Saturday, April 13, 2024

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)

Positive signs of change at the IIO

This past month the new Chief Civilian Director of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) Ronald J. MacDonald released a report into an incident in which a man died of a self-inflicted pellet rifle shot during an encounter with Burnaby RCMP. The incident occurred on December 20, 2017. The report was released on  February 20, 2018 just two months after the event. In the IIO’s five year history this has never occurred. They have been averaging 18 months from date of incident to investigation completion and report issued. This has certainly been a bone of contention with me and others critical of the organization. Just a month ago at the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Tony Du, the IIO came under criticism for taking so long to complete that investigation. They said they were essentially done after 11 months but had to wait an additional 7 months for ballistics. Huh? Why they would need ballistics testing in a VPD officer involved shooting in which only one officer fired his service weapon? He said it was him and gave a statement. This is not a stone-cold whodunnit. The IIO had the weapon, the brass and the remaining bullets in the magazine. What’s to test to examine the facts of the shooting? Du was a distraught man swinging a 2X4 at police at 41st & Knight St. in traffic. VPD trying to deal with him fired multiple bean bags rounds at him but that didn’t stop him. As he advanced towards the police swinging the...

Three strikes on the IIO

Two weeks ago, on June 18, Coquitlam RCMP received reports of shots fired by a distraught man at an address on Audrey Drive in what is normally a quiet residential neighbourhood. Police attended which ultimately resulted in an exchange of gunfire. The distraught man retreated to cover behind a vehicle and a stand-off ensued. The Integrated Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team were called and ultimately secured the male using flash bangs and stun grenades. The man was discovered dead. The RCMP initially issued a press release saying they thought he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Specifically, they said this: “The male was later located deceased by ERT members behind a vehicle with what is believed at this time to be a self-inflicted injury.” Note the use of the words “believed” and “at this time.” That is a preliminary statement and hardly definitive. Nor could they be definitive without conducting an investigation which, in BC, is the responsibility of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO). Yet, following an autopsy, Marten Youssef, spokesman for the IIO, was quick to put out a follow up media release saying the RCMP’s initial information was incorrect and the death was not self-inflicted. There was a tone that implied the RCMP tried to mislead but clearly that was not the case. The Mounties release was based on preliminary information and said as much. Youssef went on to say, “The IIO has interviewed approximately 30 witnesses and six police officers.” Now, that statement was patently misleading. How so? Well, the reality is that...

VPD Chief fires broadside at the IIO

Vancouver Police Chief Constable Adam Palmer fired a broadside at the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) in an 8 page letter in which he questioned their competence and motivations in the way they conduct their investigations. Palmer addressed the investigation into the officer-involved shooting at the Canadian Tire store on Grandview Highway that occurred just before Christmas. I have previously discussed that incident in this article: IIO missing the obvious, again There’s more on it here: Competence at heart of VPD / IIO court petition In the letter Palmer outlines 36 separate concerns the VPD has with the IIO resulting from that incident. Many of which question their competence. And rightly so. The chief concludes this explosive missive with these words: “Changes need to be made to the IIO’s current practices to improve the relationship between the IIO and the police. The VPD has two principal concerns. The first concern is what appears to be the IIO’s lack of investigative competence. The second concern is the rigid position the IIO has adopted regarding pre-interview disclosure which has led to unnecessary friction and distrust between the police and the IIO. These concerns need to be addressed given the importance of independent police oversight to maintain public trust and accountability.” What is not said in this is the or else. What might the chief do if the IIO does not react appropriately? The obvious answer is to exercise the 30 day ‘shotgun’ clause afforded to all the chiefs in the original Memorandum of Understanding with the IIO....

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...

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...

Competence at heart of VPD / IIO court petition

News broke yesterday that the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has filed a petition with the courts to try and force members of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) to cooperate with their investigators citing “obstruction” in the aftermath of a shooting which occurred in November at the Canadian Tire store on Grandview Highway in Vancouver. This is disingenuous in and of itself. The VPU has never said their members will not cooperate. I have previously written about what happened that day. If you’re interested, you can read that piece here. VPD Chief Constable, Adam Palmer, when he received a demand from the IIO that he order involved officers to cooperate and provide statements replied, on March 13, that he would be seeking legal advice. While he was in the process of doing that, the IIO filed the court petition, apparently not content with the Chief’s words and trying to force his hand. And with that, the battle lines are now drawn. Frankly, this was inevitable. The IIO has been plagued with incompetence since its launch in September of 2012. I have outlined that incompetence in file after file in the intervening time. It has now gotten to the point that the Vancouver Police Union (VPU) has lost all faith in the IIO to conduct a competent investigation that they have picked this particular hill upon which to make a stand. They want their members to have pre-interview disclosure to ensure whatever statement is made by any member will allow that individual to review CAD...

The culture is the problem in the RCMP

Shirley Heafey is a former Chair of the Commission of Public Complaints of the RCMP that oversees public complaints into the RCMP. She recently wrote an open letter to the next Commissioner of the RCMP which was published in MacLean's magazine. Here's that article: Fixing the RCMP: An open letter to the next Commissioner Heafey sent me the piece to read and I replied to her in an email with my thoughts. I thought many of you would appreciate the discussion so I have posted it here in its entirety. Leo Knight @primetimecrime ****************** Interesting. As you may or may not know, I am a former member of the RCMP. I left the Force to transfer to Vancouver PD where I served for the next decade. You get close to the problem in your letter, but you don't quite hit the nail on the head, but merely deliver a glancing blow. Leadership is exactly the problem and the problem is historic. I have often referred to the RCMP as 144 years of tradition unhampered by progress. I say that mostly tongue-in-cheek, but only mostly. You see, the Force serves three masters. The public which it serves daily, the political party in power to whom it must answer and the traditions of the Force itself, the primary of which is never tarnish the buffalo, meaning the buffalo in the centre of its logo and badge. This last piece is drummed into members starting in Depot and reinforced in word and deed throughout their careers. It is this aspect of...

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