with police.

    Alberta has its own oversight unit similar to Ontario, while Nova Scotia appointed its first watchdog in September. Quebec has said it is considering the same.

    The IIO in B.C. replaces a provincial police complaints commission that had no oversight of RCMP, which polices most of the province.


  73. Mountie who shot man says he suspected victim was armed

    The Canadian Press September 11, 2012

    An RCMP officer told a B.C. provincial court he had little time to react before he shot a Vancouver Island man who emerged from his vehicle gesturing in a way that suggested he might be armed.

    Const. David Pompeo is accused of aggravated assault for shooting William Gillespie in the shoulder during a traffic stop on Sept. 18, 2009.

    Testifying in his own defence Monday, Pompeo told Judge Josiah Wood that when Gillespie emerged from his vehicle the man seemed to have a "thousand-yard stare" and he couldn't tell if Gillespie was high on drugs, planning to attack or thinking nothing at all.

    "I remember thinking that he was really close to me and that I couldn't hesitate," Pompeo said.

    Pompeo and his partner had been driving an unmarked pickup truck when they pulled over Gillespie for suspicion of driving while prohibited. The court heard that after seeing the lights of Pompeo's ghost car, Gillespie had pulled his sedan into a friends Chemainus, B.C., driveway and stopped with a skid.

    Pompeo told the court Gillespie got out of his vehicle without being told to do so and made "blatant movements and gestures making me to believe he was armed."

    Gillespie took his vehicle down a very dark road and the officers didn't have reliable radio signals to communicate with dispatch, Pompeo testified.

    But the officer said it was really Gillespie's behaviour that put him on high alert.

    "I was dealing with somebody who blatantly ignored commands at gunpoint," Pompeo said.

    "It was concerning because I was pointing a firearm at him and he didn't appear to be listening to anything I was saying."

    The statements are in stark contrast to Gillespie's earlier testimony at the trial, where he said he was ordered out of the car and complied fully with Pompeo's instructions.

    Gillespie told the trial last week he was getting down on his knees and was reaching in front of him to get on the ground when the officer fired his weapon.

    The officer, who had just over four years of experience at the time of the shooting, walked the judge through segments of his training as they related to how police assess and react to various situations, including what he called "threat cues".

    "There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to dealing with suspects," Pompeo said. "Everybody perceives things differently and no two situations are exactly alike."

    The court heard Pompeo had been warned by his partner that Gillespie was a heavy drug user and had a criminal record that included robberies and violence.

    "He didn't appear to be high on drugs but the look on his face ... was just a blank stare."

    Pompeo said Gillespie got to within five or six feet of him before he fired his service pistol.

    "He was blatantly ignoring my commands to comply while he was advancing at gunpoint," the officer said. "I was under the impression that he was retrieving the means with which to cause me bodily harm, or worse."


  74. Veteran shot dead by B.C. police treated for PTSD

    The Canadian Press September 13, 2012

    A man fatally shot at his home in a confrontation with RCMP in Prince George, B.C., was a veteran of the Bosnian conflict who was finally getting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, says his family.

    Greg Matters was a soldier for 15 years, his sister, Tracey, said on Thursday.

    He left the Canadian Forces in 2009 and after he returned to his home town in northern British Columbia it became clear to those who loved him that Matters was suffering from PTSD, she said.

    "There was a delay in him getting treatment," said his sister, who returned to Canada from Australia after learning her brother was dead.

    "We actually, as a family, suspected he had post-traumatic stress disorder and we sought treatment independently."

    About a year and half ago, he began treatment at the Operational Stress Injury clinic in Vancouver, one of nine across Canada funded by Veterans Affairs.

    "He was just back to the good old Greg that I knew 20 years ago," Tracey Matters said in a telephone interview with reporters. "He was an absolute riot. I loved him to bits.

    "He was a decorated veteran suffering from PTSD but was making amazing success; he was improving dramatically."

    But on Monday, an RCMP emergency response team was deployed to a rural property near Prince George, in the province's Central Interior, where a confrontation ensued, and 40-year-old Matters was fatally shot by police.

    His family said there are many questions they want answered about his death, including why police used lethal force on a man on his own property when the family has been told Matters was not armed.

    "Why wasn't my brother allowed to talk to his doctor, his mother or family friends during the standoff when this was requested?" she asked. "Why was an emergency response team deployed in the first place?

    "And most importantly, why is my brother no longer with us?”

    Tracey Matters said her brother may have been suicidal at time but his doctor never considered him a threat to anyone.

    In the hours before the fatal confrontation, Greg Matters sent a series of emails to the local newspaper, the Prince George Citizen, that mentioned his mental health struggles and his military service.

    He wrote of a dispute with his brother at his mother's home on the weekend, and a belief that RCMP were out to hurt him.

    "This all goes back so much -- the police wishing to hurt me -- why do people want to hurt me -- I did nothing wrong but protect myself and more importantly my mother and property," Matters wrote to the Citizen in an email time-stamped 11:04 a.m. on Monday.

    Matters said her brother was taking university courses via correspondence and was planning a trip to Australia to visit her this Christmas.

    British Columbia's new Independent Investigations Office is looking into the shooting, and Matters said she has confidence in that investigation.


  75. B.C. Mountie suspended for 7 years fights dismissal

    Constable charged with sexual assault off work with pay from 2005-2012

    By Jason Proctor, CBC News September 25, 2012

    A B.C. Mountie who was accused of sexual assault is fighting a decision to kick him out of the RCMP after he had been suspended with pay for nearly seven years.

    Const. James Douglas MacLeod resigned from the force at the end of August when RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson rejected his appeal of a code of conduct decision, ordering Macleod to either quit or be dismissed.

    Now, MacLeod has filed an application in Federal Court for a judicial review of the decision.

    Critics say the case highlights problems with the RCMP's internal disciplinary procedure, which, in MacLeod’s case, has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits while he sat suspended from work.

    "In my view, nearly seven years is an extraordinarily lengthy period. It's a ridiculous period of time," said Robert Gordon, director of Simon Fraser University's school of criminology. "I couldn't see that being tolerated in other areas of the public sector, let alone the private sector."

    RCMP announced charges of sexual assault against MacLeod and another man in December 2005. The allegations were the outcome of a 10-month investigation into events that allegedly took place at a Super Bowl party the previous February.

    At the time, RCMP refused to speak in detail about the case, but a writ of summons filed by the alleged victim and another man in B.C. Supreme Court in 2007 claimed for damages of "physical and emotional injury and emotional shock." The writ claimed MacLeod and his co-accused "committed physical and sexual assault and battery against [the woman] and assault and battery against [the man.]"

    MacLeod countersued the woman for what he claimed was "defamation, libel, slander and false, negligent and malicious statements made to members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and others."

    The Crown stayed the charges in October 2007, and in March 2008, both MacLeod and the complainant applied in B.C. Supreme Court to have their civil claims dismissed.

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  76. continued from previous comment...

    The test for accusations made as part of an RCMP Code of Conduct hearing is a balance of probabilities. MacLeod was ordered to resign or be fired from the force, a decision the RCMP says Paulson upheld this July. In his Federal Court application, MacLeod claimed Paulson's decision was either based on "erroneous finding of fact" or made in a "perverse or capricious manner."

    The RCMP said MacLeod was suspended with pay from Dec. 9, 2005, until his resignation on Aug. 31, 2012. The commissioner has been vocal in his desire to speed up the disciplinary process to remove so-called "bad apples" from the force. Gordon said this case illustrates why.

    "I think Paulson has been quite frustrated by the length of time it takes to bring these cases to a conclusion," Gordon said. "The solution is to completely revamp the disciplinary process, so that you've got a better series of steps and a faster series of steps that people have to go through and in the process of designing the legislation, you put cut-off points in it."

    "How changes are engineered is, of course, the big challenge. And we know that there has been a process underway to get some changes introduced through Parliament in the form of amendments to the RCMP Act. One would hope that they're in a reasonably advanced stage because they've been at that for some time as well."

    Cpl. Gerry Hoyland, a 35-year veteran who won an apology from the RCMP in the settlement of a harassment suit earlier this year, said the RCMP uses delays in discipline as a way of getting rid of officers without actually having to fire them.

    "To have a member suspended with or without pay for six or seven or eight years is just unconscionable," said Hoyland, who lives in Edmonton. "You're under a cloud for a long period of time, and that's going to cause all sorts of things like depression, and stress, and anxiety and things like that. All sorts of mental health issues."

    Hoyland also questioned the seemingly arbitrary nature of the suspension process. He compared MacLeod's suspension with pay to the case of Const. Derrick Holdenried, a Burnaby RCMP officer suspended without pay for nearly two years after allegedly stealing $22 in change from a community policing station. Holdenried, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, is still awaiting his code of conduct hearing.

    Gordon says dealing with year-long delays would be a lot easier for an officer suspended with pay than without.

    "The stress and strain on the individual officer is — I would think — quite substantial," said Gordon. "Of course, if the individual knows that at the end of the day, all that's going to happen to him at worst is that he's going to be dismissed, then in all probability he's been preparing for that eventuality. And if you're in that position, you can just have a really good ride for a large number of years on the back of the process."

    MacLeod's lawyer said her client was not prepared to comment on the case.


  77. Montreal Cop Abuse: a helpful translation

    by Martin Patriquin, Maclean's October 12, 2012

    OK, so a bit of background. Yesterday, Radio-Canada had a cherry of a story about Stéfanie Trudeau, a Montreal police officer. Ms. Trudeau first gained notoriety during last spring’s student strikes, when she was filmed in full riot gear, casually hosing down demonstrators and passersby with pepper spray as though they were so many geraniums. The incident cost Officer 728—her badge number—her position on the force’s riot squad during the remainder of the protests.

    On October 2, the officer “caught” a fellow beer in hand, opening the door to his apartment building for his friend. This ensued. [see link below] Watch it. It’s astounding/stomach churning. Trudeau confiscated all the phones on the scene (save for the one filming the incident, évidemment) but accidentally hit the call button on one of them. 728′s epic tirade to her boss was caught on tape. She’s nasty, angry and profane, yet keenly aware of her own notoriety throughout.

    Here is a rough translation of what she said:

    “Then we managed to handcuff him, but during that time all the rats who were upstairs in… these guitar strummers, they’re all goddamn red squares [ed's note: symbol of student protest], all these goddamn artists of, of, anyway they’re all shit eaters, so they all started coming out of the apartment, you know.

    “Then we… we… I jumped on the goddamn asshole. Then, obviously, he resisted the neck hold, goddammit, I’m choking him, then I go down the stairs, we’re fighting with him in the stairs [...] Then finally I had to raise the tone and I started going crazy, so that people go back upstairs, you know.

    “Even if I wasn’t 728 they’re idiots anyways, you know it’s because they recognized me, it’s damn sure that I’m easily recognizable, they’re aren’t 12,000 women who fight [...] No, I didn’t pepper spray them, but I was fucking close to it, I was close, I really fucking wanted to, but I told myself that if I did it I’d find myself in the headlines again.”

    Mission accomplished, despite herself.


    Video at:


  78. Woman pushed to ground by officer gets rights hearing

    CBC News October 24, 2012

    The Human Rights Tribunal has tossed out an application that could have derailed a discrimination complaint lodged against a Vancouver police officer.

    The tribunal has dismissed the claim by Const. Taylor Robinson, who argued the complaint against him was unlikely to succeed.

    The ruling means a full hearing will be held into the complaint by Sandy Davidsen, a small woman who suffers from cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

    Davidsen filed her complaint after video showed her being pushed to the ground by a police officer as she tried to walk between three constables who were patrolling the sidewalks of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

    Robinson has said he didn't know Davidsen was disabled and thought she was reaching for his gun.

    "She really just wants her day in court," said Scott Bernstein, Davidsen's lawyer. "She wants justice to be done, and she wants this done in a public manner."

    The Vancouver Police Department has declined to comment on the case.

    Assault charges against Robinson were stayed and the officer wrote an apology — one Bernstein says was insincere.

    He says the complaint focuses not just on Robinson, but on a system that led a rookie officer to think he could shove anyone — disabled or otherwise.

    "I think there really needs to be some explanation about why that happens and what about the police culture allowed that to happen," Bernstein said.


  79. Teen arrested after photographing B.C. mall takedown

    CBC News October 25, 2012

    A B.C. teen who aspires to be a journalist says his rights were violated when he was set upon by security guards and then arrested by police after photographing an incident at Metrotown shopping mall in Burnaby, B.C.

    Jakub Markiewicz , 16, said he was in the mall in September and took a picture of what he thought was a newsworthy event — a man being arrested by security guards.

    But Markiewicz said the guards quickly turned on him, demanding he delete the photo, which he couldn’t do because he was shooting on a film camera.

    Markiewicz said he turned to leave the mall and then snapped a second shot as RCMP arrived.

    He said the security guards held him, attempting to grab his camera, and he was pushed to the ground. He said he then tried to use his body to protect two cameras he carried in his bag.

    "They're just yelling and screaming, and just telling me to stop resisting," Markiewicz said.

    He admits he started swearing and was then handcuffed by police and taken outside the mall to an RCMP cruiser by the officers and mall security.

    Markiewicz said the guards again demanded he delete the photos and he told them once more he couldn’t.

    He said the Mounties could not remove his backpack while he was handcuffed so they cut it off his back with a utility knife and searched it.

    "I was like, just perplexed. I was like, ‘What's going on here, why am I being treated like this,’” he said.

    Burnaby RCMP say Markiewicz was arrested for causing a disturbance, but was not charged. He has, however, been banned from Metrotown mall for six months.

    The teen’s father, Zbigniew Markiewicz, said mall security and police completely over-reacted.

    "There’s no real threat to anyone by having a camera and snapping a picture," he said.

    Lawyer Douglas King, of Pivot Legal in Vancouver, agrees, saying that private mall security guards and police have no right to try to seize someone’s camera or demand that photos be deleted — even on private property.

    King said that too often, police take the side of guards, with no questions asked.

    "They need to be able to look at this with a cool head, separate the parties, and really give a fair analysis to both sides, not put a kid in handcuffs and take him to a police cruiser," King said.

    Metrotown mall backs the actions of its security guards.

    “He didn't comply with the request of the security nor the RCMP, so they took appropriate action they deemed necessary to defuse the situation,” said Doug MacDougall, of Metrotown Properties. MacDougall said that Markiewicz was told that he couldn't take pictures inside the mall.

    King said the province needs better oversight of security guards.

    Justice Minister Shirley Bond told CBC News that current legislation contains adequate measures to ensure appropriate oversight of the security guard industry, but said that oversight is a big job.

    "Remember, there are 22,000 licensed security personnel that are doing their job every day — there are situations that will happen, but we have a process to deal with that, as do the police," Bond said in an email.

    Justice Ministry spokeswoman Tasha Schollen said there had been 371 complaints related to the security industry filed since the beginning of 2011. Schollen said 22 of the complaints related to use of force and of those, five have led to "enforcement action."


  80. Vancouver man compensated for police beating

    CBC News October 26, 2012

    A man who was hauled out of his house and beaten by two plainclothed police officers two years ago has reached an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with the City of Vancouver.

    Yao Wei Wu, 46, suffered fractured bones around his eye and multiple bruises.

    Police later apologized and said the officers were responding to a 911 call of a domestic assault when they went to the wrong door and mistook Wu for someone else.

    Gabriel Yiu, who was part of a citizens group that formed to support Wu, said the settlement is a relief.

    "He is quite happy that there is closure of this case and he and his family can move back to their daily life," said Yiu.

    But Wu is still waiting on the courts to decide if the officers' actions will be subject to a public hearing, said Yiu.

    At the time of the attack in January 2010, Wu, who does not speak English, told CBC News through an interpreter that as soon as he opened the door the plainclothes officers pulled him out of the house and beat him.

    Wu said he was hit multiple times on the back, head and face, but said he did not resist because the men were armed with guns.

    It was only after police handcuffed Wu and asked his name that they appeared to realize they had the wrong man, he said.

    The Delta chief of police, Jim Cessford, was asked by Vancouver police to conduct an investigation of the beating. In his report Cessford found the officers were simply doing their duty and Wu was resisting arrest.

    Wu's lawyer Cameron Ward has called Cessford's conclusion "ridiculous."

    Ward said the Delta Police Department was negligent in its investigation of the incident by allegedly failing to interview the two Vancouver police officers named or any other material witnesses.

    Ward also said the Delta police failed to conduct a thorough examination of the crime scene and failed to make a timely report to Crown counsel.


  81. The camera can be a cop’s friend

    by Matt Gurney, National Post October 30, 2012

    A young man wearing a Ghostbusters costume was filmed doing a backflip off the roof of an RCMP cruiser, and over an RCMP officer, and then being roughly grabbed, pushed up against the cruiser, and arrested.

    The widely viewed video was posted to LiveLeak.com on Sunday.
    see: http://youtu.be/sM7MVApePJE

    Information embedded with the video says that the incident occurred on Saturday, in New Brunswick. (Calls to RCMP in New Brunswick were not returned.) After the flip, the ghostbuster is arrested by two loudly cursing officers for mischief and being drunk in a public place.

    But if it is genuine, what is disturbing is the last thing said before the video abruptly ends. It’s a warning from one of the Mounties, who tells the person behind the camera: “Do you want to get arrested, too?”

    Arrested for what? It is not illegal to videotape or photograph a police officer.

    On Monday, the National Post editorial board decried the treatment of a young B.C. man who was tackled by mall security guards, and later taken into RCMP custody, after photographing guards arresting a man. In Montreal, Stéfanie Trudeau, a police officer with a controversial past, has been suspended over allegations that she assaulted a citizen who filmed her performing an arrest.

    Clearly, police officers from coast to coast are edgy about being filmed on duty. But police officers have a very unique role in our society. They are not only tasked with enforcing the law and protecting the public, but are issued deadly weapons to enable them to perform that duty. Only police officers and soldiers are entrusted with the state’s monopoly on violence to protect our civil society, and we’re far more likely to interact with a cop than a grunt.

    In exchange for that very special trust, the public has a right — a need, really — to ensure that police officers are held to the very highest possible standard. Most police officers in this country don’t need someone looking over their shoulder. But recent years have brought us just enough stories of poor police conduct to give the public good reason to reach for a camera when they see an officer interacting with the public.

    There was the G20 in Toronto, of course, where police used excessive force and violated civil liberties. There’s the case of an Ottawa woman who was arrested for no reason and strip-searched in jail; the officer in that case is now on trial for sexual assault. Then there was the death, at the hands of four RCMP officers armed with Tasers, of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport.

    In every case, the police insisted they’d done no wrong — in the case of Dziekanski’s death, they’d in fact sworn they’d acted properly. In each case, videos taken or obtained by the public showed those claims were false.

    Police wield enormous power. Courts value their word. You can’t blame an increasingly skeptical public for wanting some videotape on their side.

    Rather than fearing being filmed, police officers should embrace it. Yes, it’s annoying. And yes, the public may be outraged by some of the rough, but legally justified, steps that police must sometimes take while performing their duties.

    But it would help restore the public’s faith in their police, which has been sadly tarnished of late, if police officers took the attitude that they had nothing to hide. Letting people film them doing their duty without threatening to arrest them without cause would be a good place to start restoring the vital trust currently missing between Canadians and their police.


  82. Violent security take down of man in wheelchair videotaped

    Video shows Pacific Centre security guards hitting shoplifting suspect in the head

    CBC News October 31, 2012

    CBC News has obtained video of another violent takedown by private undercover security guards, this time at Vancouver’s Pacific Centre Mall.

    The shaky cellphone video shows a man who appears to have one leg, in an electric wheelchair, surrounded by three undercover security guards who suspect him of shoplifting.

    One of the officers starts swearing, before knocking the man out of his wheelchair with a blow to the head.

    "I'll f--kin' throw you on the ground and f--k you up!” the guard is heard saying on the video. “Don't f--k with me ... On the ground! On the ground! On the ground! You're so stupid — on your chest!"

    One eyewitness who doesn’t want her name used because she works nearby sent the video to CBC News. She said the incident was witnessed by up to 50 people, many of whom demanded the guards stop and called police.

    Doug King of the Pivot Legal Society says even if the suspect was physically resisting arrest, nothing justifies the violent takedown.

    “I wouldn’t even call that an arrest — I’d call that an assault,” he said. “There’s nothing in the law that authorizes you to strike somebody like that.”

    King says it’s unlikely the guards seen in the video were doing what they were trained to do.

    “The language really stands out — it proves that this wasn’t even an arrest, it was an act of violence,” he said.

    “It’s an example of when security guards get a little too emotional in situations — just because someone commits a criminal offence, it doesn’t mean they don’t have any rights, and they have the right not to be assaulted by people.”

    The B.C. Ministry of Justice has launched an investigation, Minister Shirley Bond said in a statement late Wednesday.

    “I have seen the video and I find it very troubling," Bond said. "The investigation will determine if there was any inappropriate action on the part of these security workers."

    Bond said there is a range of sanctions available to the registrar of the Security Services Act, "from warnings and violation tickets to license suspension or cancellation."

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  83. continued from previous comment...

    The guards are employees of the Genesis Security Group, which is under contract by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association to patrol member businesses, including those in Pacific Centre Mall.

    Genesis Security vice-president Ashley Meehan says the company is investigating and takes the incident very seriously.

    “When we look at footage like that, obviously we need to look at the whole situation,” he said. “We’re looking at about a 30-second video of something that would have been several minutes long as an incident.”

    Meehan says the victim has multiple prior cases of shoplifting and theft.

    “He was identified in breaking the law, with shoplifting, and was approached on this and did resist and the guards themselves responded to it accordingly and obviously have to make the arrest,” Meehan said.

    “As far as I know he was being aggressive towards them … and there was possible assault.”

    Karen English with the Justice Institute of B.C., which sets the standard and created the curriculum for licensing security workers in the province, says it’s up to the guards themselves to ensure they work within the parameters of the law.

    “I think the individual’s responsibility begins before the training,” she said.

    “The responsibility of the employer, the hiring process, the training is one thing — going beyond that is the individual and other things that may affect how they perform their actions.”

    Both the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and Cadillac Fairview, the company that owns Pacific Centre Mall, say they are also investigating the incident.

    According to the Vancouver Police Department, no charges were laid against the guards or the alleged shoplifter.

    The incident comes a week after CBC News broke the story of a teenager who was pushed to the ground and arrested by security guards at Burnaby's Metrotown Mall.


  84. How to reinvent the RCMP

    The case for civilian oversight of Canada's national police

    By Michael Kempa, CBC News November 14, 2012

    A bill making its way through Parliament promises to overhaul the RCMP by making individual police officers more accountable for their actions.

    But recent history in Canada and elsewhere tells us that improved discipline and a stronger independent complaints process on their own are not enough to get the job done.

    Bill C-42, known as the Enhancing RCMP Accountability Act, will empower Commissioner Bob Paulson and a revamped complaints commission to toss out those officers Paulson has called "rotten apples."

    In an open letter written to Canadians on 28 May, Paulson asked for this overhaul and said that he is "trying to run a modern police force with a discipline system that was current 25 years ago."

    In an interview with CBC News on Tuesday, the commissioner went on to say that the sexual harassment problems within the force have largely overshadowed his first year on the job.

    And in this regard, the proposed RCMP accountability act probably has to be seen as a step forward.

    But truly opening up the notoriously clam-tight police culture and demonstrating real change to an increasingly skeptical public will require a much bolder leap to push civilian oversight right down to the core of management and operations.

    This has been the approach successfully taken in Northern Ireland, where the police are understood to be "operationally responsible" to their civilian masters.

    On this, Canada's proposed legislation provides nothing new of importance.

    Beyond the bad apples

    As for the allegations of sexual harassment that have dominated recent headlines, many complainants said that their supervisors ignored or derided them — which indicates a deeper culture within the force that doesn't reflect today's modern, inclusive values.

    But internal harassment is not the only issue here. There have also been damaging public incidents involving the apparent use of excessive force and allegations of inefficiency and poor co-operation with other police and security services.

    RCMP morale is reported to be extremely low and there will be no easy fixes for these deep and connected problems, which corrode the machinery of one the world's largest and most complex policing organizations.

    From addressing noise complaints in Chilliwack to dealing with international organized crime and foreign policing assistance, the RCMP covers aspects of municipal, provincial, federal and international policing across many jurisdictions in Canada and abroad.

    Improving efficiency and rooting out cultural rot in what is quickly approaching a 30,000-member — $4 billion annual budget — behemoth is a daunting task.

    The good news is that there has been no shortage of strategies from reputable bodies on how to untangle these problems. The bad news is that somehow these reforms seem to have always fallen off track.

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  85. For example, the 2007 task force into the RCMP, headed by David Brown, a prominent Ontario lawyer and former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, argued that the Mounties should be overseen by an independent board of directors.

    He was envisioning a group of civilians with business management skills that would be tasked with reviewing and offering input on administrative and organizational matters.

    This would force the police to open up and explain their practices to professionals with trained eyes for efficiency and effectiveness.

    Paulson's immediate predecessor, William Elliott — the first non-Mountie to head the RCMP — supported this approach, as did many academics, lawyers, civil rights groups and police professionals.

    But Elliott ran into a firestorm of internal protest over his leadership style and personality, and nowhere in this newest accountability legislation can this proposal for a professional board of directors be found.

    Of course, having a civilian management board to deal with efficiency is one thing. But the Mounties also need to show on a regular basis that their operations serve the public interest — not the government interest, and not the police interest.

    Nowhere is this more clouded than in the domains of national security and public order.

    The big lesson from the commissions that looked into the Air India bombing and the Maher Arar rendition is that Canada's hodge-podge of security agencies, which includes the RCMP, operate within their own silos, particularly as far as oversight goes.

    And until this is addressed, the concerns of a skeptical public, at the very least, may never be allayed.

    The same can be said about overseeing the RCMP role in securing public order at major events, such as economic summits.

    From the hosting of the APEC conference in Vancouver in 1997 to the more recent events surrounding the G20 summit in Toronto in June 2010, the perception was left that the Mounties put government and economic interests ahead of the safety of citizens.

    Would a civilian board of directors, at arms-length from the government of the day, change that perception? And, more importantly, police practices?

    The civilian board originally proposed by Brown would not have had that kind of role on the operational front.

    But the recent June 2012 report that examined the Toronto Police Service role at the G20 summit, written by former associate chief justice of Ontario John Morden, calls for precisely this notion of operational responsibility.

    The objective is not to allow civilian managers to directly interfere in how the police carry out their extraordinary daily responsibilities.

    But it is about forcing police brass to debate suggestions and provide evidence for why they believe certain strategies are likely to work best in the public interest.

    Evidence-based debate between police and their civilian masters can drive the selection of best practices.

    Again, the example of Northern Ireland shows us that groups of citizens that are bitterly divided in their politics are capable of implementing informed policing policies, which nearly everybody but a few militants can get behind.

    And sticking to best practices can help police and their civilian directors stand up to any political interference.

    It's a gift that keeps on giving in that insulating the police from any government meddling drives home the message that the police work for citizens. And working for citizens helps align police culture with society's values.

    In these ways, operational responsibility brings us closer to the architect of modern policing Sir Robert Peel's historic ideal that "the police are the public, and the public are the police."


  86. Kicking video played at trial of Kelowna Mountie

    CBC News November 27, 2012

    The trial has begun for a B.C. RCMP officer who was charged with assault for allegedly kicking a man in the face during a takedown in Kelowna.

    A Crown prosecutor played a video recording of the incident that was shot by a reporter across the street and later posted on Youtube, on the first day of the trial on Monday.

    The recording shows Buddy Tavares on his knees beside his truck, after he had been pulled over by police.

    Tavares looked like he was moving his arms towards the pavement as the blow was apparently struck by Const. Geoff Mantler.

    Tavares had been pulled over following a report of shots fired at a Kelowna golf club where he used to work. Mantler was on plainclothes duty and was one of the officers to confront Tavares.

    Mantler's lawyer also focused in the video in court Monday, slowing it down so it could be viewed frame by frame. The lawyer pointed out three frames where Tavares appeared to start moving his hands up and away from the ground before he is kicked.

    Court adjourned for the day before the defence could argue about the significance of Tavares’s apparent hand movements.

    Outside the courtroom, Tavares said the January 2011 incident has left him with recurring headaches.

    Tavares said he has no recollection of the moment Mantler allegedly kicked him, but he said he has seen the video.

    "I'm getting better,” Tavares told CBC News. “I get those vicious headaches, but I carry drugs with me all the time for that.”

    The trial, which continues Tuesday, is expected to last two weeks.


  87. Mountie in kicking video violated protocol

    CBC News November 29, 2012

    A B.C. Mountie has testified that fellow officer Geoff Mantler did not follow RCMP protocol when he confronted a possibly armed man who he apparently then kicked in the face.

    Mantler is on trial for assault causing bodily harm for kicking Buddy Tavares during an arrest in Kelowna in January 2011.

    The incident was caught on video and went viral shortly after it was posted online.

    Const. Kyle Boffy told the court Wednesday that officers are trained to wait for back up when they pull over a suspect they believe may be armed.

    The video shows Mantler approaching Tavares with his gun drawn before other officers had arrived.

    Under cross-examination, Boffy agreed police radio dispatches portrayed Tavares as a dangerous suspect with a gun. Boffy said there was a perception of a real threat to public safety.

    The officer was also shown the video frame by frame leading up to the kick Mantler appeared to inflict on Tavares.

    Tavares is on his knees, moving his hands towards the ground, but for three frames, his hands move upwards.

    Boffy agreed with the defence lawyer that the change in movement could be seen as threat, and possibly signal Tavares was going for a weapon.

    Tavares' sister Pam Weiher said later outside the court that she sees it differently.

    "I think they are kind of grasping at straws. Three frames is miniscule. It wouldn't even be visible to the naked eye, or in real life," Weiher said.

    Three frames of video represents a time span of about three-tenths to half a second.

    Under Crown questioning earlier, Boffy told the court he would not have approached Tavares in his truck as Mantler did, as it did not accord with RCMP protocol for an officer confronting a potentially dangerous person on his own.


  88. RCMP assault broke procedure Kelowna trial hears

    CBC News November 30, 2012

    A B.C. RCMP officer had already broken several rules before he kicked a man in the head during an arrest in Kelowna nearly two years ago, an expert witness has testified.

    Use-of-force expert Sgt. Jeremy Lane of the Abbotsford Police Department said Const. Geoff Mantler broke several RCMP procedures during the high-risk take down of suspect Buddy Tavares.

    Mantler is on trial for assault causing bodily harm for kicking Tavares in the head during the January 2011 incident.

    The arrest was caught on video and shows Mantler booting Tavares as he was on his knees and apparently putting his hands down on the pavement.

    The court has been told that at the time, RCMP believed Tavares was armed and a serious threat to public safety

    Lane testified that Mantler failed to wait for back up, gave commands that could have been confusing and failed to stay a safe distance from the suspect.

    Lane also said Mantler used a very high level of force when he kicked Tavares in the head — the kind of force officers are trained to use in high-threat situations.

    Lane said it's not clear what level of threat Mantler perceived from Tavares, but in watching the video he said he saw nothing in Tavares' actions showing he intended to attack Mantler.

    Lane is expected to continue his testimony Friday.


  89. One-third of the RCMP’s use-of-force incidents not being reported, documents show


    The RCMP is failing to document about one-third of its cases of use of force, internal records show.

    Anytime a Mountie uses force — whether it’s throwing a punch, unleashing pepper spray or firing a gun — details surrounding the incident are supposed to be documented in an electronic database using a standard reporting form.

    The RCMP has said capturing such details is necessary to enhance police accountability, identify trends and assist with training and policy development.

    But an August 2011 audit of the so-called “Subject Behaviour/Officer Response” reporting system showed a 67 per cent compliance rate, according to RCMP briefing notes obtained by Postmedia News. Little changed when a follow-up audit was done this past spring, officials acknowledged this week.

    One briefing note singled out the lack of compliance in B.C. It stated that there were “approximately 2,400 unreported use of force incidents annually in ‘E’ division.”

    The results invite speculation that maybe some reports aren’t being filled out because they involve questionable police actions, said Micheal Vonn, policy director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which frequently calls attention to police use-of-force incidents in the province.

    Vonn said while she’s not interested in making police work more onerous, there is value in collecting this data for training and other purposes.

    “If we are going to have evidence-based policing, we need evidence,” she said.

    The RCMP is “committed to institutionalizing use of force reporting into its operations,” Sgt. Greg Cox, a spokesman in Ottawa, said in an email Friday. “As with the introduction of any new process and given the size of the organization, it takes time to adopt.”

    RCMP cadets at the training depot in Regina are now taught how to complete use-of-force reports, Cox said. The force has also “increased supervisor accountability” to ensure members are submitting the reports.

    Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, a spokesman for RCMP’s E-Division in B.C., said in an email that the value of recording use-of-force data is “undisputed.”

    The lack of full compliance in B.C., he said, is related to the fact that Mounties in the province use a different computer system (called PRIME) than the one used by Mounties elsewhere in the country (called PROS).

    The form available on the PRIME system for recording use-of-force incidents is limiting and doesn’t allow officers to record all the information that is required by the national RCMP standard, Vermeulen said.

    As a result, officers are not able to complete the form on the mobile work stations in their vehicles. Instead, they have to return to the detachment and log on to a separate system to complete the report.

    “We continue to look at ways to make it easier for our officers to complete these reports,” he said.

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  90. The RCMP’s standardized method of recording use-of-force incidents came into effect in January 2010. Such a system was recommended the previous year by retired justice Thomas Braidwood, who led a commission of inquiry into the use of Tasers in B.C.

    Under the policy, officers are required to record details of all cases in which they display or use “hard” physical control (such as a punch or kick), an intermediate weapon (such as pepper spray or Taser), or lethal force (such as a firearm or rifle). They also must record details of all incidents in which a subject is injured.

    Each report must be approved by a supervisor.

    A sampling of completed “Subject Behaviour/Officer Response” forms obtained through access-to-information legislation shows that officers are required to answer a variety of questions.

    If a Taser is fired, for instance, the officer is required to say how far he was standing from the subject, where on the body the subject was hit, what he said to the subject, whether the subject was injured, what time of day it was, what the weather conditions were like, the age and gender of the subject, and whether the subject was perceived to be under the influence.

    There is also space at the end of the report for the officer to give a full written summary of the entire incident.

    A briefing handbook provided to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson upon his appointment in November 2011 stated that “overall acceptance of (use-of-force reporting) remains an ongoing challenge.”

    With 33 per cent of the RCMP’s use-of-force incidents not being reported, “this will have significant impact (on) the accuracy and integrity of the proposed annual use of force report,” a briefing note stated.

    “Additionally, over the next few years as reporting compliance increases, it will appear that the RCMP’s use of force has substantially increased which is not the case.”

    The briefing note stated that senior management in each division must “emphasize” to all members the importance of reporting use-of-force incidents and completing the reports in a “timely manner.”


  91. Mountie assault trial hears from witnesses

    CBC News December 4, 2012

    A Kelowna, B.C., court is expected to hear from more people today who witnessed an RCMP officer kick a suspect in the head during an arrest two years ago.

    Const. Geoff Mantler is on trial for assault causing bodily harm for kicking Buddy Tavares in the head during the January 2011 incident. The arrest was caught on video and shows Mantler booting Tavares as he was on his knees and apparently putting his hands down on the pavement.

    On Monday, the court heard from six people who saw the incident — including a retired RCMP officer.

    The former Mountie testified Mantler appeared jacked up with adrenaline as he pulled Tavares over.

    He told the court Mantler had difficulty putting his car in park, fumbled with the mechanism to turn off his police siren, and then left it blaring as he rushed with his gun drawn towards Tavares' truck.

    The court also heard from four women who watched the arrest from the second-floor balcony of a bank across the street.

    All of the witnesses agreed with the Crown that Tavares was not acting aggressively or showing any signs of resisting arrest. Under cross examination, the women agreed he was responding slowly to Mantler's commands.

    The witnesses all described seeing the officer take two or three steps and kick Tavares in the face.

    One woman said she heard an audible crunch and saw blood pour from Tavares' face before he hit the ground.

    The Crown is expected to wrap up its case on Wednesday.


  92. B.C. kicking Mountie changes plea to guilty

    CBC News December 5, 2012

    The RCMP officer charged with assault causing bodily harm for kicking a suspect in the face in Kelowna, B.C., has pleaded guilty in the midst of his trial.

    Const. Geoff Mantler's lawyer entered the plea in a Kelowna courtroom Wednesday, the same day Mantler was scheduled to testify. As the day's proceedings began, Mantler's lawyer told the court his client had decided to enter a guilty plea.

    Mantler kicked weapons suspect Buddy Tavares in the face while the man was on his knees in a January 2011 incident caught on video, which immediately went viral on the internet.

    The video showed Tavares on his knees, as instructed by Mantler, and moving to get down on his hands when Mantler kicked him, causing Tavares to collapse to the pavement, his face bleeding.

    The central issue of the trial was whether the kick was justified under the circumstances or constituted an assault.

    Police had been seeking Tavares following reports of a man firing a rifle at a golf course, and the court had been told police were warned the suspect might be dangerous.

    The court was adjourned after the sudden change in plea and a sentencing hearing is expected to begin in the new year.

    Outside the court, Tavares said he was disappointed but philosophical about Mantler's change of plea.

    "I've been waiting a long time man, years, to hear why he did that. I'm not going to hear it. Well, let 'er go. Move on."

    Tavares also said he believed Mantler had run out of options.

    "You tread water as long you can. But then you eventually drown. I think he was at that point. He was drowning. I don't think he wanted to get on the stand and explain say what happened. Well, how the hell do you say that? You can't."


  93. RCMP deny sex assault lawsuit allegations

    The Canadian Press January 10, 2013

    The RCMP has filed a defence in a sexual assault lawsuit that was launched by a female officer who was disciplined last year for making the allegations.

    Const. Susan Gastaldo filed a lawsuit in August 2011 alleging one of her superiors, Staff Sgt. Travis Pearson, sexually assaulted her and forced her to maintain a sexual relationship for several months.

    The case was investigated by the Vancouver police, which concluded the allegations were unfounded, and prompted an RCMP code of conduct review that eventually disciplined both Gastaldo and Pearson for what was characterized as a consensual affair.

    The B.C. and federal governments have now filed a statement of defence in Gastaldo's lawsuit, pointing to the police investigation and code-of-conduct review to reject Gastaldo's claims that she was sexually assaulted.

    The statement of defence, filed more than a year after Gastaldo launched her suit, insists Gastaldo consented to the affair and says any psychological harm was the result of her failing to seek treatment for a pre-existing anxiety condition.

    Gastaldo and Pearson were both disciplined for misconduct for exchanging explicit text messages and having sex in a police vehicle, though Gastaldo was singled out by the review board, which accused her of lying about the sexual assault.


  94. RCMP failed to track internal misconduct for years

    List tracking serious cases had to be created from scratch, commissioner reveals after CBC News probe

    By Curt Petrovich, CBC News January 13, 2013

    The head of the RCMP admitted that Canada’s national police force neglected to keep tabs on hundreds of cases of serious misconduct committed by Mounties across the country for years.

    Commissioner Bob Paulson acknowledged that an access to information request by CBC News inadvertently revealed that not even senior leaders in the RCMP could say with confidence whether incidents of misconduct that include assaults, impaired driving and fraud were a problem in the force.

    “You’re right,” said Paulson, who has been on the job just over a year. “The RCMP hadn't been tracking until I got here and now we are. We're tracking them all."

    The discovery that no one within the RCMP had a comprehensive list of Mounties who’d been disciplined, became obvious after CBC News asked for basic data between 2005 and 2008 that included offences and findings by internal adjudications boards.

    CBC News submitted the request in November 2008. It was delivered four years later in November 2012. An officer who handled the file offered an embarrassed apology, and explained the delay was due to the list having to be created from scratch.

    Serious problem in management

    Walter Kostekyj, a Vancouver lawyer and former RCMP officer himself, was astonished.

    “It tells you there's a serious problem in management," Kostekyj said.

    “How would they measure their training? How would they measure who they're selecting to be a police officer if they're not keeping track of who it is they're having problems with?”

    Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association called it irresponsible.

    “The RCMP is an organization charged with keeping track of crime right across the country,” Paterson said.

    “And yet within their own organization, they had no way, short of spending four years pulling this research together, knowing the rate at which their officers were committing very serious misconduct.

    “Senior leaders in Ottawa, and here in British Columbia would not have been able to say with any confidence, do we have a problem or do we not have a problem with the most serious kinds of misconduct with our force. They just didn't have that information.”

    As it turns out, the details don’t suggest that misconduct was rampant. There are approximately 19,000 serving members, and just 335 were brought before a tribunal over the four year period, including:

    35 cases of assault, sexual assault and harassment.
    30 officers impaired on the job or while driving.
    29 Mounties who gave false or misleading statements.
    16 unauthorized uses of CPIC, the central police data base.

    Many of the allegations are also criminal offences, including two cases of possession of child pornography. The CBC asked for details on which cases went on to criminal prosecution, but the RCMP did not make that information available.

    And while about 50 of the cases were withdrawn, in some cases due to the expiry of the statutory time limit for a hearing, more than a third were deemed so egregious the officers involved either quit, were forced to resign or had to forfeit 10 days pay — the harshest punishment under the RCMP Act short of dismissal.

    However the commissioner downplays the significance of the findings.

    “95 per cent are just things where people have made mistakes”, Paulson told CBC News. “And, police work is very complicated and people are going to make mistakes.”

    Paterson took issue with Paulson’s characterization.

    “Surely they are mistakes”, he said. “But these aren't just your garden variety, Oops! I screwed up today at work. These are some serious, serious matters.”

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  95. Although the list obtained by CBC News had all the names removed, Abe Townsend, a long serving member of the force, recognized some of the cases just by the allegations.

    “It’s sad,” he said. “One incident is too many.”

    Townsend sits on the National Executive of the RCMP’s Staff Relations Representative (SRR) program. When a Mountie runs into trouble, they turn to the SRR for help.

    Townsend wasn't surprised by the number of incidents. He said it’s consistent with the average of about 100 cases of formal discipline a year.

    “I'm discouraged that it wasn't being tracked in a more centralized way” he said.

    But, Townsend said the details show that members are being held accountable. Even when they’re off duty, officers are still subject to the code of conduct, and Townsend appeals for compassion.

    “It's physically and psychologically arduous work,” Townsend insisted.

    “That's been shown not only by our studies but by other Canadian studies, and international studies, and it wears on you. It does wear you down both physically and psychologically. Not to make any excuses because that's not what I'm making, I'm just pointing out a reality.”

    But Kosteckyj believed that most Canadians would be surprised by the breadth of misconduct committed by people who go through rigorous recruitment and training.

    “It's a fair comment that you're going to get some aberrant behaviour in the RCMP”, Kosteckyj conceded.

    “You're going to have some mistakes made. You're going to have some guys drinking more than they should — and driving. But these things go beyond that”, Kosteckyj said, adding that Police are supposed to set an example.

    “You're not expected to be driving and impaired, you're not expected to be guilty of harassment, you're not expected to mistreat prisoners,” Kosteckyj insisted.

    “These are all things that the RCMP are sworn to uphold and prevent — not participate in.”

    The RCMP withheld some data requested by CBC News. The reasons why some Mounties were punished were redacted, including for the 21 officers who resigned over their misconduct.

    The RCMP also refused to list the regions in which all of the incidents took place. An RCMP spokesman told CBC News that was to protect the privacy of the offenders, even though none were named in the document.

    “My suspicion would be that the greatest amount of these would be in the province of British Columbia,” Kosteckyj suggested.

    “E Division (the largest division in the RCMP) has the highest proportion of members in uniform in Canada.”

    Paterson was all for privacy, but he didn't see the argument in this case.

    “I think there's a higher public interest in being able to know where in the country are these kinds of things occurring.

    “Are the instances of very serious police misconduct going up? Going down? What are the trend lines? And really we need that information broken down by region so that [it] is of much more use to people right across the country.

    “There's been a real crisis of confidence,” Paterson pointed out. “I think people in this province would want to know, do we have a problem?”

    Paulson said he wants to know as well.

    “We always need to be aware of our training practices,” he said.

    “It's another sort of indicator I need on my dashboard to know where the organization is going.”

    For List of RCMP internal allegations and findings obtained by CBC News go to:



  96. B.C. RCMP officer guilty of aggravated assault

    CBC News February 14, 2013

    A Duncan RCMP officer has been found guilty of aggravated assault for shooting an unarmed Chemainus man more than three years ago.

    Const. David Pompeo shot 43-year-old Bill Gillespie in the neck after pulling him over for driving while prohibited in September 2009.

    Gillespie and his friend, Dale Brewer, had been trying to find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting but couldn't and decided to head home.

    Pompeo told the court he had little time to react before he shot Gillespie, who he said had emerged from his vehicle gesturing in a way that suggested he might be armed.

    The officer said Gillespie seemed to have a "thousand-yard stare" and he couldn't tell if he was high on drugs, planning to attack or thinking nothing at all.

    "I remember thinking that he was really close to me and that I couldn't hesitate," Pompeo said.

    The statements were in stark contrast to Gillespie's earlier testimony at the trial, where he said he was ordered out of the car and complied fully with Pompeo's instructions.

    Gillespie told the court he got out of his vehicle, onto his knees and reached in front of himself to get on the ground before Pompeo shot him.

    "I felt like I got hit by a freight train," he said.

    “My body was on fire. I was just shocked. It was beyond words what was going on. I knew I'd been shot. I just couldn't believe it."

    Gillespie said he was even more surprised, given Pompeo said nothing before he fired his weapon.

    Judge Josiah Wood said little about the verdict in court, later filing an 86-page document detailing his reasons for judgment.

    Gillespie says he hopes the verdict will force the RCMP to be more accountable.


  97. Mountie, 41, remanded in custody until next week in child-abuse case


    OTTAWA - An RCMP officer charged with multiple assault and sex-related counts following a child-abuse investigation made a brief court appearance Friday and was remanded in custody to next week.

    Clutching a sheaf of papers, the man stood slouched with his head down, flanked by Ottawa police officers during the short hearing.

    Tears appeared to well in his eyes as he occasionally glanced up at the judge with an evident look of worry.

    The court reaffirmed a sweeping publication ban on the matter and the accused was ordered to have no contact with a list of people, whose names were not disclosed.

    The man's wife, who is also charged, was expected in court later Friday.

    To protect the identity of the alleged victims, the names of the couple were not released.

    Peter Azziz, lawyer for the accused man, said he believed the victims were in the care of the Children's Aid Society.

    Azziz otherwise refused to comment on the case, citing the publication ban.

    Police say the 41-year-old officer and 34-year-old wife are charged with several counts of aggravated assault, assault with weapon, aggravated sexual assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.

    They won't say exactly how many children are involved, but say the case involves more than one alleged victim.

    A police source says the investigation was launched after an 11-year-old child was discovered wandering in a residential neighbourhood.

    And the source says it's believed handcuffs were used to keep the child in the basement of a house for months.


  98. Ottawa Mountie, woman back in court on child abuse charges

    'They are victims of horrific abuse,' police spokesman says

    CBC News February 15, 2013

    An RCMP officer and an Ottawa woman each made a second appearance in court Friday, a day after they were charged with several serious offences related to a child abuse investigation that police are calling one of the worst cases of abuse they've seen.

    Ottawa police arrested the 41-year-old officer and a 34-year-old woman on Tuesday after an investigation at the officer's home.

    Police sources told CBC what police found was "the worst case of abuse police have seen."

    The man and woman face three counts each of aggravated assault, two counts of assault with a weapon, one count of forcible confinement and one count of failing to provide the necessaries of life.

    The man also faces one count of sexual assault and an additional count of assault with a weapon.

    The accused officer stood silently in court on Friday, staring at the floor and clutching a white piece of paper.

    He was remanded into custody after his appearance and he will appear again by video link on Tuesday.

    Names under publication ban

    The woman, wearing a grey sweatshirt and a white scrunchie in her hair, appeared in a separate courtroom Friday afternoon by a video link.

    She was remanded into custody as well, and she will also appear in court via video link on Tuesday.

    The names of the accused have not been released to protect the identity of the victims, police said. There is also a court-ordered publication ban on the names of the accused and victims.

    Neighbour shocked about charges

    Ottawa police Supt. Tyrus Cameron said police are concerned anything revealing the identity of the victims would "re-victimize" them.

    "They are victims of horrific abuse," said Cameron.

    One neighbour told CBC News, on a condition of anonymity, these charges have shocked the area, and some families worry about their own safety.

    "We don't know what goes on behind every wall," the neighbour said. "Previously we thought it was a safe neighbourhood, but now maybe we have to be more careful."

    Officer on leave
    The RCMP said the officer has been on leave since May 2011, but the reason for that is under a court-ordered publication ban.

    Police sources also told CBC News the man worked for the force's counter-terrorism unit.

    The officer was suspended with pay Wednesday, RCMP said.

    The RCMP is also performing its own internal investigation to determine if the officer had complied with the code of ethics.

    Ottawa police said anyone with information is asked to contact them at 613-236-1222, ext. 5944, or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477.


  99. Violent police arrest video released in Quebec court

    CBC News February 22, 2013

    Video footage showing the forceful arrest of a man suspected of robbery in Trois-Rivières, Que., has been released.

    The clip, captured by a surveillance video, shows 19-year-old Alexis Vadeboncoeur lying face down in the snow, with his arms outstretched as four Trois-Rivières municipal police officers approach.

    It shows him being kicked and punched by officers as he lies on the ground, surrendering.

    According to Vadeboncoeur's lawyer, René Duval, his client posed no threat to police before the altercation.

    Duval said Vadeboncoeur yelled "I'm 19, I have no criminal record. This is a fake gun and I'm surrendering," before police got to him.

    The footage was released on Thursday following Vadeboncoeur's bail hearing at the Trois-Rivières courthouse .

    The incident began when police were called to a suspected robbery at a pharmacy on Des Récollets Boulevard on Feb. 2.

    They chased a suspect, who was hooded and armed, to a parking lot near the Trois-Rivières Cégep, where the surveillance footage was captured.

    Vadeboncoeur can be seen tossing his firearm away from him as he surrenders and lies down on his stomach in the parking lot.

    In their police report, officers said the teen had broken into a business. They reported they had to use force because their lives were in danger.

    Quebec provincial police Sgt. Gregory Gomez del Prado said the force's internal affairs division is investigating.

    Duval, said his client sustained several injuries during the altercation.

    "What the video doesn't show is all the bruises that he suffered at the hands of police, especially in his testicles. Because he was repeatedly kicked in his testicles," he said.

    Duval said he has practised law in every province in Canada and does not know of any other case where video footage shows police repeatedly hitting an individual without provocation.

    continued in next comment...

  100. The police chief of Trois-Rivieres, Francis Gobeil, also saw the tape. He said it left him angry, and disappointed.

    "I saw the video and I think that the video is very clear. When you look, what you see you think that it's not [OK]," he said.

    Trois-Rivières Mayor Yves Lévesque said Friday he was not happy with the way police carried out the arrest.

    He said he first heard of the violent arrest through the media.

    "It disturbs me as mayor," he said of the footage. "We're not happy with what we see."

    Lévesque said his administration will closely follow the investigation. He said he is ready to take action based on its findings.

    "Worse also is that the report they produced after the [arrest] was saying that they had to use force to intervene the suspect, he was hard to arrest, and when we see the video it was completely contrary," he said.

    The four police officers involved in the arrest have been suspended with pay for an undetermined amount of time.

    Provincial Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron said he agreed with the disciplinary action taken against the officers.

    "I think the good decisions have been made so far," he said.

    Denis Côté, the president of the Quebec Federation of Municipal Police Forces, said people should not jump to conclusions because the officers have the right to the presumption of innocence.

    Duval said the incident points to some serious flaws with police in the province.

    "I hope it's not systemic, but I think that there's a number of issues to be addressed. Obviously their training is lacking in some way," he said.

    He also said the video serves as sufficient evidence.

    "The video is there. You need not to be an expert in investigations to see that something very wrong has been done," he said.

    He suggests police candidates should undergo a mandatory personality assessment test before being accepted for jobs.

    The alleged police brutality case has been turned over to the Quebec provincial police.

    Vadeboncoeur will remain behind bars until his bail hearing resumes in March.

    see video at:


  101. Abbotsford officer found guilty of lying about 1999 assault

    CBC News February 26, 2013

    An Abbotsford police officer who admitted to misconduct linked to a violent arrest 14 years ago has now been found guilty of lying by the Office of the Complaint Commissioner.

    An adjudicator has found Const. Adam Page gave false statements about the September 1999 assault on Darrell Kerr.

    The adjudicator ruled Page made the statements in hopes of justifying his decision to slam Kerr into a wall while arresting the man at an Abbotsford drug store.

    Page now faces disciplinary action for lying about the incident while his conduct was being investigated by a senior officer.

    But deputy police complaint commissioner Rollie Woods says no matter what the discipline, Page's career as a police officer could be over.

    "There is some concern whenever a deceit allegation has been proven because it could impact on an officer's ability to testify in court in the future, and so the chief constable in Abbotsford will have to decide what uses he could have for Const. Page," Woods said.

    "He could keep him active as a police officer but perhaps not be able to testify in court."

    Page remains on desk duty in Abbotsford. A disciplinary decision will likely not be made for several months


  102. Grieving mom fights Ottawa over lawsuit for slain daughter

    by Curt Petrovich, CBC News February 24, 2013

    Lawyers for the federal government say the family of a B.C. woman, who died after RCMP failed to investigate the gunshots that killed her, can't sue the government because the victim lost her rights when she died.

    Rosemary Surakka, mother of shooting victim Lisa Dudley, filed the lawsuit in 2011, alleging the B.C. and federal governments — in their responsibility for the RCMP — failed to uphold rights of her daughter under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the section that guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

    Dudley, 37, and her boyfriend Guthrie McKay, 33, weregunned down in their home in Mission in 2008.

    Although the RCMP was called to the scene by a neighbour who heard the gunshots, the officer never got out of his car or knocked on a single door, reporting later that everything looked normal in the area.

    McKay was killed instantly, but Dudley was paralyzed, and survived four days in the house until a neighbour stumbled on the scene. She died before reaching the hospital.

    The officer who failed to investigate the gunshots was later found guilty of disgraceful conduct and docked one-day's pay.

    A tearful Surakka told CBC News she filed the lawsuit on behalf of her daughter.

    "Well, I have to speak for her. I'm her mom, somebody has to," Surakka said.

    "What happened that night was so wrong and for those four days she suffered there, it counts for a lot to me what she went through, and I can't just dismiss it and I don't think they should dismiss it either. I think there's something terribly wrong there that needs fixing. For them to say they never speak to 911 callers is ridiculous," Surakka said.

    Federal lawyers with the Department of Justice want the case thrown out, arguing that Charter rights are personal, and no one — not even a grieving mother — can seek a remedy for the violation of Charter rights of someone else. They argue any rights Dudley had were extinguished when she died.

    The question of whether governments should be held responsible for a death in which they might be involved should be allowed to go to trial, according to constitutional lawyer Andrew Lokan. Lokan is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and co-author of a text on constitutional litigation.

    "You can imagine an extreme case," Lokan says, "If for example, Canada was complicit in the torture of a Canadian, and that person were tortured to near death, they would clearly have a claim worth millions of dollars."

    "On the other hand," Lokan adds, "if that person succumbed to their injuries after torture and died, there would be no claim under this theory."

    "You get to a point — and I'm not saying we've reached it in this case — but you get to a point where you are tempted to quote Dickens: 'If the law says that, then the law is an ass,'" Lokan said.

    Monique Pongracic-Speier, Surakka's lawyer, believes the arguments put forward by the federal government are not only at odds with the intention of the Section 7 rights under the Charter, but also counter to international conventions Canada has signed.

    "The fact that Lisa Dudley died — we say — due to police inaction and action is not just a wrong to her," Pongracic-Speier said. "It's a wrong to Canada as a whole."

    Justice Department officials did not return CBC News calls on the case.

    Surakka said she is appalled by the government's strategy.

    "It's so clear, everything that needs to be done, and they don't want to do it. They won't do it. They won't even hear of it."

    Surakka's lawyer will argue against the government's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit in a two-day B.C. Supreme Court hearing Vancouver, starting Wednesday.


  103. B.C. agency investigates RCMP event

    Woman sustains injuries during arrest

    by Julie Bertrand, Alberni Valley Times February 26, 2013

    The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is currently looking into an incident involving Port Alberni RCMP officers.

    On Feb. 15, a female adult sustained a fractured knee cap during her arrest.

    According to the notification by RCMP, officers responded to a complaint involving a female adult. The woman was located walking at the corner of Maitland Street and Eighth Avenue. During the officers' contact with the woman, they determined that she was the subject of a court order and believed her to be non-compliant with that court order. Based on that, officers arrested her.

    Once in custody, she was brought to the RCMP detachment, where she was assessed by B.C. Ambulance Services.

    The woman was subsequently admitted to West Coast General Hospital where she was treated for her injuries.

    Her medical condition was monitored by RCMP and IIO investigators. As a result of information received on Feb. 22, the IIO has decided to investigate the incident.

    IIO strategic projects and public engagement senior manager Owen Court said IIO investigators would be speaking with the RCMP officers, the woman, as well as any witness they find.

    "I'm unable to say how long they will be in Port Alberni," Court said. "It's too early."

    The IIO was created last October by Victoria to investigate on-and off-duty police-related incidents of death and serious harm.

    This is the IIO's first case in Port Alberni, and its 17th since it started operations.


  104. Bad Cop: 7 Cities Where Shocking Police Abuses Cost Taxpayers Millions

    Bad police behavior runs roughshod over civil liberties, and costs cities millions of dollars in payouts to those who successfully sue.

    by John Knefel, co-host of Radio Dispatch and a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. AlterNet March 4, 2013

    When it comes to interactions between regular citizens and police on the street, the police hold all the cards. They can, and often do, act however they want. One of the few meaningful mechanisms for restitution if you are a victim of police misconduct is to sue for damages. The costs of these lawsuits and payouts add up, and bad police behavior takes a toll not only on our civil liberties, but also on a city's budget.

    It's worth mentioning that lawsuits against the policerarely resultin million-dollar payouts for victims, are difficult to win, and represent only a fairly small slice of total reports of police misconduct. Also, the reported costs of settlements and judgments to victims often exclude fees paid to attorneys representing the city, so in many cases the real numbers are higher.

    This list doesn't include every example of police misconduct or every study about how much it costs, but below are some recent instances of reports that detail just how much money police misconduct costs taxpayers. The point here isn't to argue that people shouldn't sue cops. They should, if they have a good case. The cops should simply give people fewer reasons to sue them.

    1. Chicago

    Lieutenant Jon Burge is in many ways the posterchild for police brutality. He oversaw a torture regime at the Chicago Police Department from 1973-1991 that included 64 other cops directly and an untold number of police who were aware of what was going on. According to a recent report, over 100 African Americans were allegedly tortured under his watch.

    As the Chicago Reader reported in 2003, charges against Burge and his crew included “electric shock, suffocation, burnings, attacks on the genitals, severe beating, and mock executions.”

    Burge was eventually prosecuted by the US attorney and sentenced to four and a half years for perjury, though according to the report the Cook County State Attorney never prosecuted any officers for torture or for covering it up. The “blue code of silence” plays a large role in perpetuating corruption.

    The report, by the University of Illinois at Chicago, claims that corruption and abuse of power are rampant problems in the Chicago Police Department. The authors looked at CPD corruption dating back to 1960, and conclude that “[t]oleration of corruption, or at least resigned acceptance, appears to be the order of the day for at least the past 50 years.”

    Top Chicago officials have allowed (or created) a culture of impunity for officers. A separate study the authors cite claims only “19 of 10,149 (or less than 2%) civilian complaints of excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse, sexual abuse and false arrests between 2002 and 2004 led to police suspensions of a week or more.”

    Over the last decade, police misconduct lawsuits against the city and out-of-court settlements “have cost taxpayers several hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when all levels of government have to cut services and raise taxes,” according to the University of Illinois report. Defending cops against litigation has cost Chicago more than $82.5 million since 2003, and “Jon Burge cases have cost local taxpayers more than $53 million since 1998.”

    2. New York

    According to a 2012 report from NYC's Comptroller's office, the city paid out $185.6 million in claims for fiscal year 2011. That's a 35% increase over the previous year, which came in at $137.3 million in settled claims. Fiscal year 2011 saw “an historical high of 8,882 claims filed” against the NYPD, with a 55% rise in claims against the NYPD over the past five years.

    continued in next comment...

  105. Stop-and-frisk, the program under which NYPD officers stop and search people, mostly young men of color, has likely contributed to the rise in lawsuits against the city. Gothamist suggests that“dubious marijuana arrests and outright bogus trespassing cases” also played a role in the increase in lawsuits.

    According to the report, the NYPD doesn't track individual officers named in complaints, which the Comptroller’s office recommends doing. Joanna Schwartz, in a 2011 New York Times op-ed,argues that “[b]ecause the department ignores lawsuits, it cannot analyze or learn from them; instead, the city effectively writes off these suits as the extraordinarily high cost of doing police business.”

    These numbers only add further evidence to the inescapable conclusion that the NYPD is either incapable or unwilling to police itself.

    [Full disclosure: I am in the middle of several lawsuits against New York City related to Occupy right now. The lawsuit in which I am a plaintiff calls for the creation of an independent inspector general to watch over the NYPD.]

    3. Oakland

    The Oakland Police Department came under national scrutiny after its handling of Occupy resulted in images of Oakland that resembled a war zone. According to the East Bay Express, “the total legal costs of ongoing police officer misconduct totaled $13,149,000 in fiscal year 2010-11.” The story goes on to say that the families of Derrick Jones – shot dead by the OPD – and Raheim Brown – shot dead by an Oakland Unified School District cop – each “have filed separate $10 million claims against the city.”

    An Occupy Oakland lawsuit filed in January on behalf of 400 protesters who were jailed but never charged could also be expensive for the city.

    In an example of how a department can retaliate against cops who break the blue code of silence, Jonathan Bellusa, the partner of the cop who shot Raheim Brown "said in a claim filed against the district that he had been placed on leave, stripped of his badge and gun, and subjected to psychological evaluations because he came forward with discrepancies involving the shooting.”

    Bellusa's attorney refers to him in the above-linked story as “a reluctant whistle-blower.”

    4. Los Angeles

    There might not be a single police force in the US more closely associated with police brutality than the LAPD. After decades ofreports of brutality culminated in the beating of Rodney King in 1991, and the notorious Rampart scandal in the late '90s – which implicated 70 cops in cases of beatings and false imprisonment related to it anti-gang unit – the LAPD was put under federal oversight in 2001. This oversight, called a consent decree, resulted in the implementation of procedures designed to curb police corruption, and was lifted in 2009 after a judge found that the LAPD had sufficiently reformed itself.

    There are no timely, comprehensive reports I could find detailing the costs of settling cases of police misconduct in LA, but there have been a few recent high-profile cases. In 2009, the city paid almost $13 million to plaintiffs in the May Day melee lawsuit,filed after police beat immigration-rights activists with batons and fired rubber bullets at them in 2007. According to the LA Times, that payout came one week after another high-profile case related to the Rampart scandal resulted in a $20.5 million settlement. The city at that point had already paid $75 million in Rampart-related lawsuits. Some estimates put the total potential cost at $125 million.

    In 2012, a jury awarded $23 million to a 13-year-old boy who was shot and paralyzed by the LAPD while he was playing with a toy gun.

    continued in next comment...

  106. It's not just civilians who sue the LAPD; sometimes it's the officers themselves. According to a different LA Times piece:

    “City records show that from 2005 to 2010, [LAPD] officers have sued the department over workplace issues more than 250 times. The city has paid settlements or verdicts totaling more than $18 million in about 45 of those cases and has lost several other verdicts worth several million dollars more in cases it is appealing, a review of the records shows.”

    5. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee cops' misconduct has cost the city more than $14 million over the past 10 years, according to a groupof residents who compiled a list of 1,200 complaints. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the group claims the Milwaukee police department engages in excessive use of force and racial profiling. The Journal Sentinel details numerous cases of police brutalizing people of color, and includes this quote, from Brenda Bell-White, a member of the coalition that compiled the list:

    "This treatment is reminiscent of how African Americans were treated during slavery and Jim Crow," she said. "This is evidence that Jim Crow is alive and well in Milwaukee. It is just called MPD's traffic stop program."

    Author and law professor Michelle Alexander has noted that the current system of mass incarceration that disproportionately imprisons people of color is a form of modern-day Jim Crow.

    6. Denver

    Between 2002 and 2010, the city of Denver paid outover $10 million in police misconduct settlements and judgements, according to the ACLU of Colorado. Denver police have a reputation for using excessive force, sometimes for the smallest infractions. Alexander Landau was pulled over after allegedly making an illegal left turn and beaten by three cops.

    The city eventually paid $795,000 to settle the case, but unfortunately for Landau and his supporters, the local investigation into the beating hasn't gone anywhere, and the Department of Justice decided not to pursue federal charges.

    The ACLU of Colorado created the Race 2 Justice campaign to highlight cases of excessive force; its slogan is “Police brutality is killing us.”

    7. Cleveland

    WKYC's Tom Meyer reported in January that police misconduct cost Cleveland over $8 million over the past decade, though that figure doesn't include attorney fees, so the real cost is higher. As with many police misconduct cases, Cleveland cops rarely if ever get fired. The police union doesn't “know of any officer who has been suspended or fired for excessive force,” according to Meyer. If there is an investigation at all, the officer is reassigned to office duty and continues to collect full pay.

    The mother of Kenny Smith, shot dead by Cleveland police, claims that her son "wasn't into guns," despite the cops' assertion that Smith, an aspiring rapper, was carrying a gun. Thefamily has hired a lawyer to look into the death. Another family recently settled a wrongful death suit for $1 million after police shot and killed Ricardo Mason.

    There are many more cases of police corruption, brutality and misconduct than are mentioned here, from post-Katrina New Orleans to the continuing problems in New Jersey police departments following internal affair procedures. Cities nationwide need to implement stronger reforms and rein in their police forces, or else we'll have to keep paying for their bad behavior.

    to read the numerous links embedded in this article go to:


  107. Police officer filmed punching detained cyclist in the head

    Police spokesman says the man was allegedly confrontational with the arresting officers

    CBC News March 27, 2013

    Police in Vancouver are investigating one of their own after a video was posted to Facebook that appears to show a plainclothes officer punching a cyclist in the head during an arrest Tuesday night.

    Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Randy Fincham says the cyclist was "allegedly confrontational with police" after being stopped at Robson and Beatty streets for apparently running a red light.

    Cyclist Andishae Akhavan insists he was not resisting arrest, and says there was no reason for the officer to punch him in the face.

    Akhavan says he was riding his bike without a helmet through Yaletown at around 10:45 p.m. PT when two officers stopped him to ask about having run a few red lights.

    Akhavan got off his bike and says he started questioning the officers as one began writing him a ticket.

    "At that point they decided to put cuffs on me," he said. "I was just speaking to them. I didn't raise my voice or anything, and they started putting the cuffs on me."

    He says that's when the video, which shows Akhavan standing at the side of the road being restrained by two plainclothes officers, starts.

    "What is this for?" he asks.

    Akhavan's left arm moves as he turns his body to speak to one of the officers again.

    "Relax," the officer orders.

    Then Akhavan appears to get punched in the jaw.

    "Relax your arm," the officer then says.

    A still from a video posted to Facebook shows a plainclothes Vancouver police officer with a fist apparently making contact with the jaw of a detained cyclist. (Courtesy Mike Schwarz)
    The incident was filmed by Akhavan's friend, Mike Schwarz, who says he happened to see his friend surrounded by the officers as he drove by, so he got out and started filming.

    Schwarz says Akhavan did nothing before the camera started recording video to provoke such a reaction.

    Schwarz told the officers the incident would go on TV. He posted it to Facebook, and in just a few hours the video received thousands of comments and shares.

    Fincham said Akhavan was treated at the scene by Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services for a cut lip.

    Akhavan was released but could still face charges, he said.
    Fincham said the incident was reported by the officer to his supervisor shortly afterwards.

    "The incident has also been reported to the Professional Standards Section of the Vancouver Police Department, who will in turn notify the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner," Fincham said in a written statement.


  108. Victoria officer used excessive force, adjudicator finds

    CBC News March 28, 2013

    The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner has found a Victoria police officer used excessive force during an arrest three years ago.

    A witness had posted a video of the March 2010 incident on YouTube.

    An adjudicator ruled Const. Christopher Bowser abused his authority by using excessive force during the arrest of Tyler Archer following a bar brawl.

    The adjudicator said Archer was kicked and kneed several times despite being in a position that was "completely submissive."

    Bowser will now face a disciplinary hearing.

    The Victoria Police Department maintains its officers were in a very difficult situation, and reacted professionally and responsibly.

    "I don't feel they acted unreasonably,” said police Chief John Ducker. “I think they were just caught up in an unfortunate circumstance."

    Archer’s lawyer Richard Neary disagrees.

    "The persistent refusal of the Victoria Police Department to accept that they've done anything wrong is really, really unfortunate,” he said. “It seems to be institutionally entrenched."

    The Victoria Police Department has not yet decided if it will appeal.



  109. B.C. guard seen in wheelchair takedown charged with assault

    Ali Rahnumah is suing Genesis Security for wrongful dismissal

    CBC News March 28, 2013

    A security guard who was caught on video knocking a man out of his wheelchair at a Vancouver mall has been charged with assault.

    In October, three undercover security guards at the Pacific Centre Mall were seen surrounding the one-legged man who was suspected of shoplifting.

    The scene was captured in a shaky cell phone video obtained by CBC News.

    In the video, one of the guards starts swearing before knocking the man out of his wheelchair with a blow to the head.

    "I'll f--kin' throw you on the ground and f--k you up!” the guard is heard saying. “Don't f--k with me ... On the ground! On the ground! On the ground! You're so stupid — on your chest!"

    Ali Rahnumah, who had been honoured as the "loss prevention officer of the year" in 2011 by Downtown Vancouver's Business Improvement Association, was fired by his employer, Genesis Security, shortly after CBC aired the video.

    "He had done well and I was surprised," said Ashley Meehan, vice-president at Genesis Security Group.

    "It's not in line with what we expect of our employees. So why it came to that I can't explain."

    CBC has learned that Rahnumah, 30, is now suing Genesis Security for $25,000 for wrongful dismissal.

    In a wrongful dismissal suit filed in small claims court, Rahnumah alleges his firing was "malicious, reprehensible" and designed "to minimize the negative publicity" resulting from the release of the video.

    Rahnumah also claims his actions during the arrest were "wholly consistent with the manner in which employees [of Genesis] … acted in the performance of their duties."

    The Ministry of Justice conducted its own investigation following reports on CBC News and found one guard used unnecessary force and profanity contrary to the Security Services Regulations' code of conduct.

    His security worker license was suspended during the investigation and he received an additional two-month suspension, according to Ministry of Justice spokesman Sam MacLeod. He was also fined $230.

    Rahnumah is expected to make his first court appearance in May.


  110. Sen. Eric Adams: NYPD Commissioner Told Me Cops Use Stop-and-Frisk to Instill Fear in Youths of Color

    Adams said policing must move away from quotas and terrorizing young people, and toward preventing harm.

    By Kristen Gwynne, AlterNet April 1, 2013

    On Monday, New York State Senator Eric Adams testified in federal court that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told him the policing tactic stop-and-frisk is used to instill fear in young men of color.

    “[NYPD Commissioner Kelly] stated that he targeted and focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that every time that they left their homes they could be stopped by police," Adams testified. Over the past decade, the NYPD has stopped upward of 5 million people, nearly 90% of whom are black or Latino.

    Kelly allegedly made the remark at a July 2010 meeting with elected officials including State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn), former Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), and former Democratic Governor of New York David Paterson, who was deciding whether to sign a bill to block the NYPD from compiling a database of individuals stopped by the police. Adams told Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin that, at the meeting, he expressed concern that blacks and Hispanics were “disproportionately” stopped, questioned and frisked by police, prompting the Commissioner to defend the tactic as crucial to preventing violence -- by making its targets fearful of police interactions.

    “I told him that I believe it was illegal and that that was not what stop-and-frisk was supposed to be used for,” he testified, adding that Kelly responding by asking, "How else are we going to get rid of guns?"

    Though stop-and-frisk is supposed to be used to uncover illegal guns, less than one percent of stops actually do.

    Adams, who co-sponsored the bill Paterson ultimately signed, told reporters that Kelly’s “disheartening” admission was proof that “It was not the people on the ground,” provoking illegal stops but “a policy being blessed from the top down.”

    Adams’ testimony was crucial to the class-action lawsuit Floyd v. City of New York, which will ultimately decide whether the city has violated the 4th and 14th amendment rights of New Yorkers by targeting black and Latino youths for suspicionless stops. The plaintiffs in Floyd have relied on the testimony and secret recordings of two NYPD whistleblowers who allege that monthly quotas force officers to break the law to make numbers.

    Cops Under Pressure

    Adams served 22 years in the NYPD before retiring as captain seven years ago. He stressed that illegal NYPD quotas for stops have an undue burden not just on the communities affected (many of which are his constituents), but police officers who want to do good.

    “Cops want to go after bad guys. Cops hate this,” he told reporters, adding that “Cops are so frustrated they’re now wearing wires at roll calls.”

    Adams emphasized that stop-and-frisk is “a great tool if it is used correctly,” but testified that “nowhere are you allowed to use the tool to instill fear.”

    continued in next comment...

  111. He noted that the difference between good and bad stops comes down to the law -- reasonable suspicion that a person has or is about to commit a crime.

    “The stops where a police officer was responding to a person who was a victim of crime, or a crime pattern in particular community areas" are good stops he said, compared to “Stops where officers are just responding to quotas, which he said “are terrible stops.” He provided as an example an individual “walking down the block or coming from school,” only to be stopped “Because of the way they dress or their skin color."

    Adams serves New York’s 20th District, which spans some of the New York City neighborhoods most affected by stop-and-frisk, including the Brooklyn neighborhoods Flatbush, Crown Heights and Brownsville. He said constituents regularly visit his office to ask whether they were stopped legally. Once, he told reporters, a group of seven football players entered his office after they were stopped by police following a game. Two of them started crying, he said, as they complained that officers were “touching their private areas,” -- a violation that has come up in the courtroom already.

    “They felt emasculated,” he said, adding that the moment provided him with the realization of “What we are doing to these kids."

    “When young people are afraid of gangs, and afraid of the police, they feel trapped. It’s not fair and it’s not right,” he said.

    “When we look back on this years from now,” he told reporters, “we’re going to feel really bad as adults that we did this to these children.”

    Reining in the NYPD

    Adams stressed to reporters that the September 11 World Trade Center attack had a profound effect on policing in the city. “We gave our police department more power," he said, adding that “With power should have come oversight.”

    He said adding an Inspector General to watch over the police department could be beneficial because “someone has to be there to say no," providing as an example,“No, you can’t go in a mosque where people are worshipping.” (Last year, a series of reports from the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD was spying on Muslims outside of their jurisdiction, and even hired an informant to snap photographs inside mosques where citizens worshipped.)

    Adams also said that involving member of the community in anti-violence strategies could help to keep them safer.

    “One of the other tools we could use to deter crime -- one that’s proven successful -- is community based crime-fighting,” he told AlterNet, adding, “Young people want to be a part of making their communities safer.” He lamented that many grassroots groups like Man Up and Save Our Streets were defunded last year.

    Adams also said that policing must move away from quotas and toward “preventing harm.”

    “As a cop, we want to catch bad guys,” he said, adding “That’s why we wear the shield.”

    Nonetheless, Adams told reporters that reforming policing tactics, and stop-and-frisk in particular, is difficult. “The people responsible for enforcing the law are not obeying the law.”

    He said Commissioner Kelly is “Out of touch with people in the communities,” and that “Until individuals on Wall Street have to tell stories about their children being stopped [we will not] see a change in this policy.”


  112. Dziekanski death at hands of RCMP a homicide, B.C. coroner rules

    Taser jolts led to Polish immigrant's fatal heart attack in 2007, report says

    The Canadian Press April 8, 2013

    The death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski in an altercation with RCMP officers at Vancouver's airport six years ago was a homicide, British Columbia's Coroners Service says.

    Homicide is considered a neutral term in a coroner's report, meaning the death was caused by the actions of another person; it does not imply any blame.

    Dziekanski, 40, who did not speak English, became agitated after spending more than nine hours wandering in the airport arrivals area in October 2007 and was confronted by four Mounties who stunned him several times with a Taser.

    The incident was captured on amateur video, which fuelled public anger and prompted the government to order a public inquiry headed by former justice Thomas Braidwood.

    The coroner's report says Dziekanski died of a heart attack following the Taser jolts, echoing a similar conclusion made in Braidwood's report.

    "The finding of Mr. Justice Braidwood was that Mr. Dziekanski died as a result of a cardiac arrhythmia," said coroner Patrick Cullinane.

    "He also found that both the multiple deployments of the conducted energy weapon along with the physical altercation contributed to the circumstance leading to the fatal arrhythmia. I concur with the findings of Mr. Justice Braidwood," Cullinane wrote.

    His report also found no other factors in the death, including drugs.

    "[The] autopsy showed no significant injuries and no natural disease process that would have likely led to sudden death," the report said.

    Braidwood's inquiry found the Mounties acted too quickly when they arrived at the airport, where Dziekanski had been throwing furniture, and they then used excessive force when one of them repeatedly fired the Taser.

    The officers are each facing perjury charges related to their testimony at the inquiry.

    Braidwood also conducted a separate inquiry into the general use of Tasers in B.C.

    He concluded the conducted energy weapon has the capacity to kill in certain situations, and said they should be used only in cases involving bodily harm or the threat of bodily harm.

    He made several recommendations on the use of such weapons, including standardized training for police officers, the filing of detailed reports whenever a Taser is used, and independent testing of the devices.

    Braidwood also called for the creation of an independent office to review serious incidents involving police officers in British Columbia, instead of having police investigate other police.

    That recommendations led to the creation last fall of the independent investigations office, which now examines any case in which the actions of B.C. police officers cause death or serious injury, including those involving the RCMP.

    Taser use by police in B.C. has fallen 87 per cent since Dziekanski's death.

    read the links in this article at:


  113. Kelowna Mountie gets suspended sentence for face kick

    The Canadian Press May 2, 2013

    A former Kelowna Mountie was given a suspended sentence and 18 months probation for kicking a man in the face during an arrest in January 2011.

    Const. Geoff Mantler pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm last year, after he was caught on video kicking Buddy Tavares in the face.

    The video showed Tavares on his knees, as instructed by Mantler, and moving to get down on his hands when Mantler kicked him, causing Tavares to collapse to the pavement, his face bleeding.

    B.C. 'kicking Mountie' changes plea to guilty
    Police had been seeking Tavares following reports of a man firing a rifle at a golf course, and the court had been told police were warned the suspect might be dangerous.

    On Tuesday, Mantler read a letter of apology in court, saying he was deeply sorry for, and regretted his actions.

    Mantler's lawyer had asked for a conditional discharge, but the Crown asked for a suspended sentence, a firearms ban and 18 months probation.


  114. RCMP cleared in shooting death of Prince George vet

    CBC News May 1, 2013

    B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office has cleared Prince George RCMP in the police-shooting death of a military veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder last September.
    Greg Matters, 40, was shot and killed after a 30-hour standoff with a police emergency response team on a rural property outside the city.

    Matters was a soldier for 15 years, who served in the Bosnian conflict before returning to Prince George in 2009.

    About a year and half before his death, he began treatment at the Operational Stress Injury clinic in Vancouver, one of nine across Canada funded by Veterans Affairs.

    According to the IIO report by Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal, it was an apparent dispute between Greg and his brother at the house Matters shared with his mother that sparked the incident with police.

    Brotherly dispute

    The report says Matters alleged his brother had driven onto the property, violating a restraining order. As a result, Matters used his own car to chase his brother off the property and into a ditch.

    When questioned by police, Matters's brother apparently claimed he was going to visit their mother when Matters gave chase, crashed into his vehicle then punched him.

    RCMP decided to arrest Matters for dangerous driving, assault with a weapon and assault, but after repeated attempts by phone and in person, police could not get him to meet with them.

    The following day, an emergency response team and helicopter were deployed, and repeated efforts were made by phone to resolve the situation peacefully.

    However, according to the report, Matters became agitated on seeing the ERT and helicopter advancing, dropped the phone call and, the report says, raised a hatchet against the officers.

    The report goes on to say officers attempted to stop Matters by using a Taser, but when this failed to be effective, officers fired the fatal shots.

    'Extremely disappointed'

    In a statement on behalf of Matters's sister Tracey, representative Lydia Gallant said the Matters family is "saddened and extremely disappointed" by the findings of the IIO investigation.

    "The family has serious questions about a number of discrepancies, omissions, and speculation in the IIO report while acknowledging that they have not yet been provided with any investigative material other than the brief IIO report itself," the statement said.

    Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said the findings provided more questions than answers.

    "The IIO has an extremely limited mandate, restricted to determining whether there was evidence of a crime in the act of the fatal shooting, an act to which the only witnesses were police officers."

    The BCCLA has launched a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP -- and Vonn said they trust many issues will come to light at the coroners inquest.

    "The bereaved family of the victim and all British Columbians need to be assured that the circumstances of Greg Matters's death are thoroughly vetted to avoid such tragic outcomes in the future."

    Last month, the military announced two members of Matters's family would receive a Memorial Cross, an award handed out when a soldier's death can be attributed to active service.


    IIO Investigation into the September 10, 2012 fatal shooting of Gregory Matters

  115. RCMP cleared in former soldier’s death after police opened fire on veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder

    by Tristin Hopper National Post May 2, 2013

    B.C.’s police watchdog on Wednesday officially cleared the Prince George RCMP of any criminal wrongdoing for shooting dead Gregory Matters, a 40-year-old Bosnia veteran suffering from post traumatic stress, in an altercation at his rural home.

    Nevertheless, Mr. Matters’ family continues to question why a helicopter, four heavily armed Mounties and two bullets to the chest were needed to subdue a mentally unstable man armed with nothing more than a throwing hatchet.

    “It raises serious concerns about police response, tactics and decision-making which in this case led to the death of Greg Matters,” wrote the family in a statement published Wednesday.

    “Given that [Emergency Response Team] officers are specially trained to ‘take dangerous and difficult people into custody in a safe manner’ why did they fail so miserably in this case?”

    Discharged from the military in 2009, Mr. Matters had served with the Canadian Forces for more than 15 years, including peacekeeping stints in the Balkans. Last month, citing Mr. Matters’ PTSD diagnosis, Veterans Affairs issued Mr. Matters’ family with a Memorial Cross, an award given to surviving family members of a soldier whose death is attributable to their service.

    In a 16-page report published Wednesday, B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office concluded that “there was no evidence that any police officer committed an offence related to this death.”

    In the early morning of Sept. 9, 2012, Mr. Matters called police with a request to arrest his brother, Trevor, who he had spotted drunkenly driving on to his property and “doing donuts.”

    “Greg then chased after him in his vehicle and ran him off the road … Stated we could find the vehicle in the ditch,” according to an officer’s notes collected by the investigation.

    In repeated 911 calls asking whether they had taken Trevor into custody, at one point an increasingly agitated Mr. Matters said, “If the police don’t deal with [his brother], he will … Stated he would take matters into his own hands and it would not be pretty,” according to the officer’s notes.

    Police moved in to arrest Mr. Matters the next day, sparking a 30-hour standoff. On the evening of Sept. 10, Mr. Matters was walking down his driveway to surrender when he became spooked by a helicopter hovering overhead, retreated into his home and emerged minutes later holding a hatchet.

    An officer then ran forward and hit Mr. Matters with a burst from a taser. When the weapon appeared to have no effect, another officer put two rounds into Mr. Matters’ chest.

    “There was no hesitation in Matters’ advance with the hatchet raised and I was left with no option if I was to prevent Matters from wounding or killing [the other officers],” the officer told investigators.

    “I switched off the safety of my rifle, aimed at Matters’ center of mass, and fired two rounds.”

    An officer armed with a less-lethal shotgun loaded with bean-bag rounds was nearby, but he told investigators he could not get a “clear line of fire at that point.”

    In Wednesday’s statement, the Matters family wrote that “although Greg might have been difficult to deal with at times, he was not dangerous.” They also questioned why a simple domestic complaint was allowed to escalate so quickly into a tense, high-stress standoff.

    Repeatedly, say the family, police brushed off the offers of neighbours, relatives and Mr. Matters’ psychiatrist to talk to him, preferring to “enter on the property and force the issue instead,” as the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said in an earlier statement.

    At no point was Mr. Matters armed with a firearm.

    The watchdog’s job was only to determine criminal culpability. Any questions regarding the “reasonableness of police decisions” were forwarded to the RCMP and the Commission for Public Complaints.


  116. NOTE: see comments above for previous reports on this story.

    B.C. mother wins fight over slain daughter's charter rights

    Provincial Supreme Court ruling clears way for mom's lawsuit on behalf of Lisa Dudley

    CBC News June 7, 2013

    The Supreme Court of British Columbia says a grieving mother who blames the federal and provincial governments for violating the charter rights of her slain daughter can move forward on a lawsuit.

    “My heart is still beating so hard in my chest — I'm still looking at these papers. I just can't believe it's for real sometimes,” Rosemarie Surakka, whose 37-year-old daughter Lisa Dudley was gunned down in her Mission, B.C., neighbourhood in 2008, told CBC.

    “Today I'm telling you we're just going to rejoice and be grateful to those who are helping right a wrong done to Lisa."

    The ruling by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes stems from a lawsuit filed by Surakka.

    RCMP were called to the scene by a neighbour who heard the gunshots, but the officer never got out of his car, reporting later that everything looked normal in the area.

    Dudley was paralyzed and clung to life for four days in the house until a neighbour stumbled on the scene. She died before reaching the hospital. Dudley’s boyfriend was killed instantly in the same attack.

    Jack Woodruff, 53, pleaded guilty in the deaths last year and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Two other suspects are in custody and awaiting trial.

    The officer in question was later found guilty of disgraceful conduct and docked a day's pay.

    Surakka alleges the provincial and federal governments — in their responsibility for the RCMP — failed to uphold her daughter’s rights under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

    The case drew attention when the federal government moved to have it thrown out, arguing no one, not even a grieving mother, can make a charter case on someone else’s behalf. The government also argued a person’s charter rights end upon death.

    But in her ruling, Holmes suggested the law may need updating when a charter violation is fatal.

    The ruling may yet be overturned but, for now, Surakka's lawyer says the case has cleared a major hurdle.

    "To my knowledge that's the first time a claim of this sort has survived a motion to strike,” said Monique Pongracic-Speier.

    Andrew Lokan, a Toronto lawyer and adjunct professor of constitutional law at Osgoode Hall law school, agrees the decision is significant. If allowed to stand, it changes the general rule that one must be alive to assert charter rights.

    "For me it's very important that every constitutional wrong should have a constitutional remedy, and that's the logic that was accepted in this case,” said Lokan.

    But Lokan expects Ottawa will appeal the decision, because as it stands, it will open the door to more charter claims on behalf of people who have died.

    No one from the federal Justice Department could be reached for comment.


  117. The following article is an update to the report in the comment above dated February 26, 2013 at 4:46 PM, "B.C. agency investigates RCMP event"

    Watchdog files report after woman injured in arrest


    Display of this document is currently not permitted. Please see the print edition for the full text.


    NOTE: I have no idea why this newsreport can't be published online. It makes no sense to me, so I have typed the report from the print edition, dated June 7, 2013.

    Watchdog files report after woman injured in arrest

    The Canadian Press

    British Columbia's police watchdog has forwarded a report to Crown counsel after a Vancouver Island woman was injured during her arrest by Mounties.

    The woman was taken into custody in Port Alberni on Feb. 15 after RCMP officers determined she may have not been compliant with a court order.

    But the Independent Investigations Offices says she suffered a leg injury during her arrest and was assessed by the B.C. Ambulance Services in police cells before being transferred to hospital.

    The police watchdog says it began looking into the event because of information it received one week after the incident.

    The agency says it forwards reports to prosecutors when its chief civilian director believes an officer may have committed an offence, although the report includes no recommendations on charges.

    The police watchdog says Crown counsel will now determine whether an offence occurred and whether it can be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

  118. Dziekanski officers perjury cases may be difficult to prove
    Const. Bill Bentley 1st of 4 Mounties to take stand after fatal incident at Vancouver airport

    By Curt Petrovich, CBC News June 10, 2013

    Nearly six years after a Polish immigrant died at Vancouver's international airport, the first of four RCMP officers involved in his death will stand trial on charges of perjury related to a public inquiry into the case.

    Const. Bill Bentley was among four officers who confronted Robert Dziekanski in October 2007, stunning him multiple times with a Taser within seconds of arriving on the scene in response to reports of a man throwing furniture.

    Robert Dziekanski died after a series of jolts from Tasers in October 2007. (CBC)
    Dziekanski died on the airport floor. A coroner's report found he suffered a fatal heart attack and deemed the death a homicide.

    But a confidential legal opinion obtained by CBC News suggests the perjury cases against the police may be difficult to prove in the Vancouver court room.

    At the inquiry, the Mounties' versions of what happened were at odds with amateur video of the incident.

    The officers insisted they were simply mistaken when they initially claimed Dziekanski had come at them screaming with stapler, and had to be wrestled to the ground.

    Inquiry commissioner Thomas Braidwood called their explanations "self-serving," "patently unbelievable" and "deliberate misrepresentations of what happened made for the purpose of justifying their actions."

    A special prosecutor indicted them all for perjury, citing 28 allegations of deliberate attempts to mislead the inquiry.

    Bentley — who is on administrative leave in Ontario — will be first in court, followed by the others over the next year.

    "The officers [lied], of course," says Robert Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski. "Everybody knows that and covered up."

    But CBC News has obtained a confidential legal opinion written for the RCMP by Len Doust, a prominent B.C. lawyer, who successfully prosecuted Air India bomb-maker Inderjit Singh Reyat, among several other high-profile cases.

    Doust wrote that while troubling, the officers' testimony "does not likely amount to perjury."

    The discrepancies can be explained by "the frailties of human memory", the quick pace of the "intense circumstances" and "the impact of Mr. Dziekanski's death on the Officers," Doust writes.

    But Vancouver lawyer Cameron Ward says Doust's opinion shows these cases are not clear cut.

    "It's one thing to make mistakes while on the witness stand. It's quite another to lie while under the oath with the intention to mislead the court," Ward said.

    Dziekanski's mother says acquittals would prolong her quest for closure.

    "What we can call this is if not perjury if not lying and covering up? What we can call that?" said Cisowski.

    Taser use by police in B.C. has fallen 87 per cent since Dziekanski's death six years ago.


  119. Child porn charges laid against Vernon RCMP officer

    CBC News June 14, 2013

    An RCMP officer in Vernon, B.C., has been charged with the possession of child pornography, breaching conditions and obstructing a police investigation.

    Const. Ryan Hampton was suspended from duty following an investigation by the RCMP's professional standards unit launched on May 5, 2013.

    "This alleged behavior is absolutely deplorable and is being dealt with swiftly," said Chief Supt. Mike Sekela, the District Commander for the Southeast District, in a statement released on Wednesday.

    "Given the seriousness of the allegations he has been advised that a Notice of Intention to seek Suspension without Pay has been completed," said the statement.

    Hampton is scheduled to appear in Vernon Provincial Court on June 27.


  120. 2 Transit Police officers charged with fabricating evidence

    Constables Bruce Shipley, Alfred Wong also charged with breach of trust, assault

    CBC News July 10, 2013

    Two Transit Police officers already charged with assault are facing additional charges after a criminal investigation by the Vancouver Police Department.

    Constables Bruce Shipley and Alfred Wong have been charged with breach of trust, fabrication of evidence and public mischief — in addition to assault charges laid last year.

    The officers allegedly physically assaulted and pepper-sprayed a 27-year-old man at the Granville SkyTrain station in February of 2012.

    Both Shipley and Wong remain on administrative duty.


    NOTE: Police now have such a bad reputation in B.C. and Canada that the CBC turns off the comment feature for articles dealing with bad cops who abuse their authority.

  121. Police takedown video at Port Moody pub sparks lawsuit

    Police say man was involved in an altercation and refused to co-operate

    The Canadian Press July 16, 2013

    A Port Moody police sergeant is being sued over allegations he knocked a man unconscious outside a local pub.

    A court document says Herbert Ramos and Tracey Ferris were celebrating a birthday at the Golden Spike Pub on July 6th when a dispute began with bouncers.

    It says Sgt. Ian Morrison grabbed Ramos, a CTV cameraman, outside the pub and from behind the neck, and then threw him violently backwards without warning onto the parking lot.

    The couple is also suing the city for wrongful arrest and detention, and the pub and its manager for providing officers with false information, although none of the allegations have been proven in court.

    Police have said Ramos was involved in an altercation and refused to co-operate with police.


    Note: While the facts remain in dispute in this case, the comments feature was turned off by CBC for this story, as with the previous article above. The reason is because police, generally speaking, now have such a bad reputation in Canada for abusing their authority that comments overwhelm the CBC website moderators. They cannot keep up with screening all the negative criticisms directed towards bad cops.

  122. Vancouver officer allegedly interfered with Oak Bay homicide case

    In 2001 Owen Padmore, 31, died of head injuries

    CBC News July 18, 2013

    A Vancouver Police officer, who is under investigation for allegedly lying and interfering with a homicide investigation in Oak Bay dating back to 2001, is related to the prime suspect in the case, CBC News has learned.

    In 2001 Owen Padmore, 31, died of head injuries apparently sustained from a fall in his mother's Oak Bay home.

    Then, two years ago, new information sparked a homicide investigation, and a suspect was arrested and charged with manslaughter by Oak Bay Police.

    But that case mysteriously fell apart.

    Now Vancouver Police have confirmed a 13-year veteran of their force faces serious offences under the Police Act for interfering in that case.

    According to a statement released by Vancouver police on Thursday afternoon, the officer under investigation lied to the homicide investigators, accessed restricted police databases and provided information to another person.

    Oak Bay police have confirmed the alleged interference compromised their homicide investigation.

    After the allegations came to light in 2011, New Westminster Police Chief David Jones was assigned by the Office of the Police Complaints Commission to conduct an investigation.

    As a result of that investigation, the officer is facing charges of:

    --Two counts of deceit.

    --One count of neglect of duty.

    --One count of corrupt practice.

    --One count of improper disclosure of information.

    The officer was also suspended with pay by Vancouver police in August 2011.

    The Vancouver police board is now considering whether to suspend the officer with or without pay while the case remains under investigation.


  123. The following article is an update to the report in the comment above dated June 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM, "Watchdog files report after woman injured in arrest"

    RCMP will not face charges in case that left Alberni woman with broken knee

    The Canadian Press / Alberni Valley Times July 23, 2013

    Police officers don’t have to be perfect, nor do they have to be nice when arresting people who may become abusive, said British Columbia’s criminal justice branch. The branch made the comment after deciding that two RCMP officers who arrested a woman in Port Alberni after an altercation will not face charges, even though the woman’s knee was broken in the melee.

    “Police are not held to a standard of perfection and are not required to measure with nicety the force that they use,” the branch said in a news release on Monday.

    “A legally acceptable use of force is one which is not gratuitous, and which is delivered in a measured fashion.”

    The Independent Investigations Office took on the case after the incident in Feb. 15, in which RCMP in Port Alberni were called to investigate a disturbance outside of a government office.

    When two officers attempted to arrest the woman, a fight broke out and the woman suffered the broken knee.

    The branch said the Crown carefully reviewed the IIO’s report and concluded it is unlikely the officers would be convicted because it is not clear they acted outside the bounds of a lawful use of force.

    “A use of force by police may be lawful even in circumstances where an injury is caused by or during that application of force,” the branch said in the news release.

    That does not mean officers have the unlimited ability to hurt someone.

    “The Supreme Court of Canada has clearly established that the allowable degree of force remains constrained by the principles of proportionality, necessity and reasonableness,” the branch noted.

    “What is proportionate, necessary and reasonable within the meaning of the law will depend on the totality of the circumstances and is assessed from the point of view of the officer, recognizing the characteristically dynamic nature of police interactions with citizens…A legally acceptable use of force is one which is not gratuitous, and which is delivered in a measured fashion.”

    In deciding not to lay charges, the Crown took into account evidence from the woman herself and interviews with the two officers, and it concluded it is doubtful the two officers would be convicted of using “disproportionate, unnecessary and unreasonable” force, the branch said.

    However, the woman involved has been charged with two counts of assaulting a peace officer and one of obstructing police.

    The branch released few other details of the events that led up to the altercation because the charges against the woman are now before the courts.


  124. Mountie in Dziekanski Taser death not guilty of lying to inquiry

    Const. Bill Bentley one of four RCMP officers charged with perjury after Braidwood inquiry

    CBC News July 29, 2013

    One of the Mounties accused of lying during testimony at a public inquiry into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski has been found not guilty of perjury.

    Const. Bill Bentley was one of four RCMP officers who confronted Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007, stunning him several times with a Taser, before Dziekanski died on the floor of the terminal.

    After the judge handed down the verdict on Monday afternoon in Vancouver Supreme Court, Bentley doubled over in tears.

    Bentley's legal troubles began when he tried to explain during the 2009 Braidwood Inquiry the differences between what could be seen on amateur video and what he initially told homicide investigators.

    He and Const. Kwesi Millington, Const. Gerry Rundel, and former corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson were charged with perjury in 2011.

    At his trial the Crown alleged Bentley and the other officers colluded on their stories to homicide investigators and then lied at the inquiry to cover up the deception.

    Bentley told investigators and wrote in his notes that the Polish immigrant grabbed a stapler and came at the officers screaming, was stunned and wrestled to the ground.

    But a video, taken by a traveller, emerged one month later and contradicted some of Bentley's notes and statements.

    At Bentley's trial, his lawyer, Peter Wilson, did not call any evidence. Instead, Wilson denied Bentley colluded with the other officers and argued his client's initial errors were honest mistakes and a product of a fast-paced incident and involvement in an in-custody death.

    Bentley was the officer who called for an ambulance and alerted dispatchers about Dziekanski's worsening condition, the defence said.

    "Here's the youngest officer there with the least involvement — what on Earth did he have to cover up?" asked Wilson.

    The remaining three officers are standing trial separately.

    Those trials, scheduled to be heard by juries, are set for November of this year and February 2014.


  125. It took nine shots for police to kill Sammy Yatim

    BY KRYSTALLINE KRAUS, Activist Communique JULY 30, 2013

    It took nine shots to kill Sammy Yatim. Nine shots in fifteen seconds, fired by Toronto police. Fired by Toronto police into the body of eighteen year old Yatim as he was alone, holding a small knife, on an empty TTC street car.

    Nine Shots in fifteen seconds. That's barely time to breathe, let alone think.

    Bang Bang Bang (pause) Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang Bang

    Then comes the sound of a taser, deployed after, not before, as a de-escalation strategy. That is what I thought the whole point of the police having tasers, to be used as a non-lethal form of compliance; a lower tier on the non-lethal force matrix.

    You can watch the whole thing in this video here. http://youtu.be/lG6OTyjzAgg But I just want to note, this is not fiction nor TV, you will be watching a young man die. The video is graphic. On the video, you can hear numerous police officers yelling at Yatim to, “drop the knife…drop the knife…drop the knife,” and then one or more officers open fire on the eighteen year old.

    I say one or more police officers because there were so many swarming around the empty street car – except for Yatim; who was nowhere near the officers when they opened fire, for the first three bullets, and the next six, and then the taser.

    Teenagers often like to feel celebrity-famous or at least notorious, but I know this is not what Yatim or his family wanted for their boy; for all of Toronto to watch him die at the hands of the Toronto police.

    We currently don’t know much about the circumstances of Sammy Yatim’s death and Toronto Police Chief, Bill Blair’s, 11:00 am press conference today didn’t reveal much except to announce that there will be an official inquiry into his death.

    Dead at eighteen. On Saturday July 27, 2013, At the hands of Toronto police. Nine shots in fifteen seconds. At a Toronto rally on Monday, attended by close to a thousand people, questions hung in the air. Most seemed to center around questions of use of force and why des-escalation strategies were not performed. Or why Toronto police officers tasered Yatim after shooting him nine times.

    Demonstrators shouted "shame" at the police officers who lined the streets during the march, and they had to protect 52 Division when the crowd rushed the doors, demanding answers.
    Police Bill Blair’s press conference provided none.

    People shouted at officers, “you killed a kid, he was just a kid!” I watched one officer flinch at those words.
    Yatim’s mother commented briefly, through tears, “"Feel how afraid he was."

    At around 6:30 pm in the evening, when the march was at the place where Yatim died, his family knelt down on the street and sobbed. We all died a little bit. Here is what we know about Sammy Yatim, and I must stress we know very little at this point – thank the sky citizens have video cameras or we as the public might not know anything at all.

    Yatim was an average eighteen year old kid who went to school and used to work at a McDonalds. According to the Toronto Star, “Yatim’s father has lived in Canada since 1968, but his wife and children lived in Syria until the parents divorced five years ago, according to the uncle. Sammy and his sister Sarah, now 16, moved to Toronto to live with their father.
    “Sammy used to spend the summers with his mom in Syria until the situation became so dangerous,” he said.

    One demonstrator who did not give her name chanted, “Sammy survived living in Syria only to die on Toronto’s streets.” Something is very wrong here.

    Yatim is not the first person to die from death-by-cop. Most of the families are still waiting for justice.
    More to come. Another rally has been planned for Tuesday August 13, 2013.


  126. Enough is enough: Time for the public to police the police

    BY KEVIN EDMONDS, rabble.ca JULY 30, 2013

    The tragic news of Sammy Yatim's unnecessary death at the hands of the Toronto police Friday night has sparked a much needed debate regarding the use of excessive force by police in the mainstream media.

    Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced that the "public has every right to be concerned" about the events which unfolded on the 505 streetcar, and the he would be conducing his own investigation in addition to the one being done by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

    While the public has every right to be deeply concerned about the brazen and seemingly uncontrolled nature of the police actions which led to Sammy’s death -- they should also be concerned with the fact that this is not an isolated incident. While the Chief's words are meant to restore public trust in the police, the reality is that the police rarely if ever hold their own accountable for actions that result in death, bodily harm or misconduct. That needs to change. Now.

    A first place to start would be a complete overhauling of the SIU. As it stands right now the SIU is a fraud. On paper the SIU is a "civilian law enforcement agency independent of the police. While the Unit is an agency of the Ministry of the Attorney General, it maintains an arm's length relationship with the Government of Ontario in its operations. The SIU's investigations and decisions are also independent of the government."

    According to the SIU website, "When police officers are involved in incidents where someone has been seriously injured, dies or alleges sexual assault, the SIU has the statutory mandate to conduct independent investigations to determine whether a criminal offence took place. The effective fulfilment of this mandate, with all of its associated challenges, remains critical to fostering public confidence in policing in the province by ensuring thorough and independent investigations that stand up to public scrutiny."

    Yet in direct contradiction to its mandate, as stated on the website for the Attorney General of Ontario, the vast majority of hires within the SIU are retired police officers from across Ontario and the RCMP. As of 2010, 47 of its 54 investigators are former police officers. This is hardly an example of an independent agency.

    Furthermore, a December 2011 report from the Ontario Ombudsman/s Office titled Oversight Undermined highlighted the problems of "including endemic delays and a lack of rigour in SIU investigations, a reluctance to insist on police co-operation, and an internal culture overly influenced by a preponderance of ex-police officers among its staff … Transparency was also missing in action, as SIU reports and significant policy issues remained hidden from public view."

    In 2010 a series of articles in the Toronto Star surrounding the SIU and cases of police brutality concluded that "Ontario's criminal justice system heavily favours police and gives officers breaks at every turn -- from the SIU, which hardly ever charges officers, to prosecutors, juries and judges. Where civilians causing similar damage are typically prosecuted, cops walk."

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  127. While the killing of Yatim was perhaps more brazen than any other Toronto police killing in recent memory, it is arguably only due to the eyewitness cell phone videos which have the potential to hold the police accountable for their deadly reaction. However, when looking the comprehensive list of killings by police and the SIU ruling in Toronto's African community complied by Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya, it does not inspire hope in the system as it is currently comprised.

    In cases without such videos, young men like Junior Manon met their death at the hands of the Toronto police -- only to be victimized once again by having his killers walk free. In the case of Manon, after a brief chase he was beaten by police and was pronounced dead on the scene due to suffocation.

    Despite the testimony of eyewitnesses and even the police themselves, they were acquitted and the death was ruled as an "accident."

    Such outcomes are very common, as revealed by the Toronto Star, since the creation of the SIU in 1990, it "has conducted at least 3,400 investigations and laid criminal charges after only 95 of them … only 16 officers have been convicted of a crime. Only three have seen the inside of a jail."

    The 2011 Ombudsman's report went on to state, "However, historically, the SIU's job has been particularly challenging as a result of ingrained police resistance to its authority and the reluctance of successive governments to adopt measures that might be viewed as unpalatable by Ontario’s policing community."

    In other words, the police believe themselves to be above the law. They recognize no authority other than their own. When it comes to the actions of the SIU, it routinely reinforces this corrupt practice and puts the public at risk.

    Thus, all of this shows a clear double standard when it comes to the behaviour of the Toronto police. A crime is not a crime if it is carried out by a member of the Toronto police -- it is all too often excused as a mistake, accident or exception circumstance with the help of the judicial system.

    If Chief Bill Blair really wants to inspire public confidence in the police, he cannot allow his force to murder those they are mandated to protect -- or beat and illegally imprison those who protest for social justice, as was the case with the G20.

    In closing, police are not the only ones which are capable of conducting investigations. Indeed, the Ombudsman's office has criticized the police record of investigating their own is criticized as being below standard.

    Within the general public there are numerous capable individuals from law, academia, community organizations, the media and more who can serve on such panels and turn the SIU into a tool for justice which polices the police and holds them accountable for the actions.

    Perhaps only then police will think twice before emptying nine shots into an 18-year-old who posed no threat to them. It is something that is owed to Sammy, and all other victims of police violence.

    Kevin Edmonds is a writer and activist based in Toronto.

    to read the links embedded in this article go to:


  128. Ontario ombudsman says he was harassed by police officer on twitter

    Andre Marin says Police Detective Constable Scott Dennis of Durham Regional Police created an anonymous account to attack him

    Lauren Strapagiel, Post Media News August 8, 2013

    Ontario’s ombudsman Andre Marin is accusing a police officer of harassing him on Twitter as he announced an investigation into police deescalation tactics.

    Marin said that Police Detective Constable Scott Dennis of Durham Regional Police created an anonymous Twitter account that sent harassing tweets his way.

    The now-deleted account, @joeymayo12, called Marin “a carded member of Al Qaida” among other attacks.

    Marin tweeted the name of the officer allegedly behind the insults, but would not reveal how they identified him.

    The attacks came as Marin announced an investigation by his office into how police are trained to deescalate situations and how they apply deadly force. The announcement comes in the wake of the death of Sammy Yatim, an 18-year-old shot to death last month by Toronto police officers.

    Yatim was on board a streetcar when he pulled out a knife. Toronto Police officer James Forcillo fired nine shots at the teen before another officer applied a Taser. Forcillo is currently suspended with pay as the Special Investigations Unit examines the case.

    During the press conference, Marin said he and his office’s investigators have been subject to attacks on Twitter.

    “Emotions run high when we talk about police oversight,” he said. “I would hope for a more informed dialog.”

    He declined to mention if disciplinary action would be taken against the officer.

    Durham Regional Police have not returned Canada.com’s request for comment.

    see some of the Tweets at:


  129. RCMP spokesman on Dziekanski Taser death committed suicide, B.C. coroner says

    James Keller, Canadian Press August 15, 2013

    A former RCMP spokesman who became the face of the Mounties in the early days of the Robert Dziekanski story, only to face allegations that he and the force misled the public about what happened during the Polish immigrant’s fatal confrontation with police, has died by suicide, the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed Thursday.

    Pierre Lemaitre died on July 29 after he was found hanging in his home in Abbotsford, the coroners service said in a news release. Emergency personnel attended Lemaitre’s home, but could not resuscitate him.

    “The B.C. Coroners Service expresses its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Lemaitre,” said the news release, which indicated Lemaitre’s family had asked for privacy.

    Most recently, Lemaitre was posted to the RCMP’s traffic services division.

    Lemaitre was the officer in charge of RCMP media relations in British Columbia when, in the early hours of Oct. 14, 2007, reports first surfaced that a man had died after he was stunned with a Taser at Vancouver’s airport.

    Lemaitre’s initial accounts described a distraught man who was “behaving irrationally,” and he said RCMP officers only resorted to the Taser to “immobilize the violent man,” who Lemaitre said fought through the effects of the stun gun after falling to the ground.

    He repeatedly described Dziekanski as “combative” and at one point said during an interview with the CBC that there was no video camera in that area of the airport.

    Lemaitre also said Dziekanski was only stunned twice, though it emerged later that the Taser had been deployed five times.

    It turned out that there was a video, shot by a traveller, and that Lemaitre had watched portions of the video before issuing the first news release detailing the in-custody death, the Braidwood inquiry into Dziekanski’s death heard.

    When the video emerged a month later, it appeared to contradict the official accounts from the RCMP.

    While Dziekanski was, indeed, seen throwing furniture and yelling in the international arrivals terminal, on the video he appeared relatively calm when the RCMP officers arrived, with his hands at his side.

    By the time the video became public, Lemaitre was no longer handling media inquiries about the incident. Those duties had been transferred to a spokesperson for the region’s homicide unit two days after Dziekanski’s death.

    The case fuelled a national debate about Taser use and led to the two-part public inquiry that examined the stun guns and the specific circumstances around Dziekanski’s death.

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  130. Lemaitre testified at the inquiry in the spring of 2009, telling the hearings he was simply relaying what Cpl. Dale Carr, who handled media relations for the region’s homicide unit, had told him.

    Carr, in turn, said he couldn’t recall what information Lemaitre got from him and what he may have heard during briefings with investigators.

    Carr acknowledged at the inquiry that he recognized errors in what Lemaitre had told the media almost immediately, but he also told the inquiry he was ordered by his superiors not to correct the record, on the grounds that the RCMP should not be discussing evidence.

    Braidwood rejected allegations at the inquiry that either Lemaitre or Carr purposely attempted to mislead the public.

    Instead, retired appeal court justice Thomas Braidwood said in his final report that Lemaitre appeared to be doing his best to inform the public about an investigation that was in its early stages and had yet to determine all of the facts.

    Braidwood wrote that he was “impressed” with Lemaitre and Carr for what he described as an “exceptionally prompt response,” and he concluded that Lemaitre was not aware that some of the information he was releasing to the public was incorrect.

    “In my view, a well-intentioned desire to inform the public about what had happened at the airport pre-empted the equally important goal of accuracy,” Braidwood wrote.

    “While I do not fault Sgt. Lemaitre for conveying to the public information about the incident that had been approved for release, in hindsight, it would have been preferable to avoid any detailed discussion of the circumstances at that early stage in the investigation.”

    Following the testimony of Lemaitre and Carr, another RCMP spokesman, Sgt. Tim Shields, who is now an inspector, issued a formal apology for the misinformation that followed Dziekanski’s death. Carr also issued his own apology.

    The RCMP declined to comment on Lemaitre’s death or the coroner’s findings on Thursday.

    “Out of respect for Sgt. Lemaitre’s years of service and commitment and his family’s privacy, we’re really not in a position to comment any further about his untimely passing,” Sgt. Peter Thiessen said in a brief interview.

    The inquiry prompted the B.C. and federal governments to adopt new rules on Taser use, and was a driving force behind the creation of an independent agency that now investigates allegations involving the police.

    The four officers involved in Dziekanski’s death were later charged with perjury for their testimony at the inquiry, specifically when they attempted to explain discrepancies between what can be seen on the video and what they initially wrote in their notes and told investigations.

    One of the officers, Const. Bill Bentley, was acquitted late last month of the perjury charge. The remaining three are still awaiting trial.


  131. Const. James Forcillo gets bail in Sammy Yatim shooting

    Lawyer says 2nd-degree murder charge against Toronto officer 'a life-changing incident'

    CBC News August 20, 2013

    Toronto police Const. James Forcillo, charged with second-degree murder in the streetcar shooting death of Sammy Yatim, received bail at an afternoon court appearance.

    Forcillo, who appeared in court at Old City Hall on Tuesday morning, was granted bail in a separate hearing at the Superior Court of Justice in the afternoon.

    The police officer exited the downtown courthouse stone-faced, saying nothing the throng of reporters as he walked towards an SUV waiting on the street.

    Forcillo's lawyer, Peter Brauti, had earlier told reporters outside that Forcillo's bail was $500,000 and that his client would be leaving the courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.

    "He doesn't plan to run and hide from the media," said Brauti. "He's going to walk out the front doors … and he’s going to head home."

    Forcillo arrived at Old City Hall court shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET. The van carrying the officer drove past reporters and photographers as it turned into the courthouse.

    Forcillo, 30, entered custody earlier in the day at an undisclosed location in an arrangement made with his lawyer and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ontario's police watchdog. In a Twitter message issued Monday, the SIU said it opted for the secret surrender because death threats have been made against Forcillo on social media.

    On Monday, the SIU announced it would recommend a second-degree murder charge against Forcillo for his role in the July 27 shooting that killed Yatim, 18, an incident captured on videos that have been viewed more than a million times online.

    On videos of the shooting, nine shots can be heard, seconds after shouts for Yatim to drop a knife. The final six shots appear to come after Yatim had already fallen to the floor of the streetcar, and he is then stunned with a Taser.

    It's not known how many of the shots hit Yatim, but the SIU has said he was shot multiple times.

    The videos sparked outrage and prompted hundreds to take to the streets in two separate marches, demanding justice for Yatim.

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  132. Yatim's family released a statement Monday expressing relief that the officer was charged, but hoped the SIU would look into the actions of the supervising officers and other officers who were at scene "for their lack of intervention in this tragedy."

    "Over 20 uniformed police officers were present and no one stepped forward to stop the gunshots or offer any mediation," the family wrote.

    "Moving forward we expect complete transparency and accountability. We want to work now to ensure that Sammy's blood wasn't wasted and to prevent any other families from enduring such a tragedy."

    The family plans to speak about the charges at a news conference scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday.

    Toronto police union president Mike McCormack said Monday that Forcillo is upset about the charge, but neither he nor Forcillo was surprised. Forcillo was suspended with pay following the shooting.

    “There’s no winners in this,” McCormack told CBC News. “It’s a lose-lose situation for the family and our officer. Our officer is definitely a casualty of this incident."

    This is only the second time a Toronto police shooting has led to a second-degree murder charge. The first was in 2012 in connection with the death of Eric Osawe during a raid at an apartment in 2010, and also followed an SIU investigation.

    However, the judge at Const. David Cavanagh's preliminary hearing threw out the murder charge and also discharged the lesser charge of manslaughter.

    Second-degree murder implies intent to kill the victim. The Crown brings a manslaughter charge when it does not believe the killing was intentional.

    While convictions are rare in cases of police shootings, lawyer Peter Rosenthal, who has represented families killed by police, said the existence of video evidence sets the Yatim case apart from others.

    “In most of these cases, the only witnesses are police officers and there isn’t any video that determines what happened,” said Rosenthal in an interview on CBC News Network. "And the witnesses don’t necessarily expose their colleagues, who are the shooters."

    Rosenthal said the video evidence compelled the SIU to file charges.

    “Here we have a video that tells so much of the story that it’s hard to imagine appropriate defences, but in any event there’s definitely a clear charge that had to be laid.”


  133. BC RCMP shooting victims family calls for charges

    Stepfather still pursuing a charge of manslaughter for the officer who shot Zinser

    CBC News August 28, 2013

    The family of a Williams Lake man shot dead by RCMP nearly two years ago wants charges laid against the officers involved.

    Justin Zinser, 23, was shot in a cabin at Nimpo Lake in Sept. 2011, after stopping there on a hiking trip with a friend.

    The lake lies in a remote area approximately 240 kilometres southwest of Prince George, or 400 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.

    Delta Police investigated the shooting, but concluded no charges should be laid. Earlier this month, a Coroner's inquest also examined Zinser's death.

    Zinser's stepfather Allen Bush feels like he's losing his step-son all over again.

    "It was pretty tough to hear what happened. And then sitting in disbelief, trying to figure out, well, why are they not helping Justin? They shot him," said Bush.

    The inquest jury heard it was bad weather that forced Zinser and his friend to spend the night at the cabin.

    At some point, the RCMP were called in.

    Zinser was carrying a gun, and police yellled at him to put it down. Still holding onto the gun, Zinser turned away, and an officer shot him in the back.

    He bled to death shortly after being transported to a nursing station.

    Allen Bush is still pursuing a charge of manslaughter for the officer who shot Zinser.

    "And for the four members, I'm not sure what the charge would be. There was no attempt to help save Justin's life after they shot him. That's wrong."

    The inquest jury made several recommendations to improve emergency care in remote areas.


  134. The following news report is an update to the report posted above on March 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM "Police officer filmed punching detained cyclist in the head"


    Vancouver officer charged with assaulting cyclist

    Constable's punch to the head of cyclist caught on video

    CBC News September 13, 2013

    A Vancouver police officer has been charged with assaulting a cyclist after video of the punch was posted on the internet.

    The incident happened in March in downtown Vancouver while Const. Ismail Bhabha was handcuffing cyclist Adishea Akhavan after pulling him over for riding without a helmet and running a red light.

    When the cyclist asks the officer, "What is this for?" a video taken by an onlooker appears to show Bhabha winding up and punching Akhavan in the head, which he says he never saw coming — and left him with a tooth through his lip.

    The video of the incident was posted on Facebook and quickly spread virally through social media, sparking widespread outrage.

    The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner ordered West Vancouver police to investigate the incident.

    Office spokesman Rollie Woods said the officer is innocent until proven guilty, and the video doesn't show what may have happened before Bhabha punched Akhivan.

    "Whenever there's video evidence, no matter how bad it may look, you have to really wait until you get the whole investigation, all of the evidence, before you decide," he said.

    "It's really just one piece of evidence. Admittedly, that clip does not look very good. It's concerning."

    The assault charge against Bhabha was sworn this morning in provincial court in Vancouver.

    Vancouver police Sgt. Randy Fincham said Bhabha is still at work but has been moved to another location within the force.


  135. Vancouver officer should be fired for deceit, probe finds

    CBC News September 13, 2013

    New Westminster's chief constable says a 13-year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department should be fired following allegations he lied during a homicide probe into the 2001 death of an Oak Bay man.

    In 2001 Owen Padmore, 31, died of head injuries apparently sustained from a fall in his mother's Oak Bay home.

    Two years ago, new information sparked a homicide investigation and a suspect was arrested and charged with manslaughter by Oak Bay police.

    But that case mysteriously fell apart.

    In July, CBC News learned an unidentified Vancouver officer, who is related to the prime suspect in the case, was suspended with pay in 2011.

    But that changed last month when the Vancouver Police Board changed his status to suspended without pay.

    New Westminster Police Chief Const. Dave Jones was assigned to investigate the case and in July substantiated several serious offences under the Police Act against the officer, including:

    Two counts of deceit.
    One count of neglect of duty.
    One count of corrupt practice.
    One count of improper disclosure of information.

    Oak Bay police have confirmed the alleged interference compromised their homicide investigation.

    On Thursday, Jones recommended the officer should be dismissed on two counts of deceit and suspended from duty without pay for 10 to 20 days on the other offences.

    But VPD spokesperson Randy Fincham says the officer has requested a public hearing into that matter, meaning a judge will determine the final punishment.


    Related Stories

    Vancouver officer allegedly interfered with Oak Bay homicide case http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-officer-allegedly-interfered-with-oak-bay-homicide-case-1.1352981

    Oak Bay police crack 10-year-old cold case http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/oak-bay-police-crack-10-year-old-cold-case-1.1048876

  136. Why Americas Police Are More Dangerous Than Criminals

    The following is one opinion in AlterNet's on-going coverage of often unaccountable police violence and militarization under the guise of the war on terror.

    By Paul Craig Roberts

    The worse threat every American faces comes from his/her own government.

    At the federal level the threat is a seventh war (Syria) in 12 years, leading on to the eighth and ninth (Iran and Lebanon) and then on to nuclear war with Russia and China.

    The criminal psychopaths in Washington have squandered trillions of dollars on their wars, killing and dispossessing millions of Muslims while millions of American citizens have been dispossessed of their homes and careers. Now the entire social safety net is on the chopping bloc so that Washington can finance more wars.

    At the state and local level every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheel chairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs, and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.

    The American police perform no positive function. They pose a much larger threat to citizens than do the criminals who operate without a police badge. Americans would be safer if the police forces were abolished.

    The police have been militarized and largely federalized by the Pentagon and the gestapo Homeland Security. The role of the federal government in equipping state and local police with military weapons, including tanks, and training in their use has essentially removed the police from state and local control. No matter how brutal any police officer, it is rare that any suffer more than a few months suspension, usually with full pay, while a report is concocted that clears them of any wrong doing.

    In America today, police murder with impunity. All the psychopaths have to say is, “I thought his wallet was a gun,” or “we had to taser the unconscious guy we found lying on the ground, because he wouldn’t obey our commands to get up.”

    There are innumerable cases of 240 pound cop psychopaths beating a 115 pound woman black and blue. Or handcuffing and carting off to jail 6 and 7 year old boys for having a dispute on the school playground.

    Many Americans take solace in their erroneous belief that this only happens to minorities who they believe deserve it, but psychopaths use their unaccountable power against everyone. The American police are a brutal criminal gang free of civilian control.

    Unaccountable power, which the police have, always attracts psychopaths. You are lucky if you only get bullies, but mainly police forces attract people who enjoy hurting people and tyrannizing them. To inflict harm on the public is why psychopaths join police forces.

    Calling the police is a risky thing to do. Often it is the person who calls for help or some innocent person who ends up brutalized or murdered by the police. For example, on September 15 CNN reported a case of a young man who wrecked his car and went to a nearby house for help. The woman, made paranoid by the “war on crime,” imagined that she was in danger and called police. When the police arrived, the young man ran up to them, and the police shot him dead.

    People who say the solution is better police training are unaware of how the police are trained. Police are trained to perceive the public as the enemy and to use maximum force. I have watched local police forces train. Two or three dozen officers will simultaneously empty their high-capacity magazines at the same target, a minimum of 300 bullets fired at one target. The purpose is to completely destroy whatever is on the receiving end of police fire.

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  137. US prosecutors seem to be the equal to police in terms of the psychopaths in their ranks. The United States, “the light unto the world,” not only has the highest percentage of its population in prison of every other country in the world, but also has the largest absolute number of people in prison. The US prison population is much larger in absolute numbers that the prison populations of China and India, countries with four times the US population.

    Just try to find a prosecutor who gives a hoot about the innocence or guilt of the accused who is in his clutches. All the prosecutor cares about is his conviction rate.

    The higher his conviction rate, the greater his success even if every person convicted is innocent. The higher his conviction rate, the more likely he can run for public office.

    Many prosecutors, such as Rudy Giuliani, target well known people so that they can gain name recognition via the names of their victims.

    The American justice (sic) system serves the political ambitions of prosecutors and the murderous lusts of police psychopaths. It serves the profit motives of the privatized prisons who need high occupancy rates for their balance sheets.

    But you can bet your life that the American justice (sic) system does not serve justice.

    While writing this article, I googled “police brutality,” and google delivered 4,100,000 results. If a person googles “police brutality videos,” he will discover that there are more videos than could be watched in a lifetime. And these are only those acts of police brutality that are witnessed and caught on camera.

    It would take thousands of pages just to compile the information available.

    The facts seem to support the case that police in the US commit more crimes and acts of violence against the public than do the criminals who do not wear badges. According to the FBI crime statistics in 2010 there were 1,246,248 violent crimes committed by people without police badges. Keep in mind that the definition of violent crime can be an expansive definition. For example, simply to push someone is considered assault. If two people come to blows in an argument, both have committed assault. However, even with this expansive definition of violent crimes, police assaults are both more numerous and more dangerous, as it is usually a half dozen overweight goon thugs beating and tasering one person.

    Reports of police brutality are commonplace, but hardly anything is ever done about them. For example, on September 10, AlterNet reported that Houston, Texas, police routinely beat and murder local citizens.

    The threat posed to the public by police psychopaths is growing rapidly. Last July 19 the Wall Street Journal reported: “Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment–from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers–American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the US scene: the warrior cop–armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”

    The Wall Street Journal, being an establishment newspaper, has to put it as nicely as possible. The bald fact is that today’s cop in body armor with assault weapons, grenades, and tanks is not there to make arrests of suspected criminals. He is there in anticipation of protests to beat down the public for exercising constitutional rights.

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  138. To suppress public protests is also the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security Police, a federal para-military police force that is a new development for the United States. No one in their right mind could possibly think that the vast militarized police have been created because of “the terrorist threat.” Terrorists are so rare that the FBI has to round up demented people and talk them into a plot so that the “terrorist threat” can be kept alive in the public’s mind.

    The American public is too brainwashed to be able to defend itself. Consider the fact that cops seldom face any consequence when they murder citizens. We never hear cops called “citizen killer.” But if a citizen kills some overbearing cop bully, the media go ballistic: “Cop killer, cop killer.” The screaming doesn’t stop until the cop killer is executed.

    As long as a brainwashed public continues to accept that cop lives are more precious than their own, citizens will continue to be brutalized and murdered by police psychopaths.

    I can remember when the police were different. If there was a fight, the police broke it up. If it was a case of people coming to blows over a dispute, charges were not filed.

    If it was a clear case of assault, unless it was brutal or done with use of a weapon, the police usually left it up to the victim to file charges.

    When I lived in England, the police walked their beats armed only with their billysticks.

    When and why did it all go wrong? Among the collection of probable causes are the growth or urban populations, the onslaught of heavy immigration on formerly stable and predictable neighborhoods, the war on drugs, and management consultants called in to improve efficiency who focused police on quantitative results, such as the number of arrests, and away from such traditional goals as keeping the peace and investigating reported crimes.

    Each step of the way accountability was removed in order to more easily apprehend criminals and drug dealers. The “war on terror” was another step, resulting in the militarization of the police.

    The replacement of jury trials with plea bargains meant that police investigations ceased to be tested in court or even to support the plea, usually a fictitious crime reached by negotiation in order to obtain a guilty plea. Police learned that all prosecutors needed was a charge and that little depended on police investigations. Police work became sloppy. It was easier simply to pick up a suspect who had a record of having committed a similar crime.

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  139. As justice receded as the goal, the quality of people drawn into police work changed. Idealistic people found that their motivations were not compatible with the process, while bullies and psychopaths were attracted by largely unaccountable power.

    Much of the blame can be attributed to “law and order” conservatives. Years ago when New York liberals began to observe the growing high-handed behavior of police, they called for civilian police review boards. Conservatives, such as National Review’s William F. Buckley, went berserk, claiming that any oversight over the police would hamstring the police and cause crime to explode.

    The conservatives could see no threat in the police, only in an effort to hold police accountable. As far as I can tell, this is still the mindset.

    What we observed in the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing suggests that the situation is irretrievable. One of the country’s largest cities and its suburbs–100 square miles–was tightly locked down, while 10,000 heavily armed police, essentially combat soldiers armed with tanks, forced their way into people’s homes, ordering them out at gunpoint. The excuse given for this unprecedented gestapo police action was a search for one wounded 19-year old kid.

    That such a completely unnecessary and unconstitutional event could occur in Boston without the responsible officials being removed from office indicates that “the land of the free” no longer exists. The American population of the past, suspicious of government and jealous of its liberty, has been replaced by a brainwashed and fearful people, who are increasingly referred to as “the sheeple.”

    Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format.


  140. There is a radio interview related to the following article that sheds more light on this story of police abuse of authority. The retired OPP officer who is the subject of this report says towards the end of the interview, that he was so disgusted with how the OPP handled his complaint and how the force has changed for the worse, that he returned his uniform, saying he did not want it in his house any longer. He also removed all paraphernalia related to his time as a police officer. The nature of policing has definitely changed so that today there are far more police officers acting unethically and unprofessionally just by following internal policies and orders. It is not just a case of a few rotten apples, the entire barrel is rotten as this report demonstrates. Listen to the interview at:


    Retired cop bitter over traffic stop treatment

    Michael Read says he was told 'things have changed' since he left OPP

    CBC News September 29, 2013

    A retired staff sergeant with the Ontario Provincial Police, in an interview with CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition, has spoken out against the heavy-handed tactics he says he experienced after being pulled over by an officer of the same force on a major highway.

    Michael Read of Orillia, Ont., was a police officer for 42 years — from age 19 — first in London, England, and later with the OPP. He retired from the OPP in 2003 after 33 years of service, and described for CBC an incident he faced on the road eight years later.

    Speaking to host Michael Enright, Read recalled that he was driving a truck as part of his part-time job with an archaeologist. He remembers it was November, around 3 p.m., when he was pulled over as he headed northbound on Highway 400.

    Read said the officer stayed for a lengthy period of time in his cruiser at the side of the road, so Read got out of his vehicle to "have a chat, to see what he wants."

    That's when the trouble began. He said the officer kept shouting at him, and then three other cruisers arrived with lights flashing.

    Read was told he was a suspended driver. He was handcuffed behind his back, and then put in the officer's cruiser. The fact that Read was a former police officer himself didn't seem to matter, and he said he was told "things have changed" since he had retired.

    "I was just astounded at the time. I wasn't expecting any of this, of course," Read said.

    Read filed a complaint about the officer with the civilian-staffed Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), which had been in operation for two years at that time.

    "They turned everything back to the OPP," he said.

    The force deemed the officer to be acting according to accepted police practices. Read requested a review of the finding.

    "Fourteen months later, I got a letter by e-mail from the OIPRD, indicating that they supported the OPP's decision. But there was absolutely no rationale, no reason given, as to how they came to this decision."


  141. Former Edmonton cop Derek Huff blows whistle on brutality, corruption

    Explosive allegations of Edmonton brutality and code of silence

    By Kathy Tomlinson, CBC News September 27, 2013

    A former cop with an exemplary record is going public about what he calls corruption in Edmonton police ranks, after he tried internally to expose what he believes is organized brutality, but got no results.

    "I stood up for what's right, and I just got run out of the police service,” said Derek Huff, 37. “I still can’t even really believe it.”

    Huff is a 10-year-veteran who resigned in February, three years after he said he and his partner watched — stunned — as three plainclothes officers viciously beat a handcuffed man while he was down.

    “They basically had their knees on his back and were just punching and kicking him just as hard as they could …six fists just pummelling this guy … I could hear him screaming,” said Huff.

    He reported what he saw — and his allegations are now being investigated — but he said until recently the alleged assault was kept quiet.

    “I can still remember the sounds of the contact of the knuckles hitting his face… I’ve seen lots of arrests and I’ve never seen anything like that.”

    Huff said the main instigator was Constable Jack Redlick, now 30. Before joining the Edmonton Police Service, Redlick, who is six foot three inches tall, was a hockey defenceman who was notorious for his fights on ice.

    The alleged victim, according to Huff, was Kasimierz Kozina, who was 29 at the time. Redlick and the other officers had targeted the suspected drug dealer in a sting.

    Vicious beating reported

    Huff said Kozina was much smaller than Redlick — and the attack was unprovoked.

    “I compared it to the Rodney King beating,” said Huff. “My first initial thought [was] that 'I want to get in this car and get out of here as fast as I can.' [My partner and I] were in shock.”

    Back at the downtown police station, Huff said he saw Kozina being taken away by ambulance.

    “His face was a great big giant black ball … of blood and bruising,” said Huff. “It looked like he had a gotten into a full head-on collision and smashed his head into a steering wheel.”

    Huff said he and his partner Mike Furman agonized over what to do. They felt they had two choices; "rat" on their fellow officers or — if Kozina complained — they might be forced to lie later, to protect their jobs, because they were there.

    “We had a big decision to make,” said Huff.

    The next day, Huff said he and Furman told their sergeant what they’d seen. They were so scared, Huff said, they met their boss in a police cruiser and didn’t put anything in writing.

    In the meantime, Huff said Kozina needed surgery to repair his face. He never did file a complaint, though.

    “If a pack of police officers handcuffed me and put me in the hospital and nothing happened, I’d be pretty scared of them,” said Huff, who said nothing came of their report to their boss, either.

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  142. Coverup alleged

    “[The sergeant] came back and said that he read all the reports that were submitted and as far as he’s concerned it justifies the actions that Redlick and his partners took, and that Mike and I no longer need to be involved,” he said.

    “I couldn't’ believe it. Even to this day I still can’t believe it.”

    Huff suggested the other officers involved lied, by telling the sergeant Kozina attacked first.

    “People stick to a story. They cover things up. They want to justify beating people up,” said Huff. “I ran into corruption. Covering up evidence is corruption.”

    He said he and his partner were then branded as "rats" and were mocked and shunned. Huff said it got so bad, when he and Furman called for backup on the street, no one came.

    “I went from having a great career to being a rat — and it’s almost like jail,” said Huff. “If you’re labelled a rat in the police service, you’re done.”

    Go Public contacted Redlick for comment on all of this, but he didn’t respond. We also asked to talk to Furman. A police spokesperson said neither officer is allowed to talk about this case because it hasn’t been resolved.

    Huff said the ostracizing became so unbearable, he couldn’t function at work. He went to other supervisors and managers for help, but he said no one did anything about the root problem.

    “Every time I tried to talk to superiors, they would minimize it — into me and my partner having a problem with these beat guys,” said Huff. “And I kept saying, ‘That’s not the problem.’”

    Complaint still unresolved

    Two years after witnessing the alleged police brutality, Huff said he went to the deputy chief and revealed all, in a formal, written complaint. It was sent to the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigates police misconduct.

    He also went on stress leave. The investigation into his complaint was completed six months ago, but he’s still waiting to hear the outcome. In the meantime, Huff was ordered back to work in the same division. He quit instead.

    “I gave up. I sacrificed my career. I stood up for what's right, and I just got run out of the police service. I thought there is nothing else I could do. I lost.”

    Since Huff initially reported the alleged beating, Redlick has been investigated for other violent police incidents.

    In 2011, he shot and killed a 17-year-old aboriginal boy. Police who were there said the teen, Cyrus Green, had fled the scene of a robbery and was threatening them with a knife and a baseball bat.

    Redlick shot the teen three times. The officer was cleared of wrongdoing, but the boy’s mother is suing him.

    'Street justice' carried on

    Then, last year, Redlick picked up a man in his 50s and beat him up in a schoolyard. Redlick later admitted to that in a statement of fact agreed to during a disciplinary action.

    The officer and his partner had arrested George Petropolous after his mother called to say he’d hit her during an argument.

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  143. Redlick rode in the back seat of the cruiser with Petropolous and then told his partner to pull in to a high school parking lot.

    Redlick took the handcuffs off Petropolous and walked him to an area where they couldn’t be seen. Petropolous said the officer then put him face down in the snow and punched him repeatedly — while holding his head.

    “He knew what he was doing exactly. I could tell that this man is trained,” said Petropolous, who said he was terrified.

    “I was in a tremendous amount of pain — to the point that I couldn’t breathe from the punches … there is something wrong with him.”

    Petropolous's lawyer said the allegations his client was arrested for turned out to be unfounded. The charges were stayed.

    “But Redlick just shows up. No investigation. Just on basis of a complaint — decides to beat him up and administers street justice,” said Tom Engel.

    Petropolous filed a complaint against Redlick, alleging the officer told him he wasn’t the first to get beaten up.

    “He says, ‘I’ve done it to other inmates before. I’ve taken them out of the car. Some of them wouldn’t come out. They were crying and begging,’” said Petropolous.

    At first, Redlick and his partner denied wrongdoing. Redlick then pleaded guilty to misconduct and was docked $15,000 pay. His partner now faces discipline for lying to protect him.

    The file was sent to the Crown, but no charges were laid. However, an Edmonton police spokesperson said because of "other recent information" the Crown is now "re-examining the evidence."

    Lawyer wants cop fired

    The disciplinary decision on Redlick said he was suffering from “mental health issues.” Because he had no previous disciplinary citations on his record, it stated, “This was clearly an isolated incident.”

    Petropolous’s lawyer said that is outrageous, especially given what Huff reported years earlier. He can’t understand why Redlick is still on the job.

    “I’ve been told this guy has been doing this for a long time,” said Engel, who has filed an appeal. “They have a cop who goes vigilante … if you don’t fired for doing that, what do you get fired for?”

    “There were so many people inside the organization that knew what Redlick was doing, they knew he was doing this to people, but yet they continue on,” said Huff.

    Rod Knecht has been Edmonton’s police chief since 2011. He told Go Public he knew nothing about Huff’s initial allegations until last year. He said he also wasn’t aware of why Huff had resigned.

    “Obviously if the good cop goes and the bad cop stays, that’s not a good thing,” said Knecht. “Could things have been done differently? Absolutely.”

    When he came on as chief, Knecht promised to protect whistleblowers. He’s now promising to take Huff’s allegations seriously.

    'We'll deal with it': police chief

    “Obviously it’s intolerable behaviour. We don’t accept that as tolerable behaviour at all. An officer committing a criminal act — or act against the Police Act — we won’t tolerate that in this organization and we’ll deal with it.”

    Despite what’s happened, Huff said he still loves being a cop and wants his job back once this is resolved.

    "I did absolutely nothing wrong,” said Huff. “All I’ve ever wanted since day one was the truth — and it’s finally coming out.”


  144. Dallas Police Shoot Mentally Ill Man Standing in the Street

    In just the latest police shooting to reach headlines, a 59-year-old was reportedly shot while complying with cops.

    By Natasha Lennard

    Another day, another story of police trigger-happines; another mentally ill person struck by police gunfire.

    In Dallas this week, as Gawker noted, a 59-year-old man was behaving erratically and holding a knife when his mother called the cops. When the police arrived, as surveillance footage shows, they immediately draw there weapons. Bobby Gerald Bennett was shot four times while his hands were down by his sides. He is currently in intensive care. The Dallas Police Department is now conducting an internal review.

    An eyewitness neighbor, Maurice Bunch, told local media:

    “When the officers told him freeze, he complied.. He did not move an inch, in suspended animation; he just stood there, you know? Bobby was conscious, he knew exactly what he was doing because I had been talking to him prior.”

    Via Gawker:

    According to the press release issued by Dallas police Sgt. Warren Mitchell immediately after the shooting, Bennett “made statements indicating that he was not going to cooperate with the officers” and that “the incident escalated which led an officer to fire his weapon upon the individual.”

    However, according to surveillance video captured by neighbor Maurice Bunch, Bennett was standing still during the entire incident and, when he was shot, his hands were down by his side.

    As I noted late last year, and have reiterated since, an investigation by Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram found that more than half of people shot by police suffer from mental health issues. The study raised highlighted numerous examples, including the following, reminiscent of this week’s Dallas police shooting:

    In Saginaw, Mich., six police officers gun down a homeless, schizophrenic man in a vacant parking lot when he refuses to drop a small folding knife. In Seattle, Wash., a police officer fatally shoots a mentally ill, chronic alcoholic as he crosses the street, carving a piece of wood with a pocket knife. In Portland, Ore., police check on a man threatening suicide and wind up killing him with a single gunshot in the back.

    Footage of the Dallas shooting caught by the victim’s neighbor can be viewed at:


  145. 4 Police Brutality Victims Families Share their Stories Before National Day of Protest

    ‘The pain will never go away:’ Hear from families who lost their loved ones, and join the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality on October 22.

    By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet October 20, 2013

    While police brutality is gaining national attention, the October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation will take place for its 17th year on Tuesday in nearly 50 citiesacross the country.

    The protest was first organized in 1996, by a diverse coalition of groups and individuals who wanted to bring about resistance to police brutality on a national level.

    Kathie Cheng, an organizer with the coalition, said that while national dialogue around police brutality declined after 9/11, there has since been a resurgence as more people are standing up and documentation has increased.

    The coalition also works on the Stolen Lives Project, which monitors killings by law enforcement agents.

    Cheng said the October 22 rally is important in reminding people that police are supposed to serve the people, not behave in a brutal fashion.

    She said, “If there isn’t a very visible alternative to how people see police brutality, we’ll just accept that ‘Well, this is just what happens.’”

    She added, “It’s also a platform for many families of those who have been killed by police to be able to have a voice. Very often in media they just go by the police report, and the victims’ names are just dragged through the mud. And so this is a chance for others to hear the truth about what’s going on.”

    AlterNet spoke to four families whose loved ones were killed by police. The following are their stories:

    Ernest Duenez

    On June 8, 2011, Ernest Duenez, 34, was shot and killed by Manteca, CA police officer John Moody. Moody was waiting down the street for Duenez to pull into his driveway. When he saw Duenez’s truck, he followed him into his driveway where he yelled at Duenez to put his hands up and to drop a knife, despite the fact that no knife was visible. As soon as Duenez stepped out of the car, within four seconds, Moody fired 13 bullets, striking Duenez 11 times in his back, chest and head. Witnesses stated they saw the police give each other high fives while watching the dashboard camera (dash cam) video of the shooting.

    At first, police stated that Duenez had a gun and that there was no dash cam video. But after months of fighting, the family was able to obtain the video, which does not show Duenez in possession of any weapon. A forensic team and other experts later confirmed that Duenez held no weapon whatsoever. Moody was given three days off, and then was promoted to a detective, now training officers. The Duenez family is pursuing a wrongful death civil suit and is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to open a federal investigation.

    Duenez’s cousin, Christina Arechiga, said he was her best friend. “But he was best friends to a lot of people, he was one of those kinds of people,” she said. Arechiga said Ernest was “that laughter in our family.” He was previously incarcerated for a drug-related charge, but he had recovered and recently had a son, who was 11-months-old when he was killed. Arechiga said the family is helping Ernest’s wife raise the son, “who is a spitting image of Ernest and does all the funny and crazy things he did.”

    Arechiga said, “This is my own life tragedy, I live that day everyday of my life since 2011. … We don’t know why this happened. All we know is try to make it better for us and everybody else that it happens to.”

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  146. Arechiga is now working to organize against police brutality. Arechiga will be attending her first October 22 rally this year. She played a key role, along with the California Statewide Coalition Against Police Brutality, in organizing families across California to converge on the state’s capitol of Sacramento. This will be the first statewide protest in the rally’s history.

    Arechiga said they are demanding the California legislature grant them a legislative hearing to present all the cases of police brutality. She said there are also demands for a discussion on police officers’ Bill of Rights, statewide laws requiring police to be drug tested at random, laws requiring police officers to wear body cameras, and autonomous civilian committees to oversee police.

    She said she that everyone should join the rally because everyone has a stake in police officers’ behavior.

    She said, “This affects every single person, whether you’re directly affected like I was, whether you were beat by a police officer, whether you were incarcerated, or whether you’re a citizen who is paying for theses misdeeds of the police.”

    Malcolm Ferguson

    On Mar. 1, 2000, Malcolm Ferguson, 23, was shot and killed by plainclothes NYPD officer Louis Rivera. Ferguson was in the lobby of a building with friends when Rivera came into the building. Seeing Rivera’s gun, Ferguson ran up the stairs, where Rivera fired the gun at his head. The medical examiner found that, because the bullet didn’t exit Ferguson’s head, it must have been pressed against something hard, and thus more officers were likely involved in restraining Ferguson.

    The district attorney refused to charge Rivera, so Ferguson’s mother, Juanita Young, took the case to civil court. When Rivera testified, he mentioned that he didn’t fear Ferguson because he knew he didn’t have a weapon. He said that his gun accidentally went off when he pulled it out. Young was granted a monetary award, but Rivera remains on active duty in the NYPD.

    Young said Malcolm was a loving son.

    “He was teased and called a ‘momma’s boy,’” she said, adding that he was also the big brother figure in the household, and very protective of his younger sisters.

    “One time, he told a boy who wrote a love letter to his sister to please leave her alone,” she said.

    Young also remembers another time when she was in the hospital and Malcolm had tried so hard to cook for his younger siblings, but not even their dog would eat his food. “But it made me happy that he tried.”

    Young said that Malcolm had gotten in trouble once, which led to eight months in prison. He vowed not to go back, but, she said, the media portrayed Malcolm as a big time drug dealer.

    “It’s not true,” she said. “That’s just the way the media had to portray him to justify why he was murdered.”

    She said Malcolm’s death still pains her everyday.

    “That’s one pain that will never go away until the day you die,” she said. “You have to live with that pain. There’s no closure. There’s no nothing. Especially when the person or child was so violently taken away from you.”

    This will be Young’s thirteenth year joining the October 22 rally in the Bronx. Since her son’s death, the NYPD has harassed and beaten up Young. But she said she will continue to stand up and fight. “I refuse to allow them to put that fear in me.”

    Young encourages others to rally and support the families of victims of police brutality. She said:

    “Come stand with the families that have been forced to live through the pain of the murder of a loved one so that it does not hit your family. Come stand with us the victims so you and your family might be a little safer.”

    Nicholas Heyward Jr.

    On Sept. 27, 1994, Nicholas Heyward Jr., 13, was shot and killed by NYPD officer Brian George. Heyward was playing a game of cops and robbers with his friends, all ages 11-14, in a housing complex when an officer said he got a 911 call about a man in the building with a gun.

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  147. The officer said when he got to the fourteenth floor, he heard clicking (of the toy gun) and shot into the darkness. However, Nicholas’s friends said they all told the officer “We’re playing, we’re playing.” The district attorney immediately determined the officer was justified and essentially blamed the killing on the realistic looking toy gun, saying that the officer feared for his life.

    However, when questioned by Nicholas Heyward Sr.’s attorney, George said he was not on a 9-11 call, the stairwell was not dimly lit and things didn’t happen in a split second.

    After the event, George was simply transferred to another precinct, where he remains on active duty.

    Nicholas was an honor student, and “one of those real happy, happy kids,” Heyward Sr. said of his first-born son, adding that he went to church every Sunday on his own free will.

    Heyward Sr. said:

    “He was always in search of knowledge. I would go outside and instead of seeing him playing with kids, he’d be sitting on a bench talking to an adult.”

    Heyward Sr. recalled going to an open school night and being approached by the principal, who said that Nicholas was always in his office.

    “I was like ‘What?!’” Heyward Sr. said. “And he said, ‘No, he’s one of my favorite students. He’s always in the office helping me out.’”

    Nicholas had also been practicing and tried out for his middle school basketball team. He was killed before finding out he had made the team.

    “My son meant the world to me,” Heyward Sr. said. “It’s been 19 years now since Nicholas was gunned down and it’s almost like it was just yesterday. It’s just such a painful feeling that just doesn’t go away.”

    This will be Heyward Sr.’s nineteenth year marching and organizing in the October 22 rally in New York City. Heyward said he hasn’t seen a single case of justice in a police brutality case in the last 19 years. He said his main goal is to bring awareness to others, and encourage more people to join in support.

    He said, “We have to protect our own communities, and in order to do that we have to make our communities better and safer, and give our children an environment where they can grow and be productive in society.”

    Michael Nida

    On Oct. 22, 2011 Michael Nida was shot and killed by Downey, CA police officer Steven Gilley. Nida and his wife were at a gas station filling up when he ran across an intersection to buy his wife a pack of cigarettes. When he came out, a police officer questioned him over a $40 ATM robbery in the area. Assumingly not wanting to be late for his birthday celebration that evening, he ran back across the street, where another officer told him to get down. Nida listened. The officer suddenly began stomping on Nida’s back. Nida, a construction worker, had a history of back problems, and so got up and ran from the officer. The officer then shot him in the back with a machine gun.

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  148. The officers then refused to allow Nida’s wife to go to the hospital with him, and held her for hours. After Nida’s mother demanded they release his wife so she could tell their four children that their father was murdered, the officers told her that she should tell them herself — and then later suggested she bring her grandchildren to the police station so their mother could tell them there.

    In the district attorney’s report, Gilley said he was afraid the “fleeing felon” would shoot somebody else, despite the fact that Nida was unarmed and innocent. The district attorney found Gilley justified in the shooting.

    Gilley was taken off duty with pay for some time and then promoted to detective.

    Jean Thaxton, Michael’s mother, said Michael was full of life. He fell in love with his wife at 16, and they eventually got married and had four children.

    “He was a hands on dad,” Thaxton said. “He went to teachers meetings, took his kids to the doctor, and started dinner for them when he got home.”

    Michael also won competitions for his construction work. He was good at his trade and worked as much as possible to support his family.

    Thaxton said he was a caring son. “He used to tell me ‘Mom when you grow old, I’m going to be the one who takes care of you.’ and I would tell him ‘I’m going into a nursing home!’ and he’d say, ‘No you’re not, I will take care of you mom, if I have to, I’d change your diapers.”

    She continued, “The first year after Michael’s death was really hard. I still, sometimes, can’t sleep.”

    This will be Thaxton’s second year joining and organizing the October 22 rally. She’ll be in Sacramento this year. She said that people should join that rally and realize that this could happen to any family.

    “We didn’t think it would happen to our family,” she said. “We are law-abiding people. We are middle-class America. Nobody is immune to it. You are putting your children’s lives in jeopardy if they don’t come out and help us protest.”

    She added, “Before my son was murdered, I was as ignorant and complacent as most of our citizens are today. I believed what I saw on television. I believed that the police officers were out there getting the bad guys off the street. But since Michael has died, and I’ve met so many families, I know it’s all lies.

    For more information on how you can join your local rally, visit the October 22 Coalition's website at:



  149. VPD officer cleared in 2007 shooting death of Paul Boyd

    Const. Lee Chipperfield shot mentally ill man 8 times

    CBC News October 28, 2013

    The B.C. Ministry of Justice has announced that no formal criminal charges will be brought against a Vancouver police officer for the shooting death of 39-year-old Paul Boyd in 2007.

    In a detailed report released Monday, the ministry's Criminal Justice Branch said that special prosecutor Mark Jetté concluded "that there is no substantial likelihood of conviction on a criminal charge."

    The report went on to say that after reviewing all of the available evidence, including a previously unseen video of the shooting that surfaced in May 2012, there is not sufficient proof "beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting of Mr. Boyd constitutes a culpable homicide within the meaning of the Criminal Code of Canada."

    Paul Boyd, a mentally ill illustrator from Vancouver, was shot eight times — including once in the head— by Const. Lee Chipperfield on Aug. 13, 2007, near the intersection of Granville Street and 16th Avenue, after police responded to a report of an assault in the area.

    According to accounts of the incident, Boyd was initially calm when officers arrived but became increasingly hostile, allegedly assaulting officers with a lock on a chain. Initial reports suggested that the fatal shot was fired after another officer on the scene had instructed Chipperfield to cease firing and disarmed Boyd.

    B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch previously reviewed the case twice, concluding both times that "there is insufficient evidence to establish that the officer's use of force was excessive in the circumstances."

    But in May 2012, a video emerged that captured the final moments of Boyd's life, including the last three shots fired by Chipperfield. The new evidence prompted the Criminal Justice Branch to hand the case over to the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team for external review.

    The Alberta investigators produced a report on their findings, which special prosecutor Jetté incorporated into his final conclusions.

    Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu issued an official statement Monday afternoon, saying, "As I have from the beginning of this tragic incident, I would like to once again extend our sincere regrets and condolences to the Boyd family for their loss."

    "No police officer ever comes to work with the intent of taking a life. This incident was difficult and sad for everyone involved."



    Didn't know shot man disarmed, officer says

    No charge against Vancouver officer who fatally shot man

    B.C. police shooting video sparks calls for new probe

    Police shooting inquest calls for increased training

  150. Vancouver police pushing video public hearing ordered

    Const. Taylor Robinson caught on camera pushing a disabled women to the ground

    CBC News November 13, 2013

    The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is calling for a public hearing into the case of an officer who was caught on camera pushing over a disabled woman in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

    Const. Taylor Robinson was caught on closed circuit camera pushing Sandy Davidsen, who has multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, to the ground in June 2010 as she walked by him and two other officers on Hastings Street.

    Vancouver Police originally considered a one-day suspension as punishment, but that was rejected by the Police Complaint Commissioner last summer as too lenient for Robinson's misconduct.

    A two-day suspension was proposed as an alternative, but the OPCC ruled on Wednesday that a public hearing into the matter is necessary.

    Douglas King, a lawyer with Pivot Legal Society — who is representing Davidsen — says that the police response has been insulting, and he hopes the public hearing leads to a stiffer penalty for Robinson.

    "We would love to see a higher suspension in this case, starting at two weeks and looking up to a possibility of a full month suspension. It's really a precedent-setting case, everyone is watching this case," King told CBC News.

    "The Vancouver Police Department is watching this case. The clear message needs to be sent to the officers on the street, this is not the interaction they can have with the public."

    Robinson was charged with assault in Dec. 2010 following public outcry over the incident, but the charge was later stayed and Robinson was ordered to complete an alternative measures program.

    After an investigation by the New Westminster Police Service in 2012, which concluded the video clearly demonstrated abuse of authority and neglect of duty, it was recommended that Vancouver Police take greater disciplinary action against Robinson.

    Robinson said in a written apology to Davidsen that he thought she was reaching for his weapon, and that he regrets not helping her off the ground after pushing her down.

    Vancouver Police declined to comment to CBC News, saying the case is ongoing and unresolved.


    Related Articles:

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    Woman pushed to ground by officer gets rights hearing

    VPD officer faces hearing for pushing disabled woman

    Police shoving woman on video raises questions

  151. Prison beatings caught on video at Ontario and Quebec jails

    WARNING: This story contains explicit language

    By Timothy Sawa and Joseph Loiero, CBC News November 14, 2013

    Prison guards at several Ontario and Quebec jails punch, knee or slap inmates in surveillance videos exclusively obtained by CBC News and Radio-Canada, underscoring the ongoing push to blanket all correctional facilities with surveillance cameras.

    The five different videos were obtained through court applications and arbitration hearings launched in Ontario and Quebec.

    In one video, an inmate who tosses his shirt at a guard while he is changing is grabbed by the neck and thrown to the ground. In another, a prisoner is led down a hall and, on reaching a doorway, is struck in the head, then has his head slammed against a wall four times and is punched repeatedly and kneed. Following the beating he is seen cowering in fear.

    In a third video, a guard slaps an inmate across the face.

    "It's terrorism. I mean these guys are abusing their authority and they're terrorizing people who are under their control," said Kevin Egan, an Ontario lawyer who represents prisoners who have been abused by guards.

    "The purpose of our prison system is to rehabilitate. And it may be that it's not just inmates that need to be rehabilitated, but the guards."

    In all of the cases depicted in the videos obtained by CBC News, the guards involved in the abuse were either fired or criminally charged, or both.

    Video surveillance has become an important tool for deterring and investigating excessive force against inmates, especially since a growing inmate population and overcrowding in Canadian jails and prisons are leading to a steady increase in violence.

    However, in his latest report, the federal prison watchdog reveals that video surveillance procedures in federal penitentiaries, meant to deter exactly this kind of violence, failed nearly 70 percent of the time in 2012.

    "Camera malfunctions, incompatibilities between various video-camera systems, fragmented and poor quality use of force recordings are commonly reported," correctional investigator Howard Sapers says in the report. "A compliance rate of only 33 per cent in this area is especially concerning given the need to exercise professionalism, restraint and proportionality in physical confrontations with inmates."

    The federal government said it’s working to improve compliance.

    "CSC works with staff to address these issues of non-compliance," Melissa Hart, a spokesperson for the Correctional Service of Canada, wrote in an email.

    Efforts are underway to improve and add video surveillance in federal prisons and provincial jails. Ontario, for example, is spending up to $15-million over three years to update its cameras.

    "The modernization of Ontario’s correctional services is a top priority," Greg Flood, a Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokesperson, said in an email. “A multi-year plan has been developed to retrofit all correctional facilities with standardized upgraded CCTV systems and associated software platforms."

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  152. Critics say it is not happening fast enough — and in the meantime guards can abuse the so-called blind spots that remain.

    "Sadly, we see incidents in those blind spots," Sapers said. "And I'm not convinced that it's entirely, you know, just a coincidence that we see some use-of-force incidents or some alleged assaults taking place in those areas in institutions that are blind to video surveillance."

    Last summer, during a lockdown at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre in London, Ont., Chris Reibling says he was held down and beaten by guards in his cell.

    "I call it the devil’s playground. That's what I call it," he said in an interview. "It's just an insane place. It’s got a crooked, crooked mentality."

    Reibling alleges guards pinned him down in his bed with a riot shield and then beat him on his feet, legs, buttocks and testicles using keys and the end of a pepper spray gun.

    He was being held on robbery charges at the time and has since been released.

    The incident wasn’t caught on video. Reibling said video cameras have since been added, and it’s helped.

    "I’ve heard a couple of the guards say things like, 'Oh, you’re lucky these cameras are here. I’d beat the shit out of you now but we can’t.' "

    Reibling is suing for $2 million, claiming the overcrowded and understaffed provincial institution is managed with a "climate of fear." According to his statement of claim, violence and mistreatment at the hands of fellow inmates and guards is rampant.

    "As the ministry is currently developing its statement of defence, and as this matter will be before the court, it would be inappropriate to provide comment," Correctional Services spokesperson Flood said of the case.

    "It should be noted that this government believes that correctional officers are vital to maintaining law and order in our society, and to the administration of justice."

    "I sympathize with the guards. I think they have a very tough job, but they can go home at night," prisoner lawyer Egan said. "Obviously [the inmates] aren't all the nicest guys and they probably say inappropriate things, but prison guards should be trained to deal with people in a non-violent way."


    WATCH: St-Jérôme, Que.detention centre Inmate escort

    WATCH: Bordeaux jail footage

    WATCH: Central East Correctional Centre footage

    Related Stories

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  153. Contempt of cop, America's defiance revolution

    Like NSA leaker Edward Snowden, ordinary Americans pushing back against authority

    By Neil Macdonald, CBC News January 16, 2014

    Increasingly, and openly, ordinary Americans are committing a legal act that some police nonetheless regard as among the most heinous of all offences: it's called contempt of cop.

    It's otherwise known as asserting your constitutional rights.

    Citizens, feeling empowered, are pointing smartphones, rather than just an accusing finger, at abusive authorities.

    Civil libertarians with hidden cameras are challenging the so-called "suspicion-less" roadblocks that police set up to catch lawbreakers. Motorists and others are fighting back in the courts and online against police shakedown rackets on U.S. highways and elsewhere.

    Everywhere, it seems, Americans are openly challenging arbitrary behaviour by those in authority.

    Furthermore, they are winning. Not since the late 1960s have those in authority, from heavy-handed cops to the federal operatives sifting metadata in super-secret intelligence installations, been exposed to so much disinfecting sunlight.

    It's marvelous to see such courage, and further proof that whatever the world might say about America, no other democracy takes the rule of law more seriously.

    And while it is difficult to tell what's driving this new assertiveness, you have to feel it's part of a recovery from the almost supine attitude that most people here adopted in the years after 9/11.

    During those years, in response to demands for security from a terrified public, the American "deep state" grew almost exponentially, at a cost so staggering no one seems able to produce a reliable estimate, the Washington Post reported following a two-year investigation.

    Checkpoint refusals

    Today, though, Americans seem to be rediscovering their sense of independence, and technology is the heavy weapon in their push-back.

    Just as their government has used it to obliterate the notion of privacy, resourceful citizens have turned the electronic eye back on agents of the state.

    The biggest and most successful crusader of all, of course, is Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose unprecedented revelations forced a White House-ordered review of intelligence gathering.

    On Friday, President Barack Obama is expected to announce changes at the NSA, the largest, most powerful and most intrusive secret agency in history.

    These changes clearly would not be happening were it not for Snowden, who said he acted to protect the U.S. Constitution.

    He's a fugitive now, in Moscow, but back here in America, other Americans are acting, too, and citing the same motive.

    These activists range from hard-conservative gun rights types, who carry copies of the Constitution in their pockets, to left-leaning civil liberties advocates.

    In both cases, they triumphantly upload video trophies of their confrontations to the internet.

    You could spend an entire day just watching all this recorded disobedience on YouTube, and only view a fraction of it.

    Quite a few show "checkpoint refusals" at roadblocks erected by police looking for drunken drivers, or by federal agents hunting illegal aliens.

    Courts here have held that police have the right to operate such stops.

    But the courts have also ruled that citizens are free to remain silent, and can refuse to allow searches and ignore orders to submit to "secondary inspections" unless police detain them — which requires the higher hurdle of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe an offence has been committed.

    continued below

  154. Police not happy

    In these videos, it's clear that what is really at issue for police is the challenge to their authority.

    Contempt of cop, as the practice is known in libertarian circles, provokes the same rage at checkpoints that Snowden's media interviews arouse in national security officials.

    And the reason for it is clearly the same: defiance, to authorities, sets an intolerable precedent.

    In several of these videos, some of which have made television newscasts, police can barely contain their anger, voices rising as they yell orders at stubborn motorists who exercise their right to remain silent.

    "It's a right to privacy, it's a right to simply refuse to co-operate and answer questions," explained David Loy of the San Diego branch of the American Civil Liberties Union to a television interviewer there.

    "We think that checkpoints, suspicion-less checkpoints, are the hallmark of a police state, not a free society."

    Much worse are the "forfeiture" rackets that have been used by some police here to separate people from their money and property, even if no offence is charged.

    It's called civil forfeiture, a federal law from the mid-1980s, and in some states police salaries have been directly tied to how much loot they can grab, according to investigations by such diverse groups as the New Yorker magazine and the libertarian Institute for Justice (founded by a former Ronald Reagan administration official).

    Citizen complaints and media exposure, however, are spoiling the fun, and federal authorities have begun crackdowns.

    Canadian visitors take note

    Public rebelliousness has surged here in the past, of course.

    Police overreach and abuse has been an issue in American life going back to the Vietnam War demonstrations and beyond.

    In New York City, for example, the municipal government is still paying out tens of millions of dollars to hundreds of people who were unjustly arrested for demonstrating during the Republican National Convention in 2004.

    In that case, too, private citizens recorded the action. In fact, evidence is emerging that undercover agents actually provoked some of the violence that served as a pretext for arrests.

    The ACLU says police are increasingly aware, and angry, about people attempting to capture abuse on video. (In Nebraska, only a third party's pictures from a neighbour across the street helped convict police who seized and destroyed video taken of their warrantless actions at a private residence.)

    However, for all its encouragement of citizens to assert their rights, the ACLU warns that it can come with a price.

    While disrespect for law enforcement is no crime here (that was settled by the courts decades ago), challenges to authority are still often answered with a disorderly conduct or obstruction of justice citation.

    And while the U.S. Constitution applies to everyone on U.S. soil, Canadian visitors might want to take a more defensive approach (like don't drive your own car in certain southern states, don't carry a lot of valuables, and if you run into a checkpoint, be nice and obedient).

    Unlike U.S. citizens, visitors are here by permission, and that can be revoked for any reason, or none at all.

    Also, carrying a smartphone can't hurt.


  155. Mounties in Robert Dziekanski case face new perjury allegation from Crown

    Witness claims officers met before testifying at inquiry into Taser death

    By Curt Petrovich, CBC News February 20, 2014

    Seven months after failing to prove perjury against a Mountie for his testimony at the Braidwood inquiry, the special prosecutor in charge of the case is levelling new allegations against his fellow officers.

    New indictments filed in B.C. Supreme Court against Const. Kwesi Millington and former corporal Monty Robinson allege they lied when they testified that they had not talked to the others about the case before appearing at the inquiry.

    The inquiry was called after four RCMP officers confronted Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's International airport in 2007. Dziekanski died after being stunned multiple times with a Taser.

    Each officer gave explanations for why their versions of what happened differed from amateur video of the incident.

    And all testified that from the incident in October 2007 until their appearance at the inquiry some 16 months later, they never had conversations about what happened aside from taking part in a critical incident debriefing with a psychologist.

    Inquiry commissioner Thomas Braidwood called parts of their testimony "patently unbelievable."

    All four were charged with perjury.

    The first officer to face trial was acquitted last July. The Crown argued Const. Bill Bentley intended to mislead the inquiry and had collaborated with his former partners to get their stories straight.

    B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan found the evidence didn't go that far. In his decision, McEwan wrote that "there is no direct evidence as to how, or by what means Mr. Bentley and the other officers got together."

    The new indictments appear to be based on fresh evidence of alleged collusion.

    New witness comes forward

    Documents obtained by CBC News show that following Bentley's acquittal last year, a witness came forward alleging that just prior to giving their testimony at the inquiry in 2009, all four Mounties met at her house in Richmond.

    The documents show Janice Norgard told the special prosecutor last August that she recalled the meeting more than four years after it allegedly happened, when she learned the Crown had lost its case against Bentley.

    "I realized that I might know something of significance," she told the special prosecutor.

    Norgard didn't go straight to police or the Crown. She called a longtime family friend Wally Oppal. In 2008, Oppal, was the B.C attorney general who called the inquiry and appointed its commissioner Thomas Braidwood.

    continued below

  156. And after hearing what Norgard had to say, Oppal sat with her while she was deposed by a lawyer with special prosecutor Richard Peck's firm.

    Norgard revealed that her ex-common-law partner Brian Dietrich is Const. Bentley's cousin.

    Norgard said that in January or February 2009, Dietrich told her that Bentley "wanted some privacy" for "a private conversation."

    Although Norgard and Dietrich were in the midst of a bitter and acrimonious legal separation at the time, Norgard said she agreed to allow Dietrich to use the house as a meeting place.

    Norgard said she was introduced to each officer when they arrived, and they sat at her kitchen table for as long as two hours before leaving. Norgard didn't hear any of their conversation because she spent the entire time in another part of the house.

    ‘Serious discussion,’ among Mounties alleged

    Norgard acknowledged she couldn't recall a number of details.

    "It's hard to remember," she said.

    Several weeks later, again with Oppal at her side, Norgard was interviewed by Vancouver police detectives.

    Her memory appeared to have sharpened and new details emerged.

    "It was a serious discussion," she told police about the alleged conversation around her kitchen table.

    "It wasn't jokes and chuckles down there."

    Norgard was also sure the alleged meeting took place just before the officers began testifying at the inquiry.

    "I'm certain it's January or February of 2009."

    When Vancouver police detectives spoke to Dietrich last fall about the allegation, he denied arranging any meeting.

    "I'm supportive of my cousin," he told them. "I would not want to do anything to harm him, but I don't remember specifics about any meeting or even that the meeting occurred."

    Dietrich had no comment when contacted by CBC News. Norgard could not be reached.

    Tony Paisana, an associate counsel involved in the prosecution, declined to discuss the fresh allegation.

    The accused and their lawyers also refused to comment, saying it would be inappropriate.

    The evidence is expected to be introduced in court next month when Const. Millington faces his perjury trial. The trials for former corporal Monty Robinson and Const. Gerry Rundel are scheduled for later this year.

    Rundel's indictment was not amended as it already contains a generic allegation that he lied about having no discussions with the others.

    The Crown has appealed Bentley's acquittal and it's possible the introduction of new evidence could lead to a new trial.

    But sources familiar with the case say Norgard has her dates wrong and that the four officers did meet together, but only after they had finished testifying.

    Sources tell CBC News that work records and calendar appointments will raise serious doubts about whether all four Mounties were even in the same city when they're alleged to have met.

    Oppal would not comment on the matter, except to say that his involvement was "irrelevant and coincidental."


  157. Dziekanski case: Police watchdog rejects complaints by Mounties

    Alleged intimidation, witness tampering would not constitute misconduct, says commissioner

    By Curt Petrovich, CBC News April 10, 2014

    B.C.’s police complaint commissioner has taken what he calls a “principled decision” and declined to investigate allegations against Vancouver Police Department detectives levelled by an RCMP constable and a former Mountie.

    In March, Const. Gerry Rundel and retired corporal Monty Robinson — both of whom were charged with perjury after their testimony at the Braidwood Inquiry — complained that VPD officers used "intimidation” and "leading questions" when investigating an allegation that all four Mounties involved in the death of Robert Dziekanski had met secretly before testifying at the inquiry in 2009.

    Rundel and Robinson also noted that the VPD inexplicably allowed former attorney general Wally Oppal to sit in on the interview its officers conducted with Janice Norgard, the key witness who made the allegation.

    Both Rundel and Robinson felt Oppal should not have been present during the primary collection of evidence against them.

    As attorney general, Oppal launched the Braidwood Inquiry and appointed its commissioner, Thomas R. Braidwood, who ultimately accused some members of the RCMP of being “self-serving” and “unbelievable.”

    "There is evidence to support misconduct and witness tampering," Rundel wrote, referring to Oppal, in his complaint.

    But in separate written decisions obtained by CBC News, Police Complaint Commissioner Stan T. Lowe rejected the claims because even if substantiated, the allegations “would not constitute misconduct,” under section 77 of B.C.’s Police Act.

    That section is fairly broad in defining misconduct and includes such things as “discourtesy” and bringing discredit on the force.

    But Lowe makes it clear his office made no effort to substantiate the claims.

    “We are careful not to weigh the evidence at this stage,” he wrote to Rundel, Robinson and VPD Chief Constable Jim Chu.

    “But in exercising our gatekeeping function we must ensure we have considered all the relevant circumstances which provide an accurate context to the matter,” Lowe said.

    continued below

  158. Interrogation technique photo lineup questioned

    Rundel and Robinson alleged VPD detectives used leading questions in their interrogation of witnesses, and threatened one with obstruction of justice if he revealed he’d been questioned by police.

    They also complained the investigating officers failed to use a proper photo lineup to establish whether Norgard actually saw any of the Mounties at the alleged secret meeting in her house.

    Lowe wrote that police officers have “broad discretion in the manner and method of questioning”.

    “The fact that an officer may ask a leading question, not adhere to best practice in conducting a photo identification, choose an aggressive tact in questioning … would not alone constitute misconduct as defined by the Police Act. “

    However, Lowe does suggest that police who go too far run the “risk that their exercise of discretion may have an impact on the admissibility and weight of the evidence obtained as a result.”

    The allegation that all four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death lied about meeting before giving testimony is the basis for the new perjury indictments filed earlier this year.

    Lowe offered no explanation for why Oppal was present when police interviewed Norgard, but wrote “Mr. Oppal’s presence … is not prohibited by statute or common law.”

    Lowe said such a situation “is by no means common practice, but may be necessary as determined by an investigator.”

    He added that calls from Rundel and Robinson for a review of how police were conducting their investigation are “speculative and potentially premature,” because the investigation is still ongoing, and elements of their complaints are best suited to be aired during their perjury trials.

    Robinson’s trial is scheduled for May.

    Rundel’s case is expected to be heard in October.

    When contacted by CBC News, both declined to comment on the commissioner's decision.

    VPD spokesman Const. Brian Montague told CBC News “it would be inappropriate … to speak to the lawful actions of the officers conducting an investigation.”

    The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner did not respond for a request for comment.


  159. Jail video police swore did not exist released in brutality complaint

    Gaps in video raise new questions about case of disabled man alleging mistreatment

    By John Nicol and Dave Seglins, CBC News June 12, 2014

    Toronto police, at the direction of an Ontario Superior Court judge, have released an internal video which for more than two years the force denied existed, in a case involving the arrest and detention of a paraplegic man who claims he was assaulted by officers and urinated on while in custody.

    Udhbirprasaud ​(Joe) Bhikram was arrested on Jan. 28, 2009, and charged with uttering death threats — charges which he successfully fought and had thrown out.

    But for years he has been fighting through formal complaints and freedom of information requests to obtain a copy of a police video, claiming he was assaulted during his arrest, neglected at the station when he fell from his wheelchair onto the floor of a holding cell, and then berated and urinated on by one officer.

    Police staff swore affidavits in 2012 insisting the video recording had been erased.

    "They told me video was destroyed by another video overplaying this," Bhikram told CBC News from his apartment in northwest Toronto. "What happened now? They got a video?

    "Someone's lying."

    Bhikram has more recently filed a small claims lawsuit against one Toronto officer, and last week Deputy Judge J.D. Burnside adjourned a settlement conference demanding the Toronto police provide Bhikram "with the video in question."

    Toronto police searched again and immediately produced copies of a video, but there are numerous breaks in the recording, where time stamps show significant gaps in images of events in the cells.

    The gaps are due to motion-sensitive cameras, said Mark Pugash, spokesman for the Toronto police. Pugash told CBC News that in 2012 when Bhikram originally made a freedom of information request for a copy of the video, staff within the police privacy office made inquiries but were told by police staff at 52 Division "there was not a recording."

    The claim at the time was that any video would have been automatically erased after four months.

    5-year fight but 'no justice yet'

    Bhikram — who suffered a recent stroke and is in a wheelchair — has been relentless in his battle with police. His initial complaint to Toronto Chief Bill Blair was rebuffed by an inspector who claimed Bhikram's "allegations fail to outline any manner of conduct which might lead me to believe that an investigation into the matter is warranted.”

    Bhikram, with the help of street pastor Doug Johnson Hatlem and a lawyer, made freedom of information requests, and then appeals to the information and privacy commissioner, all without success.

    Then Bhikram represented himself in small claims court, saying he was "too poor" to hire a lawyer.

    Upon receiving the video June 5, Bhikram — who has had a number of run-ins with police, none of which has resulted in a criminal conviction — was crestfallen.

    "The video is still mutilated, tampered with," Bhikram told CBC News, fighting back tears. "Without audio to show that I was screaming, moaning and begging for help. And the urination, positive that the cop flicked his penis at me, that's not included in the video.

    "They have it and they will never show it, because what happened down there is going to be international if it's disclosed. That's my feeling. That's why I am crying. That's why I haven't got justice yet."

    continued below

  160. What the video shows

    CBC News viewed the video, which involves cameras from two directions. Although Bhikram is in a wheelchair in a holding cell, he is handcuffed and masked. At one point he attempts to stand up to get to a bench and he falls to the floor.

    About six minutes of the video is missing, which may be the result of a lack of motion. The camera picks up when the officer comes in to examine the motionless Bhikram on the floor, who claims the fall had cracked his hip.

    Asked why there would not be a continuous camera surveying a cell, Pugash said "there is a live feed enabling officers to observe the cells. Officers are also required to make regular visits to cells and document those visits."

    Johnson Hatlem has relocated to Chicago, but he has compiled a documentary about alleged abuses by Toronto police that he submitted to and hopes to show at the next Toronto International Film Festival in September. He was furious that the Toronto police "have finally acknowledged that they have been lying and misleading and stonewalling about the video all this time."

    Johnson Hatlem feels the police should be censured for what the video depicts, notwithstanding the gaps.

    "It is very serious in my mind," he told CBC News. "It’s similar to the G20 where they left everybody handcuffed inside the cells. It’s outrageous. You have somebody in the cell — we have no record of anybody ever escaping those cells, let alone somebody in a wheel chair with a pretty severe disability — and they leave him in his underwear (which they say was his choice) but with a mask on and handcuffs.

    "It’s just unconscionable. And he didn’t deserve to be in that jail in the first place."

    Information and privacy commissioner 'disturbed'

    The office of the province's Information and Privacy Commissioner issued a statement Wednesday announcing it is reopening the Bhikram file and is now demanding to know why Toronto police claimed for years the video did not exist.

    “We were disturbed to learn that a video, requested by Mr. Bhikram in 2012 and which we were advised had been deleted, has now been found by the Toronto Police Service," Trell Huether, spokesperson for the privacy commissioner, wrote CBC in an email. "This comes after multiple searches by the police and the provision of a sworn affidavit to this office stating that the video had been deleted. It appears that the TPS had not undertaken a sufficiently diligent search in response to Mr. Bhikram’s initial request, or during his appeal to our office.

    "We have asked the Toronto police to explain why the video could not be located previously as we were informed, and what steps will be taken to avoid a reoccurrence of such an unfortunate event in the future.”

    The police spokesman Pugash said in an emailed statement that when police became aware of a recording they notified the privacy commissioner. As for the small claims court case against its officer, Pugash said the constable "denies he assaulted or otherwise mistreated the prisoner. He specifically denies the allegations against him, that he flicked his urine on the prisoner, that he refused to remove the prisoner's handcuffs, that he taunted the prisoner or that he otherwise acted in any wrongful or unlawful way towards the prisoner."

    That hearing is expected to resume in mid-July.


  161. BC RCMP officer investigated after violent arrest caught on tape

    WARNING: Graphic violence appears in May 2014 video showing arrest of man in Terrace, B.C.

    CBC News October 09, 2014

    A Terrace RCMP officer is under investigation after a violent arrest was caught on tape and given to a local newspaper.

    The video — captured last May — shows an unnamed officer punching a young man in the head as he lies on the ground and is handcuffed.

    The young, unidentified man is hit as he appears to be restrained on the ground.

    As the violence unfolds, a woman flees the scene and is brought back by another officer. Later, the young man is seen being pushed into an RCMP truck.

    The video was shown to Terrace RCMP Insp. Dana Hart and has sparked two separate investigations: an RCMP code of conduct review and a probe by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C.

    "We asserted jurisdiction of the matter and are currently investigating the incident to determine whether an officer may have committed an offence," said the investigations office's Ralph Krenz in an interview with CBC on Thursday.

    An unidentified woman dropped the video off at the Terrace Standard newspaper, according to the publisher.

    The violent arrest took place after RCMP were called to deal with a fight between a young man and woman.

    "We want this event to be properly investigated," Hart told the Terrace Standard.

    The Terrace RCMP officer involved in the incident has been placed on administrative desk duty while the investigations are completed.

    The Independent Investigations Office said its probe should take a couple months.

    Today’s video comes on the heels of another controversial video about police activity in Terrace.

    Last week, in an unrelated event, CBC News obtained a Terrace jail cell video from April 2012 showing Rob Wright taken into custody for drunk driving.

    Wright, who was combative while being taken into custody, appeared to be still when he was suddenly thrown to the floor by then Terrace officer Const. Brian Heideman.

    Heideman has since been shifted to another detachment.

    The constable faced discipline for involvement with steroids in an unrelated case. The RCMP has denied any wrongdoing by Heideman.


  162. Violent police home invasion leads to $66K bill for victims

    Halifax officer keeps his job and isn't charged after illegal entry and assault on resident

    By Kathy Tomlinson, CBC News October 13, 2014

    Two siblings are speaking out for the first time about how Halifax police "invaded" one of their homes in the middle of the night, then assaulted him as he tried to protect his sister from getting seriously hurt.

    "It was just like Cops. Or like a movie. The house was dark. The house was quiet … then bang-bang-bang! on my upstairs door," said Tyson Bishop, 36, recalling the 2008 encounter.

    "It was a home invasion. They invaded my home."

    Within seconds, it escalated to one of the officers shooting Bishop with a Taser stun gun when he tried to stop police from hitting his sister in the face.

    "I was fearful for her life," said Bishop, a GM salesman. "I was watching them pick her up and drop her face on the floor. She was crying."

    "Absolutely unreal," said Cirbie Bishop, 31. "Under no circumstances would anyone ever believe that two police officers could just enter your home illegally and do that to you."

    Officer broke the law

    One of the officers, Const. Jordan Gilbert, was later sanctioned for illegal entry and assault, after a decision by a police complaint review board. But he was never criminally charged and he kept his job.

    The Bishops, who had never been in trouble with the law before, said they are left with $66,000 in legal costs, which the municipality refuses to cover.

    "They came into the house without a warrant. They came into the house with absolutely no right to. And we are left to pay for that," said Cirbie Bishop, an insurance claims representative.

    On that night six years ago, the siblings had a Halloween party at Tyson Bishop's townhouse. They said it was a normal party, with costumes, decorations, drinks and music. Police were called twice over noise complaints by a neighbour.

    By the time Const. Gilbert and Const. Mathew Poole arrived to answer the second call at 3 a.m., however, the party was over and the townhouse was dark. Six people, including the Bishop siblings, were sitting around quietly in an upstairs bedroom.

    When the officers got no answer at the front door, they entered anyway, then went upstairs and pounded on the bedroom door, ordering anyone who didn’t live there to leave.

    "They were just screaming and yelling and swearing and forcing people out of the house," Cirbie Bishop said, as everyone scrambled. "We had no idea we were there doing anything wrong. We just had a private party."

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  163. She banged into Gilbert while going through the bedroom doorway. He considered that assault, so he and Poole grabbed and detained her. Gilbert later admitted he hit her in the face while pinning her on the bathroom floor.

    "They picked me up and they threw me on my face," she said.

    When Tyson Bishop tried to step in and protect his sister, Gilbert Tasered him — in the face — at close range. "You just collapse. You fall so fast and so hard. It’s such a jolt to your head," Bishop recalled.

    Gilbert also admitted hitting him twice.

    'Two cops...beating our friends'

    In a 911 call, obtained by Go Public, Tyson Bishop's roommate is heard frantically calling for help.

    "What is your emergency?" the dispatcher says.

    "We have two cops.... They are beating everyone here!" says roommate Christian Copeland, clearly frightened. "They won’t let anyone get up and get out. We just need someone here to pull them off everyone."

    "Two police officers?" asks the dispatcher.

    "Two police officers!" he answers. "They are beating our friends."

    Later testimony said Tyson Bishop was "bleeding profusely" when taken away by ambulance.

    The Bishops were both charged with several counts of assaulting and obstructing police, so they felt they had to hire a lawyer. The charges were later dropped. However, Cirbie Bishop said the blow to her reputation meant she lost her licence to sell insurance.

    "It’s completely turned my life upside down. I lost my job. I had to move provinces. I am in therapy. I have an enormous amount of debt," she said, in tears. "It’s a really sad feeling to know that you were once a really outgoing fun person that really enjoyed life to someone who just doesn’t trust anything anymore."

    "There's still two little holes in the side of my jaw where those two prongs went in that night," Tyson Bishop said. "For months… I would have the TV so low that you could barely hear it across the room, because I was so afraid somebody might call the police."

    Years spent seeking justice

    The Bishops' complaint against the officers took three years to resolve. Gilbert was eventually disciplined by the Nova Scotia Police Review Board in early 2012.

    "This was not a mob scene outside a bar, and it is difficult to comprehend how things went wrong so quickly," the board said.

    "This incident is serious. It involves both an unlawful entry into a home and an excessive use of force, including the firing of a Taser. It has also had serious consequences for Mr. Bishop and his family."

    The board suspended Gilbert for two weeks, put him under temporary supervision and recommended anger management. He was never criminally charged, though, and still has his job.

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  164. The Bishops called the penalty unbelievable.

    "If I went into his home, Tasered him, beat his wife or girlfriend or sister or anybody, I am sure we would not be sitting here today," Tyson Bishop said. "I would be in a cell. I would have lost my job. I would be in a whole different world if I had done half of what they did to us that night."

    $66K for legal bills and debt

    Gilbert was also made to pay $1,000 toward the Bishops' costs. That infuriated the siblings, because their legal bill alone is 66 times that.

    "It was a slap in the face," Cirbie Bishop said. "It didn’t put a dent in any of the bills that we had spent. It wouldn’t even have put a dent in the gas money."

    The Bishops’ said their debt from their legal bills is spread out over several credit cards. Their father cashed in his life insurance to pay some of the bills.

    They are suing, even though that will cost still more, and say all they want is to break even. The Halifax Regional Municipality offered them $17,500, which they refused — so the municipality continues to spend public money fighting them.

    Police and municipality won't comment

    A judge already ruled the Bishops’ legal fees aren’t recoverable, because of legal precedents, which leaves them only able to claim for damages.

    "I didn’t want to spend six years of my life fighting this. I just wanted my money back because it was proven that they entered that house illegally, meaning I should have never had to put that money out to begin with," Cirbie said.

    Neither the police, nor the city would talk about the case.

    "Neither Halifax Regional Police or the officers involved will comment as there are still on-going civil litigation in relation to this case," police spokesman Pierre Bourdages said.

    "The municipality doesn’t comment on ongoing legal matters," municipal spokeswoman Tiffany Chase said.

    Go Public then asked how much public money the municipality has spent on the case, but received no reply.

    When asked by Go Public why Gilbert wasn’t charged, Bourdages replied, "The Police Act investigation did not recommend charges against the officers. Neither did the review board decision."

    However, the police complaint commissioner indicated that's police's decision to make.

    "The decision to lay or recommend a criminal charge … is made by municipal police," Nadine Cooper Mont said. "This is normally done long before a complaint reaches the review board."

    Tyson Bishop said the whole ordeal has left his family exhausted, with their faith in the system gone.

    "[Halifax police] broke the law knowing they were breaking the law … and there is nobody around or nobody in that end of the system that seems to care."


  165. Peter de Groots sister says He was executed

    De Groot shot and killed by police 4 days after he allegedly fired at officers in Slocan, B.C.

    CBC News October 20, 2014

    The sister of Peter de Groot, the man shot and killed by police in Slocan, B.C., said today that her brother had been "executed" and that the family was considering filing a civil suit.

    Danna de Groot was speaking at a news conference in Vancouver, surrounded by members of her family and their lawyer, Cameron Ward.

    In an emotional and lengthy statement, she detailed her many efforts to persuade the police to accept her help in finding her brother, the frustration she felt at misinformation being spread about him and the apparent lack of interest shown in bringing about a peaceful conclusion.

    'Ashamed to be Canadian'

    "We are outraged," she said. "For the first time ever, we are ashamed to be Canadian."

    The de Groot family, she said, is "an average Canadian family. If this can happen to us, this can happen to you."

    She described her "bright, intelligent" brother as a man who had gradually rebuilt his life after a workplace accident in 1994 and then, three years later, a massive brain aneurysm. He also had suffered six post-surgery grand mal seizures, in which he broke several bones, she said.

    He hated taking painkillers because they clouded his thinking and, through diet, managed to reduce his seizures and wean himself from the medication. His peripheral vision and his senses remained compromised by the aneurysm.

    She said her brother "worked harder than anyone can imagine" in order to be able to live independently. He did not, she said, have PTSD, schizophrenia, take drugs or drink alcohol. He was one of seven siblings.

    Life outside on a small holding suited him, she said. He liked living somewhere that had no cellphone reception.

    'It was easy to judge him'

    The family had heard about him experiencing some problems with his neighbours, something, de Groot said, a lot of people have. But he looked different, and acted differently.

    "His body was ravaged over time; it was easy to judge him."

    They were told he was alleged to have shoved someone on Oct. 7.

    That same morning, Danna de Groot said, a worker with the SPCA arrived at 9.15 a.m. PT with feed for her brother's animals, having heard he might have financial problems and be running short.

    "Peter refused because he had enough," she said. The SPCA worker agreed, and "left without incident." The worker later described Peter de Groot as calm and his usual self.

    What happened next, she said, was a gross over-reaction on the part of the police.

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  166. She said three RCMP officers in three separate vehicles, were sent in response to the alleged shove. The officers drove onto the property and created a blockade. They stayed behind their cars and got out their guns.

    Peter's worry, she said — which, owing to his medical issues could present more emphatically than is usual — may have been perceived as paranoia.

    "Which, it turns out, was warranted."

    The police, de Groot alleges, opened fire on her brother, knowing he had a small collection of guns.

    "He ran away, and we consider any shots he may have fired to have been in self-defence."

    What happened next, according to de Groot, was extreme and unwarranted, and could have been avoided had the family been listened to and allowed to help.

    After being alerted to the situation by her sister in Amsterdam, de Groot said, her first reaction was to call the lead RCMP negotiator and ask if she should go to Slocan. She was told no. She asked what the plan was and was told, "to bring the incident to conclusion."

    "I said that I thought the manhunt was excessive, that Peter would feel as though he was being ganged up on, and that I could talk to him."

    'Why were we ignored?'

    She called a law firm in the Slocan area and was told to start driving. Ten hours later she was in Castlegar, and was interviewed by police for two and a half hours, until around 3.30 a.m.

    She told them Peter wasn't a violent person and repeatedly offered to walk into the bush to get him. She asked for a statement to be released to the media, police and community to correct the misinformation she felt was being circulated about her brother, an exchange that was repeated several times over the coming days.

    "Why were we ignored and our efforts resisted?"

    On the day Peter was shot and killed, de Groot said, she was told the manhunt was being downgraded to low priority. She left the police station feeling that things were finally calming down.

    Driving through town, she ran into SUVs containing police dressed in "combat gear," she said.

    "They had no interest in me helping. I said, 'I hope I find him before you do.'

    "In retrospect, I wish I had begged them not to kill him."

    Not long after, her brother was dead, shot and killed by police while lying down with a gun pointed toward the door of the cabin, she said.

    "Four days in the bush without food or water. He had not committed any serious crime. He was weak and could have been sleeping on his front with his gun. The ERT 'interaction' was that they open fired and killed my brother.

    "He was executed."

    The family plans to start a fund or foundation in Peter de Groot's name between now and the inquest, the conclusions of which may prompt them to file a civil suit, she said, and ended her statement with the words of Henry David Thoreau: "All good things are wild and free."



  167. Robert Dziekanski Taser death

    Kwesi Millington found guilty of perjury

    4 Mounties were charged with perjury following inquiry into Polish immigrant's death at airport

    CBC News February 20, 2015

    Const. Kwesi Millington, the RCMP officer who fired a Taser the night Robert Dziekanski died eight years ago at the Vancouver airport, has been found guilty of perjury and colluding with his fellow officers before testifying at the inquiry into the Polish immigrant's death.

    A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled today that Millington "patently" lied at the Braidwood inquiry into the fatal confrontation at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.

    Millington fired his Taser multiple times after he and three other officers were summoned over calls that Dziekanski, who spoke no English, had been throwing furniture in the international terminal.

    Each of the officers was compelled to explain his actions at the inquiry and all four were later charged with perjury. Millington was accused of lying 10 times at the inquiry, including about whether he thought Dziekanski was standing or on the ground after the first shock from the Taser.

    Judge William Ehrcke said it was "preposterous" that the Mountie claimed Dziekanski was standing while he was stunned a second time, when it's clear from bystander video that Dziekanski was already on the ground.

    "The Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Const. Millington gave oral evidence under oath which he knew at the time to be false, and he did so with the intention to mislead the inquiry," Ehrcke said Friday as Millington listened from the prisoner's dock.

    Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski, sat quietly in the public gallery as the judge read the verdict.

    Conflicting verdicts on collusion

    Millington's verdict marks the first time a judge has concluded that one of the officers in the Dziekanksi affair lied. It's also the first time a judge has agreed with the prosecutors who argued that Millington and his fellow officers conspired to lie and exaggerate the threat Dziekanksi posed in order to justify their use of force.

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  168. One of the other officers charged with perjury, Const. Bill Bentley, was acquitted of perjury in 2013, but the Crown is appealing that verdict.

    A witness connected to Bentley testified at Millington's trial and said officers met at her home. But the defence presented telephone records, credit card receipts and other evidence to portray her testimony as unreliable and motivated by acrimony.

    However, Ehrcke concluded the officers must have spoken to each other before providing statements to homicide investigators.

    "This the only rational inference available," he said.

    Millington testified at his trial that he made mistakes in describing what happened, but insisted they were the product of a fast-moving and traumatic situation.

    His lawyer argued the officer had no reason to lie, because the moment Dziekanski picked up a stapler, it became a weapon that justified the use of force.

    Former corporal Benjamin (Monty) Robinson is awaiting a verdict and Const. Gerry Rundel's trial, which proceeded in another courtroom on Friday, is almost finished.

    Millington has remained on duty with the RCMP, but has been sidelined from regular duties. His next court appearance will be on March 19.

    Criminal Justice Branch spokesman Neil MacKenzie said the special prosecutor will decide whether to ask for jail time. He also said it's unclear what effect the Millington conviction will have on Bentley's appeal.

    Dziekanski's mother overjoyed

    "I had always hoped … I could jump to the sky," said Cisowski after the verdict was handed down.

    She said it was the first time she has been happy since her son died.

    "I am pleased to hear the judge found him guilty of six of the 10 perjury charges. Even with six, I am not satisfied, but it's better than nothing."

    She added she would like to see Millington end up in jail, because "they killed" her son, even though Millington was only found guilty of perjury.

    "I am very concerned because they didn't find criminal charge for killing Robert," she said.

    She now lives in Kamloops, B.C., where Dziekanski had planned to move after immigrating to Canada.


  169. Monty Robinson guilty of perjury in Taser death of Robert Dziekanski

    He was one of 4 officers involved in fatal incident at Vancouver airport in 2007

    The Canadian Press March 20, 2015

    Former RCMP officer Benjamin (Monty) Robinson has been convicted of perjury related to his testimony at a public inquiry into the Taser death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.

    Robinson was charged along with three other officers for their testimony at hearings that examined what happened when Dziekanski was stunned with a Taser at Vancouver's airport and died in October 2007.

    Dziekansi's mother, Zofia Cisowski, was at the courthouse today.

    "I feel sad," she said, adding that she's still suffering from the loss of her son.

    "I'm here because I need to have justice for my son Robert," Cisowski said. "I would like to see them in jail because they knew what they were doing."

    Robinson is the second of the officers to be convicted of perjury.

    Const. Kwesi Millington was convicted last month and is awaiting a sentencing hearing which is expected May 7.
    Const. Bill Bentley was acquitted of the perjury charge in 2013, though the Crown is appealing the verdict. Const. Gerry Rundel's trial has finished and a verdict is expected April 30.

    While each officer faced the same charge, Robinson's case had the most notoriety. The court found Robinson guilty on two of eight Crown allegations. The case was adjourned until April 2 when a date will be set for sentencing, said Neil MacKenzie, a spokesperson for B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch.
    Robinson was the senior officer on the scene at the airport in the early morning of Oct. 14, 2007.

    He and the three other officers were summoned to Vancouver's airport after Dziekanski, who spoke no English, started throwing furniture in the international terminal. Within seconds of the officers' arrival, one of them stunned Dziekanski repeatedly with a Taser.

    The Crown alleged the four officers colluded on a story to tell homicide investigators and then lied again at the public inquiry.

    B.C. Supreme Court Judge Nathan Smith said the officers all made similar mistakes when their statements are compared with the video, notably their incorrect assertion that Dziekanski had to be wrestled to the ground.

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  170. Smith said Robinson had a motive to lie and must have known what he told homicide investigators was incorrect.

    "I simply do not believe that a police officer of his experience could make such a crucial mistake in these circumstances," Smith said as Robinson listened from the prisoner's dock.

    Motive to exaggerate

    "I agree with the Crown that he had a direct motive to exaggerate the threat posed by Mr. Dziekanski and to justify the response to that threat."

    Smith said it's clear the officers talked about what happened before speaking to homicide investigators, which Robinson denied while on the stand at the inquiry.

    Much of the Crown's case was circumstantial.

    Prosecutors argued the officers' statements and notes all contained similar errors when compared with an amateur video of the confrontation, proving they worked together.

    The Crown did not produce any evidence that the officers actually collaborated on the night of Dziekanski's death, such as a witness who might have seen them huddled together at the airport.

    The Crown further alleged the officers met in the Vancouver area in the days or weeks before testifying at the inquiry in early 2009 to plan their testimony.

    A witness, whose ex-husband is Bentley's cousin, told the court the officers met at her home, but the defence presented telephone records, credit card receipts and other evidence to cast doubt on her testimony.

    The Crown has not explained how the public should reconcile the differing verdicts, especially since the prosecutors' theory was that all four officers worked together to tell the same lies.

    Convicted of obstruction of justice

    Robinson, who is in his mid-40s, left the RCMP in 2012, after being convicted of obstruction of justice in an unrelated case involving a fatal vehicle accident in 2008.

    Robinson was behind the wheel in October 2008 when his vehicle struck and killed a 21-year-old motorcyclist in Delta, south of Vancouver.

    At trial, he said that immediately after the crash he went home and drank two shots of vodka to "calm his nerves."

    A judge concluded Robinson had used his RCMP training in an attempt to fend off accusations of impaired driving. He was given a conditional sentence of 12 months.

    Around the time of Robinson's obstruction conviction, the RCMP's top officer in B.C., Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, held up the case as an example of the challenges facing the force when it wants to deal with problem officers.

    Callens said he was "outraged" with Robinson's conviction and said it demonstrated the need to change the law that governs how Mounties can be disciplined or fired.


  171. Robert Dziekanski Taser death

    Kwesi Millington sentencing hearing begins

    Zofia Cisowki says officers involved have never shown any remorse over her son's death

    CBC News May 07, 2015

    The mother of Robert Dziekanski told the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Thursday that if not for the 10-minute video recording that showed her son being Tasered by police officers, "no one would have known the truth."

    Zofia Cisowski was reading a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for Const. Kwesi Millington, the police officer who was found guilty in February of this year of perjury and colluding with his fellow officers before testifying at the inquiry into the Polish immigrant's death.

    Cisowski was allowed to read her statement by Judge William Ercke, despite objections from Millington's lawyer, who argued that she was not a victim of the perjury trial under the definition contained in the Criminal Code.

    Cisowski said that the perjury committed by Millington had made a "huge impact on my financial and emotional well-being."

    She added that the police officers involved in her son's death had never expressed remorse or apologized to her.

    Millington's defence lawyer is seeking a one-year conditional sentence.

    The Crown is asking for 18 to 36 months in jail for Millington, whose perjury, it said, was "planned and deliberate" and took place across a period of three days. It was not, the Crown argued, an emotional, knee-jerk response.

    Millington fired his Taser multiple times after he and three other officers were summoned over calls that Dziekanski, who spoke no English, had been throwing furniture in the international terminal at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.

    A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled in February that Millington "patently" lied at the Braidwood inquiry into the fatal confrontation.

    In March, another of the four officers involved, Const. Monty Robinson, was also convicted of perjury. He is yet to be sentenced.

    The remaining two officers charged with perjury, constables Gerry Rundel and Bill Bentley, have both been acquitted.

    Braidwood findings 'flawed'

    Rundel — who was acquitted last month — was in court Thursday, offering, he said, his support to Millington.

    He also handed out a written statement regarding the court action against all four officers. The statement calls for the RCMP to publicly back their officers "when they act according to training, policy and procedure."

    Rundel suggests that the Crown was "permitted to lay charges on only a theory," which has "caused these prosecutions to be convoluted, lengthy and costly."

    The notion that all four officers colluded within a minute of the Tasering of Dziekanski, despite being aware of dozens of witnesses and the fact the incident had been caught on video, "not only defies common sense, it defies logic," he states.

    "Justice [Thomas] Braidwood's findings were flawed and not supported by the evidence," he concludes.

    The decision on sentencing is scheduled for June 22, and the defence has informed the judge it plans to appeal the conviction once a sentence is passed down.


  172. Kwesi Millington, B.C. Mountie, Sentenced To 30 Months In Jail For Perjury In Dziekanski Case

    By The Canadian Press June 22, 2015

    VANCOUVER - A Mountie convicted of lying for his testimony at a public inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.

    RCMP Const. Kwesi Millington was one of four officers involved in a fatal confrontation at Vancouver's airport in 2007, where the Polish immigrant was stunned with a Taser and died.

    All four officers testified at a public inquiry into the death, and were later charged with perjury over accusations they colluded to give false testimony at the inquiry.

    Each officer was tried separately, resulting in two acquittals and two convictions.

    Millington's lawyer had asked for a one-year conditional sentence, while the Crown was seeking a sentence of up to three years behind bars.

    Former corporal Monty Robinson, who was also convicted of perjury for his testimony, will be sentenced next month.


  173. Widow of Pierre Lemaitre, RCMP's Robert Dziekanski spokesman, sues Mounties

    Wife alleges the RCMP made her husband a scapegoat in controversial Taser death

    CBC News July 30, 2015

    The widow of the late Mountie who became the face of the Robert Dziekanski case has launched a lawsuit against the RCMP, saying the force made him a scapegoat for the fatal confrontation between the Polish immigrant and police at the Vancouver airport in 2007.

    Pierre Lemaitre took his own life in 2013 while on leave from the force. The 28-year RCMP veteran was 55 years old and had two grown daughters.

    Sheila Lemaitre filed the statement of claim against the Attorney General of Canada and B.C.'s justice ministry, which are the employers representing the RCMP.

    In the claim, Lemaitre said her husband's suicide was the result of the RCMP's negligent conduct and its "intentional infliction of mental suffering." The allegations haven't been proved in court. The lawsuit was filed July 28.

    The suit, which was filed in B.C. Supreme Court, says Lemaitre's career came off the rails in the aftermath of Dziekanski's death.

    The lawsuit calls for general damages, damages compensable under the Family Compensation Act, interest and costs.

    Dziekanski Tasered at airport

    Dziekanski, who did not speak English, had come to Canada to live with his mother but got disoriented and wandered the airport for 10 hours. He eventually grew agitated and began to throw furniture in the arrival area. At one point, he brandished a stapler. Four officers arrived and used a stun gun to subdue Dziekanski. He died at the airport.

    Lemaitre was the officer in charge of RCMP media relations at the time. In his initial account to reporters, he described Dziekanski as combative and threatening. He said Mounties only Tasered Dziekanski twice. Later, a video surfaced, showing police using a Taser five times on Dziekanski.

    The statement of claim says Lemaitre asked his superiors to correct the wrong information but was turned down. One superior allegedly warned Lemaitre, saying, "You say anything and it's your job."

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  174. He was taken off the Dziekanski file and transferred to suburban Langley, B.C..

    According to the statement of claim, "the job function in this posting was essentially a demotion and was considered by many within the RCMP as being a "dumping ground.'"

    The suit says Lemaitre was devastated by the way the Mounties dealt with him. By refusing to let him correct police misinformation, he "was brought into public contempt," and accused in public of being an "RCMP liar" and "RCMP spin doctor."

    At work, the suit says he once overheard an officer say of him, "That's Pierre Lemaitre, he is redundant."

    The suit says he became depressed and furious. He told his wife that he had "a rage in his brain that he could not stop and he could not control and didn't know why."

    From 2012 to 2013, Lemaitre was on a combination of anti-depressants, and sought help for stress-related weight gain.

    Career was destroyed, says suit

    The RCMP's decision to remove him as a spokesman on the Dziekanski case and strip him of his media duties was an "intentional infliction of mental suffering," the statement of claim says.

    On the day Lemaitre died, RCMP officers brought an RCMP chaplain to his home. The chaplain took control of funeral arrangements and told his widow that he needed to see copies of all eulogies from Lemaitre's friends in order to vet them.

    Three days later, a senior B.C. RCMP officer contacted Lemaitre about funeral arrangements. That officer told her that "what was done to Pierre was done for the good of the force."

    The transfer to Langley was not the first time the RCMP moved Lemaitre against his will. In 2003, he was transferred to Chilliwack, B.C., after he filed a complaint against his superior of sexual harassment on behalf of a female reporter.

    Lemaitre eventually worked his way back up the media relations ladder and, by 2007, was based at the former Heather Street headquarters in Vancouver, as E Division's chief media contact.

    Read the full statement of claim at:


  175. Body Cams Can Capture Abuse But Can They End Police Brutality?

    Criminal justice experts say much more is needed to really reform police departments nationwide.

    By Terrell Jermaine Starr / AlterNet August 2, 2015

    The swift first-degree murder charge filed against a former University of Cincinnati police officer after his body camera captured him shooting an unarmed black man to death reflects how crucial video is in proving police misconduct.

    When Ray Tensing pulled Samuel Dubose over on July 19, his body camera captured the entire stop. After Dubose was unable to produce a license and prevented Tensing from opening the driver door of his vehicle, the former cop shot him in the head. Tensing claimed he was being dragged by the car, which was proven untrue. A police report of the incident also shows officers on the scene lied about seeing Dubose’s car “dragging” Tensing.

    Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said that, without body camera footage, he would have “nothing” and that “it would have been a very, very different case.”

    The power of camera footage was also on display in North Charleston, S.C., earlier this year when police officer Michael Slager was captured on cell phone video shooting Walter Scott in the back. He was immediately fired and charged with first-degree murder. Several California cities, including Oakland and San Diego, have reported a decline in complaints against officers after members of their departments began wearing body cameras.

    The idea of body cameras is popular with national politicians. Hillary Clinton, a leading presidential candidate, has called for all police departments to outfit their officers with body cams. In December, Obama proposed to spend $75 million for 50,000 body cameras, but funding is being stalled in Congress. At the moment it is not clear exactly how many police departments are using body cameras. The ACLU estimates that 25 percent of the nation’s 17,000 law enforcement agencies use them. Over the past few months, more local departments have begun pilot programs to test body camera technology, so the idea is catching on.

    As critical as body cameras are in exposing police abuses, law enforcement experts told AlterNet that policymakers at the local and national levels need to do much more to curtail police brutality. Tensing wore a body camera, but still ended up abusing his power and shooting Dubose to death for no reason.

    “It just goes to show how ineffective body cameras are and will be in reducing these kinds of incidents,” Shafiq R. Fulcher Abdussabur, a former president of the National Association for Black Law Enforcement Officers who works as a police sergeant in New England, told AlterNet. “Body cameras do not deter police misuse of deadly force. They just capture it. That’s all they do.”

    Alexandra Moffett-Bateau, an assistant professor of political science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, added that body cameras are an incomplete solution.

    “I think body cameras are a necessity given the political climate that we live in, but I'm not sure they are the answer,” Moffett-Bateau told AlterNet. “We saw in the filming with Sandra Bland that all of this technology can be tampered with in one way or another. So, yes, they are making a difference, but I'm not sure that they are the best or even the most effective solution.”

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  176. Some issues with body cameras include the discretion officers have in turning them on or off during a stop and at which point. A report reviewing the NYPD’s body camera pilot program recommends that officers turn on their cameras during all interactions with the public, as opposed to just "reasonable suspicion" interactions as currently required. A police monitor wrote in a report of the Denver Police Department’s body camera pilot program that, out of 80 use of force accidents, usable footage was available just 47 percent of the time.

    Will officers face severe disciplinary actions if they do not turn on their body cameras? How often are body cameras monitored by supervisors and who is making sure footage is being properly stored on a regular basis, untampered? Can we even trust police officers to turn over video of possible misconduct to local prosecutors? These are some of the myriad questions regarding body cameras.

    Robert Gangi of the Police Reform Organizing Project, in New York City, says officers like Tensing need to know that if they abuse their power, the law won’t protect them. AlterNet shared some reform ideas he favors, including police review boards having subpoena powers and ending the doctrine of “qualified immunity,” which protects officers from lawsuits that allege they violated a private citizen's civil rights. But even those wouldn’t go far enough.

    The problem, Gangi says, is that cops are often evaluated on quota-based policing such as “broken windows” and other tactics that focus on racking up arrests that have been shown to disproportionately target minorities. In New York City, more than 80 percent of people arrested under “broken windows” for the past 13 years have been black or Latino. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told NPR that some of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country use quota systems. In 2013, the Los Angeles City Council settled a $6 million lawsuit with a group of police officers who accused their supervisors of enforcing a secret quota system for traffic tickets. As the Washington Post reported, black people are far more likely to be pulled over for a traffic violations than white or Hispanic people. American Indians are more likely to be pulled over than any other race.

    “Quota systems put pressure on cops to make these kinds of arrests and give out these kinds of tickets on a monthly basis,” Gangi told AlterNet. “It leads to discriminatory behavior by the police. Body cameras will help in certain instances, but they won’t change the nature of policing.”

    So what will?

    Moffett-Bateau believes police reform needs to be a national issue led by Washington with reforms that are as similarly far-reaching as the Civil Rights Act of 1965 for the country to see real change. “The federal government needs to get involved and overhaul the entire criminal justice system from top to bottom,” she said.

    Martin O’Malley, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, revealed his criminal justice reform plan to Ebony.com Friday. One of his reform plans would be to nationalize use of force standards. The plan says O’Malley “will support legislation to require states to review and amend their own use of force laws to comply with federal guidelines.”

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  177. Eric Sanders a former NYPD officer who currently works as a civil rights attorney, says cops have too many legal protections. He believes police officers’ internal review records should be made available to the public but many states have laws preventing that from happening. New York is one of 11 states that protect cops’ personnel files. So, if an officer is abusing his or her power on the job, it is nearly impossible for the public to gain access to that information. Police advocates claim that cops have a right to privacy, but Sanders, who served with the NYPD for more than 12 years, doesn’t agree.

    “When you take that job, you waive a lot of the private parts of your life because you’ve been given so much authority,” he said. “Yet we turn around and say, ‘We don’t want people to use our records against us.’ No, no, no, no, no. You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. The bottom line is this: If the cop is clean, they are professional and doing what they are supposed to do, then you don’t have to worry about that.”

    The overprotection of cops played out in San Diego, the same department that reported a decline in complaints. The SDPD refused the release video footage of at least two shootings in 2014 because the video was captured on devices pay for with tax dollars and the cops wearing them were on public payroll, so it’s not public record. If body cameras become a national standard, clarity over the rights of the public having access to the footage will have to be addressed.

    Abdussabur, who wrote the book A Black Man’s Guide to Law Enforcement In America, says more training is needed. While activists like Rev. Al Sharpton and other national leaders have balked at the recommendation of more training as a reform tool, Abdussabur believes increased mandatory training that focuses on de-escalating conflicts and dealing with minority communities will make a difference. After officers leave the academy, they really don’t undergo much training to help them understand the communities they serve, he added.

    “There is no mandatory training nationwide that says, ‘Police officers must be trained on how to deal with black people,’” he said. “We train police officers on how to use a gun. They don’t come in knowing how to use one. That firearms training is drilled into them until it becomes a second-nature habit of behavior when they’re out in the field. When they’re out in the field and see that black male dressed in red, we don’t want them thinking, ‘His name is probably Snukkie and he runs with the Bloods.’ Instead, we want training that specifically aims at removing false stereotypes and negative perceptions about black people.”

    But Sanders says the real issue is that too many police departments cover up abusive behavior, and until the culture that protects bad cops is dismantled, body cameras won’t be enough to weed them out.

    “Police work is not for everybody,” he said. “The problem is the screening process where you find out that officers are no longer suitable for police work and you don’t get rid of them. What we do is keep the same problem cops over and over again. Everyone knows who they are. They don’t get rid of them. There are no consequences for bad behavior. That’s the problem.”


  178. Canadian police struggle to maintain reputation under unprecedented scrutiny and demands for new approach

    BY DOUGLAS QUAN, National Post AUGUST 21, 2015

    On a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., this week, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair promised $250 million to fund more frontline police officers. If elected, he said, he would put the money towards the recruitment of 2,500 of them across the country.

    But if Mulcair chose a strategic spot to make that announcement – there were 36 shootings in the area between March and June this year, he noted – his timing was not ideal. Not only do statistics show overall crime rates in Canada are at historic lows, what police officers are doing on the front lines is under scrutiny like never before.

    Just this week – as a headstone was unveiled in Winnipeg for Tina Fontaine, the now well-known aboriginal teenager found dead in a river days after she was reported missing to police – a group in Hamilton, Ont., launched the Missed Lives Project to help solve cases of missing women from marginalized communities, who they say are too often overlooked by cops.

    Last month, hundreds of protesters from the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter choked traffic on an expressway to call for justice in the deaths of two men: Andrew Loku, a Sudanese refugee suffering from mental illness, killed in his home by police when he allegedly refused to drop a hammer; and Jermaine Carby, who also suffered from mental illness and was shot three times when police say he emerged from his car with a knife during a traffic stop.

    Activists from the global hacking collective known as Anonymous also argue the fatal shooting of James McIntyre in Dawson Creek, B.C., this summer was unjust. He was wearing the signature Guy Fawkes mask of Anonymous members when he was shot by Mounties outside a public meeting on a controversial dam project.

    Police leaders warn that, beyond any specific cases under investigation, much of the criticism of officers is fuelled by a social media echo chamber and skewed by negative portrayals of policing in the U.S. But academics and advocacy groups say there’s a wider problem — and it’s time for a radical new approach to policing in Canada.

    Desmond Cole, a Toronto writer and activist, is among those calling for change, particularly in race relations between officers and blacks. He received national attention this year for an article alleging he had been carded by police more than 50 times. He has also been a speaker at Black Lives Matter rallies on the treatment of Loku and Carby.

    “Every police officer in Canada should engage in ongoing anti-racism and anti-oppression training, and toss out the current euphemistic regime of ‘bias-free’ training,” he said in an email. “Police should have to take courses about the history and present reality of systemic racism in Canada, particularly towards indigenous and black individuals.”

    Cole added he wants to see better alignment between police and mental health workers and more training on how to de-escalate conflicts.

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  179. A report last year on the future of policing in Canada – written by a panel convened by the Council of Canadian Academies and chaired by former Ontario appeal court justice Stephen Goudge – draws many of the same conclusions.

    It notes that while 20 per cent of the population are visible minorities, they make up only eight per cent of the country’s police and forces have poor success recruiting officers who reflect the communities they patrol. The report also suggested police not only learn from mental health professionals to de-escalate conflicts, but should hand over some cases to partners, such as social workers and addiction specialists.

    “For the last 30, 40 years, we have just allowed police to become the last resort,” says Irvin Waller, a University of Ottawa criminology professor who sat on the panel. “They’re now expensive and not very effective, at least in the violence area, so we need to be getting much more prevention-oriented.”

    Clive Weighill, the Saskatoon Police chief and president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, says he hears where critics are coming from: He still jumps in a patrol car every now and then to keep a pulse on what’s going on in his city and there’s no question part of what officers have to deal with are marginalized populations and people living in poverty and bad housing.

    But he says police are already trained in de-escalation and diversity. Who would want a police department that doesn’t understand the mosaic of the community it serves, Weighill asks. He thinks the real game changer over the next decade will be a new “hub” model of policing.

    This has police departments working closely with community agencies to target high-risk individuals and develop intervention strategies before crimes are committed. An initiative in Prince Albert, Sask., for example, holds weekly meetings with police as well as staff from provincial social service, health, justice and education ministries. After the first year of the program, the city has seen a 25 per cent drop in violent crime.

    But more than just tapping into community agencies, the 2014 panel on policing argues a “one-size-fits-all” model, where officers are trained to respond to everything from traffic accidents to violent crime, is not sustainable – especially as policing costs go up, to $13 billion in 2011, it estimates.

    To address that, the panel suggests administrative or “back room” tasks should be assigned to civilians, while duties such as dispatch, prisoner detention, training and forensic investigations could be contracted out to the private sector.

    Police forces can then move away from “generalist” officers toward accredited specialists to deal with new threats like cybercrime, terrorism and identity theft, it says.

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  180. To that end the report also recommends the creation of a professional body, similar to the College of Policing for England and Wales set up a few years ago. This would establish standards for policing and training, and carry out research on best practices.

    “We have standards for dentists, we have standards for lawyers, we have standards for engineers … I think it makes sense to have national standards for policing,” says Waller.

    This would also address a more urgent need to improve accountability, says Margaret Beare, a York University law professor and another panel member. Too often, citizen videos have shown police versions of events cannot always be trusted.

    “Part of a serious need for changes in policing has to do with the seeming inability of the organization to admit making a mistake,” she says.

    I can’t think of another occupation that is more accountable than policing

    Weighill says municipal agencies are already accountable to a police services board. When officers kill or seriously injure a member of the public, their actions are reviewed by provincial, civilian-led bodies, such as Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit or B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office. Several police agencies are now experimenting with the use of body cameras.

    “I can’t think of another occupation that is more accountable than policing,” says Weighill.

    The media, Crown prosecutors and civil liberties groups also keep their eyes on police activities, says Rick Parent, a cop turned professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

    He worries people’s perceptions of policing are being tainted by negative media coverage in the U.S. He points to data that show a stark contrast between the two countries: in 2013 alone, police in the U.S. shot and killed 461 felony suspects; in Canada, there have been about 15 fatal police shootings each year in 2000-14.

    “We’re actually very boring,” he says.

    And despite criticism, people still want to see them on the street, says Weighill. Their presence makes us feel safer, and builds trust in a way partnerships and specialized training cannot.

    “We’re starting to lose some of the legitimacy and support if all we’re doing is the big stuff,” he says.

    For all the spending on police, Canada also has a fragmented system, says Parent. There are more than 200 agencies, but some communities have a “Cadillac style” of policing where “no call is too small,” while others are struggling to keep pace with population growth like Surrey, for instance, which has been wracked by gang violence.

    “Police are the last front-line service that’s left for the public,” he says.

    “They’re the only service that’s 24/7 that you can phone for any type of problem and a police officer will deal with it. You can’t do that with anything else.”


  181. Gang Rapes, Murders and Planting Evidence: New TV Show? No, Welcome to Ontario Policing

    by Pam Palmater, Indigenous Nationhood January 29, 2016


    In 1989, the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr., Prosecution found that the criminal justice system failed Marshall “at virtually every turn” due “to the fact that Donald Marshall, Jr., is a Native."[i] Donald Marshall Jr., was a Mi'kmaw man who spent over a decade in prison after being was wrongfully convicted of murder. In 1999, The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba concluded that: “The justice system has failed Manitoba’s Aboriginal people on a massive scale.”[ii] Again in 2004, the Saskatchewan Commission on First Nations and Metis Peoples and Justice Reform noted we still have the same problem: “[R]acism is a major obstacle to healthy relations with the First Nations and … police organizations.”[iii] After the shooting death of unarmed land defender, Dudley George, the Ipperwash Inquiry concluded in 2007 that: “cultural insensitivity and racism was not restricted to a few ‘bad apples’ with the OPP but was more widespread.”[iv] It's #2016, and we still have the same problem and it looks like police racism and violence against Indigenous peoples has spread to women and racialized minorities everywhere.

    This week, all of Toronto's attention had been on the conviction of Toronto police officer James Forcillo, who was found guilty of attempted murder in relation to the shooting death of Sammy Yatim.[v] Yatim was an 18 year old young man who only possessed a small pocket knife, when he was mortally shot three times in the heart. The officer then shot him 6 more times and was joined by another officer who then tazered him.[vi] The temptation is to think: one bad apple. Yet, only three days after the verdict, four Toronto police officers were arrested with seventeen charges related to planting evidence on a suspect and obstructing justice (lying) – all suspended with pay.[vii] What seemed to get even less attention were the three Toronto police officers who were charged in a gang sexual assault on female member of the Toronto police force and, like their colleagues, were all suspended with pay.[viii]

    The problem is so critical in Toronto that there is even an organization called, Affected Families of Police Homicide which helps advocate on behalf of the teenagers, many unarmed who lost their lives to police action.[ix] Many of these victims come from Indigenous or racialized backgrounds. This isn't a Toronto phenomenon, though it appears to be particularly acute in Toronto. In the same year, a York Regional police officer who had served on the force for 31 years was charged with sexual assault of a minor.[x] The little girl was not even 12 years old. Then there's the Peel Region Police Officer Craig Watier charged with child porn related offences; Ontario Provincial Police officer Mark Maltais charged with a child porn offence - but suspended with pay; and Toronto Police officer Darious Kisielewski charged with making and possessing child porn.[xi]

    One of the more disgusting elements of police racism and violence in Ontario is the high degree of impunity the police seem to enjoy - all while getting paid. At the moment, there are at least 50 police officers suspended with pay in Ontario, at a cost of over $4.5 million to Ontarians.[xii] The primary concern seems to be that these men get paid, not the racialized people, women or children who are their victims. It should come as no surprise that we have a crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in this country, when the police themselves become the predators. Whether it's outright targeting of Indigenous women and girls for violence, or refusing to protect them by locating the missing and convicting the killers - police racism and violence is exacerbating an already crisis issue.

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  182. It's not just Ontario's regional or municipal polices forces. The RCMP, Canada's national police force is literally rampant with police racism and violence. Manitoba RCMP Constable Kevin Theriault arrested an Indigenous woman at a house party for “intoxication”, locked her in a police cell, and showed up later in his street clothes and took her to his home with the intent to have a “personal relationship” with her.[xiii] Fellow officers goaded him on and even his senior officer said: “You arrested her, you can do whatever the fuck you want to do.”[xiv] His punishment was the loss of only seven days’ pay.[xv] Human Rights Watch documented numerous reports of abusive policing in British Columbia by the RCMP who are accused of raping and assaulting Indigenous women and girls in custody.[xvi] No one was brought to justice in those cases.

    This phenomenon is not unique to BC and Ontario, as eight Quebec police officers were recently suspended after numerous allegations of sexual assault against Indigenous women were brought forward.[xvii] In Nova Scotia, RCMP were suspended for sexual assault of co-workers.[xviii] In Alberta, a 34-year veteran with RCMP charged in sexual assault of 12 year old girl.[xix] Even within the RCMP, sexual assault and harassment against their own female officers appears to be rampant as over 300 women have filed a class action lawsuit.[xx] Evidence of the wide-spread nature of police violence against women in general is staggering. But who are we going to complain to? Experts tell us that the conviction rate against police officers in Ontario and the RCMP is astronomically small. Then when we see a provincial court judge from BC imprisoned for sexually assaulting Indigenous girls between the ages of 12 and 16, we begin to wonder what the options are for society.[xxi]

    This phenomenon of police violence and corruption appears to be widespread in Canada and the United States. Many grassroots groups and organizations have come together to shine a light on the victims of police violence, corruption and racism. Black Lives Matter that became “the rallying cry of the new movement against racist police violence”. [xxii] Disarm Toronto Police, Cop Watch, Police Watch, and Citizens Against Police Brutality - social media is growing with citizen groups organizing all over North America to bring awareness to police violence and address impunity. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what we know is happening in Ontario -the frightening part of what we don't know. How many more victims are there who never brought their complaints forward thinking no one would believe them over a police officer?

    Ontario - you have a problem. So far, no one from the mayor, to the police chief to the Premier has stood up and expressed the horror the rest of us feel by the increasing police violence in this province. Gang rape is not something that should be heard in conjunction with police officers. Someone needs to show some leadership and clean up the cop shop. Police are hired to protect Ontarians and keep them safe from predators - not become the predators. This situation has reached crisis proportions and needs an immediate and comprehensive emergency action plan that includes independent investigations and legislative amendments. The days of police investigating police must be over. Every rape, assault or murder of citizens in Ontario, committed by police is now on the hands of those who have the power to do something about it.

    It's your move Ontario. #racismkills

    [i] Chief Justice Hickman, Chairman, “Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr., Prosecution”, (Halifax: Province of Nova Scotia, 1989), online: at 1.

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  183. [ii] Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba, “Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba” (Winnipeg: Province of Manitoba, 1999), online: at 1.

    [iii] W. Littlechild, Chair, “Legacy of Hope: An Agenda for Change: Final Report from the Commission on First Nations and Metis Peoples and Justice Reform”(Saskatchewan: 21 June 2004), vol.1, online: and vol.2, online: at 5-6.

    [iv] S. Linden, Commissioner, “Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry” (Toronto: Province of Ontario, 2007), vol.2, online: at 272.

    [v] W. Gillis, The Star, “‘Mystery’ charge only one that sticks in Sammy Yatim slaying” (Toronto: The Star, 26 January 2016), online: .

    [vi] A. Hasham, The Star, "Forcillo guilty of attempted murder in shooting death of Sammy Yatim" (Toronto: The Star, 25 January, 2016), online: .

    [vii] P. Edwards, The Toronto Star, “Toronto police officers charged with obstructing justice, perjury” (Toronto: The Star, 28 January 2016), online: .

    [viii] M. Krishnan, et al; The Star, “Three Toronto police officers charged with gang sexual assault” (Toronto: The Star, 19 February 2015), online: .

    [ix] A. Carter, CBC News, “Victim’s rights group lobbying province, SIU for change” (Toronto: CBC News, 5 December 2013), online: .

    [x] CBC News, “York Regional Police officer charged with sexual assault involving a minor” (Toronto: CBC News, 11 November 2015), online: .

    [xi] J. Moore, NewsTalk 1010, “Update: Former York Regional Police Sergeant accused of sexually assaulting a young girl” (Toronto: NewsTalk 1010, 11 November 2015), online: < http://www.newstalk1010.com/news/2015/11/11/update-former-york-regional-police-sergeant-accused-of-sexually-assaulting-a-young-girl>. CBC News, "Peel Regional Police officer faces child pornography, fraud charges" (Toronto: CBC News, 19 August 2015), online: . L. Dunick, TBNewWatch, "OPP sergeant facing possession of child porn charge" (Thunder Bay: TBNewsWatch, 28 January 2016), online: . T. Alamenciak, The Star, "Toronto police officer charged with making child pornography" (Toronto: The Star, 10 September 2013), online:

    [xii] M. Crawley, CBC News Toronto, “At least 50 police officers currently suspended with pay in Ontario” (Toronto: CBC News, 28 January 2016), online: < http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-ontario-police-suspended-with-pay-1.3424010>.

    [xiii] Indian Country Today Media Network, “Outrage over Mountie who took intoxicated native woman to his home” (ICTMN, 1 September 2015), online: .

    [xiv] H. Moore, CBC News, “Mountie takes woman home from jail to ‘pursue a personal relationship’” (Manitoba: CBC News, 8 January 2015), online: .

    [xv] Ibid.

    [xvi] Human Rights Watch, “Those Who Take Us Away: Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada” (Washington: Human Rights Watch, 2013), online: .

    [xvii] APTN National News, “Eight Quebec police officers suspended in wake of alleged sexual assaults on Aboriginal women” (Winnipeg: APTN, 23 October 2015), online: .

    [xviii] Halifax Metro, “Nova Scotia RCMP suspend officer for alleged assault, sexual assault of female coworkers” (Halifax: Halifax Metro, 2 April 2015), online: .

    [xix] P. Roth, Edmonton Sun, “High0ranking Fort McMurray Mountie charged with cold-case sex assault of teen” (Edmonton: Edmonton Sun, 15 April 2014), online: .

    [xx] A. Woo, The Globe and Mail, “Sexual Harassment claims against RCMP reach 336” (Vancouver: The Globe and Mail, 18 July 2014), online: .

    [xxi] CBC News Canada, “Ramsay gets 7 years for sexual assault” (Ottawa: CBC News Canada, 1 June 2004), online: .

    [xxii] K. Petersen-Smith, “Black Lives Matter: A new movement takes shape” (2015) International Socialist Review Issue 96.


  184. Myles Gray's parents, haunted by alleged 'wrongful killing,' sue VPD

    Myles Gray injured so severely in fatal police encounter, parents say he had to have a closed casket funeral

    By Eric Rankin, CBC News Posted: Feb 12, 2016

    The parents of 33 year old Myles Gray say they just want answers, six months after their son's mysterious death in a Burnaby backyard—and to try to get them, they're suing the Vancouver Police force and 11 of its officers.

    Margie and Mark Gray of Sechelt allege seven of those officers, identified only as "John Does", wrongfully killed their son by beating him to death, using "grossly excessive force" and "inflicting massive physical trauma … with no valid, lawful reason".

    The police takedown occurred on the afternoon of August 13, when officers responded to a call about a disturbance in the 3600 block of South East Marine Drive.

    Myles Gray, who worked as a greenery supplier to local florist wholesalers, got into an argument with a woman who was watering her garden during drought restrictions.

    Vancouver police officers chased Gray across a Boundary Road overpass into Burnaby, before using "chemical agents" and then "physical force" to restrain him. Gray was pronounced dead a short time later.

    The lawsuit, filed in BC Supreme court, states Gray was "alone, unarmed, dressed in shorts and not engaged in any criminal activity during his interactions with the seven officers."

    In an exclusive interview with CBC News, the dead man's mother, Margie Gray, 52, fought back tears. She said her son's injuries were so severe, the funeral home advised against an open-casket funeral.

    "Why was he killed off, just hunted down like a dog, killed like a dog, worse than a dog? Just beat down by seven police."

    "I want answers. I want to know what happened that day," said Margie, "It's the worst. It is horrific. And to know this went down at the hands of people you're supposed to trust."

    Mark Gray, 58, said the loss of his son has been devastating.

    "I just miss my son, my best friend. I've only got one son," he said. "(I) just feel like somebody punched a hole right through me and it's never going to fill up. It's a horrible thing. He was a good man."

    'Police ... impeded the investigation'

    The lawsuit also alleges, "the police unlawfully impeded the investigation … by the Independent Investigations Office" — the province's police watchdog agency that reviews police-involved deaths — "by failing to immediately notify the IIO of the killing."

    The couple allege that during the delay, "officers failed to preserve evidence" and "conferred among themselves."

    The Grays, along with Myle Gray's evergreen supply company, Graystone Enterprises Ltd, also name the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Board in the lawsuit, blaming the board for "failing properly and effectively to educate, train and supervise the officers to appropriate professional standards."

    They're seeking unspecified damages.

    None of the allegations has been proven in court, and the Vancouver Police Department, Police Board and City of Vancouver have yet to file a response.

    Contacted by CBC News, Vancouver Police said, "It wouldn't be appropriate for the VPD to comment on an ongoing IIO investigation or a pending civil process."

    Margie Gray says she has been told her son died within minutes of his encounter with Vancouver officers.

    "This is 'comply or die' policing. Like, what was the rush to move in and kill him?" she asks.

    Mark Gray adds "You know, they could have let him calm down …. like a person's life is worth more than a (few) minutes, right?"

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  185. Violent physical takedown

    The case dates back to the hot summer afternoon of August 13th last year. As a supplier of greenery to florists, Myles Gray was on his regular run to flower wholesalers clustered around Boundary Road and Marine Drive in Burnaby.

    Around 2 p.m., he wandered away from a loading bay and crossed a small overpass above Boundary Road, ending up nearby in the 36 hundred block of South East Marine Drive in Vancouver.

    There, a neighbour tells CBC News, Gray got into an argument with a woman who was watering her garden during drought restrictions.

    The woman's son stepped in and called 911.

    In a news release issued at the time, Vancouver police say they responded to a call of a distraught man causing a disturbance.

    "He became agitated and additional officers were called to the scene," reads the police account. "Attempts to subdue the man with chemical agents were unsuccessful. A physical altercation ensued, resulting in injuries to the man and six officers. Paramedics were called to attend to the man. He died at the scene."

    Gentle man

    Gray's parents say he was a gentle man, who enjoyed body building and being fit — but at five foot ten, always walked away from a fight.

    They concede he might have had some kind of an outburst August 13, but it was out of character.

    "Maybe he was having an emotional meltdown. He was probably in a vulnerable state," said Margie Gray. "They pursued him for sure. What he needed probably was some compassion."

    For the past six months, authorities have been silent on the cause of Gray's death — the B.C. Coroners Service told the CBC it's unable to comment while the Independent Investigations Office investigates.

    In a statement to CBC News, IIO spokesman Marten Youssef said, "Our investigation in this critical incident is ongoing. We are currently waiting on third party reports."

    He adds there are reasons for the delay: "The timeliness of our investigations has suffered recently, in large part, as the result of a rash of officer-involved shootings and police-involved fatalities throughout the province that began in September of 2014 and continued for the better part of a year (a total of 20 shootings and fatalities in a period of 12 months)."

    Calls for better training

    The Grays say the way their son died in the altercation with Vancouver Police shows de-escalation training has to be improved. They hope their son didn't die in vain and that changes will come — sparked, in part, by their lawsuit.

    "They should definitely have better training," says Mark Gray. "If there's seven of them, one should have said, 'Hey, let's back off' and treat this a little differently in how it went down. It could have gone down a lot differently. And Myles could have been alive today."

    Adds Margie Gray, "There needs to be a change in the way they deal with people. They need more training in their de-escalation skills. They just need more training, period … no one should have to live through what we've been living through. It's a living hell. I do not want any family to ever have to go through what we've been going through."

    Six months after his son's death, Gray struggles to keep his emotions under control.

    "I want my son back, but that's never going to happen. It could be (that) other people will have their son killed, and it's just not right the way they treat people. It's just not right."


  186. Latest RCMP harassment allegations an embarrassment public safety minister says

    'How could this have happened in a facility that is designed to train police officers?,' Goodale says

    By John Paul Tasker, Alison Crawford, CBC News February 19, 2016

    Canada's public safety minister says the latest allegations of harassment and bullying involving the RCMP are an 'embarrassment'.

    "This is the national police force, this is an icon of the nation and it's got to be remedied very quickly to Canadian satisfaction. Canadians will not tolerate any half measures in the response here," Ralph Goodale said in an interview with host Chris Hall on CBC Radio's The House.

    The strong condemnation comes after CBC News reported allegations of unwanted sexual touching, bullying and rampant nudity in the workplace at the explosives training unit of the Canadian Police College in Ottawa.

    "It's an embarrassment, and I think [RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson] is fully aware of that. That this kind of conduct and behaviour is simply unacceptable in the most absolute of terms and it's got to stop. It's got to be properly disciplined," Goodale said in an interview that is set to air Saturday morning.

    Staff Sgt. Bruno Solesme, who used to be the unit manager, and Marco Calandrini, a civilian member of the force and a former Canadian Forces Joint Task force member, were reportedly fond of posing completely nude on each other's desks in a purported effort to shock each other; they also allegedly simulated oral sex in the office.

    Former members of the unit told CBC News that Calandrini often appeared naked in the corridors or announced he had just shaved his genitals before dumping the contents of his electric razor onto the table they all shared at meals.

    One former staffer said Solesme regularly threatened to not renew his contract at the college, and that Calandrini jumped nude and uninvited into a single-person shower stall while he was showering.

    "There's no humour to be found doing these kinds of lewd acts in a federal office. We're police officers!" one complainant told CBC News.

    CBC News has agreed to protect the complainants' identities given the nature of the allegations and fear of reprisals.

    The two Mounties in question have since been suspended from the force pending the outcome of two new investigations.

    CBC News made several attempts to get in touch with Solesme and Calandrini but did not receive responses.

    The RCMP has already carried out three reviews of inappropriate behaviour at the police college, but complainants have said investigators did not want to hear fulsome accounts. The RCMP has denied this.

    'Unacceptable toxicity'

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  187. The public safety minister said he spoke to Paulson Friday morning after the alleged misconduct was revealed.

    "I expressed to the commissioner very clearly my outrage at this situation. He knows very clearly what I expect. I expect a complete transparent and comprehensive investigation. I expect strong discipline that suits the misbehaviour that has taken place," Goodale said.

    "How could this have happened in a facility that is designed to train police officers?" he said. "I expect a clean-up of what appears to be unacceptable toxicity in the workplace at the RCMP, where people should expect exemplary behaviour, not this kind of bizarre and degrading kind of conduct."

    RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter Henschel told CBC News Thursday that he immediately ordered another review of the conduct.

    "When this came to our attention, we were appalled at what the allegations were. I found it hard to believe that in this day and age that this kind of behaviour would take place in our organization or anywhere else," Henschel said.

    "It is completely unacceptable behaviour. It's abhorrent."

    'This is very, very urgent'

    When asked whether he had faith in Paulson and his officers to carry out a thorough investigation — considering the RCMP has already conducted three reviews of the police college — Goodale said he would be personally following developments on this file.

    "I have laid out my expectation and I fully expect the commissioner to deliver and I will be following this very, very closely.

    "This is something where I expect to see results very quickly to the extent that there are investigative procedures that need to take place," the minister said.

    "You've got to make sure the investigation is thorough and is conducted in a professional manner with all of the resources that are needed to get to the bottom of what went on. But both he [the commissioner] and I both understand this is very urgent."

    Allegations of harassment and bullying are not new for the Mounties — the force has been rocked by hundreds of complaints in the last decade.

    In 2012, after a long investigation, the RCMP public complaints commission found rampant bullying in the force. It unearthed 718 complaints filed by employees between 2005 and 2011, and found almost half were from men.

    The watchdog's investigation said the widespread perception of rampant harassment had rattled public confidence and tarnished the force's reputation.

    Send anonymous tips directly to reporter Alison Crawford using securedrop.cbc.ca. She can also be reached at alison.crawford@cbc.ca.


  188. Terrace Mountie charged with assault in connection to violent arrest

    Arrest came under investigation after video evidence surfaced in the local paper

    CBC News February 25, 2016

    Const. Bruce Lofroth has been charged with assault in connection with the arrest of a young person in Terrace, B.C., almost two years ago.

    The May 2014 arrest was captured in a video that appears to show an officer punching a young man in the head as he lies handcuffed on the ground.

    RCMP were initially called to deal with a fight between a young man and woman.

    An unidentified woman dropped the video off at the Terrace Standard newspaper, according to the publisher.

    The Independent Investigations Office, a civilian-led agency tasked with conducting criminal investigations into serious police incidents, says it began looking into Lofroth's actions after the video surfaced.

    Lofroth was placed on administrative desk duty while the IIO completed its investigation. The Criminal Justice Branch says an assault charge was sworn against Lofroth on Thursday.

    He is set to appear in a Terrace court room, March 7.


  189. 2 more BC Mounties charged with criminal offences

    This week, criminal charges have been laid against RCMP officers in Burnaby, Kelowna and Terrace, B.C.

    By Maryse Zeidler, CBC News February 26, 2016

    The RCMP announced Friday on its website that two Mounties in separate B.C. detachments had been charged with criminal offences, bringing to three the number of RCMP officers charged with criminal offences this week.

    Police say Cpl. Chris Williams of the Kelowna RCMP has been charged with common assault in connection to the "handling of a man he arrested" during a drug investigation on May 29, 2015.

    The RCMP says Williams is on administrative leave and is scheduled to appear in court on March 22.

    Const. Harinder Paul Pabla with the RCMP's Burnaby detachment is facing two charges of impaired driving following incidents that occurred while he was off duty.

    Pabla has been suspended, say RCMP, and is scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on March 3 and 10.

    Both officers are the subject of code of conduct investigations by the RCMP. Police have provided no further details as to the circumstances surrounding their offences.

    On Thursday, the Independent Investigations Office, the civilian-led agency tasked with conducting criminal investigations into serious police incidents, announced an assault charge against Const,. Bruce Lofroth in connection with the arrest of a young person in Terrace two years ago that was caught on video.


  190. Const Gerry Rundel sues over his treatment by RCMP in Robert Dziekanski death

    Rundel was among 4 officers who responded the night Polish immigrant died at Vancouver airport in 2007

    By Lisa Johnson, CBC News March 07, 2016

    One of the RCMP officers who responded the night Robert Dziekanski was Tasered and died at Vancouver International Airport in 2007 has filed a lawsuit claiming the force's "negligent" actions have cost him his career and his health.

    Const. Gerry Rundel, who was acquitted of perjury for his testimony about the Polish immigrant's death, has been on a graduated return-to-work since the fall of last year after being away on sick leave with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    In a 19-page statement of claim filed today in Nanaimo, B.C., Rundel claims the force has made him a "scapegoat" for public criticism of the RCMP that night, though he was acting in accordance with training.

    "As a result, the plaintiff, together with the other members, was personally brought into public contempt and publicly shamed," according to the statement of claim.

    Rundel filed the claim against the Attorney General of Canada and B.C.'s Justice Ministry, which are the employers representing the RCMP.

    Tainted as 'bad apples'

    Dziekanski died early in the morning of Oct. 14, 2007, at the Vancouver airport.

    The initial RCMP account — delivered hours later by then spokesman Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre — claimed Dziekanski had been pounding on windows and throwing things before he was Tasered, which was false.

    The RCMP's "persistent refusal to set the record straight," despite Lemaitre's request to issue a correction, was the first of many missteps that left Rundel and fellow officers hung out to dry, appearing complicit in a perceived cover-up, the suit alleges.

    As a result, Rundel "sought out medical attention to deal with the psychological impact in coping with stress, anger, anxiety, sleep disorder as well as physical ailments that … persist," according to the documents.

    The suit alleges that the RCMP apology to Dziekanski's mother and Commissioner Bob Paulson's 2012 letter pledging to rid the force of "bad apples" were poorly timed actions that unnecessarily tainted the reputations of the officers.

    Rundel maintains that he acted in accordance with his training at the time and didn't fire the Taser or order its use. While he was acquitted of perjury for his testimony at the Braidwood inquiry, the senior officer,former corporal Monty Robinson, and Const. Kwesi Millington were convicted of perjury.

    Suit alleges pressure to return to work

    Beyond the loss of reputation, the lawsuit alleges that since Dziekanski's death, Rundel has been harassed on the force.

    The suit claims that in 2010, after Rundel was diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, he was pressured to testify on a large drug file and told that refusing to do so was like being "a firefighter afraid of fire," something that would put his future at the RCMP in a negative light.

    Last year, the suit claims, Rundel was pressured to return to work regardless of medical advice.

    "The plaintiff has suffered permanent and irreparable harm including extreme embarrassment, loss of reputation, extreme stress resulting in disabling psychological and physical injury" and had his career destroyed, the suit alleges.

    Rundel is claiming damages, including "aggravated and/or punitive damages," and compensation for loss of income and future pension benefits.

    A statement of defence has not yet been filed.

    Read Const. Gerry Rundel's statement of claim at:


  191. Unsettling the Orchard


    Michelle Stewart works on social justice issues including migrant justice and racialized policing. She lives on Treaty 4 territory and teaches about social justice. Her research focuses on how disabilities are taken up in the justice system in a settler state.

    A version of this article first appeared on Michelle Stewart’s Changing Suns Press blog, Unsettled, on December 16, 2015. http://www.changingsunspress.com/unsettled

    “Some of the worst racists carry a gun, and they carry a badge authorized by you, Commissioner Paulson, to do the work. We need you to confront racism in the ranks.”

    Grand Chief Doug Kelly, leader of the Sto:lo Tribal Council from unceded Coast Salish Territory in British Columbia, delivered this indictment to RCMPcommissioner Bob Paulson on December 9, 2015, at the annual meeting of the Assembly of First Nations. He was referring to the everyday racism faced by Indigenous peoples at the hands of the RCMP, and he pushed the commissioner to take action on racism in his ranks.

    “Shame on you, Mr. Paulson,” Grand Chief Kelly pressed. “You want to earn trust? You start by owning the truth, and apologizing. And doing more than apologizing. You start acting on the direction of government about reconciliation.” The grand chief admonished the RCMP, which will assume a central role in the coming months as the new federal government takes aim at a massive overhaul of the justice system while laying the foundation for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

    The RCMP commissioner then took the stage. “I hear what you say,” he said. “I understand there are racists in my police force. I don’t want them to be in my police force.”

    Paulson urged the audience of Indigenous leaders to “have confidence in the processes that exist, up to and including calling me if you’re having a problem with a racist in your jurisdiction.” He assured the audience that the RCMP has “elaborate systems to bring accountability to those people who are … empowered to deliver policing services.”

    I want to scrutinize his response, which emphasized the singular nature of the racism in the RCMP. This exchange, at this particular political moment in Canada, is embedded in a much bigger discussion – one that needs to be unsettled.

    Events like the encounter between the grand chief and the RCMPcommissioner offer critical opportunities to look at the ways in which racism is framed. The language can often involve premature gestures of resolution. Systemic issues are not issues of immediate resolution.

    Rather, they demand that we pause and deliberate. Premature, rushed solution-seeking can distract us from the real work at hand, which is messy, troubling, and difficult work. I write this as a settler living in Treaty 4 Territory. From my perspective, a discussion about racism in policing cannot be a simple matter. It requires a willingness to discuss settler colonialism and systems of oppression and privilege.

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  192. Resetting the scene

    After six years of investigating the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse in government-funded residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its full recommendations in 2015. The report, unprecedented in its scope and findings, importantly locates residential schools in the contemporary matrix of settler colonialism, including poverty, incarceration, and violence. Of note, recommendations 25 to 42 explicitly focus on the justice system and call for reform at the local, provincial, and federal levels.

    In December 2015, the newly elected Liberal government committed to implementing the TRC’s 94 recommendations, and announced a national inquiry to investigate missing and murdered Indigenous women. Many people speculated that change was afoot.

    Meanwhile, the CBC announced that it was closing down all of its comment fields associated with stories about Indigenous peoples. The broadcaster indicated that these specific fields have become overwhelmingly filled with such “hateful and vitriolic” racist comments that the news outlet temporarily suspended any commenting.

    It was this backdrop of news that framed the report about RCMPcommissioner Bob Paulson’s response to Grand Chief Kelly’s indictment of theRCMP.

    What Paulson suggested, behind his conciliatory tone at the meeting, was that individual acts of racism are the result of rogue racist officers; the officers’ actions could be handled swiftly with mechanisms of accountability within the police force. He did not indicate that he recognized racism as a systemic issue, nor as a direct effect of setter colonialism. Paulson spoke about isolated racism in a country where, in the broader context, the national news network had to disable the comment field on stories about Indigenous peoples because commenters consistently crossed the publisher’s decency guidelines.

    Paulson agreed with Grand Chief Kelly: there are racists in the force. But, in his view, those racists are outliers; they are unwanted, they are limited, and a single phone call can solve any (infrequent) occurrence. Paulson offered a simple solution to a complex problem.
    But systemic racism is not going to be solved with a phone call.

    As a colonial state, Canada has built up systems that privilege settlers. Systemic racism is obscured when it is reframed as the single actions of particular individuals. This allows settlers to look for quick solutions and avoid facing the systemic nature of racism – to avoid that messy, troubling, and difficult work.

    continued below

  193. Apples or orchard

    In his speech, Grand Chief Kelly asked Commissioner Paulson, “Why do I keep dealing with these bad apples?” He observed that, within the RCMP, there were “wonderful public servants.” He also affirmed, “I love and respect thosepublic servants.… But I’m talking about the other ones.” Kelly was fierce in naming racism in his initial critique, but he quickly hedged his bets to avoid indicting all police – only the bad apples.

    The problem with the “bad apples” metaphor is that it obscures the systemic nature of racism.

    We need to be able to talk about systems, not people. People make up systems, yes, but if we get lost in a discussion about the people who make up systems, we lose sight of the fact that there are systems that organize our society. If we talk about the systems, we can start to draw links to the root problems of ongoing racism and have a meaningful dialogue about important issues.

    Take, for example, the fact that upwards of 80 per cent of people incarcerated in Saskatchewan are Indigenous when they only comprise just over 15 per cent of the overall population. Over 1,200 Aboriginal women and girls have been killed or are missing in Canada – and that number is actually higher, given the many more whose deaths were not investigated or who were not categorized as missing or murdered. We could discuss the massive overrepresentation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system. In Manitoba, for example, upwards of 90 per cent of the 10,000 children in state custody are Aboriginal, which has prompted the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to hire its own child advocate. The welfare system apprehends children from families that have themselves experienced historical state-executed traumas, including residential schools and the 60s Scoop. These are all results ofsystems of oppression, and these systems are much more powerful and entrenched than the individuals implementing them. Unsettling these systems demands that we do away with the “bad apples” metaphor, which erases the systemic nature of and the histories that inform actions, policies, “accountability processes,” and responses from government departments, legislative representatives, and police forces.

    Oppression is not the result of a few bad apples. It is an outcome of specific systems of justice, education, health, and social services, which each uphold powerful practices that, taken together, produce particular outcomes. Systemic oppression requires a sharp instrument to dissect these systems and identify specific actions that facilitate ongoing programs of oppression. Cut open the system to identify the actions first, but don’t stop there.

    The “bad apple” metaphor is propelled by ongoing complacency, apathy, and derailment tactics. It allows individuals to use the language of anti-racism to call for an inquiry or justice system reform, but it does not actively unsettle the very systems that sustain oppression. In the absence of solidarity work that unsettles entire, complex systems, settlers and others can find themselves believing that the situation in Canada is simply a case of a few bad apples. They say, “This is not my Canada,” when they read about oppression. To them, I say: “This is your Canada.” If we are stuck with the metaphor of bad apples, then Canada is an orchard that has been rotting since its colonial inception.


  194. NOTE FROM PERRY BULWER - The following article provides further confirmation of the argument I make in this blog post, that the problem of police abuse is not due to a few bad apples, but due to a rotten barrel. It is rotten police culture and training that creates cops who abuse their authority and unlawfully abuse or murder citizens.

    This Is Why Police Beat People: Two Police Academies Caught on Video Teaching Excessive Force

    This was all captured on video.

    By Claire Bernish / The Free Thought Project June 5, 2016

    Not one, but two police training academies have now been suspended for what appears to be teaching the use of excessive force — as the norm — captured on video.

    After an investigation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), the Lower Rio Grande Development Council (LRGVDC) Regional Police Academy and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy have been suspended until two further investigations are concluded.

    “During a defensive tactic training session, video was conducted for the purposes of cadet instruction and feedback,” the Lower Rio Grande Development Council told local station CBS 4 News in a statement. “Video feedback had not been previously utilized by LRGVDC Police Academy and after evaluating this practice and as a result of this incident, this method will not be used in the future.”

    Though CBS 4 blurred the faces of cadets and instructors to protect their identities, video shows cadets being taught to use an elbow to strike directly under the chin of a suspect to bring the person to the ground. Other clips show a strike to the face using an extended-arm slap, which also grounds throws the suspect to the ground. Similar techniques show blows to the top of the head and more.

    Prior to the academies’ suspensions, CBS 4 released footage of students training as part of a police academy course conducted at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen as part of a Continuing Education program organized and taught by LRGVDC.

    A cadet who trained in the sixth-month basic peace officer course informed LRGVDC of the specific incident in question on May 17.

    After viewing the footage, Primera Police Chief Manuel Treviño, whose career in law enforcement spans 26 years, said he was surprised to see training conducted in this manner:

    “I’m pretty sure this individual is certified, I mean the academy has to do some sort of background before allowing them to be an instructor, but after seeing this I think they might want to make some changes, especially to have them wear some sort of protective gear.” Treviño also noted some of the officers on his force had been through this training course.

    continued below

  195. Details surrounding the separate suspension of the Hidalgo Sheriff’s training academy have not been released.

    Though the vast majority of police training in the United States involves stress-based, paramilitary, boot camp-style indoctrination, multiple studies have proven these warrior techniques ineffective in policing.

    As the Department of Justice’s own website on American policing noted, some scholars say “that the high stress paramilitary model of training results in police practices that are contrary to democratic governance and that a structure utilizing university connections, experiential learning, and critical thinking would be significantly more effective.”

    President Obama’s official directive for law enforcement embodies ‘community policing’ — but such training courses, as evidenced in the video, are antithetical to the very idea of collaborative problem-solving, community trust-building, and integrating police into the localities in their charge.

    In fact, those few academies not employing militaristic stress techniques have a higher number of cadets completing the entire program — 89 percent, compared with just 80 percent from warrior training. Female recruits fare poorly in less collegial training environments, as well, where “the idealized conception of masculinity” stands at the center of most police training.

    In a decades-old study cited by the DoJ, Assistant Sheriff Howard H. Earle concluded “non-stress trained subjects performed at a significantly higher level in the areas of field performance, job satisfaction, and performance acceptability by persons served.”

    Yet, as the Texas academy’s video shows, law enforcement training has instead moved away from the altogether more effective methods of training recruits.

    Despite ongoing significant support for American police by the general public, brutal incidents of violence carried out by law enforcement continue to increase. While opposition understandably vilifies the individual officers for such violent acts, the single most effective means of halting the general police culture, which often emphasizes an us versus them atmosphere, has been largely ignored.

    Police advocates and those infuriated over killings and brutality would best be served to unite behind a call for an end to training that does nothing but perpetuate the problem.


  196. Cops and cameras. What are your rights?

    'Caribou Legs' was stopped from filming a police officer outside Montreal

    By Mark Rendell, CBC News September 16, 2016

    Two incidents in the past week involving cops, cameras and Northerners have raised the question: when are people allowed to film police officers at work?

    Inuvik's Brad Firth, known as Caribou Legs, was around 10 kilometres outside of Montreal when a police officer stopped him on the side of the highway. A video, posted on Facebook by the marathoner — who's running across the country to raise awareness around the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women — shows a Sûreté du Québec officer approaching him on the side of the highway, asking a series of questions. After a brief interaction, the officer reaches towards the camera and blocks the lens. The video cuts out.

    "He actually threw it to the ground after he took possession of it," alleges Firth.

    "Thankfully that is when the other police officer showed up, and that police officer took control of the situation, because he saw how his partner was being way too aggressive in handling that situation."

    Firth says he's filmed interactions with five other police on the side of the highway, all of whom respected his personal space. But he says he's also encountered police who, "have their own ideas about law enforcement, they believe that they're above the law."

    Other northern incidents

    A similar incident allegedly occurred last Friday in Fort Simpson during the public arrest of Darrell Sibbeston.

    "When I was at the scene... The RCMP officer was pointing his finger at me and telling me now is not the time, and he was asking me to leave," says the town's mayor Darlene Sibbeston, who's the sister of the man arrested.

    "I was calling out to the crowd: 'Is there somebody with a camera or phone?' And one of the community members came up with their cellphone and started taking pictures, and [the RCMP officer is]
    … blocking her and telling her she was not to take any pictures and leave.

    "She didn't put the camera away, she continued to take pictures close up and away, and I don't believe that she said anything, she refused to leave the situation," adds Sibbeston.

    continued below

  197. An RCMP spokesperson declined to comment on the Fort Simpson incident, saying it was currently under internal review.

    There is also the case of Northern News Services journalist John McFadden, who was charged with obstruction of justice while taking photos of police searching a vehicle in Yellowknife last year.

    In court, officers claimed McFadden got in their way during the search.

    McFadden denied the charge, saying he was not interfering with the search and simply doing his job.

    The judge is expected to rule on the matter next month.

    Charter Right

    "There's absolutely no general law that would prohibit a member of the public from taking video or photographic footage anywhere in a public place," says Yellowknife defence lawyer Caroline Wawzonek.

    "You can't get in the way of an investigation and you can't get in the way of a police officer," Wawzonek continues.

    "If you actually intercede in a way that prevents them performing their duty they can ask you to get out of the way, they can ask you to move, they ask you to leave. And if you're actually to the point of obstructing them you could be charged.

    "But to the extent that you're able to stand back and you're a non-interfering member of the public, there's absolutely no reason they wouldn't have the right to take that photograph."

    If the issue is so clear cut, why then do we continue to see situations where police officers try to prevent people from filming them?

    According to Wawzonek, there's frequently a "misunderstanding about the boundaries of the law... and people make mistakes. Officers who are otherwise acting appropriately can make mistakes in the heat of a moment."

    For the RCMP at least, there's no specific training or policies around civilian camera use, according to Cpl. Annie Delisle, a media relations officer at RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.

    "Generally speaking, recording police interactions is not problematic as long as a person is not interfering with or obstructing a peace officer in the course of their duties," she said in an email.

    But if you do find yourself in situation where an officer is telling you to stop filming, Wawzonek says "the safest course of action is to remain calm and dispassionate about it… and just say: 'Thank you, but I have the right to take pictures in a public place.'"


  198. 3 Calgary police officers charged with assault in violent arrest caught on video

    One officer allegedly dug the point of a key into man's neck when he was handcuffed

    By Meghan Grant, Robson Fletcher, CBC News October 05, 2016

    Three Calgary police officers who are accused of participating in a violent arrest that left a 34-year-old man with a collapsed lung and broken ribs have been charged with numerous offences including assault and public mischief.

    The mischief charge relates to false statements two officers are alleged to have given that led to Clayton Prince being charged with resisting arrest. That charge against Prince was later stayed, along with a charge for possession of a small amount of marijuana.

    The following officers were charged Wednesday:

    --Const. James Othen, 38, faces four charges including assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and two counts of public mischief.
    --Const. Kevin Humfrey, 33, faces charges of assault causing bodily harm and two counts of public mischief.
    --Const. Michael Sandalack, 31, faces a charge of assault causing bodily harm.

    "I consider the dishonesty and the charging of a person who did not commit an offence to be — by far — the more serious charges," said Sue Hughson, executive director of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which investigated the incident.

    "To suggest that a person committed an offence that they did not commit and potentially subject that person to the criminal justice process, and potentially imprisonment, is extremely serious."

    Calgary police Chief Roger Chaffin said the alleged actions of the officers are "not representative of the kind of policing we expect in this city."

    "But, as I've said before, accountability is incredibly important and, through all the processes, this is probably one of the highest levels of accountability an officer will experience — having to stand in court and be judged in court," Chaffin said.

    Description of the arrest and injuries

    The arrest took place on July 30, after an officer attempted a traffic stop on a white SUV in a parking lot around the 6700 block of Macleod Trail South.

    The driver fled on foot and a short chase ensued before he gave up and was arrested.

    "After Mr. Prince had surrendered to police and was lying prone on the ground on his stomach, with his hands behind his head, it is alleged that the named officers committed an assault upon Mr. Prince, both before and after he was handcuffed," Hughson said.

    "Mr. Prince sustained broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a facial laceration and significant bruising. Once Mr. Prince was placed handcuffed in the back of a marked police vehicle, it is alleged that Const. Othen reached into the vehicle and dug the point of a key into Mr. Prince's neck behind his left ear, an area known to be vulnerable to pain compliance techniques, resulting in an injury that became infected and required additional treatment."

    continued below

  199. The officers only came under investigation after video from a police dashcam surfaced that contradicted their accounts of the incident.

    Other Calgary Police Service officers flagged the video to their supervisors, Hughson noted.

    "This is important, as it should be remembered that the actions of the officers charged in this case should not reflect on the many good men and women within the CPS, and all the police services in this province, who go to work every day in good faith to serve and protect the people of this province," she said.

    Chaffin said he watched the video personally and immediately turned the investigation over to ASIRT.

    "There was an obviously a disconnect between what we believed happened and what this video was showing," he said.

    The video has been submitted as evidence and won't be released for the time being, the chief said, although he expects it will be made public eventually.

    "As soon as the court matter is concluded, then that will become publicly available, likely," he said.

    ​The officers appeared before a justice of the peace via telephone on Wednesday and were released from custody with conditions they not have any contact with police or civilian witnesses or the victim.

    "Any police officer charged with any offence would be very concerned," said lawyer Alain Hepner, who represents Othen.

    The officers and their lawyers met with ASIRT officials Wednesday morning.

    "The other lawyers and I are waiting for disclosure and we're in a holding pattern until we receive it," said Hepner.

    Prince has not responded to the CBC's request for comment.

    A fourth officer who was also under investigation initially will not be charged, Hughson said.

    "That does not mean that he may not be subject to other, internal disciplinary processes," she said. "It just means there was insufficient evidence to charge him."

    Two of the officers were suspended with pay and two were placed on desk duty following the incident.

    Chaffin said the three officers facing charges have now been "relieved of duty" and he will be "reviewing their status in the days and weeks to come."

    He said the fourth officer who was not charged "will likely just be returned to duty."

    The three facing charges will appear in court on Oct. 19.


  200. Watchdog lifts lid on investigation reports raising red flags about RCMP actions

    Catharine Tunney, CBC News, Aug 30, 2020

    The RCMP's watchdog has flagged a number of ways in which the RCMP has bungled past investigations on cases ranging from mental health calls to fatal car accidents.

    The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission recently posted online summaries of its probes into allegations of Mountie misconduct — part of the CRCC's commitment to greater transparency.

    In the past, the independent body has released only the findings of its chairperson-initiated reviews (which often deal with high-profile cases that have generated media coverage) and a smattering of "sample" cases, concealing the details of hundreds of reviews from the public for privacy reasons.

    That's changing under the CRCC's new chairperson Michelaine Lahaie, said CRCC spokesperson Kate McDerby.

    In a bid to become more transparent — and against a backdrop of growing concerns about police accountability and use of force — the agency says it is in the process of posting all of its findings, with personal and identifying information removed.

    So far, details of 23 reviews that were completed in 2019-2020 have been released, with more on the way over the coming weeks. McDerby said the findings in all cases — whether they rule for or against RCMP officers — will be made public.

    While the case summaries released by the CRCC to date represent a small fraction of the 2,000 to 3,000 complaints the agency receives every year, they describe some troubling standalone cases — and offer a window into how the force is compelled to reconsider its findings once the independent watchdog weighs in.

    ... Earlier this summer, CRCC chair Lahaie issued a statement citing a "general pattern of concern" about the RCMP's "unreasonable use of force" during wellness and mental health calls.

    "Recommendations have been made over and over again with respect to wellness checks, and the RCMP does not appear to be listening," Lahaie told MPs on the public safety and national security committee on July 24.

    One summary reported an officer failed to get medical assistance for a "bloodied complainant with a visible head injury," while another concluded a Mountie gave inaccurate information to the medical examiner. The CRCC also raised questions after an officer failed to properly alert the Internet Child Exploitation unit regarding a sexual assault case involving a minor.

    Other flagged cases involved unreasonable detentions, shoddy note-taking, illegal audio recordings and reckless driving.

    A spokesperson for the RCMP said the force does not comment on statements given by individuals or agencies.

    "In most cases, the RCMP has already provided its official response, which is included in the sample finding summary," said Cpl. Caroline Duval.

    Erick Laming is a PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto whose research looks at police use of force and accountability in Canada. He said releasing the case summaries is a positive step toward greater police accountability — but he's not sure how much change it might bring about on its own.

    "It's good for transparency. They always should have been doing this," he said.

    "The average Canadian or the average citizen ... probably won't read the full summary ... but it's there. It's there for the public, it's there us to debate, to look at, to see what evidence was included in the investigation and how the decision was made. I think all of those elements are really important."

    Going forward, Laming said he'd like to see the CRCC collect more race-based data as they compile their investigations.

    "We're still limited in knowing the full story of these issues."

    read the full article at: