Now this is surprising

Vancouver Police Professional Standards
has actually recommended a criminal charge
against a VPD officer

Jan. 5, 2010

Is this a once-in-a-blue-moon event? Could it be a token effort to quell public concern about police misconduct? Is it an extreme example of office politics? Was the alleged victim a person of wealth or influence?

Or, now that Rollie Woods and Ian Upton have moved on, does this indicate a massive change in VPD Professional Standards — a change towards accountability?

It’s hard not to be cynical, especially so soon after the VPD response to the Michael Vann Hubbard shooting. But time will tell.

Read the VPD media statement here.

Or not surprising at all...

Jan. 6, 2010 update: One day later more evidence emerges, no thanks to Vancouver police. A lawyer releases surveillance video and says his client was hit in the face, not in the chest. The video shows an officer run across the street and knock down a man who was standing still. The officer appears to assault two others as well. Contrary to an impression suggested by the police media statement, there’s no fight and there are other officers at the scene.

The lawyer asks why it took four months to lay a charge, adding: “If you or I had a stick in our face by anyone other than an officer it would result in charges instantly. It’s the boys protecting themselves.”

Is Vancouver Police Professional Standards responding to an out-of-control cop with damage control? It sure looks that way.

Dec. 1, 2010 update: Taylor was convicted, but of a reduced charge of simple assault instead of assault with a weapon. Crown attorney Jay Fogel chose not to call witnesses and presented a “watered-down version” of Taylor’s violence against a young man who had done nothing wrong.

The Vancouver Province quotes the victim’s lawyer, Jason Tarnow: “On the surveillance video that I obtained, Sgt. [Darcy] Taylor clearly hits Justin [Wachtel] very hard with his baton. It’s outrageous he wasn’t convicted of assault with a weapon, as you or I would be if we’d done that.”

The victim added: “Why I, or the 18 other citizens who gave statements, were not called upon to testify is very troubling to me. A wealth of evidence was collected by the Crown, but it seems to me the majority of it was conveniently omitted.”

This case shows the problem of police accountability goes beyond biased investigations. Prosecutors are often cozy with the police and judges show greater leniency than they do with civilians.

Oh, by the way — this violent criminal will keep his job with the Vancouver Police Department.

Video released of alleged assault by Vancouver police officer
Kim Pemberton, The Vancouver Sun, Jan. 6, 2010
Video doesn't match Vancouver police version of alleged attack by cop
Andy Ivens, The Vancouver Province, Jan. 6, 2010
Officer ‘bull-rushes’ man texting on cellphone, lawyer alleges
Andy Ivens, The Vancouver Province, Jan. 6, 2010
Watch the video here or here.
Outrage greets officer’s conviction on assault charge
Suzanne Fournier, Vancouver Province, Dec. 1, 2010

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