Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime exclusive Feb 10, 2017)


Nothing is Ever Enough

By Bob Cooper


As many ‘progressive’ police chiefs have learned to their dismay over the years, dealing with Social Justice Warriors is a losing proposition because nothing is ever enough and you will never, ever, satisfy them.  I’ve seen chiefs and community relations bosses twist themselves into pretzels trying to ‘build bridges’ and ‘establish relationships’ with these groups only to have them turn on them like rabid dogs when they fail to completely cave in to each and every one their demands.

Thus the reaction of the Pivot Legal Society to the news today that the 2 Vancouver Police Constables involved in the shooting of Tony Du at 41st & Knight Road on November 22, 2014 (No charges after police shoot mentally ill man wielding 2X4)  will not face criminal charges was no surprise.  Pivot, a group of SJW lawyers, was founded in 2000 to advocate for the ‘marginalized and disenfranchised’ and one of their biggest trophies was the establishment of the Independent Investigations Office.  For my out of Province readers, the IIO is a provincial agency charged with investigating any police-involved incident which results in death or serious injury.  One of the caveats demanded was that the IIO be barred from hiring anyone who had served as a police officer in British Columbia in the previous 5 years.  As the Chinese say, ‘Be careful what you wish for’ because the resulting lack of investigative expertise and common sense (along with putting Richard Rosenthal in charge) pretty much doomed the IIO from the start. 

I want to say at this point that happy as I am to see the 2 PCs cleared there are no winners here and you can’t help but feel for everyone involved.  Tony Du, his family and friends, and the cops.  It’s a horrible tragedy and there’s no rhyme or reason to it.  But when it involves the police someone has to be blamed so let’s have a look at what’s got Pivot’s Doug King so worked up this time.

King claims the shooting occurred within 18 to 25 seconds of the police arriving and that was far too quick for them to have employed ‘de-escalation’ techniques or established dialogue with Mr. Du but King, of course, wasn’t there.  To the average person, 18 to 25 seconds sounds like the blink of an eye. I’ve been in very similar situations and when you’re standing out there in the middle of this rapidly unfolding nightmare waiting to hear the sirens coming, it’s an eternity. 

Much is made of ‘de-escalation’ techniques and dialogue.  As a former Hostage Negotiator those were my stock in trade but they have their limitations.  They work best when you have control of the situation and the environment.  In the middle of a busy, noisy intersection, not so much.  Remember as well that Mr. Du wasn’t just upset, he was suffering from schizophrenia.  In other words, he has a completely different movie playing in his head.  In some situations, soft soothing tones may have some benefit but as far as dialogue goes you may as well talk to the cat.

As if he’d discovered The Smoking Gun, Mr. King points out that the Crown’s statement fails to include a photo or ‘description’ of the 2X4 wielded by Mr. Du or an explanation as to what degree it could be used as a weapon.  OK, show of hands.  Who on earth, other than Pivot lawyers, hasn’t seen a 2X4?  C’mon, there must be someone out there.  No? ok, well moving on to what degree it could be used as a weapon, stand over here Mr. King and tell us when you want it to stop.  If you’re able. 

King complains that the report contained no information about the height and weight of the officers in relation to Mr. Du.  The fact that a bean bag gun didn’t stop him is all the information you need.  People who are mentally ill are often impervious to pain, have the strength of 10 men, and size just doesn’t factor into it.   Using the bean bag gun put the constables at greater risk and makes it clear they did everything they could to avoid shooting him.


The greatest sin of all appears to be the IIO and Crown relying on a retired Vancouver Police Use of Force Expert because, according to King, “such experts tend to side with police” and it “undermines the independence of the investigation”.  Normally I wouldn’t even try to explain the IIO’s thought or decision-making process but here it seems pretty obvious.  You see, virtually every qualified Use of Force Expert is a police officer, active or retired.  I’m sure the IIO would have canvassed other occupational groups like Chartered Accountants, figure skaters, classical musicians, or fashion designers without coming up with one.  It’s just not a perfect world.


Finally, let’s not forget that the IIO and the procedure for investigating officer-involved shootings in BC is largely the creation of Pivot and their friends.  It’s their system.  They campaigned long and hard for it.   So you’d think they’d let it work and accept the result but in true SJW fashion when it doesn’t deliver the outcome they want they’re on the news with angst, outrage, and long faces looking like stunned Hillary supporters on election night.  I keep some of those pictures on my phone any time I need a bit of sunshine on a dreary winter day.


Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.

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