Monday, April 22, 2024

Canadian cops held in Cuba need justice

Like many of you I was gripped by the testimony last week of Christine Blasey Ford who accused US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault way back when the two were teenagers and high school students, in what we think was the summer of 1982. 

Talk is cheap

The rhetoric is flying fast and furious from politicians of all stripes as the country tries to come to grips with the indiscrimate shooting that occurred on Boxing Day in Toronto. The Prime Minister was fast out of the gate with a bunch of empty words that said exactly nothing about bringing about the type of change necessary to combat the senseless violence. Not that I would expect much else from him, but a real leader would stand up and meet the problem head on. NDP leader Jack Layton got a little closer to the mark with his comments. "These crimes remind us that we must get illegal handguns off our streets in Toronto and across Canada. To do that we need tougher border controls, tougher sentencing for weapons offences and tougher anti-gang policing, prosecutions and sentencing."Sounds good until the very next thing out of his mouth. "We need more effective witness-protection programs and more compassionate victim assistance. We also need to get tougher -- much tougher -- on poverty, unemployment and social exclusion." Uh-huh. More socialist claptrap. I mean really, social exclusion? We are the most inclusive country in the world. Conservative leader Stephen Harper at least seemed to focus on the issue when he said, "I am committed to doing everything necessary to crack down on gun violence, including increasing support for front-line policing; stopping the revolving door on our nation's sentencing system by introducing mandatory prison sentences; enforcing Canada's tough gun control laws; stopping the flow...

China Syndrome

On March 14th, 2008, the Government of the People's Republic of China began a crackdown on Tibetan citizens protesting against occupying power that began with the invasion of their country by the People's Liberation Army in 1950 and continues to this day.The West, for the most part, immediately condemned the latest blatant human rights abuses by a government that seeks to dominate, if not the world, then all of Asia at the least. And, under the jackbooted heel of Communist tyranny. Well, the two front-runners for the Democratic Presidential nomination in the US, B. Hussein Obama and the former First Lady and current junior Senator from New York, who, amazingly enough, single-handedly ended 35 years of the troubles in Northern Ireland - well, that's what she said - were about 12 days late before recoiling in abject horror and metaphorically crying crocodile tears.So, after sending in the troops to crush the demonstrations and forcing the oppressed people of Tibet into hiding, they actually announced that hundreds of the protestors had "surrendered." (See China says hundreds have surrendered) Imagine that, surrendering to a regime that kills those people at will who don't or won't grasp the teachings of the Red Book. Yeah, I'll bet they were surendering in droves.The Government of the PRC is a disgusting regime that engages in systemic human rights violations on a daily basis, never mind the brutal abuses such as have occured in Tibet in the past fortnight or Tianammen Square in the late 80's....

Stench from apparent police cover-up won’t go away

The story that broke in the Calgary Herald this morning is remarkable for a Canadian police department in this day and age.The piece written by staffer Suzanne Wilton, details a memo written by then Inspector, now Deputy Chief Jim Hornby of the Calgary Police Service to then Deputy Chief Rick Hanson. The first paragraph of the memo is striking:“As per our conversation, I have a situation where I believe an officer’s notebook has been modified improperly that may bring the Service into disrepute. This surrounds an application for a search warrant and the grounds required to obtain it.”Especially troubling is the fact that the warrant was returned empty. In other words, the warrant to search for a grow-op was granted based on information that was, at least in part, fabricated and the police found nothing. Which isn’t terribly surprising given the family who lived in the rented house are Joe and Jane Six-pack who run a small business refinishing furniture not growing marijuana. They don’t even use marijuana.The raid occurred in September of 2000, nearly six years ago. Since then, the mom of the family, Nancy Killian Constant, has been desperately trying to find answers to determine why members of the Calgary Police Service forcibly entered her home at gunpoint and ordered her and her family to the floor.She has gone through the police complaints procedure, the Law Enforcement Review Board and has launched a lawsuit. And so far, she hasn’t even received...

IIO investigative delay “unacceptable”

Yesterday the IIO's Chief Civilian Director (CCD) Ron MacDonald released his conclusions into the circumstance of a police involved fatal shooting near Slocan, BC on October 13, 2014. Yes you read that right, 2014. The Commanding Officer of the RCMP in BC, Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr promptly released a statement decrying the long delay. “The protracted nature of this review is unacceptable,” she said. The incident involved a manhunt in the mountains of the back country near Slocan, the town itself in lockdown for nearly five days. Think of it as a mini-Boston in the hours after the marathon bombings. Where this started was the police attending a rural location to investigate a dispute/possible assault call. They were met with an armed man who exchanged shots with police and fled into the back country. She continued, “This was a dynamic and dramatic series of events that has forever changed the police officers involved, a community and a family which lost a loved one. The techniques used and the resulting time delays in determining the circumstances compounded the trauma and severely limited the ability of many to move forward. The police officers were consistent in their participation in the IIO BC investigation and remained professional throughout the lengthy process. However, the delays have contributed unnecessarily to a state of extended uncertainty and stress that could have been avoided.” In his final report on the case, MacDonald, the newly appointed CCD  said this: “This investigation has taken an unfortunate length of time. This resulted from operational pressures within...

The Lunatic fringe

While I would never credit the Anti Poverty Committee with any significant ability to engage in any level of critical thinking, they seem do have outdone themselves today for blatent stupidity. While reading my morning Province newspaper, I came across a newsbrief stating the anti poverty group had planned a march on the downtown office of Vancouver MLA Lorne Mayencourt. According to their website, they are intent on presenting Mayencourt with their "People's Budget." They are demanding that the BC Liberals spend the budget surplus on housing the homeless and raising welfare rates. They are, apparently, planning on "direct action" if Mayencourt doesn't speak to them. They also said the expect the police to respond in a "violent manner." Given their performance last week in the three hundred block of East Hastings, it would be more accurate to say they will do everything they can to force the police to engage them physically. Well, I guess they will get what they want then. Mayencourt will, unfortunately, be unable to meet with them when they show up on his doorstep. He is on holiday in Mexico. Idiots.Leo Knightleo@primetimecrime.com

The freedom to know

It's high time our courts got rid of the ludicrous publication bans that are preventing Canadians from know what is going on in our names.As proven in the Gomery Commission hearings, the media has changed and information has a way of getting out regardless of what the starched shirts want to see happen. The news is no longer disseminated on broadsheet pages. It's digital, it's fast and it's everywhere. Information is king and efforts to slow or stop the flow are doomed to fail.And so what? Our courts have traditionally tried to contain information within the four walls of the courtroom on the basis of ensuring the accused gets a fair trial and the public's mind is free of any information which might bias their way of thinking.But, can that argument really be made with any credibility any more? Look at the Michael Jackson case for the best argument that refutes the court's position. Jacko may be whacko, but despite all the publicity he wasn't found guilty.I can't imagine how there could have been any more publicity about that case both before and after the trial started. The web site The Smoking Gun even managed to get documents posted that the mainstream media had tried and failed to obtain. Anyone on the planet could have found out all the evidence including the details of the previous settlement with the other boy long before the first jurror was picked. Yet, the system worked as it was designed to do and...

More questions in case of cop charged with murder

The more the extraordinary 2nd degree murder charge laid against Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams in the 2012 death of 48-yr.-old Mehrdad Bayrami is looked into, the more it appears to be the railroading of a good, young police officer. Murder is an extraordinary charge to be laid against a police officer engaged in executing his or her duty. It is even more extraordinary when laid against an officer working as an ERT (Emergency Response Team) officer. There are so many aspects of this story that haven’t been told and I’m sorry to say so many apparent gaps in the investigation conducted by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) that one must question whether ulterior motives or politics played a part in laying a charge of murder in this case. MacWilliams was a member of the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team (MIERT) on November 8th, 2012 when, at the start of his shift, his phone went off alerting him to a call-out after shots were fired and a woman was taken hostage. MacWilliams was the first MIERT officer to arrive on scene at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster. Within the first half-hour, the ERT members arriving set up their containment process which limited the armed suspect to a small patch of pavement on the sidewalk just outside the casino parking lot. MacWilliams then noticed the hostage had created some separation between herself and the armed suspect. Throwing caution to the wind, MacWilliams and two other officers broke cover and ran towards danger. They deliberately put...

Climate of Doubt

In the wake of the costliest gabfest in the history of man that has just concluded in Copenhagen and  that achieved absolutely nothing but a $100 Billion shakedown of America and its allies, I found myself in plane from Toronto to Vancouver. Flying over the frozen prairie of the North American west,  I was staring down at a frigidity only known to those hearty enough to choose to reside there. I was also privileged enough to have borne witness to history last Sunday at the Edmonton Airport as I travelled to catch a flight and the temperature was a bone-rattling minus 46 with a wind chill that took it to minus 58. I thought I was developing Taurette’s Syndrome. When I went out I had an inadvertent reaction: F***, F***, F***! Now admittedly, I am not a scientist. I’m an old time cop, investigator and professional cynic.  In that role I know that there are always three sides to any story and people will always “guild the lily”  to achieve maximum personal benefit, whatever the circumstances in which they find themselves.  And, I have to also state that I neither stake a claim to being a Global Warming believer nor a ‘denier,’ to use a phrase coined by the  wild-eyed, foamy mouthed, true believers. Do I believe the climate is changing?  Yes, certainly.  Just as it always has.  Is it warming as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN creation designed to fleece the wealthy western democracies, uh ,...

Murder charge against cop a travesty of justice

Since I started looking at the circumstances surrounding the murder charge laid against Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams the biggest question that remains unanswered is why. Last week in a discussion with me on Global’s Unfiltered with Jill Krop, former Crown Counsel Sandy Garossino tried to explain the charge approval process as it is practiced in BC. In a nutshell, she explained that for a charge to be approved it must have a “substantial likelihood of conviction” and “be in the public interest.” If a police officer abuses their authority then certainly it would be in the public interest to charge them. But in this case, MacWilliams was on a tactical call out with the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response team to a shots fired, hostage taking call. After MacWilliams and two colleagues heroically affected the rescue of the hostage, a then employee of the casino who was arriving for work, a stand off ensued which lasted five hours. All the while Mehrdad Bayrami, 48, was waving a pistol he had already fired three times. In fact, he ejected the clip late in the incident, leaving one round in the spout and pointed at one of the ERT officers held up one finger and said, “I only need one.” So, with the means and the stated aim, the police tried to arrest and disarm the suspect using a tactical, non-lethal approach using a flash bang and an ARWEN gun. As the “non-lethal” officers broke cover, they were covered by MacWilliams, designated in a ‘lethal’...

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