Why bother?

This Web site results from an incident that happened
in June 2006. Why don’t I just forget about it?


For one thing, the police response suggested this could be an ongoing problem. Vancouver police might have a cozy relationship with the two goons and the company they work for, or with private security companies in general. There are a number of reasons to wonder if the security guards’ actions and the police response constitute an ongoing problem.

In addition, Vancouver police and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner set a dangerous precedent by their dishonest interpretation of Section 494 of the Criminal Code. According to Ian Upton and Rollie Woods of VPD Professional Standards, and Dirk Ryneveld and Bruce M. Brown of the OPCC, security guards have the right to handcuff and detain people on public property — and by implication assault them — for no better reason than a vague, unsubstantiated allegation of “suspicion.”

Furthermore the three Vancouver police officers broke the Privacy Act by forcing me to give my name, home address and date of birth to the security guards. This illegal practice is routine for some Vancouver police officers. But it has the blessing of Upton, Woods, Brown and Ryneveld.

With so many other glaring problems in the VPD investigation and the OPCC rubber stamp, it’s fair to generalize from this experience. No one can screw up the way Upton, Woods, Brown and Ryneveld screwed up unless it’s deliberate and they know they can get away with it. It’s therefore likely that this is typical of how they handle police complaints, unless a complaint gets advance media coverage or advance support from an influential group.

Woods, the former head of Vancouver Police Professional Standards, now works for the OPCC. The fact that the OPCC would hire anyone from VPD Professional Standards, especially Woods, very strongly suggests cronyism and a commitment to dishonest work.

Ryneveld has since been replaced as police complaint commissioner by Stan Lowe. Lowe is probably best known for taking part in the Criminal Justice Branch decision to exonerate the four RCMP officers involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death. Lowe claimed that the five Taser shocks and other brutal treatment inflicted on Dziekanski were “reasonable and necessary.”

Dziekanski, of course, brings to mind incidents incomparably more serious than mine. A number of unnecessary deaths have shown the pressing need for police accountability.

Finally, there’s a principle involved. We have to at least try to hold private security, police and public officials accountable — even if some of them are complacent big shots who live in a rarefied atmosphere of unaccountable power and privilege.

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