Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

Murder charge against police officer outrageous

with 11 comments

The mystery deepens the more one learns in the bizarre case of Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams, who has been charged with murder in the second degree for doing his job in a shots fired / hostage taking incident at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster in November of 2012.

Peter Juk, the Crown prosecutor responsible for this outrageous debacle, is, I am told, an ambitious political sort with little trial experience. Yet he, together with the civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) Richard Rosenthal, have somehow contrived to have this fine young officer charged with murder.

Frankly, it’s outrageous.

Jordan MacWilliams appeared in court this week to face a charge of second degree murder. He is a third generation police officer. His wife is also a police officer. If I were a betting man, I would bet that at least one of his young kids will aspire to be a police officer. Yet, given what is happening to him, one might ask why.

The desire to serve is what drives police officers to do what they do. It is unique and ubiquitous in their ranks. And, simply put, that is just what Jordan MacWilliams was doing when he responded to a call, as a member of MIERT (Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team) on that fateful day when he shot a man who had fired three times at a female employee of the Starlight Casino and then dragged her at gunpoint more than 500 metres up the parking lot.

When MacWilliams arrived on scene in response to that call, he knew it was a difficult and dangerous situation. The man had a gun. He had fired it three times at the women he now had taken hostage.

As he took up his position to contain the armed man, by chance, the hostage managed to create some separation between herself and her captor.

MacWilliams and another member of MIERT saw the opportunity and moved between the hostage and the suspect. They deliberately placed themselves in harm’s way to rescue the hostage. Had MacWilliams intended to kill the suspect he could have easily shot him at that point. But he didn’t.

And why not?  Because he wanted everyone involved to get out of this alive.  That’s his nature as a cop. That he had to take the shot eventually that killed the suspect was regrettable but necessary when the suspect’s gun pointed in the direction of the Alpha Team (ARWEN operators) who were designated non-lethal in the attempt to arrest the suspect.

MacWilliams went home to his family that evening. So did the members of Alpha Team whose back was his responsibility.

Why he has been charged is anyone’s guess. I harbour no illusions about what Rosenthal is about. How he managed to get a member of the Crown prosecution service to go along is another question.

On Thursday at MacWilliams’ court appearance Global TV veteran crime reporter John Daly said that a document was given to MacWilliams’ lawyers outlining finally what it is that they think they can prove to justify a murder case. One of those lawyers, David Butcher erupted to the media as a result.

“We don’t accept it at all,” Butcher said.

“I think the public needs to be very concerned about the developments in this case because if it puts a chill on police protection, particularly in a world that’s become so dangerous, the public needs to be very, very concerned about the developments in this matter,” said the lawyer. And he is, of course, correct.

The fact is that the suspect’s gun was pointed at the Alpha team members when MacWilliams took the shot. Period. There should be nothing more to discuss. Suspect, shooter, kidnapper, hostage-taker, armed person threatening police got shot for his trouble. Done deal. End of. He was the author of his own misfortune.

Whatever Juk’s political ambitions may be, I sincerely doubt they will succeed with this nonsense. In point of fact, I rather suspect he may be doing fatal damage to those ambitions with this.

Equally, Rosenthal, who was hired by this government to lead the IIO would seem to be in serious jeopardy. He has fired or lost well more than a dozen investigators in the short time his agency has been in existence. And the dissension within is growing. He is facing accusations of mismanagement, micromanagement, weak leadership, cop-hating (especially RCMP) and more. There is little doubt he is trying to justify his existence.

It’s also interesting to note there have been three different IIO Directors overseeing this file since the incident happened. Great continuity.

In this case Rosenthal and Juk, by their actions, have declared war on every police officer in British Columbia just trying to do their job in the service of the public.

Frankly, in my view, both of them should be fired. The Premier should then publicly apologize to every police officer in BC for what is being done in the name of her government. And then she needs to rethink the configuration of the IIO and the adversarial nature of its function.

I don’t say that lightly. But that won’t happen any time soon.

Nothing is forthcoming. The silence, in fact, is deafening. And Jordan MacWilliams is still facing a murder charge for no other reason than he did his job.

-30-

Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

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Written by Leo Knight

December 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

11 Responses

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  1. I just knew there had to be more to this. Rosenthal and Juk have also declared war on every civilian going forward who finds themselves in a hostage situation. If someone has a gun pointed at me, I want the sniper to shoot the gunman in the head the first chance they get and make it stop. Apparently, Rosenthal and Juk would rather these officers sit around and consider if they will be charged with murder at a later date. Fantastic! I am sorry Jordan McWilliams got caught up in this politically driven cockup.

    karilin

    December 23, 2014 at 1:59 am

  2. One has to wonder where the Leadership of the Delta Police Chief stands in this matter. It is quite obvious that Jim Cessford is keeping a low profile in this matter. May have something to do with his pending retirement from 44 years of policing. Usually if there is a microphone or a camera at a scene, Cessford would have his face in the camera and talking to the press to advance his position, was never a problem.

    If the facts are revealed as true to what happened in this shooting incident, Juk must be removed from the Prosecutors office and charges of malicious prosecution be levied against him. If the evidence shows it was a bad shoot, which I doubt, I have never worked with a police officer that went to work at the start of his shift, intent on murdering anyone. If this prosecution is shown to be politically motivated, than all parties must be brought to answer for their actions and sanctions such as removal from office, disbarment, and criminal or civil charges levied.
    This story must never go away from the public’s attention.
    BTC

    weasel

    December 23, 2014 at 6:41 am

    • I dont think The Chief is in a pisition to say any more on this than he already has. The matter is before the courts and he has ahown tacitly that he supports his officer but will respect thw process.

      Leo Knight

      December 24, 2014 at 12:53 am

    • Shameful of bc courts to charge officer. Weasel, Cessford responded. Check facts then write.

      Charlie

      December 24, 2014 at 6:08 am

  3. Am not legally trained – however it seems as this prosecution does not meet the criteria of the Crown Counsel Prosecution manual Pol 1, or Cha 1 55100-00. It is certainly a double standard, the Sergeant at Arms in parliament received a 3/4 minute standing ovation from this countries M.P’S. This officer gets a spurious charge levied against him. As M.P’S are responsible for the making/implementing of the Criminal Code of Canada surely their reaction is the correct one? Or are they saying that their lives mean more than those of the general public?

    ikscouse

    December 25, 2014 at 12:21 am

  4. One of the most interesting aspects of this is the fact that the Crown proceeded by direct indictment against Jordan. The circumstances don’t seem to fit taking this particular step, in fact if you look at the Crowns on policies it does not seem to fit. http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/prosecution-service/policy-man/pdf/DIR1-DirectIndictment.pdf I suspect that the Crown is playing pretty loose with this for political reasons.

    Rosenthal sent this to Crown as he does not want to make any decisions that might be criticized by the public, it’s obvious he does not care what the policing community has to say. The Crown probably approved the charges for the same reason, let a judge or jury make the call. It is a travesty and abuse of process that will bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

    Jackson Ripper

    December 25, 2014 at 12:32 am

  5. I wonder if they’ve picked a case that they think they will lose? The cases in YVR and in Prince George would more likely get a conviction. Hmmm…And Unique means “one of a kind” and ubiquitous means “everyone has one”. Using them together in a sentence is paradoxical.
    Arrow

    Arrow

    January 3, 2015 at 6:59 pm

  6. It speaks volumes as to how the law, justice, and enforcement are tilted upside down, Sgt. @ Arms gets a posting as ambassador, deservedly so, for taking the same TOTALLY JUSTIFIED action as Jordan Mac had the courage and the dedication to his duty to PROTECT and SERVE, yet people for reasons of their own have taken this officer and this incident to make a theatrical platform on which they can appear to be the watchdogs of law enforcement; the people who need watching and examination under high magnification are those theatrical ACTORS. They are a very real danger to the very people that Jordan and all law enforcement strive to protect every day; please GOD protect us from these folks who (a) never had to face the situation much less the deciding second, in Jordan’s situation (b) what qualifies them to sit in judgement???? (c) why does it seem that every WATCHDOG either has an agenda connected to their own gain be it monetary, political, or shining in the media I WANT MY 15 MIN. etc. OR they have a huge axe to grind or grudge AGAINST the Police in general, be they city, provincial, federal or whoever. The selection process puzzles me and I think bears scrutiny as by this very situation, these folk can literally STAND IN THE WAY; if tomorrow, a peace officer pauses in that second of deciding time, due to the way Jordan has been treated, someone could die, civilian, peace officer, or even a politician!

    Lawrence Dashwood-Jones

    January 10, 2015 at 6:35 pm

  7. I was not long retired from the RCMP in 2005 when four Mounties were shot and killed by a nut case with a lengthy criminal record. Same as the one that McWilliams had to shoot. They are out there because of the failure of our justice system. I call them time bombs. Too many police are getting killed because of this. After the four Mounties were killed I wrote and recorded a song called The Fallen Four. It deals with that one situation but can be applied to all situations where police are involved in shootings. Part of my lyrics are as follows: The fallen four stood up for us but our country let them down. How can you maintain the right with no help from the crown. Even more true in the above case as here the crown is going after a policeman instead of who they really should be going after. Thanks for reading. Frank Ervin.

    Frank Ervin

    January 19, 2015 at 5:10 pm

  8. What a waste of our court system – time and money – never mind putting this officer and his family through hell, for doing EXACTLY what he should have done….It is what I would have wanted done if it was me being held hostage!

    Tracy Johnston Knittle

    April 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm


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