Living up to his name

Stan Lowe leaves a legacy of corruption that taints
B.C. politics, public agencies, media and supposed “activists”

December 16, 2018

Stan Lowe applies grease to slime

In an extremely rare and late-career media appearance last September,
police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe smeared others to shift blame
for his Frank Elsner cover-up. (Photo: Arnold Lim/Black Press)


One indication of the impending end of term for B.C.’s police complaint commissioner came in his lengthy Frank Elsner spin job, a desperate image-polishing effort comparable to slapping grease onto slime. With the help of one or more flacks experienced in obfuscation and twisting facts, Lowe blamed two mayors/police board co-chairs for his own four-month delay in ordering a Police Act investigation into the now-disgraced Victoria ex-chief constable. Displaying enormous hypocrisy, Lowe repeatedly criticized the mayors for supposedly lacking transparency and accountability, while his actual lack of those attributes helped him get away with disgraceful conduct for 10 years.

That’s most obvious not only in the Elsner case, but also in those of Vancouver police constable Taylor Robinson and New Westminster officer Sukhwinder “Vinnie” Singh Dosanjh.

And those are just three cases that have come to light despite Lowe’s secrecy.

Lowe now goes on to further reward in a cushy retirement or a cushy sinecure, possibly one that requires sociopathic traits. His replacement, ex-cop Clayton Pecknold, is probably the Solicitor General’s most prominent bureaucrat, pretty much making him a collaborator or at least silent witness to the departing commissioner’s conduct.

Lowe’s slimeball career has been extensively documented elsewhere on this site, but it’s important to emphasize how someone so blatantly corrupt taints the wider world of B.C. politics, public agencies, media and supposed “activists.”

Whether in legislature or committee, the province’s otherwise warring NDP and BC Liberals have always agreed wholeheartedly on issues of police accountability. That showed, for example, in their appointment of Lowe in the first place, their ludicrous excuse for rejecting public input into a sham inquiry into Lowe’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and their ongoing refusal to bring transparency and accountability to an agency that’s not only secretive and cop-friendly, but downright corrupt.

Now, with Green MLA Adam Olsen helping appoint Pecknold as Lowe’s successor, B.C.’s third political party joins the cop consensus.

Lowe’s tenure also served as an indictment of B.C.’s media. With extremely rare exceptions, no B.C. journalist would ever question Lowe’s conduct, no matter how disturbing. Blatant lying from Lowe’s deputy, ex-cop Rollie Woods, went unchallenged. Whether through fecklessness or gutlessness, almost no B.C. journalist would even question the legislation that allows characters like Lowe to work in near-secrecy while answering to no one, a perfect environment for conducting cop cover-ups.

Nor have the establishment-wannabes at the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Pivot Legal Society shown any fortitude. The BCCLA disbanded its police accountability committee around the time I challenged the group to speak out on the Robinson case. Pivot’s American poverty pimp lawyer Doug King, who represented Robinson’s victim, lied on Lowe’s behalf and praised his handling of the case. Neither group has even criticized the OPCC’s lack of transparency and accountability.

Of course Lowe wasn’t the sole problem at the OPCC. Woods has repeatedly proven himself a liar and must be eyeball-deep in the agency’s shit. Others, like Andrea Spindler and Anthony Parker, took part at least peripherally in the cover-ups. Given the agency’s secrecy, it’s hard to determine individual involvement apart from Lowe and Woods. But the OPCC’s also conspicuous for its lack of whistleblowers.

One of Lowe’s grandstanding tactics in his Elsner spin job was to recommend legislative changes to the way police boards deal with allegations against police chiefs. That shows the commissioner may take an advocacy role. But of course Lowe’s not going to advocate the most urgently needed Police Act reform of all, to bring transparency and accountability to the OPCC—especially if it applied retroactively.

Good riddance Lowe, you sure lived up to your name. Over to you, Pecknold.

Read more about B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
Read more about B.C. media coverage on police accountability
Go to the News and Comment page