Who’s behind the campaign
against B.C.’s Independent
Investigations Office?

Cops, ex-cops and cop-friendly IIO insiders actively oppose
police accountability. And they have the media’s ear

Nov. 13, 2015


There are plenty of reasons to criticize B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office, among them its legislated weaknesses and its handling of the Greg Matters case. But almost all IIO criticism comes from police interests. In fact a cop-driven campaign to undermine the agency has been underway for roughly a year now. It’s been getting uncritical media coverage.

One of the more recent examples is this Vancouver Province story, which provides unconfirmed info about the apparent suspension of IIO director of legal services Clinton Sadlemyer, who had recently been acting chief civilian director. Leo Knight, an ex-cop with extensive media contacts, tipped off reporters. The Province said he learned about Sadlemyer from “numerous sources.” But since the matter is confidential, the info must have originated with IIO insiders.

It looks like cop-friendly IIO staff want to get Sadlemyer. Knight’s helping them stay anonymous by acting as their media conduit.

In April 2014 I took part in a TV panel discussion with Knight and Kash Heed on Global BC’s Unfiltered. The topic was a quarterly report from B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. Despite having written about police matters for God knows how long under the nonsensical title Prime Time Crime, Knight proved himself unable or unwilling to carry on an intelligent discussion about police accountability.

He came across like a belligerent lout, even bragging on-air about punching people when he was a cop. The very idea of police oversight obviously angered him, even the supposed “oversight” of a crew like the OPCC.

Yet this guy’s one of the stock sources that B.C. media go to for comment on police issues. Now he’s acting as a conduit of leaked info, helping police interests within the IIO anonymously undermine the agency.

But Knight’s media presence just serves as icing on the cake for cops, ex-cops and those who work for cops. They already have chummy relationships with Vancouver Courier cop groupie Mike Howell and Times Colonist simpleton Katie DeRosa. Cops and their backers can also get probably anyone else at the TC and a great many other B.C. reporters to uncritically transcribe no less and no more than what they’re told.

What’s never been adequately reported, however, is how the IIO was legislated to fall far short of its supposed model, Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit. See some examples here. But B.C.’s media consider those facts beyond the pale. Reporters hear no criticism of the IIO’s structural defects from our “official activists.” The B.C. Civil Liberties Association repeatedly and dishonestly praised the legislation creating the IIO. Pivot Legal Society lawyer Doug King is one of B.C.’s most outrageously ambitious poverty pimps.

Short of no accountability at all, it seemed that B.C.’s police lobby got everything it wanted when the IIO was created. Evidently cops still aren’t satisfied.

Read more about B.C.’s inadequate Independent Investigations Office
Read more about B.C. media coverage on police accountability
Go to News and Comment page