Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Passenger plane stolen

SEA-TAC AIRPORT - At about 8pm Friday Sea-Tac Airport officials said an airline employee conducted the unauthorized takeoff with no passengers onboard.   Alaska Airlines officials said this involved a Horizon Air Q400.  Pierce County deputies tweeted that the plane had crashed into Ketron Island. Two military F-15s chased the plane but was they were not involved in the crash.  Police said the man in the plane was a 29-year-old Pierce County resident who acted alone.  (KIRO 7)

Assault on city

GHAZNI - Afghan forces were still battling the Taliban in parts of Ghazni on Saturday, a day after the insurgents launched a multi-pronged assault on the eastern city.  The Taliban claim to have seized parts of the city and to have killed local officials.  The city of about 140,000 people was in lockdown for the second day as residents stayed indoors and reported sporadic gunfire. The highway from Kabul to Afghanistan's southern provinces, which runs through Ghazni, is still closed.  (AP)

Google tracking your movements

SAN FRANCISCO - Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.  An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you've used privacy settings that say they will prevent it from doing so.  (AP)

The IIO is struggling to be relevant

I know the Independent Investigations Office is struggling to demonstrate any relevance in their existence. I also know that they have demonstrated a significant level of incompetence since their error-laden launch in September of 2012 with the demonstrable lack of leadership displayed by the crusading Richard Rosenthal who seems to believe that virtually everything police do may somehow bear some criminal responsibility. But, to demonstrate how absolutely redundant the IIO is, and, how utterly wrong-headed their construction and their raison d’être is, one only need to look at two cases in the past two weeks. In strikingly similar circumstances, one on Saltspring Island and the latter in Abbotsford, BC last night, police responded to calls of a fight. When they arrive on scene they find unresponsive males. In the first, on Saltspring, RCMP officers arrived to find an injured, unresponsive male being administered CPR by two civilians, one of whom had non-life threatening injuries himself. Hmmm. The RCMP officers took over the administering of CPR until paramedics arrived. The man later died in hospital. Last night in Abbotsford, police arrive to find an unresponsive male at the scene of a reported brawl. They begin life-saving CPR until paramedics and fire responders arrive who take over the ministrations. Again, the man is pronounced dead in hospital. The IIO will try and say they have asserted jurisdiction because technically, both were deaths in police custody. The obvious question is: in custody for what? Both men were engaged in an altercation of some sort. The police were called...

IIO, police at an impasse

Another story being played out in the Vancouver media last week was also outlining an impasse between the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) and the Vancouver Police Union (VPU). (Family caught in spat between Vancouver police and independent watchdog) That incident occurred on a hot August afternoon in southeast Vancouver in 2015 and ended just across the Burnaby border with the death of 33-yr-old Myles Thomas Gray. That story told of the frustration being felt by the Gray family because the IIO has yet to conclude their investigation into the death and the frustration with the VPD because their members are not cooperating with investigators. The story also quoted Doug King of the Pivot Legal Society who is calling for either changes in the BC Police Act to force the officers to cooperate or for them to be charged criminally in the death to force them to mount a defence. An interesting take for a lawyer for a civil rights organization who seems to think the police are not entitled to the same rights as any other member of the public. This gets complicated by the fact there are no independent witnesses to the events of that fateful day.  The IIO initially designated all the officers who were hands-on with Gray as “subject officers.” This placed all the officers in the position that anything they said could be used criminally against them. Then the IIO realized that because they cannot compel subject officers to provide statements, and there were no other witnesses, they changed the designation...

One dead in shooting at North Las Vegas high school

LAS VEGAS - The North Las Vegas Police Department reports that one person has been killed on school grounds at Canyon Springs High School, near Alexander Road and 5th Street. (KSNV)

When will RCMP brass ever learn?

Tomorrow, Friday, May 13th, is Catherine Galliford’s last day as a member of the RCMP.  She will officially be pensioned off the staffing rolls. It comes ten years after she left the office for the last time and being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Galliford is well known in BC from being the face of the RCMP for many years as a Media Liaison Officer (MLO) from her days in Coquitlam, to the Pickton serial killer investigation during the long days of searching his pig farm for DNA evidence in the 65 plus Missing Women’s case that dominated headlines nationally and internationally. She was also the spokesperson for the RCMP when the Air India terrorist attack case was being prepared for trial and during the prosecution. She was a poster child for RCMP recruiting. Attractive, fit and female. She’ll retire with a Corporal’s pension and whatever big number in cash the RCMP had to come up with to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit filed back in the Spring of 2012. She fired the first shot in the Fall of 2011 in the war against the misogynist culture in the RCMP when she used her profile to go public about it all. The RCMP denied everything of course. But they did settle last week for a big number because there is no possible chance the RCMP brass wanted to test her evidence in open court. Not in this lifetime or the next. Her allegations made against three senior RCMP officers, a Force doctor and...

RCMP brass failing their border responsibility

Since Donald J. Trump took office as the President of the United States something strange started happening at the border between our two countries. Muslim migrants began crossing the border at unmanned points and claiming refugee status in Canada. In some cases, they’d take a cab from somewhere in Minnesota or North Dakota to the border. But they don’t cross at the land border crossing on Interstate 29 near Pembina, North Dakota. Instead they trek through farmer’s fields across the 49th Parallel and call 9-1-1 to elicit a response from the RCMP. Now, you might think this is strange. Why would an illegal migrant call the authorities?  Why indeed. I was at a luncheon last week for members of the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP. Most are retired, some not, but the conversation is always interesting. A Mountie came up to me and asked if I was aware that members of the Canadian Border Services Agency, who work screening folks at land crossings of our international border, had no authority beyond the actual property of the land crossing and if someone walked just outside the actual crossing the CBSA member had no ability to stop that person. The only thing they could do was call the RCMP, who, I might add have few if any resources deployed to border security. I was shocked. How could that be? They are federal officers aren’t they? He sent me a piece written by a retired Mountie with 36 years service much of which was in border...

Death toll from quake, tsunami in Indonesia rises to 832

The toll from an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia soared on Sunday to 832 confirmed dead, with authorities fearing it will only climb as rescuers struggle to reach outlying communities cut off from communications and help. (Globe & Mail)

Shooting investigation should be cut & dried

On May 16th, 2016, the Independent Investigations Office released a media announcement saying they had cleared the Transit Police officer engaged in fatally shooting a knife-wielding man in the Safeway in Whalley, BC which occurred on Dec. 28, 2014. What could possibly have taken so long in what was, by all accounts, a cut and dried police use of force? Yes, there were a lot of witnesses, but this should make the job easier. Additionally, there was CCTV footage that allowed the IIO to track the armed suspect's movements throughout the store and, as well, the police movements from start to finish. Both officers gave clear statements to IIO investigators which was corroborated by civilian witnesses, forensic evidence and CCTV footage. What does it take for Richard Rosenthal to accept that the police acted appropriately? What could possibly take so long? This should have been done and dusted in weeks not 16 months. The problem is that Rosenthal, the Chief Civilian Director, believes his role is to gather evidence to prosecute police, not to find the truth. On the heels of this, on May 20th, the IIO announced they were conducting a review of their own investigation into the shooting of an armed suspect at the Starlight Casino in November, 2012. This investigation led to the charge of second degree murder against Delta Police Constable Jordan McWilliams, of which much has been written in this space. The charge was stayed last summer nearly 3 years after the incident. It should have never been laid...

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