Reality at odds with picture being painted

Any job in emergency services is tough enough without being obstructed by another branch. But the more I dig into the bizarre St. Patrick's Day (night) incident in downtown Vancouver involving members of the Vancouver Fire Department in conflict with the police, the more troubled I become.Firemen are heroes aren't they? That's the image of them rescuing people from burning buildings and all that stuff. Well, it's true, sometimes they are heroes. And sometimes they die trying to do their job. But, for the most part their job is routine, mundane and relatively unskilled. It doesn't take big balls to polish the chrome on a fire truck.The police have an inside joke about firefighters, with the saying: “there are only two jobs in the world you can earn money in bed.” And from a cop's perspective out in the mean streets, slugging it out with the drunks, meth heads, crack heads and other denizens of the dark, that can be a little frustrating. But, when a cop just doing his job, winds up slugging it out with an allegedly drunk off-duty firefighter and finds himself put at risk by the other attending emergency service workers, well, that's entirely unacceptable.Yet, that is apparently what happened on St. Paddy's Day in Vancouver. But, never mind the actions of the allegedly drunken off-duty fireman and his yapping whelp, it is the actions of the on-duty firemen at the scene I have a bigger problem with.The alleged drunks were in a car that...

A crass act

One wonders if a more disingenuous press conference has been held in recent memory than the one held by lawyer Don Morrison and his “victim” clients, Vancouver firefighter Curtis Mason and his smarmy son, Grant.Yup, butter wouldn’t melt in that kid’s mouth now would it?The Masons were in front of the cameras claiming they were just minding their own business when members of the Vancouver Police Department jumped them. The video clip posted to YouTube by a Seattle resident clearly shows a different picture. In the video, we see three police officers engaged in what is called ground fighting with two men. And the fight is truly on. One of the individuals was fighting back against two VPD members and the other was one on one. The one on one battle is clearly going badly for the officer as they roll over a couple of times and the bad guy seems to be gaining the upper hand when Sgt. Keiron McConnell shows up and smacks the bad guy twice with his baton and helps the struggling officer gain control and hand cuff the offender.Also in the picture are a few firemen just standing around looking on. They had been on the scene because the Masons were in a traffic collision with a building. Were they intoxicated? Late on Saint Paddy’s Day? Perish the thought according to the Masons.When the police showed up, Mason the Younger allegedly pushed one of the officers trying...

A F***ing travesty!

The aquittal in BC Supreme Court yesterday of Hells Angel Glen Jonathan Hehn is outrageous. Justice Peter Leask further outraged the public by using profanity during the closing arguments of prosecutor Ernie Froess. And not just profanity. He chose to defy logic when doing so.Froess submitted that the locker where a large amount of cocaine was located had been rented by the accused, Leask said: "But to be really clear, he'd have had to have been out of his f. . .in' mind to store it in his own locker, all right? I mean, that's for sure he wouldn't do that. Let's not spend any time on that theory."Theory? One has to ask if Leask is out of his mind. Or perhaps someone got to him in a different way? Perhaps a suggestion was made to Mr. Justice Leask that caused him to defy logic in what should have been an air-tight case?I don't know and can only guess what caused Leask to acquit in this case. Whatever it was though, it resulted in a f***ing travesty of justice.Leo [email protected]

Stop the Presses!

While I'm sympathetic to the media following the Pickton trial, I have to say the lead story today was probably as lame as any I have seen in the last 25 years. To write a line story saying that there were more suspects in the Missing Women case than Willy Pickton and his brother Dave is well, to master the incredibly obvious.This is news?While I would never argue that what passes for journalism these days is remotely similar to the lessons I learned as a copy boy in the news room of the Montreal Star in the early '70s, one would at least hope that a story saying the police investigated all possible leads in a massive serial killer file is, well, not news.That's what they do. Dave Pickton had access to the farm where all the DNA and body parts were found. Was he a suspect? Duh! Does he remain a suspect? Duh!Dave Pickton is an aquaintaince of some nefarious people. Is that an aspect of the investigation? Duh!C'mon folks. A lot of bad shit happened on that property. We know this because the DNA of over 20 women who were reported missing was found there. Is it not likely that the investsigation that has consumed millions of taxpayer dollars in police resources may have focussed on more than one person a reality or likelihood?There's a lot of aspects of this case as yet unreported. One would hope the editors of the mainstream media would understand...

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...

The King is Dead. . . Long Live the King

The Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service, Jack Beaton, has served notice that he will not seek an extension of his contract and will retire as of December this year when his current deal expires.Big deal.Jack Beaton has been an ineffectual Chief and his departure announcement underlines that. We now have to bear witness to eight or so months of a lame-duck leadership after seven years of a lame-brained regime.After several months of Beaton musing out loud, indicating to all who'd listen, that he was open to a contract extension and being deafened by the silence, he has now announced his retirement. But not without talking about his availability for other potential Chief's jobs. Sorry Jack, no takers.Since being appointed Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service, Jack Beaton has been a resolute failure in my opinion. He claims successes such as G-8 but frankly that's nonsense. G-8 in Kannaskis was the end result of a lot of pre-planning by the RCMP, CSIS, the Armed Forces, private security and the Calgary Police Service. Yes, CPS had a role, but frankly the role was limited as the main action was an hour west of the city.Having said that, I did think their tactical, rapid response of CPS members on the 8th Ave. mall at the McDonald's restaurant was poetry in motion. Some of the more radical elements of the looney left tried to do a "takeover" by moving quickly from the main protest group and we're thwarted by the...

Irony apparently lost on lawyer

Regular Hells Angel lawyer Greg DelBigio is really stretching the bounds of credulity with his latest argument in defense of Ronaldo Lising. Lising's latest arrest came in the Mountie's Project EPandora. DelBigio has been doing his level best to get the charges against his client tossed. And fair enough, that's his job. But, the irony of his latest tack seems lost on him.Lising, incidently, is currently serving time for his conspiracy conviction arising out of VPD's Project Nova back in the mid - 90's. He was sentenced back in 2001 for his role in that case and fought his conviction and sentencing at every step until he finally ran out of legal options and had to go to jail.It was while he was out on bail going thorough his legal gymnastics that he got caught up in EPandora. And now we hear DelBigio trying to get the charges tossed because he claims an agent used by the RCMP put the public in danger. The agent, Michael Plante, infiltrated the Hells Angels and in doing so had to commit crimes.In closing arguments, DelBigio said, "The police were under a duty to ensure that the community was not endangered through Michael Plante's actions and yet the community was in danger."Come on Greg. Are you serious? The agent has to commit crimes to get cosy with your client and his pals. What, pray tell, does that suggest about your clients?The phrase "in defense of the indefensible" comes to mind.Leo [email protected]

Gratuitious violence unnerving

For over 30 years that I've been around policing and crime news, I have become inured to violence and man's inhumanity to his fellow man. I don't like to think that I have become any less caring as a result, but certainly I don't get shocked, for the most part, by the violence inherent in our world today.Even the daily horrors being described in the trial of Robert "Willy" Pickton haven't managed to shock me. Now, to be fair, we have known for years what to expect out of the Pickton trial just by being able to read between the lines with what has been published since he was arrested five years ago. With all the discussions about the finding of victim DNA we pretty much knew the likelihood of the type of details we are now hearing, so I'm not sure I understand what the current fuss is about in the debate over the way the media is reporting on the trial.But, having said all of that, I've been following the trial in Edmonton of two men accused of killing 13 year old Nina Louise Courtepatte in the spring of 2005.Courtepatte's broken, battered and abused body was found on the fourth fairway of the Edmonton Springs golf course in Spruce Grove, Alberta. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma. The autopsy report also noted she was sexually assaulted. Just from that depiction, we knew that nothing good happened that night on the golf course.But, starting from...

Flight path to Haiti blocked by liberal thinking

For a clear example about how screwed up this country is, look no further than the top two stories on today's Prime Time Crime.The first story is from the Washington Post and tells of a new border security initiative from the Canadian government that will cost $368 million over five years. Well, that's great. Five years after September 11 and someone finally made a decision to improve the security on our porous border. Yet, right under that good news story, there is a piece from the Globe & Mail that defies all logic. Canada won't deport a hardened criminal, a gang-banger, pimp and all-around piece of dog crap because something bad "might" happen to him in Haiti. So, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announces that we are going to invest in protecting our borders but we can't toss out an immigrant who has not led a productive life for a minute since he's been in this country? What's wrong with that picture?As former Vancouver police officer Bob Cooper said, "What good does it do to spend millions of dollars on new fences and not fix the gaping holes in the existing ones?"What good indeed?The saga of Jean-Yves Brutus, a Haitian born immigrant in Montreal, epitomizes the problem with the wolly-headed thinking in this country. Brutus has been a member of a Haitian street gang in Montreal called Crack Down Posse. They engage in drug dealing, pimping, assaults and murder. Nice folks. He has been back and forth through the...

Server problems

Many of you may have noticed that the front page hasn't changed today. Well, that is because our soon to be ex-web hosting service has server problems and seems to feel that 24 hrs is a suitable time frame to have it fixed. I apologize for their poor service and will endeavour to be back online as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued support. Leo Knight [email protected]