The Vancouver Province declined to print the following letter, which I sent on May 30, 2010.

Re: Police association responds

According to Tom Stamatakis of the B.C. Police Association, there’s no systemic problem with police violence in this province. To support that claim, he quotes numbers from B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. But the OPCC is a systemic problem in itself.

No one — absolutely no one — can challenge an OPCC decision. That’s because police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe is an independent officer of the legislature.

Are Lowe and his staff the right people for such exalted status? Lowe is a former Crown attorney who took part in the decision to clear the four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death. Lowe stated that it was “reasonable and necessary” to Taser Dziekanski five times. Lowe’s staff consist almost entirely of ex-cops.

Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin is one of several authorities who say that civilians who aren’t ex-cops can become excellent investigators of police. But neither of B.C.’s political parties wants to reform our police complaint system.

Could that be due to a powerful police lobby that includes both cop management and Stamatakis’ cop union? Talk about a systemic problem.

Greg Klein