Does B.C. have any place for
Richard Rosenthal’s expertise?

The former IIO director studied here,
farms here, fights fires here but takes his
police accountability work across the border

October 10, 2021

Richard Rosenthal with a lavender harvest on his Fraser Valley farm

Fraser Valley farmer/cop accountability
consultant Richard Rosenthal.
(Photo: SFU News)


Stories about personal renewal can be encouraging, especially when they follow adversity. Richard Rosenthal led B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office through its rocky first few years, partly coinciding with his wife’s grave illness, then left the IIO after (I think) being drummed out by the agency’s ex-cops.

But from there, as Simon Fraser University News reports, he took up farming in the Fraser Valley, began work as a firefighter in Mission, got engaged and completed a PhD in criminology.

Maybe it took a few bucks to do all that, or maybe Mission pays its firefighters especially well. Nevertheless he seems to have accomplished this through his own work and initiative, rather than lapping up the padded pension and/or sinecure that’s the standard entitlement for so many other former government appointees.

Referring to his experience with the IIO, SFU News quotes Rosenthal as saying, “We were attempting to change an embedded police culture within the IIO and a lot of people were let go as a result.” That seems to add weight to my suspicion that Rosenthal got forced out by disgruntled ex-cops motivated by cop bias. Media reports from the time revealed very little, although Rosenthal had been subject to considerable media attention since his appointment to the IIO. Much of that attention was directed by cop interests.

Rosenthal’s media profile contrasted with that of Stan Lowe. As head of B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, Lowe enjoyed relative media obscurity that helped hide his blatantly dishonest work. What publicity Lowe did get often pushed sycophancy to a nauseating level.

Maybe Rosenthal’s all-too-brief allusion to his IIO controversy reflects his own reticence. Maybe it reflects a non-disclosure agreement that accompanied a payout.

He completed his PhD as institutionalized learning strained under the Gleichschaltung of identity politics. The genocide/George Floyd issues mark another escalation of the social revolution but, here in B.C., they can easily be manipulated by the cop lobby—with the help of legislators, journalists, the legal establishment and social justice hustlers, not to mention B.C. protesters who know nothing about B.C. issues.

Rosenthal’s new consulting business begins with work for Washington state. There’s no word on whether B.C., supposedly in the process of overhauling its Police Act, wants anything to do with him.

Still, the SFU News feature provides a nice story of regeneration. You can get the sense, you can hope, that the story accurately reflects a decent guy who prevailed in his personal life despite the nasty little world of B.C. police accountability. That very nasty little world could sure use some decent people.

Read more about B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office
Read about B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
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