An open letter to
Police Complaint Commissioner
Stan Lowe

I sent this letter the day after a brief meeting with him

Sept. 24, 2009

Dear Mr. Lowe:

It was good of you to come out and talk to me briefly yesterday as I was distributing leaflets outside the Deltassist AGM where you were about to deliver a speech.

You were gracious in your remarks and Deltassist does good work in the community. So I was reluctant to say very much because I didn’t want to risk marring the Deltassist event with a possible argument.

You said you want people to judge you by what you do. I’ve been judging you by your decision on the Dziekanski case. I assume you mean you want people to judge you by what you will do in the future.

You’re a personable guy but I stand by what I’ve written about your decision in the Dziekanski case. That decision certainly doesn’t bode well for what you’ll do in the future.

Even if you do intend to work honourably within the confines of a system based on police investigating police, you’re still stuck with a staff of ex-cops, at least some of whom are extremely biased. There’s no doubt that deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce Brown conducted an extremely sloppy, highly biased review of the investigation into my complaint by Vancouver Police Professional Standards.

Brown has spent most of his life as an RCMP officer.

The VPD investigation, too, was extremely sloppy and highly biased. It was conducted by Vancouver Police Professional Standards officers Ian Upton and Rollie Woods.

Woods now works for you at the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

Their work on my complaint was so obviously biased that I think I can generalize from that one case. No one can screw up the way Upton, Woods and Brown screwed up unless it’s deliberate and they know they can get away with it.

The VPD takes it for granted that the OPCC will rubber-stamp their investigations.

As for the OPCC, it couldn’t care less about fairness or professionalism because it’s unaccountable. In theory it answers only to the legislature. But because the legislature doesn’t review the OPCC’s work for fairness or competence, the OPCC really answers to no one.

The fact that the OPCC hired someone from VPD Professional Standards, especially Woods, strongly suggests cronyism and a commitment to biased decisions.

My concern about this issue goes far beyond an ugly incident that happened a few years ago. I think it’s likely that some police deal that way regularly with marginal people, many of whom have trouble speaking for themselves.

If any of them do complain, they’re confronted with police and OPCC officials who are not only biased, but extremely complacent about what they can get away with. They’re milking a system that encourages bias and complacency.

The exceptions would be cases that get advance publicity or the advance support of groups like Pivot and the BCCLA. I think that’s how Dirk Ryneveld got his bogus media rep as a crusader.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll try to work honourably within the constraints of a system based on police investigating police. Frankly that’s hard to believe, given your decision on the Dziekanski case. And I don’t know how you could do it anyway, when you’re stuck with a staff of ex-cops that includes people like Brown and Woods.

Greg Klein

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