Stan Lowe part of the problem
with police complaints process

System doesn’t work, has long been in need of reform
and the commissioner is a prime example
of what’s wrong with it

Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun, March 8, 2010


B.C. Police Complaints Commissioner Stan Lowe thinks a public hearing into a West Vancouver police officer’s off-duty assault is needed to restore public confidence.

What planet is he living on? The police complaints process in this province is in a shambles.

It doesn’t work, it has long been in need of reform and there isn’t anyone who disagrees.

Lowe is a prime example of what’s wrong with it.

He was appointed to this job after being a longtime prosecutor and the face of the criminal justice branch of the Attorney-General’s Ministry.

He was the man who told the world that no charges would be laid in the death of Robert Dziekanski at YVR at the hands of four RCMP officers.

That distasteful December 2008 presentation, more than a year after the tragedy, was an affront to Dziekanski’s family and to decency.

The attorney-general’s office should be ashamed of its conduct in the case.

Lowe portrayed the Polish immigrant as a chronic alcoholic, the four officers as having done their duty and the investigation as above reproach. He said zapping Dziekanski five times with a Taser was “reasonable and necessary.”

A week later, Lowe got his promotion to police complaints commissioner.

We now know Dziekanski wasn’t a drunk, the four officers appear to have colluded with each other and to have lied. The glacial RCMP investigation was botched.

At the moment, the cops in this province play musical chairs with each other when police misconduct is alleged.

Abbotsford Chief Bob Rich, a former Vancouver cop, passes judgment on his former colleagues; when his boys are in trouble, well, he calls on someone like Delta Chief Jim Cessford to conduct an inquiry; and the RCMP, well, they’ve been acting like a law unto themselves.

It was Rich who decided the North Shore cop could keep his job with a demotion and 10-day suspension in spite of drunkenly beating a man on Jan. 21, 2009, while trying to wrongly arrest him.

That Lowe and his group of ex-cops are the oversight body is a $3-million-a-year joke. That is why the public has lost faith.

Lowe thinks a public hearing into the West Vancouver outrage will silence critics of the system and restore faith.

He couldn’t be more wrong.

This problem isn’t going away and another hearing won’t solve anything. We have been wrestling with this problem now for years but the cops just don’t seem to get it.

Most recently, a lawsuit was launched over two Vancouver officers who assaulted a man claiming it was a case of mistaken identity — as if it were okay had they thumped the right guy.

Yao Wei Wu, 44, was dragged out of his house Jan. 21, 2010 and badly beaten, suffering fractures to his face and injuries to his legs and back. His eyes were swollen shut. His wife, Chi Nan Man, says she has suffered serious psychological trauma after witnessing the savage attack.

If you or I did the same thing, we would have been charged almost immediately.

These two thugs are still on the job and Delta police are taking their sweet time with the investigation.

What’s worse, Lowe turned up at a press conference to stand beside Chief Jim Chu and defend this law-enforcement legerdemain.

The list of police misconduct in B.C. is already long and getting longer because the consequences for the officers involved is usually slight or non-existent.

That’s why confidence in the system has evaporated and why some officers think they can get away with anything.

Faith in the police complaints process in B.C. will only be restored when cops and their insider friends like Lowe are not in control.

We don’t need another hearing to tell us the police oversight system is broken; we need it fixed.

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