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police misconduct

Whining Jet, popular Pfizer, bad drivers with red and blue lights

Un-sportsmanlike conduct

Not that the Winnipeg Jets had any chance, in my opinion, but they got their just comeuppance by being beaten four games straight in the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens. They didn’t deserve to win anything after that hit on Jake Evans by Mark Scheifele. All things considered in a high-speed part of a high-speed game, if you’re too damn slow to determine that there’s nothing you can do at that point except hit a guy when he has his head down and has already scored a goal, then you’re not NHL-calibre material, and you need to go back to the beer-hockey league from which you came.

Apparently the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is “popular”!

In a recent Global News broadcast, the teleprompter reader excitedly announced that, since the Pfizer COVID-19 has been so “popular” in this country, Pfizer, out of the goodness of their hearts, will be giving us wonderful, deserving Canadians three million more doses. (OK, the reader didn’t say anything about “out of the goodness of their hearts”, but that was the whole tone of the piece.) My chin hit the floor, and I may have drooled a little. What an asinine thing to say! First of all, it’s “popular” because people are desperate to be vaccinated and get on with their lives, not because it tastes great nine out of ten times in taste tests! And since they’re selling us (not giving us for free) so many more vaccines than the other approved manufacturers, of course their product is relatively more “popular”! My god. Don’t these people have brains?!

Tailgating a cop

Red and blue police lights bar

So I was driving along a freeway in the Greater Vancouver area a few days ago. As is pretty typical in this part of the world, our freeways are, for the most part, only two lanes wide. I suppose the government wasn’t too forward looking back in the 1940s, but neither are they today. One of the many issues exacerbated by two-lane freeways is the congestion that happens at on-ramps. In this case, as I approached an on-ramp, there actually wasn’t any congestion caused by cars moving out of the so-called slow lane into the passing lane to allow cars entering the freeway to do so unimpeded.

As I approached the on-ramp I observed three vehicles on the on-ramp entering the freeway. The middle one was a dirty, blue pick-up truck with a canopy. I maintained my speed — which, I admit, was slightly over the speed limit, but not a speed that was out of line with other traffic on freeways — as I intended to pass the slower vehicles entering the freeway. No problem, right? Except, as happens so often, the pick-up truck decides his wishes are far more important (or he didn’t bother to check his side-view mirror), and he (I assume it was a he, for reasons that will become obvious) pulled into the passing lane with little or no obvious attempt to accelerate past the vehicle that had been in front of him on the on-ramp.

I immediately disengaged the cruise control, and allowed myself to coast up behind the pick-up truck. It is not my practice to overreact to the idiotic behaviour of other drivers, so I did not slam on the brakes and immediately establish a two-second following distance behind an asshole who had impeded my progress on a freeway. As my speed bled off, I guess “he” (the driver of the pick-up truck) didn’t like my following distance. Instead of accelerating as he should have, he flicked on his red and blue police lights. OK, so instead of driving like a reasonable person and not impeding the flow of traffic on a freeway, you’re going to fucking turn on your red-and-blues and show me what a big dick you have, and how you own me. Congratulations, you win!

I again did not slam on the brakes; I just continued to let my speed bleed off until I had established the aforementioned two-second following distance, and we both carried on. I wasn’t going to start flashing my headlights at the moron.

I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t get pulled over and ticketed for following too closely or for speeding, but I have encountered this kind of asshole behaviour by cops in unmarked vehicles before. It just reinforces my view that if you’re a cop, you can do whatever the hell you want, and if you’re not, well … you can’t. One rule for the ruled, and no rules for the rulers.

Enough about COVID

Except to say that Ontario seems to have overstepped the mark, turning themselves into a Draconian society where everyone is pissed off by measures that don’t have any measurable impact. So much for being driven by science. (Doug Ford seems to have woken up since.)

Safeway fraud

Useless Safeway coupon (2019)

Useless Safeway coupon (2019).

This has bothered me for a long time, at least a couple of years but maybe more. (I first scanned one of these coupons in 2019 for this post, but the first website screenshot is from 2018.) Safeway prints out a fuel coupon for “4 cents off/litre” with just about every receipt. But where can I, as a resident of the Greater Vancouver area, use this coupon? According to their own website, the only Safeway with a “gas bar” (as of yesterday) is at “South Trail Crossing” in Calgary! There did used to be a gas bar in Aldergrove, but if I’m out that way I’m usually driving further east, in which case I drive a couple of miles further and I’m out of the Vancouver fuel tax area (or whatever it’s called) and I save even more at one of the fuel stations deliberately set up there. However, according to their website the Aldergrove store doesn’t exist any more.

Useless Safeway coupon (2021)

Unusable Safeway coupon (2021).

A couple of years ago I literally threw the coupon back at the cashier and told them it was a “waste of paper and a fraud”. I have to get back into that habit, as it’s dishonest of Safeway to “gift” their customers with something they can’t even use.

Shaw

Speaking of customer feedback, Shaw called me recently to renew my two-year contract with them. I immediately launched into how pissed off I am at their cable service, and how I will become an ex-customer if their merger with Rogers goes through. The guy actually had the balls to tell me that the merger was not his responsibility! So I told him how I don’t have the ear of Brad Shaw, so the only thing I can do is talk to his employees and tell them how pissed off I am. It’s then his job to tell his supervisor, whose job it is to then tell his manager, who passes it on up the line to Brad Shaw.

Are employees not taught any more how customer feedback works, or do companies rely completely on leading survey questions that always lead companies to conclude that they’re the most wonderful thing since sliced bread?

Robert Dziekanski

I noted that it would have been Robert Dziekanski’s 54th birthday on 15 April. If the RCMP hadn’t murdered him for no reason.

Racist attacks on Asians in the US

Did anyone notice a couple of weeks ago that the attacks on Asians in New York City caught on video where perpetrated by Blacks? Am I allowed to say that? I thought only Whites were racist? I’m so confused.

“Do you identify as an Indigenous person?”

Speaking of race, I noticed when registering for a COVID-19 vaccine recently that I was asked this question. It’s emblematic of Canada’s relationship with the country and people they colonised, but it exposes the weaknesses in “politically correct” use of language. I am fully supportive of trans-gendered people, but I can decide today that I “identify” as female; if I do, it will be politically incorrect to question me and ask to check my shorts, but I can guarantee that if I answered “yes” to this question, I’d be questioned at the vaccine site and sent away.

Off-duty cops pulls gun on unarmed arsonist; arsonist wins

In the keystone cops department, we recently had a case here where an arsonist set two fires at Masonic Temples in North Vancouver, in broad daylight, then drove across the bridge and did the same at another in Vancouver. He was brazen about it! At the last a bystander videoed him walking away from the front door with a jerry can back to his car. An apparently off-duty police officer approaches his with his drawn pistol. You’d think that would be the end of it, according to the NRA in the United States, where armed members of the public are supposed to keep the world safe from criminals. But no, the arsonist shrugs off the cop, and goes home to boast about his escapades on social media. He was later arrested somewhere other than one of the scene of his crimes, where he was “threatened” by the cop.

If there was an opposite of a police medal (booby prize?), this cop should get it. But first the cops should be trained on what to do in that situation. Step 1 should not be to draw your weapon. That’s going nuclear from the get-go, and we all know that cops are absolutely incapable of backing down, or de-escalating, a situation. So if you’re going to open the confrontation by drawing your gun, the only option then is to shoot the guy if he doesn’t comply with your orders. As moronic as the arsonist is, arson in and of itself is not a capital crime. (We can argue whether or not stupidity should be.) But if a cop really thinks that a brazen arsonist is just going to get on his knees and kiss his boots as soon as he has a pistol pointed at him, the cop is almost as moronic.

BBC News website

BBC registration pop-up

BBC registration pop-up.

I get my news from a variety of websites, but one of the main ones is BBC News. However, they have taken to harassing me lately with pop-ups (see image) and banners, insisting that I register … which I see as an ominous sign. One banner or pop-up states that “you can get the news you want”, or words to that effect. I don’t know how an international organisation with the reach and expanse of the BBC can’t see how fucking stupid that is. The reason the whole world is becoming and has become more polarised is precisely because people are being siloed into news bubbles, never seeing anything that “disagrees” with their view of the world. This is, apparently, how they’re trying to sell me on the concept of registering with them.

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 - April 2021), BBC

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 – April 2021), BBC.

In other BBC news, they had the dates of Prince Philip’s life as “10 June 1921 – April 2021”. Yes, no actual day in the date of his death. The BBC is good in their coverages of world news, but their Web team is letting them down.

Prince Philip

Speaking of Prince Philip, I noticed a woman (not a CBC journalist) on the CBC (I believe it was) professing, quite proudly, her ignorance of Prince Philip. This is how low the CBC has gone; they now give air time to people who are mindfully ignorant of world affairs.

Civil war in the US?

I’ve had a piece in the works since April — but actually in my mind for years — about the coming civil war in the United States of America. But holy shit, I’m not sure I’ll get around to finishing it in time for it to be predictive!

There is no national RCMP policy on the use of the Alert Ready system

So Global News — and only Global News, for some reason — last night reported that RCMP spokesperson Corporal Caroline Duval stated, “There is currently no national RCMP policy on the use of the national Alert Ready system.”

This just flabbergasted me!

Is there a more egregious example of mixed-up priorities and putting the cart before the horse?! It seems that someone invented a system — the ability to send alerts to all cell phones (and radios and TVs) — without the supreme national police agency who might be empowered to use it even having a use for it! Think about it: Nobody (presumably at the RCMP) apparently said, “We need to have a system to alert the public in case of an emergency.” What someone else apparently said was, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to spam the entire population of a country all in one go?!” Someone else said yes, invented it, then sat around waiting for the authorities to come to them and tell that they needed to use it. (Yes, of course I’m simplifying all that, but that seems to be how to boil it down as far as the RCMP are concerned!)

The Global article linked to above is full of the excuses we’ve heard from the RCMP in the last ten days, some of which are covered in my earlier article. It also points out something of which I didn’t realise the full import, that being that while the Nova Scotia RCMP was allegedly “in the process of preparing an alert” for many hours, they had, in fact, issued multiple alerts (over a dozen) already via Twitter. Which one of those alerts was not suitable to send via the Alert Ready system, slightly modified if necessary?

Old excuses offered include that it was a “fluid” and “quickly-evolving” situation. I get that, and I said before that I don’t envy anyone having to deal with that situation. However, this is exactly why organisations such as the RCMP have a command and control structure and support personnel. A competent incident commander should have the ability to have an overview of the incident, and make decisions accordingly. Whoever was in command of this incident didn’t apparently have that ability. And apparently, neither did anyone else among the support personnel have the presence of mind to complement the officers on the ground dealing with death, blood, bodies and fire, by helping with administrative decisions removed from those immediate circumstances.

A new excuse offered in the article is that “[t]he [RCMP] system is ‘regional by design’ [Dan Henstra of the University of Waterloo] because of the different threats each province faces …. It’s also tough to impose policies that apply across the entire country, even for the RCMP, which has a clear chain of command.” I’ll admit I’m not an expert on the RCMP chain of command, and I have to admit that it’s refreshing to see an authoritarian paramilitary organisation not impose policies on Nova Scotian police officers (just for example) that only make sense in Yukon, but really? Are you telling Canadians that there are no forward-thinking, bright minds at RCMP HQ that think/thought far enough ahead about a day on which an alert might have to be issued on a provincial/territorial/divisional or possibly even national level, and come up with at least a vague guideline on why and how such an alert might be decided on? If so, what exactly is the point of having a “national” police force?!

There is also finger pointing between Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office and the RCMP. Premier Stephen McNeil has stated “that emergency management staff were brought in (‘on their own accord‘) [on Saturday night] specifically for the purpose of issuing an alert about the shooting, but that no request was ever made by the RCMP.” (Quote is of the article.) This seems credible, and McNeil clearly knows which way the wind is blowing on this issue. Think about it; the EMO knew that an alert should be sent out, and was ready and waiting to send that alert (not sure how many staff are required to tap a “send” button, but not just any yahoo should be able to do so), and yet the RCMP dithered. The RCMP claim that “in general, standard operating procedures for when to use the emergency alert system would be set up through the provincial and territorial emergency management officials [but] Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office [did not provide specific details (to Global News) on the question of] if it has protocols in place for when the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies should issue an emergency alert.” So it does seem that in general there is some blame to be shared here between the RCMP and Nova Scotia’s EMO, but who was actually in charge of the situation on 18 and 19 April? It was the RCMP, not the EMO.

Again addressing the disastrous decision to use Twitter, “The RCMP … said it used Twitter and not the emergency alert system because it is their ‘normal method’ of communicating with the public and because it is a better way for sharing information about a quickly-evolving situation. [What, exactly, is “normal” about the country’s biggest mass murder, and how, exactly, is it better than an emergency alert system designed for exactly this type of emergency?!] ‘We have relied on [Twitter] because of the instantaneous manner that we can communicate. We have thousands of followers in Nova Scotia and felt that it was a superior way to communicate this ongoing threat,’ said RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather a day after the shootings.” (Emphasis mine.) I addressed their “thousands” of followers previously — the equivalent of whispering/tweeting “Psst, fire” to about 5000 random people inconsistently scattered around Rogers Centre in Toronto, and then expecting the stadium to empty immediately in an orderly manner. (With respect to the reference to “thousands of followers”, I’m reminded of Dr. Evil laughably holding the world hostage for “one million dollars” in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.) Give me a fucking break! To quote a CBC article, “… in communities plagued by spotty internet [sic] service and heavily populated with seniors who might not use Twitter, some people are asking why the province did not use its emergency alert system to issue text messages to cellphones [and radios and TVs] advising people of what was happening and to stay inside.”

Also overlooked by the RCMP, notwithstanding vagaries in cell phone technology there is nothing more “instantaneous” than an emergency alert that won’t shut up until you attend to it. Even if you are following their Twitter account, you could go a whole day without noticing their tweet, even if your do have Twitter installed on your phone!

I mean, it was even a Sunday in the middle of a pandemic! Staying at home and locking the doors wouldn’t even have been a massive inconvenience for much of the population!

What happened here was a massive failure to “serve and protect” the public. (I realise that’s an American pop culture police motto, but there’s a reason it’s used in pop culture.) I have no doubt that, as a result of Canadians and Nova Scotians being outraged at this failure, questions will be asked and answered. I also agree that the RCMP needs to focus on a thorough investigation of the incident itself, for now, but this question does need to be asked now so that it can be answered later. But will it be answered? And will someone take responsibility and fall on their sword? Or will it be dismissed and swept under the rug? And even if guidelines come out of this, they will be too little too late.

I will conclude this editorial with some additional quotes from various Global and CBC articles that stand out on their own. But first, here’s the emergency message I would have sent out late on 18 April or very early on 19 April:

Stay inside until further notice. Gunman fleeing police is armed and dangerous. Shelter in place and lock your doors. This message will be updated in X minutes/hours.


There is ‘no national RCMP policy’ for when emergency alerts should be issued, 28 April 2020

… the RCMP sent out more than a dozen tweets, advising the public to stay inside and providing information about Wortman’s appearance and whereabouts.

There was an active shooter. Why didn’t Nova Scotia send an emergency alert?, 21 April 2020

[Tony] Gibbs is also concerned by how he and his wife found out about the shooter: a call from their neighbour, rather than a provincewide alert.

Leather was asked twice to explain why the province’s alert system, which experts say uses radio, television and cellular networks to warn residents of serious threats to health and safety, including “active law enforcement responses,” wasn’t used.

The RCMP should use all tools at its disposal, Dan Henstra, an expert in emergency preparedness at the University of Waterloo, said. This includes the Alert Ready system, which, Henstra said, has proven highly effective in communicating threats to the public. … “It is a little surprising that the RCMP didn’t use the (alert) system, one purpose of which is to notify residents about ‘civil emergencies,” he said.

N.S. premier not ready to question if a public alert should have been issued about gunman, 20 April 2020

Heather Matthews, a resident of Wentworth, N.S., about 140 kilometres north of Halifax, believes such an alert would have saved her friend and neighbour, Lillian Campbell Hyslop, and possibly others. Hyslop was shot and killed while out for a walk Sunday morning.

“If we were all given that security alert for Northern Nova Scotians to lock your doors, she would have been home,” Matthews said in a telephone interview. “She would have been safe in her house. She wouldn’t have gone out for a walk.”

Matthews, who was also out walking with her husband, David, at about the same time, believes they heard a gun shot while they were out. Normally, they walk along the main road but decided to take a different path yesterday. It was only after the couple returned home that they learned what was happening because friends were calling to tell them to stay in and lock their doors.

Questions emerge about RCMP’s failure to send emergency alert on gunman’s rampage, 21 April 2020

[Lillian Campbell] Hyslop was killed Sunday morning in the Wentworth area, roughly eight hours after the shooter had killed people in Portapique, a community 40 kilometres to the south.

Matthews said she wishes her friend Hyslop, a frequent walker along the roads in Wentworth Valley, had known about the shooter before she went for her usual stroll that morning.

“I understand that RCMP put it out on Twitter. But not everybody is on Twitter, not everybody has Facebook, not everybody has the internet [sic], but we all have TVs, radio and a phone. There should have been some other way of notifying these people that they should have been inside safe,” Matthews told CBC News.

Central and northern Nova Scotia is a largely rural area where internet [sic] service is spotty and Twitter use is not widespread.

Cumberland-Colchester MP Lenore Zann, who represents the area, said Monday many of her constituents “prefer Facebook” to Twitter.

Debi Atkinson is another friend of Hyslop’s from Wentworth. She told CBC Radio’s As It Happens Tuesday that most residents of their village feel like they were left in the dark by police.

“Everybody’s feelings about the whole thing was, why wasn’t there an amber alert? We went into this blind,” she said. “Out of all our friends, I don’t know anybody that follows Twitter, that has a Twitter account.

McNeil said the province’s Emergency Management Office had been activated and technicians were brought in Saturday to send such an alert — but the request never came from the Mounties.

Inexplicable lack of alert of a killer on the loose in Nova Scotia

Fake RCMP cruiser used by mass shooter in Nova Scotia.

Fake RCMP cruiser used by mass shooter in Nova Scotia

It was a week ago that Canada’s worst mass shooting started in Portapique, Nova Scotia. One man spent over thirteen hours murdering people (many of them apparently unknown to him and just out and about their business) and burning down houses around the province. And yet, at no point did the Royal Canadian Mounted Police issue an alert to the residents of Nova Scotia.

It is unfathomable to me, and many others, that they did not do so. Speaking on behalf of the Nova Scotia RCMP, Chief Superintendent Chris Leather (the Criminal Operations Officer for the Nova Scotia RCMP) offered the excuse that “We were in the process of preparing an alert” when the police shot and killed the suspect, Gabriel Wortman. Thirteen hours after the rampage started, they were still “in the process of preparing an alert” that should have taken minutes to prepare! This despite the fact that the provincial agency responsible for sending those alerts had reached out to the RCMP and basically begged (my word) to send an alert. This too is unfathomable and inexcusable to me.

Late on the Saturday night the police started receiving emergency calls and came across multiple crime scenes with thirteen dead bodies, a shot and injured victim (who had information on his assailant, the shooter), and burning homes … and no suspect. I don’t envy anyone in that situation, civilian or police officer, but my god, you already know you have a crime of unimaginable magnitude in peacetime on your hands, and no fucking suspect in sight, in custody or anywhere to be found! The alert should have been sent out there and then, never mind hours later when they received credible evidence that the perp was driving a fake police car and dressed in a police uniform!

And really, there are just no polite words in my vocabulary to address the moronic use of Twitter as the only mode of communication with the public. I know this is the 21st century, but Twitter is at best a niche mode of communication — a large niche I will admit, but niche nevertheless. I and many others have no need for it, never mind needing it enough to have it on my phone; in fact, I don’t personally know anyone who uses it, especially for sending or posting messages. Despite working in the tech industry I only have a largely abandoned Twitter account for my business (which I only ever used to transmit, not receive), and as of this writing only about 11 percent of the Nova Scotian population follow the Nova Scotia RCMP’s Twitter account (the introduction to which features a dead link). At the time of this crime I think it was less than 9 percent. Even so, that 9 or 11 percent likely includes many who don’t live in Nova Scotia (especially now), and an even smaller percentage of the largely retired population in and around Portapique would be followers.

I fully agree with anyone who says that the emergency alert system should not be overused — except those morons in recent months who have complained about Amber Alerts. Nobody in their right mind thinks that the average cop on the beat should be able to access that system directly. But higher echelons — if not the highest echelon — of the Nova Scotia RCMP should have been roused out of their beds well before midnight, and made the decision to alert the public to an armed and dangerous mass murderer being on the loose in the province. There should be no need to “prepare” anything; there should be a template ready to go. Someone in the office — not at the scene — at the RCMP should have already, within minutes, had the text of the message prepared for immediate approval. I know very well that mass messages are sometimes easily misunderstood by the recipients if they’re unexpected, but that’s a small price to be paid to save lives and all the more reason to have a previously composed and vetted template ready to go.

What this boils down to is that if the alert had been issued within an hour of the above realisation — that numerous shooting deaths had occurred and that no suspect had been apprehended — quite possibly nine lives could have been saved, including that of Constable Heidi Stevenson. As it turns out, she is the only hero among the RCMP in this incident, apparently putting her life on the line in what I can only surmise was an intentional head-on collision with Wortman’s fake RCMP cruiser, and then losing it in an apparent gun battle with him.

Perhaps a public enquiry is needed as some have been calling for, and it can address the negligence involved in not sending an alert, but a public enquiry is not needed on that point alone. It simply requires someone in the RCMP with big enough balls, male or female, to step forward and admit that the RCMP fucked up big time, and apologise … and then resign, or be demoted and/or fired.

But is there enough decency in the RCMP to do that, in memory of the victims of the killer, and in deference to their surviving families?

Killer Cops: Surrey RCMP

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015.

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015

As I write this — 01:30 on Friday 24 July — a Surrey RCMP vehicle is sitting outside my house with its red-and-blue lights flashing. The street is quiet now, but earlier it looked like they were having someone’s vehicle taken away on a flat-bed tow truck, “they” being the occupants of at least three police cars.

Fresh in my mind is the shooting and killing of Hudson Daryl Willis Brooks — virtually a neighbour to me, I would assume, the same age as (and a student of the same university attended by) a friend of mine — on 18 July 2015, only six days ago and only six blocks from my home, right outside the RCMP office there. The media is, strangely, quite quiet on this story. I don’t know why this is.

I wasn’t there the night (about this time of the day) Hudson was shot and killed by members of the Surrey RCMP. But as someone who watches this play out in the news far too often and who sees the police on the streets of my community, I come to my own conclusions.

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015.

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015: “In God’s Name WHY??? RCMP.”

We’re all familiar with the “cop type”, be they male or female: the puffed out chest, accentuated by the bullet-proof vests they feel the need to wear to protect themselves from people who don’t like cops … hard to imagine why. Whether they’re swaggering into a doughnut shop or into the middle of a “situation”, their swagger is accentuated by their utility belt bristling and jingling with equipment, and the speed with which they implement their unofficial “comply or die” policy. (Said equipment includes not just their side arm, taser, handcuffs, etc., but also all of the other stuff that gets marketed to cops by various businesses that thrive off of their desire to be kitted out with all the latest cool shit: two-way radios, flashlights that double as a weapon to beat someone down, and the ever-present cool sunglasses that mean they don’t have to make eye contact with whomever they’re beating or shooting or intimidating.) And let’s not ignore the trend in recent years to adopt American-style black-based colour schemes in uniforms and car paint jobs (with the notable exception of the RCMP, I should note); clearly nobody cared to conduct anything like a poll or a focus group among ordinary citizens, who find the adoption of such a colour to be vaguely intimidating. But, of course, the cops know this, and anything that makes them more intimidating is perfectly fine with them.

Now, I’m not suggesting the cops don’t need equipment at hand or that they shouldn’t wear bullet-proof vests, but the biggest thing that comes strutting down the street, generally speaking, is not the cop, his or her utility belt or vest, or the black race cars they think they’re driving, but their inflated fucking egos! This is what is demonstrated just about every single time you see a video of a cop behaving badly these days, whether beating an individual or trying to intimidate the crowd that gathers that, one of these days, is going to lynch a cop. This is what was on display the night that Robert Dziekanski was killed by the police at Vancouver International Airport, when “comply or die” was implemented within — what? — about 26 seconds of arrival by the four massive, 747 Jumbo-sized egos that swaggered into the airport terminal and unnecessarily vaulted over barriers they could have walked around. This was what was on display by the Vancouver Police Department when they shot and killed a mentally-challenged guy swinging what some witnesses described as a “stick”. And although it seems that there were no independent witnesses to the lonely death of Hudson Brooks that night, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he died within seconds of the cops swaggering onto the scene with their “comply or die” attitude.

No fucking doubt in my mind.

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015.

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015

And just like the character assassination the RCMP implemented in the media against Robert Dziekanski in 2007, it was quickly revealed that one of the cops was shot. Days later it was revealed that no weapons other than cop weapons were found at the scene, so Hudson wasn’t armed, it would seem. Hmm, another unarmed and probably innocent citizen — apparently calling out for help, just like Dziekanski was — gunned down by police, this time in the dead of the night (pun not intended) with nobody around to see. What lies will the cops tell about that night? No doubt they’ll say that Hudson went for a gun, or that he was resisting arrest and so had to suffer the consequences of the overarching “comply or die” directive. What kind of testosterone-laden morons (and I use that term to apply equally to all genders of the RCMP and other police forces) are we hiring these days?

Speaking of which, some of the employers of these cops — that would be the tax-paying public — expressed their disgust at their employees by spray-painting graffiti on and around the police station a couple of days later. Of course, the police are actively investigating that heinous crime, something far more serious than the killing of citizens who are more likely in need of help than a bullet.

Anyway, back to the cop who was parked in the road outside my house for anywhere between thirty and sixty minutes in a no-stopping zone this morning. Sure, it’s the middle of the night, there is another lane for traffic to go around, and traffic wasn’t exactly backing up behind him (or her). With the other cops having left the scene it looked to me like this cop was doing paperwork in his car, his bright lights flashing into the windows of all of the surrounding houses where people are trying to sleep. He certainly didn’t seem to be doing any sort of investigative work on the road itself — there was no accident — and he could easily have pulled into the side street (the corner of which he was also dangerously partially blocking) or the shopping centre across the street and turned off his flashing lights. But he didn’t.

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015.

Hudson Brooks memorial, Surrey, BC, 7 August 2015

There wasn’t any actual swaggering going on, but quite clearly this cop thinks he is more goddamned important than anyone else, and it doesn’t matter to him that he is projecting his massive ego into the houses around him and blocking half the street with it. It’s this kind of attitude that he (or she) and his ilk drag into any interaction with the general public, and which results in tasers or guns being quickly drawn and used. If that was me sitting in my car blocking half the street, perhaps I’d have been on the wrong end of a Surrey RCMP member’s loaded gun tonight.

“Comply or Die”

Yet again we have Canadian police killing civilians, acting as judge, jury and — most importantly — executioner. While we wait for a thorough and impartial investigation — in our dreams — of the shooting of Sammy Yatim in Toronto, as with the killing of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport in 2007 it’s certainly telling to note that the cops had apparently killed him within 39 seconds of arriving on the scene, even as he stood alone inside a tram car! Do the cops not learn anything from their past behaviour?!

Unlike the Dziekanski case though, this cop clearly shot to kill. You don’t fire nine shots into someone expecting that they’ll be providing fingerprints and a mug shot down at the cop shop later. Oh, and just for good measure (kind of a “fuck you, punk”), one of the 23 cops on the scene (because apparently all the thugs in town wanted a piece of the action) then tasered Yatim’s lifeless body, before ironic first aid was performed on him. (Actually, one can’t help but wonder if the taser was deployed only so that the cops could say that they tried to subdue Yatim with it. A little fudging of the time line in the cops’ notes would have been required of course, but that’s OK, as long as the bad guy dies.)

Part of the report on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s The National on 28 July 2013 included an interview with a former Toronto cop who, while being critical of the speed with which Yatim was executed, used the term “Comply or die.” I’d never heard the term before, but it so poetically and succinctly seems to sum up what appears to be the motto of most police forces these days.

Rather than engage the population they’re supposed to protect in order to use “minimum force” and avoid violence — yes, even apparent bad guys with knives need to be engaged unless loss of life is imminent — cops these days seem to be on a rampage, killing, tasering or pepper-spraying anybody that even dares to look at them sideways. It doesn’t even matter that you’ve managed to live for a half century or more without so much as stealing a penny candy as a kid or getting a parking ticket, you too can find yourself on the wrong end of a weapon held by a mentally unstable cop who is miffed at you for not immediately getting down and kissing his jackboots the moment he (or she in the case of “Constable 728”, aka Stefanie Trudeau) barks a command in your direction, even when you hadn’t heretofore even had a reason to note the cop’s presence.

And that last point is important to note. All sorts of people come to the defence of the cops in cases like this for all sorts of reasons, many of whom probably fit into my penny candy / parking ticket description. Based on their life experiences, it’s obvious to them that anyone who incurs the wrath — or even just the attention — of the police is obviously guilty of something. It doesn’t really matter what that “something” is; for these people you’re guilty until proven innocent, and “you must have done something to deserve being shot, tasered or pepper-sprayed.” Or, in the case of completely blameless Buddy Tavares and his assailant RCMP Constable Geoff Mantler, you must have done something to deserve having said jackboot forcibly applied to your lips to assist you in planting the kiss.

That old adage about walking a mile in someone’s shoes comes to mind.

Related to this story but with reference to my previous post about the Canadian media, I found it odd how CBC television news showed pictures of Yatim looking like something of a gangster but had a former Toronto cop on who questioned the speed of the use of force, while Global television news showed pictures of a clean-cut young kid, but had on their own “expert” who said that cops had no choice but to shoot to kill.

RCMP hypocrisy: The video lies, the video tells the truth

The gall! The unmitigated gall!

As anyone who paid the slightest bit of attention to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police killing of Robert Dziekanski knows, the RCMP did their level best to (first of all) hide the video evidence, and then completely discredit it. Despite the fact that any private citizen (i.e., non-cop) caught on video breaking the law would get a one-way “do not stop, do not collect $200, do not pass go” ticket to jail, no expense or red herring was spared by the RCMP in trying to sell to the public the snake oil that the video didn’t tell the real story, and that Mr. Dziekanski really was a great and credible threat to four burly cops as he brandished his weapon of mass destruction: the infamous stapler. The video, they claimed, was less than useless. (This in addition to all of the lies about Dziekanski and the incident itself [not to mention the post-mortem collusion] that they spewed to the media and the Braidwood Inquiry.)

Yet this week, after the editor of the Osoyoos Times related an incident during which he felt he was humiliated (Google cache, local cache) in a guilty-until-proven-innocent road side stop by RCMP Corporal Ryan McLeod, the Officer in Charge BC RCMP Communications (Superintendent Ray Bernoties), gleefully offered video evidence (local cache, now that the RCMP have apparently deleted this press release) which he essentially claims makes a slam dunk case that refutes the claims of editor Keith Lacey. He even smugly adds, “This is the type of transparency British Columbians expect from the RCMP.”

The hypocrisy! The sheer, bald-faced, fucking hypocrisy of the murdering RCMP!

You might almost think the guy was trying to make a sarcastic joke, or the press release was written by Monty Python, if it wasn’t so serious. Yes, Supt. Bernoties, we do expect transparency from the RCMP; one day I hope we’ll see some.

The hypocrisy continues: “This police officer, who you so freely defame using your position …”. Excuse me while I splutter my morning coffee all over my computer screen! The record shows that the RCMP themselves used their position and access to the media to “freely defame” Robert Dziekanski before the video evidence and the testimony of bystanders came to light, and is a textbook example of why we can’t take as gospel what police officers say in support of a charge. (Being a grammar nazi I can’t help but point out that this cop — the top cop for “communications” in BC — doesn’t even seem to know when to use the word “whom” instead of “who”, and later also uses the word “slander” when he should refer to “libel” — a double blow for someone who is supposed to be proficient in both communications and the law. Actually, the whole “letter” reads as if it was written by an eight-year-old getting a D in English class.)

The hypocrisy concludes thusly: “If there was one positive to your negative article, it was a reminder to me of the many baseless and malicious allegations our members must constantly face while carrying out their duties. Fortunately, in this case, the video removes any doubt that the police officer’s actions were professional and respectful.”

Wow. Poor baby. “[B]aseless and malicious allegations” my foot. Before the outrage set in, I was just left dumbfounded.

Keith, you are wrong about one thing in your editorial. You state, “This is a free country, not a police state.” Sorry, but clearly you haven’t noticed that this is no longer true, especially the moment you drive a car onto a public road.

 


 

Updated, 14 August 2015: Linked to local cache of RCMP press release, seeing as it has either been deleted from their website or moved.