Standing up for what is right

The media have adopted the Police Complaints Commissioner’s report (Blue Curtain: VPD has fostered ‘culture of resistance’ — critics) as their new cause clebre. Unfortunately, Vancouver Police Constable Jamie Graham has yet to come out and call it for what it is – a hysterical piece of nonsense. So, I will.

For whatever reason, the Vancouver media seem to think the so-called Pivot Legal Society has a shred of credibility. They don’t. The fifty or so wild allegations made by them have been roundly and soundly refuted by numerous police investigations including the investigation by the RCMP that the commissioner, Dirk Ryneveld, uses as the basis for his accusations.

In reality, the RCMP investigation report said it had a problem with nine of the complaints in that there were procedural issues and a possibility of a lack of co-operation on the behalf of some VPD members, not that any of the complaints were substianted. That was it. And that seems to be what has Ryneveld in high dudgeon. And I say “so what?”

Right from the get go, it was obvious the Pivot accusations of kidnapping and torture were so much hyperbole that no thinking person should have taken them seriously. But the media did and for whatever reason, apparently still do.

The Vancvouver Sun in its story linked above, takes great pains to regurgitate cases that have already been resolved and judged appropriate behaviour such as the so-called ‘Riot at the Hyatt’ and the Jeff Berg case. Were they so short on real material that they had to raise the illusion of scandal by lumping those cases in?

At the Hyatt, a crowd of activists attacked police lines and tried to break through into the Hyatt where then- Prime Minister Jean Chretien was speaking. The police resisted and held their lines. In the process a couple of the attackers got smacked as they were attacking the police. Not hard enough in my opinion.

In the Jeff Berg case, everyone glosses over the fact that he and his buddies had just committed a home invasion and Berg refused the orders of police constable David Bruce-Thomas who tried to arrest the gang at gunpoint. Berg attacked Bruce-Thomas and lost the fight. In the struggle, Berg took a blow to the neck that he later died from in hospital. Boo-hoo. But Bruce-Thomas did absolutely nothing wrong and was vindicated at every legal turn Berg’s sister could throw at him.

And yet, somehow these small handful of concerns have got everyone in the media (and Ryneveld) thinking there are systemic problems. Talk about hysteria.

In 2003, for example, the VPD had 558,182 reported incidents. A similar number occurs each and every year. And through all of those, a mere handful are deemed to have been handled inappropriately. There are more problems and errors with every issue of every newspaper in this country.

Are the police perfect? Hardly. Are you?

The police do a tough enough job when we just look at the normal day to day stuff. Factor in the cesspit that is the Downtown Eastside and the job is nigh on impossible. Every day, every shift, the cops there are abused, spit on, assaulted, insulted and offended. Yet, for the most part they hold their temper and do their job professionally and appropriately.

Fifteen years ago, when I walked those streets, it was bad enough. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I had to fight violent, abusive people. Down there, you have to prove you’re tough or you cannot do your job. It’s not as sterile as the boardrooms of various news organizations. Down there it is reality. I salute the cops who still do it day in and day out.

The critics need to remove their rose coloured glasses and close their personal agendas. And the Chief needs to come out and say that.

Leo Knight

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  1. Good on Jamie Graham for sticking up for his officers. Shame on Dirk Ryneveld. Perhaps Dirk-the-Jerk needs to check his facts lest he find himself on the tail end of a libel/defamation lawsuit.

  2. Do police really believe that some people don’t deserve as much or any of their protection as some others? ie. based on race, superiority etc???? why isn’t this caught when they’re hired? Don’t the police have enough brains to think this one out, that if you hire a racist, he’ll act racist and reflect badly on the police force? Or maybe this is precisely what the Police force/association wants – to create an industry, one based on the social construct known as race, that will target a visibly identifiable group in society and send them to jail and lock them up, and give them shoddy investigations etc. etc. etc…..

    Where in the bible does it say to love they neighbour if he/she is a certain skin colour? Hypocrites – the people who sit and watch these injustices occur!!!!

  3. In 2003 according to Statistics Canada there were 558,182 criminal incidents report in BC.
    If you accept that any system that has human being involved is going to have some errors and the police were righteous 99.9% of the time there would still be 558 (.1%) incidents that would require investigation.
    That these investigations end up costing so much in lawyer’s fees that it impacts the amount of officers on the streets should be seen as the real crime and the failure of those involved.


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