Equality before the law?
Not with the VPD

Vancouver police treat people according to their
power and social status, a cop admits

June 20, 2011

Power and prestige protected Vancouver city manager
Penny Ballem from arrest for her Stanley Cup antics.


An insider’s account of Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riot comes to us courtesy of Alex Tsakumis’ blog. His site’s valuable for the inside dope he often gets from people in politics, media and, sometimes, police. But something that inadvertently came out in his June 17, 2011 post deserves more attention. A Vancouver police officer stated that he would have arrested city manager Penny Ballem — had she not been city manager Penny Ballem.

Here’s an excerpt from the June 17 post:

But this is the same Penny Ballem who was wandering the streets of the live sites during Game 5 and barking at police officers to make arrests of those fighting. “She was so out of control, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t understand what she was doing was wrong and really offside. We warned her about the growing crowds and how aggressive they were and begged for help ahead of time, but she just ignored us every time. It’s one thing to say ‘No’ but she was such a bitch about it and now look at the results. She did nothing to help and then started giving orders when all hell broke lose [sic]. She was totally out of control. If she was anybody else, I’d have told her to pipe down and stop badgering officers, or cool off in the back of a wagon. She was that crazy.” [Emphasis added.]

There you have it. Vancouver police would arrest other people for being “out of control,” for “badgering officers,” for being “that crazy.” But Vancouver police would not arrest Penny Ballem. She might well have been “that crazy” but she was also that important.

I don’t blame the badly outnumbered police for retreating in fear (as one witness told me they did). But this kind of cop cowardice — fear of power and social status — is nauseating. That’s especially true when so much police abuse is directed at the powerless.

But then bullies pick their targets carefully.


Update: In a subsequent post, Tsakumis reported that Ballem was acting up after Game 7 as well, again in full view of the police. According to another first-hand account from another Vancouver cop, Ballem shouted orders at the police and then commandeered an emergency services radio, apparently belonging to the fire department.

She then managed to get a radio — not a police radio, and broadcasts that the whole situation is out of control. A record of this must be available for review from ecomm. Everyone heard her yelling. The only other radios in sync that night available to her I think were fire radios. And there was one other city official down with us but none of them had access to police radios. It had to have been a fire radio. She was clearly violating a number of protocols by yelling at us and standing in plain sight of me when she was doing it to the Sgt. The Sgt and others all just looked at each other in shock. I’ve been a cop for over twenty years and I have never seen anything like that.

Violating a number of “protocols”? Surely she broke the law. She risked public safety by taking a fire department radio and shouting over the E-Comm emergency frequency. Vancouver police stood by and did nothing.

Again, this kind of selective law enforcement is nothing but cop cowardice.

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