The cop status quo matters

B.C. stands ready to manipulate identity politics
to support OPCC corruption

June 14, 2020

A Vancouver demonstration about police racism on June 5 2020

B.C.’s American-influenced demonstrators know little or nothing
about B.C. issues, leaving the cause open to manipulation.
(Photo: CTV)


Never mind the fanaticism behind The Great Big Fat Cause of Our Time du Jour. That would be like quibbling about whether the end justifies the means. Just about everyone’s talking up racism and police accountability, so isn’t this finally the time for progress?

Actually no, not necessarily. B.C. has been going through this conversation for a while now, although much more quietly and under much greater control. No one with a say in that conversation can or will stand up for police accountability.

The conversation consisted of the legislature’s 2019 Special Committee to Review the Police Complaint Process. Now, in a June 12 announcement, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says he intends to strike another committee into B.C.’s Police Act.


Mike Farnworth has long been an outrageous phony on social justice issues

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth (white guy on the right) and others announce
the province’s First Nations Justice Strategy last March. The white guy on the left is
David Eby, phoney activist-cum-Attorney General. Farnworth has consistently thwarted
police accountability while in opposition and in government, in the legislature and
in legislative committees, over many years. He directed the 2019 legislative committee
that blocked informed criticism and manipulated native and immigrant groups. Now
Farnworth’s calling for another committee to humour the George Floyd demonstrations.
(Photo: B.C. Legislature)


Sound reassuring? Let’s look at the most recent example.

A sham inquiry like its predecessors, the 2019 five-MLA, all-party group refused to consider any facts or point of view except those from narrowly defined “stakeholders.” The MLAs rigged the process, limiting participation to groups representing cops, ex-cops, natives and immigrants. The MLA committee consisted of ex-cops, natives and an immigrant.

Groups representing cops and ex-cops addressed the committee on behalf of cops. Groups representing natives and immigrants didn’t know anything about police accountability.

The result was a very cynical manipulation of woke rhetoric to support the status quo at B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. It’s an ethically corrupt agency that works in near secrecy and answers to no one. The lack of transparency and accountability allows the cover-ups that distinguish the OPCC’s disgraceful work.


BC native MLAs Adam Olsen and Ellis Ross serve the status quo

Having served their masters well so far, native MLAs Adam Olsen
and Ellis Ross might be in for another lucrative committee assignment.


The committee’s recommendations have been forwarded for legislative approval and, based on many years of precedent, will most likely pass unanimously. Under no circumstances will transparency and accountability intrude on the OPCC and its cover-ups.

Some of those cover-ups have come to light despite the agency’s privileged secrecy. But the assault by Vancouver police officer Taylor Robinson stands out for a number of reasons. The cop shoved a woman named Sandy Davidsen to the ground for no reason. No investigation began until more than six weeks after it happened, nearly six weeks after VPD Professional Standards found out and nearly four weeks after the OPCC found out. The cover-up ended only after media learned about Robinson’s actions.


In possibly the most outrageous of the OPCC cover-ups that have
accidentally come to light, the agency refused to order an investigation into
Vancouver police constable Taylor Robinson’s assault on a disabled native woman.
The OPCC colluded in a VPD cover-up. The OPCC finally relented nearly four weeks
after learning about the incident, when the media found out. However the OPCC had
already sent Vancouver police an implied but clear message: The agency condones
gratuitous police violence against women, the poor, the disabled and natives. The OPCC
enjoys unqualified support from every NDP, BC Liberal and Green MLA, as well as the
B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Pivot Legal Society.
Click on the image to see actions covered up
and condoned by the OPCC.


Robinson was, very belatedly, penalized for his assault. But his Vancouver cop colleagues and their allies at the OPCC have never had to answer for the joint VPD/OPCC cover-up.

If it doesn’t much matter that the victim is female, poor and disabled, maybe it should now matter that she’s native. But, despite the committee participation of native MLAs and native groups, there’s absolutely nothing to prevent a similar assault getting a similar cover-up.

So what might the upcoming legislative committee accomplish? Presumably it won’t address the OPCC, leaving that to the previous sham. B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office presents structural problems, although I’m not aware of any OPCC-style malfeasance. The IIO needs the resources to close investigations more promptly, the power to prosecute cops itself instead of being vetoed by cop-friendly Crown attorneys, and the responsibility to investigate cops accused of sexual misconduct. That latter category now gets cop-on-cop investigations under the OPCC’s highly unreliable oversight.

Another IIO problem is that the OPCC actually holds investigative authority over the agency. Should allegations of wrongdoing ever surface against the IIO, they could be investigated by the outrageously corrupt OPCC. That’s a distinctively made-in-B.C. Catch 22.

At the federal level, the RCMP’s in-house Civilian Review and Complaints Commission has long been overdue for a thorough shake-up or, better yet, complete replacement.

But don’t count on any real progress in any of these matters, especially regarding the OPCC.

Its secretive, unanswerable status is extraordinary in our time but has long had the unanimous support of the NDP and BC Liberals, and more recently the Greens too. Additionally, the OPCC benefits from thoroughly ignorant and often sycophantic media, and enjoys poverty pimp support from the Pivot Legal Society and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Now, using the five MLAs’ recommendations, B.C.’s legislature is poised to both placate the current tumult and preserve the status quo. There’s absolutely nothing to prevent the OPCC from covering up other gratuitous assaults on anyone, not even women, the poor, the disabled or natives—or, as in the OPCC’s Taylor Robinson cover-up, all four in combination.

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