Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Archive for November 2006

Good press for a good cop

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It’s nice to see VPD Sgt. Keiron McConnell making headlines (Club face-offs cut gun crime – Vancouver Province Nov. 26, 2006) for all the good work he does, instead of the tempest in a media tea cup created by some disgruntled, dickless wonder whingeing about McConnell holding some piece of human excrement’s head up for a photo.

McConnell is a good cop and a man’s man. In some ways the last of a dying breed. When you see the politically correct in Edmonton creating a talking shop to examine police ethics (Police to tackle ethical practices – Edmonton Journal Nov. 26, 2006) at a time when gun violence has reached unprecedented levels and that city has become the murder capital of Canada, it clearly demonstrates what policing has become.

These days young Mounties, for example, are taught in recruit training that they can “opt out” if they believe a call is too dangerous. Seriously.

But opting out is not in the lexicon for cops like McConnell. Too bad there weren’t more like him and fewer happy to sit around talking needlessly about ethics.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

November 26, 2006 at 10:46 pm

Posted in Crime & Punishment

Tax man finally shows up in OC battle

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The extraordinary announcement of the successful conclusion of Operation Colisee by police in Quebec and Ontario is stunning. Not just because they took down members and associates of the Rizzuto crime family, including patriarch Nicolo “Nick” Rizzuto. Nor is it stunning that they have arrested 73 of them with warrants fro 17 more.

But, largely because this project was done with the full involvement of Revenue Canada investigators and they are actually going to seize assets of the mobsters.

For years the police have been trying to get CCRA to take an interest in organized crime files to little or no avail. Especially when it came to taking on the Hells Angels, the tax guys were conspicuous by their absence. Too scared was what the cops were saying.

Using income tax law to go after organized crime is a tried and true method, dating back to the days of Al Capone. Not so in Canada, at least until this week anyway.

Organized crime may use legitimate fronts for their various endeavours, but make no mistake about it, the vast majority of their money is dirty and untaxed. It’s about bloody time CCRA got engaged in a game they have for too long ignored.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

November 25, 2006 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Crime & Punishment

Wrong target in Media sights

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So yet another firestorm has developed with the ravenous media knee-jerking their way into condeming the Vancouver Police Department based on nothing more than an anonymous email tipster to BCTV on Global. (Click on Internal Investigation to see the video story)

Is there a photograph of five members of VPD posing with a suspect in the jail. Apparently, according to Insp. Rollie Woods in a press conference called late Tuesday afternoon. And?

The officers involved were members of a downtown patrol squad and at least one a Sgt. in the Firearms Interdiction Team. By definition they have a difficult and dangerous job. In practice they go after guns and the bad guys who carry them. When they make a good arrest, they celebrate their efforts. And?

So they took a souvenir photo. And?

The suspect in the photo, as with anyone ever seen with a coat or newspaper they try and hide behind doing the perp walk, isn’t too pleased with his situation. Gee, I wonder why? In this case, a 40 year old man and a career criminal with 69 criminal convictions was caught by the police and now stands charged with multiple offences including carrying a concealed weapon.

By the way, that is 69 convictions, not 69 arrests. The number of arrests is much higher.

Despite the 69 convictions and the many more arrests and spending a life that takes from society not contributes to it, the suspect is afforded something the police are not – the presumption of innocence.

Was the suspect assaulted during the arrest? I don’t know and neither does the media with their holier-than-thou headlines. The process to investigate this allegation is in motion and we should let it take its course. The rush to judgement of the police is shameful. Moreso, the targetting of a good cop, in this case the Sgt. of the squad was identified but not the others, all the while ignoring the fact that the suspect in that photo should not have even been on the streets to get caught, yet again, by the cops who were actually protecting the rest of us, is all to predictable.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

November 15, 2006 at 4:50 am

Posted in Crime & Punishment

Hypocrites need to move on

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The very-public saga of West Vancouver PD Constable Lisa Alford has taken on a life of its own. The smug self-rightousness of the media in the way they have pursued this officer and the Police Department has been filled with their own unique brand of hypocrisy.
Alford was involved in an motor vehicle accident a year ago after consuming alcohol at a social event in the West Vancouver police station. Following the MVA, she was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
She accepted her responsibility at every step of the way. She pleaded guilty, ready to take whatever punishment was her due. She never sought, nor did the system offer, any slack or preferential treatment. She didn’t seek any “alternative measures,” adult diversion, a healing circle or claim it wasn’t her fault because, Boo-hoo-hoo, she wasn’t breast-fed as a child.
No, she made a bad error, admitted it and took her punishment like a man . . .well, so to speak.
Now the Chief Constable is being made to do a Mexican Hat Dance simply because the optics are bad. And, some smug, self-righteous commentators are actually calling for a “full independent inquiry. “
Damn the expense, Man! The cops were drinking!
Now, it needs to be said that the event was a social function and didn’t involve on-duty officers. But please, to suggest that we should have a “full independent public inquiry” because there was drinking going within the confines of a police station where many people have their offices and work? Oh please.
To what end? What might we learn from that? That the West Vancouver police sometimes hold parties in the station? Well the Chief has already confirmed that. I’ll let you in on something else too. The Vancouver Police have wet messes within their walls too. Lest you think the Mounties are pure, they too have wet messes in many of their facilities including E Division Headquarters. And oddly enough, police officers sometimes have a cocktail or two in those messes when one of their own is retiring or getting promoted. And I have been present when members of the media, lawyers, judges and yes, even the occasional politician were only too happy to partake of the cops’ hospitality.
So what?
I have been to a great many receptions at lawyers’ offices too. And, God knows, I have been in conferences in news rooms where a bottle of Scotch was pulled out of a desk drawer during the session.
Drinking isn’t illegal. Irresponsible drinking is. Constable Lisa Alford made a mistake and unlike much of society these days, she took responsibility for her actions and paid the consequences, putting a blemish on an otherwise pristine record. That should end the matter. And, like anyone else, she should be allowed to get on with her life.
Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

November 6, 2006 at 3:14 am

Posted in Crime & Punishment

Connections show no apology deserved

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I wonder when the media is going to get off the back of the RCMP in the Mahar Arar affair?

Now it is clear from documents tabled in court (Globe & Mail, Nov.03, 2006) that Arar had a connection to the cadre of Khadrs, our very own Canadian jihadists. We already knew he was connected to Abdullah Almalki, himself trying to gain sympathy as a “torture victim” of Syria.

What is clear to me is that the RCMP had every right – no – every duty to consider Arar a terror suspect and include him in their investigation..

Almalki, according to Khadr the Younger, was connected to Khadr the Elder, also known as “al Kanadi” (The Canadian) to his al Qaeda pals. At the very least, the Mounties had every reason to believe that Arar was a suspect and needed to be investigated. In the days post-9/11, they also had every reason to share information with the US authorities.

I believe that neither the RCMP nor Canada owe Arar an apology for anything. If in fact, he is totally innocent, then perhaps he should be more careful who he associates with. If he is that desperate for an apology, perhaps he should ask the people who actually imprisoned him and allegedly conducted the torture, the country of his birth, Syria.

Leo Knight

Written by Leo Knight

November 3, 2006 at 11:57 pm

Posted in Crime & Punishment