Monday, June 24, 2024

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...

Good press for a good cop

It's nice to see VPD Sgt. Keiron McConnell making headlines (Club face-offs cut gun crime - Vancouver Province Nov. 26, 2006) for all the good work he does, instead of the tempest in a media tea cup created by some disgruntled, dickless wonder whingeing about McConnell holding some piece of human excrement's head up for a photo.McConnell is a good cop and a man's man. In some ways the last of a dying breed. When you see the politically correct in Edmonton creating a talking shop to examine police ethics (Police to tackle ethical practices - Edmonton Journal Nov. 26, 2006) at a time when gun violence has reached unprecedented levels and that city has become the murder capital of Canada, it clearly demonstrates what policing has become.These days young Mounties, for example, are taught in recruit training that they can "opt out" if they believe a call is too dangerous. Seriously.But opting out is not in the lexicon for cops like McConnell. Too bad there weren't more like him and fewer happy to sit around talking needlessly about ethics.Leo Knightleo@primetimecrime.com

And justice for all . . . to not see

No one will ever accuse me of being a defender of the Hells Angels. In point of fact, I am on record on many occasions saying that police must be given more tools and more resources to fight not only the bikers, but all aspects of organized crime. Which, I might add, notwithstanding the abdication of responsibility by Madame Justice Anne MacKenzie in the trial of full-patch member David Francis Giles, the Hells Angels are clearly a criminal organization as has been stated by courts in BC and Ontario in previous decisions. Having said all that, there is something decidedly wrong with what has occurred in the sentencing of three unnamed members of the biker gang for contempt of court. I don't know what has gone on in camera in this case in which Madame Justice MacKenzie agreed to a ban on publication of the names. And that is essentially the problem. The old adage is that Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done.How can we determine if justice was in fact done in this case if we cannot know the names and the details of the offense? Justice carried out behind a curtain is not justice in a democracy. It may pass for justice in a tin-pot dictatorship like Cuba, but it is not justice in my eyes. Madame Justice MacKenzie demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of the Hells Angels and how their business operates in her judgement in Giles...

The final chapter in a travesty of justice

The final chapter in an absolute travesty of justice played out yesterday at the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeals of RCMP officers Benjamin “Monty” Robinson and Kwesi Millington were dismissed without reasons and each must turn themselves in to begin serving their sentences in prison. Both members were convicted of perjury resulting from testimony given at the so-called Braidwood Commission of Inquiry. Which, in itself, was a deeply flawed process. The Commission, you’ll recall, was called by the provincial government following the death of Polish traveller Robert Dziekanski at YVR on October 14, 2007. The Commission issued it’s final report in June of 2010. It found, essentially, that the RCMP were not justified in using a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) or Taser as it is more colloquially known. It also found that the four members who attended the disturbance call at YVR “misrepresented” their actions in their testimony to the Commission. In the report Mr. Justice Braidwood said, “I found all four officers’ claims that they wrestled Mr. Dziekanski to the ground were deliberate misrepresentations made for the purpose of justifying their actions.” "I also disbelieved the four officers’ claims there was no discussion between or among them about the incident before being questioned by IHIT investigators, although I did not conclude that they colluded to fabricate a story.” And out of this resulted in a Special Prosecutor being appointed and the four officers charged with perjury. Two were acquitted and Robinson and Millington were convicted in what can only be described as...

Justice denied for innocent cop

The case of former RCMP Constable John Hudak is more than a little troubling. Hudak’s story, called Branded for Life was told on CTV’s  W5 . Hudak was a small-town cop, a Mountie involved in his community who was accused of sexual assault by a local nurse, Mildred Johnson, 58. By all accounts it would appear as though the investigation was botched early on and in reality, it should have clearly determined that the complainant was either wrong, or more accurately, deliberate in a false accusation of a man who had spurned her attentions.Hell hath no fury and all that, but this case literally screams out that the man in this case is clearly not the predator and the woman clearly is. Unfortunately, all too often the system is too politically correct to get its head around that concept. Any allegation of a sex assault should be treated seriously. But, as any investigator of sex crimes will tell you, the majority of complaints they get are unfounded or vindictive. That’s not a popular statement but it is very accurate.As much as the ultra-feminist movement would have us believe that men are evil predators, the reality is that women are by far and away, more dangerous in the way they use the public perception to gain either an advantage or vengeance. While this certainly doesn’t pretend that some men aren’t sexual predators, it also doesn’t automatically assume the woman making the complaint is telling the truth. In point of fact, as...

Justice System is a charade

For years I have been saying the justice system as it is administered in BC is fundamentally broken. Last week Attorney General Wally Oppal appeared to agree when he said we have to get tougher on habitual car thieves. And who could argue with him? It remains to be seen whether Oppal will back up his words with action that is desperately needed in that one area.But, Oppal would be well-advised to broaden his point of perspective and look at the system as a whole. Yes, car thieves are a huge problem in BC. With a thousand cars a week being stolen by a small group of habitual thieves it’s a no-brainer for Oppal to finally say something needs to be done.But this is British Columbia, a place that is a haven for those who engage in criminal activity.Yes, a haven for the criminal class. A strong statement perhaps, but a very accurate one much to the chagrin of those of us who pay the freight for the system and the price for its failings.The problem is acted out daily in our courts. Some thug is arrested for yet another slap in the face of society and appears in front of a Provincial Court Judge. The judge tsks-tsks for a while then metes out superficial bail conditions to an habitual offender already serving a term of probation, which he ignored, in the naive belief that some new conditions and some finger-wagging will have an effect.It’s a charade and every...

Unrevising History

A reader, a retired Calgary police officer, wrote to correct something I had said about outgoing Calgary Chief Jack Beaton. Somehow the word had gotten out in the flurry of news pieces about Beaton announcing his decision not to seek a contract extension, that he had been Calgary's longest serving Chief Constable. I got the information from a column written by the always entertaining Licia Corbella of the Calgary Sun. The information, wherever it came from initially, is inaccurate. Chief Brian Sawyer, who served from 1973 to 1984 and by all accounts was a good one, served much longer. He came from the Mounties in Victoria to take the top job. It was he who brought in such crime prevention initatives such as Crime Stoppers and Blockwatch. Sawyer retired from the police in 1984 and went on to become the provincial Ombudsman.But there are a few others who held the office longer than Beaton too. Chief Samual Patterson served for nine years from 1941 - 1950 and Chief Lawrence Partridge served from 1952 to 1964 and probably brought about the most change to the Service than any other before or since. And those are the modern day chiefs who served in the office longer than Beaton.Thomas English served from 1891 to 1909 as Chief Constable of the fledgling police service. But the longest serving Chief was David Ritchie who held the office from 1919 to 1941. Ritchie was a decorated war hero when he took the top...

On a “Good” Friday

I have decided on this Good Friday, to post a Blog for a little back and forth on some of the issues that plague our country, our justice system and our police officers.I will continue to write more formal columns, but I was thinking this format would allow some of you who vent away in emails, to be able to share some of your thoughts with other regular visitors to Prime Time Crime.So, here it is and let's see where it takes us.Regards,Leo Knight

West destroying themselves

Ten years after 9/11, much of the free world paused to remember and remind us to "Never forget." It truly is hard to forget that day for those of us old enough.  It was one of those history-making days that transcended everything running parallel, like the day JFK was shot or the landing on the moon for the first time.   But as I reflected on that day I was struck by a dichotomy; how far we have come in defeating the enemies of the West and how it may not matter if politicians don't get their head around our spending problem.   The people who hijacked those planes were bent on their mission to ultimately destroy America and the West.  In many ways they needn't have bothered.  We have been destroying ourselves from within for a long time. Unless and until western governments get control of their fiscal deficits, they will accomplish what Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed never could. We simply cannot afford to support so many politically correct causes and sacrosanct programs such as our healthcare system.   Equally, we cannot afford the ridiculous demands of groups like the BCTF and other public sector unions in their contract talks.  Where in the world do they think the money will come from?   The unions who drive the debate of the left in this country seem to think that there is no end of money available if we only tax the rich more.  Oh, and those damn corporations. And most especially banks and...

Under-support equals under achievement

Well, now that the summer’s over it must be time to get back at it. Summer’s end also marks the end of the Beijing Olympic Games. While I was on vacation I posted a quick hitter suggesting that Canada’s efforts in these Summer Games was less than stellar. I got accused of being everything from a fascist – although that one’s not particularly new – to being anti-Canadian. I thought that one was a bit rich. Are we supposed to live in this over-taxed, under-achieving nation of naval gazers, this land of two founding notions and say everything is fine lest we be accused of being anti-Canadian?What did we do at the Olympics? Sure there were some great individual achievements. I stayed up very late one evening enraptured by the race Simon Whitfield ran in the Triathalon. And the women’s diving was outstanding especially with the silver won by Emilie Heymans.And then there was Priscilla Lopes-Schliep winning Bronze in the women’s 100 metre hurdles – outstanding. The race for the gold medal captured by the men’s eight in rowing, the heavyweight event of the Olympic regatta, was gripping.But realistically, our federal government contributed a grand total of $8 million to our Olympic effort. It’s going to double for the next games. Big whoop. Australia, a country of similar size and GDP spends over ten times that. Oh, and they won 46 medals in this Olympics compared to our 18. In fact they won nearly as many Gold medals as...

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