Crime & Punishment

Crime and justice comment and analysis

VPD shooting shows officers’ bravery, IIO incompetence

with 16 comments

In the midst of the snow Monday morning and a Vancouver commute already made bad by the closing of the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges due to snow bombs and slick conditions, Vancouver Police made matters worse by having the temerity to shoot a man armed with a machete who kept coming at them and ignoring orders to drop the weapon. 29th Ave. Skytrain was then closed and caused all manner of delays.

As with most things involving the police these days, there was citizen journalist video posted to Facebook and You Tube within minutes of the events. But as with most of these things, the video doesn’t tell the whole story.

The incident started at Stadium Station in downtown Vancouver. Police received multiple 9-1-1 calls about a man armed with a machete. VPD were responding to the station and Transit police also responded by jumping on a train heading east. They just happened to jump on the same train but in a different car to their suspect.

At 29th, the Transit police called for VPD back-up and one officer confronted the man who was acting angrily, possibly in a drug-induced or mental health related state. The other officer then cleared the train of all civilians.

They then tried to talk the man down, to calm him and get him to drop the weapon. One of the Transit officers was a trained negotiator and he tried everything he had to talk the guy off the ledge, so to speak.

On an iPhone video taken from the platform, you can hear police talking to the man and then, suddenly something goes awry. The man reacts adversely and angrily towards police, who were in plainclothes. The police can be seen backing out of the train rapidly with weapons drawn. One of the officers radios to Transit operations to remotely close the doors on the train and the other clears the platform of all civilians including the citizen journalist.

The next part is missing on the available video. The armed suspect who can’t open the doors on the train car, begins to smash his way out through a window. The Transit officers try, in vain, to prevent him from getting out to the point one of the officers had shards of glass in his hair and scalp afterwards.

Despite their efforts and concerns for their own safety from the machete wielding crazed man, they backed away and the man crawled from the Skytrain car onto the platform. The Transit officers continued to keep their weapons trained on the armed suspect and backed away as the man continued to advance ultimately up the stairs from the platform towards the exit where a great many civilians could be in harm’s way.

The next video shows the man walking up the stairs with the saw-toothed machete brandished in front of him point forward at the police officers. At the top of the stairs on a short platform were at least two VPD officers in uniform. Whether it was the uniforms or the drugs or whatever, the armed suspect turns sharply towards the VPD members and amid the ignored shouts to drop the machete and the VPD officers backtracking rapidly trying to keep a safe distance, out of the kill zone of 21 feet, one shot is heard and the suspect is down. The threat eliminated.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) were then called. From everything I saw and know from speaking to sources close to the investigation, the police acted professionally, courageously and well within the Use of Force provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada,

The IIO will take a year and a half or so to do all manner of nonsense to justify their existence and will come to exactly that conclusion. But they will cause a lot of stress to members involved in the process, spend stupid money doing needless tests on weapons that shouldn’t have been seized and uniforms of witness officers equally needlessly seized.

A couple of weeks ago, at the Canadian Tire on Grandview Hwy in Vancouver, I wrote of another VPD shooting. In that one, the suspect tried to rob the store armed with a knife. He stabbed a clerk and he met up with responding officers at the entrance. They tried to arrest the suspect still armed with a knife. One officer was stabbed so badly in the ground fight, he was disembowelled. He staggered to his feet and fired his weapon and collapsed. His partner ran to his side to provide first aid to his partner. A third officer with a long gun held his weapon on the suspect. When the suspect tried to get up again another volley of shots were fired and the suspect was killed.

What I didn’t know when I wrote about that shooting, was that it took the IIO more than five hours to arrive on scene. From their office in Surrey. And then only two of their so-called investigators could bother to show up. There were dozens of civilians and somewhere around 30 VPD members including the Emergency Response Team who showed up after all the shooting was done.

No matter, VPD had to secure all the witnesses, the scene and basically stand around with their fingers in their butts because the IIO required it. Not just the officers involved but everyone whether they were there at the time of the shooting or not.

The Keystone Kops, when they finally arrived, demanded the three identified subject officers, and at least five identified ‘witness’ officers surrender, not only their weapons, but their entire uniforms right down to their boots.

They actually tried to seize almost 30 weapons including those of the ERT officers who arrived after the shooting. Yes, I’m being serious. They tried but it was only the resistance of the VPD Duty Inspector in charge of the scene who dug his heels in at that stupidity.

Then came the problem that neither IIO investigators had the requisite certification to handle a weapon.

They didn’t even have a basic Firearms Acquisition Certificate. Apparently they don’t think the laws of Canada apply to them.

I still don’t understand how the IIO thinks they can seize witness officers’ weapons, duty belts and full uniforms without a search warrant. Certainly, if they ask and the officers consent, that is legal. But if any officer told them no, they would need a warrant as would any police officer in any investigation.

So, I asked their Director of Communications, Marten Youssef, under what authority they did that. Here is his reply:

“The IIO is a law enforcement agency with all of the powers and responsibilities prescribed to all police agencies under the Police Act (see section 38.07). As such, the IIO may seize all evidence necessary to carry out its investigation according to the relevant laws. This process is further guided by the Memorandum of Understanding Respecting Investigations between the IIO and all police agencies in B.C. Section 8 of the MOU speaks specifically to the seizure of evidence from a scene.”

In the first instance, the powers of seizure for all police officers is granted by the criminal code and I can guarantee you it doesn’t include the uniforms of officers not designated ‘Subject’ officers who are involved in a serious incident. There is no evidentiary value to take weapons not fired, and duty belts and uniforms of designated witness officers. The only possible exception is if there is blood splatter contamination.

In the second instance, the signatures of the respective Chief Constables on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) cannot supersede the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which protects every Canadian, including police officers, of the right against unlawful search and seizure.

So the answer is meaningless. The only possible answer is the incompetence of the IIO investigators. They don’t actually know what they should seize for investigative and evidentiary value so they try and seize everything.

I would not want to be a police officer in British Columbia who might have to rely on these clowns to decide my fate.

Merry Christmas.

-30-

Leo Knight

@primetimecrime

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Written by Leo Knight

December 24, 2016 at 3:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

16 Responses

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  1. At one time, we used to put mentally disturbed people in an institution for their own safety and that of the public. Unfortunately, government cost-cutting and bleeding-hearts determined that this was no longer feasible and now, we have people on the streets and left to their own devices, who aren’t capable of making rational choices.

    While I don’t disagree that such individuals were treated poorly in the past, liberal activists have gone too far the other way in granting ‘rights’ and freedoms that these individuals cannot grasp, appreciate or live by. It’s ridiculous when those who care for mentally ill people must go through the incessant legally-imposed ‘hoops’ in order to obtain mental health assistance for their loved ones, only to watch them use these ‘rights’ to go against that which is in their (and the public’s) best interest.

    Not long ago a close family member asked me to phone and make them an appointment at the mental health clinic and also requested I drive them to the appointment. I was more than happy to do this because I realize that sometimes the people who need help also need a reassuring ‘hand to hold’ and a way to make the objective as easy as possible. Imagine my surprise when the surly person on the other end of the phone refused to permit me to make an appointment for my relative. Policy. As though policy matters to someone seeking help. This deterrent was the reason for an almost year-long lapse in my family member seeking assistance, which they eventually did, but only after I drove them to the clinic and spoke to someone (initially) on their behalf.

    My point is, there are many people out there who require some sort of mental health assistance. Government needs to fund it better and the legalities require some adjustment so that well-intentioned caregivers are provided some regard as to their opinion about the individual all are seeking to help. It’s time for law enforcement, public health and families of mentally ill individuals to sit down and take a non-politically correct look at what needs to change, to better serve those in need.

    It’s easy to lay blame at the feet of police officers who deal with these individuals on a daily basis, but those of us who comprehend the gravity of mental illness, understand that a police officer should be the LAST resort in helping, controlling or otherwise influencing the lives of those who require assistance. Government has essentially dumped their responsibility onto the backs of police officers who are NOT therapists, doctors or mental health experts.

    How different the societal narrative would be if, when someone was confronted by a deranged individual, they called up their local bleeding-heart to resolve the situation, rather than police. Let those who are the first to criticize, malign and bear witness as to what ‘wasn’t’ done….do it…and see how well their self-righteous rhetoric alleviates the issues.

    A deranged individual and a machete in a public place should not be cause for police officers to 2nd-guess their own training. Period.

    Jay

    December 24, 2016 at 4:31 am

  2. Get rid of these clowns! They want to seize everyone’s belts in case somebody has a non-issue piece of equipment. At least then they can go after the police officer for some minor offense. They can then add that to their list of police wrong doings, which is a minor speeding violation so far. I think that’s what they have drummed up to date in all of their lengthy useless investigations, no? Who is monitoring these clowns (besides you informally Leo)?

    Al Arsenault

    December 24, 2016 at 4:34 am

  3. Absolutely no one Al. The CCD reports to the Deputy Minister who couldn’t give a fig. And the Minister is lost in the ozone somewhere. Plus ca change.

    Leo Knight

    December 24, 2016 at 4:40 am

  4. And to you sir, and family my very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a utmost Happy, Healthy and Prosper 2017 New Year and many, many more forward. Best regards, keep up the good works, there not many with your experience able to report a clear picture, my LEO friends speak highly of you. Bill Gravel a gracious citizen.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Bill Gravel

    December 24, 2016 at 5:36 am

  5. They do that because the two Brits and the Aussie who “run” the place (and I use that term loosely) want everything seized. The reasoning is because that’s apparently the way they do things in their home countries – there is no more logical explanation than that.

    They just fired the last Canadian cop who worked in a management position at the IIO. Good luck to the hardworking and dedicated police officers in BC who are now literally in the hands of people who not only lack expertise, but who can’t even vote in this country. They wouldn’t have have had firearms licenses because they’re likely not even eligible to obtain them in Canada.

    What a great job Richard Fife and Jay Chalke did managing this circus act. It really would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

    Kevin

    December 24, 2016 at 8:02 am

  6. Well-said and hard-hitting as usual. Just a note, the FAC was replaced by the Possession and Acquisition Licence(PAL).

    I am curious as to whether the suspect with the machete is a Canadian Citizen, or even a legal resident in Canada and whether he is a predicate criminal.

    Lee

    December 24, 2016 at 8:30 am

    • Have they even released his name yet?

      Mark

      December 27, 2016 at 5:28 pm

  7. Hi Leo,

    I have read many of your reports and I have never disagreed with any of them. I can’t understand why someone in authority hasn’t taken the time to read and analyse the reports and the actions taken by the IIO. Surely there are retired well qualified RCMP or Municipal Officers who have had many years investigating similar cases to what are accepted or demanded be done by the IIO. I feel these qualified Officers should be sought out and urged to take over the reins of the IIO. I am sure that any former police officer or an active officer could be appointed to do a much better job than the present

    members in the IIO.

    I was a former Inspector in the VPD and unless things have really changed I would find it very difficult to tell my members to surrender their weapons or equipment to untrained Investigators unless there was an strong reason why this was required in a case.

    I am surprised that more RCMP or Municipal Officers haven’t complained length of time the IIO takes on even some of the most forward cases. It seems to me that every case they look at they assume that the police actions from the very start are wrong. I have known some constables who had

    their careers ruined or because the press and now IIO have indicated early that the action they took was wrong. I can say I have not known of any policemen who have had to use deadly force to protect themselves or others who weren’t seriously affected by this action. If a criminal offender had done the same thing, right off the bat they would have lawyers advising them what was their best course of action. The policeman in similar situations doesn’t have these options only the IIO who seem to only do their best to slowly find evidence to prove he was wrong. This is not right!

    Leo you have a lot of readers who support your opinions! I think that you might be able to convince those in a position to change the IIO management and or their personnel that there is an urgent need

    to change the methods now employed by this group! I would like to see you give it a shot and I would

    like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Dan Kristjanson.

    kristjanson

    December 25, 2016 at 2:30 am

  8. Firearms Acquisition Certificates, or FAC haven’t existed for almost 20 years. They were replaces by Possession and Acquisition licences (PAL). Are the IIO investigators peace officers? If they are they wouldn’t need a PAL as they would be exempt under the firearms act as peace officers in execution of theit duty. Even if they had a pal, a pal recently issued wouldn’t allow them possession of prohibited devices such as higher capacity magazines. The fac/pal issue you mention is itself not making sense.

    The IIO needs a major revamp, but that one point isn’t making sense as far as what is in law.

    Jason

    December 25, 2016 at 5:58 pm

  9. Kudos Leo another very well written article showcasing just how morally and ethically corrupt the IIO is under the control of the even more corrupt Provincial Government.

    IIO Investigator conduct is appalling to say the least. The fact that they actually believe they can seize equipment unrelated to a Police Involved Critical Incident is beyond what a reasonable person would suggest.

    Love to have this challenged in court.

    I would argue the seizure of the WITNESS officers equipment and uniform is obstructing them in lawful execution of their duty and therefore the IIO is outside their lawful authority.

    Many senior front line officers with some experience are more then ready to simply say no when they get a ridiculous request from IIO. Whats next, an off duty officer helps arrest a shoplifter who gets injured when being apprehended by Store Security so the off duty officer has to go home in a bathrobe because the IIO took his clothes?

    Just look at the OPCC, and how they conduct investigations, the person running that office couldn’t hate the police any more than organized crime does. Right Stan? As a matter of fact if you look into the history of some of ex cops working there you would be surprised at their previous conduct while on the job.

    The current rank and file are of the opinion that the IIO and OPCC have gone so far that doing nothing is the best policy.

    Whether Police Executives want to admit it or not FIDO is alive and well in front line policing.

    So for all those taxpayers out there who deserve Police Officers who actually work night shift and keep them safe I’m sorry to say its getting hard to staff those positions. Given this ridiculous oversight, many officers now choose to look for day shift inside jobs where a morning coffee, afternoon workout, and another afternoon coffee make up most of their aggressive policing efforts.

    Then some Police Agencies promote some of those people to front line management positions because they make a very colourful diversity website page.

    Policing in this Province is at a very difficult time and I don’t envy those just entering the profession.

    Police Executives in BC are strong with good people now and the relationship with the various Police Unions is much better than the previous Chief’s allowed. This next year will be a true test of BC Police Executive Leadership as they have to balance the need for IIO cooperation with protection of their front line staff. If they dont do the right thing, FIDO will be the next brochure acronym.

    I think a complaint process allowing the Subject Officer to complain about the actions of the IIO Investigators needs to be available, after all they are not above the law.

    Doctors kill and injure 10X the amount of people that Police do and they work in sterile, clean, slow and methodical environments that THEY control. Police respond to violent, uncontrolled, dynamic situations that the suspect controls.

    Police have IIO, OPCC, and CCC oversight, Doctors have a panel of other Doctors to review their actions…….Stan do you see a problem here?

    B. Brewer

    December 26, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    • Stan lived in a world where he “was” a lawyer who had oversight by other lawyers. My how times change with a little bit of power. Remember Stan, power corrupts.

      Pie throwing lawyers with white hair causing mistrust between public and police by spreading outrageous lies and rumours including fear mongering the public at large ……….from the ashes arose the IIO to save the world (BC) and rid the continent of all the corrupt police officers, to heal the public’s wound of mistrust in everything breathing.

      This last case occurred before Christmas…….it’s now all starting to make sense…..the truck load of uniforms, equipment belts, and firearms were seized to go back to the IIO office ……..where gleeful IIO investigators are skipping and flitting around the office like Christmas Elves trying on various uniforms. Prancing about the office and striking James Bond poses, hiding behind the office Christmas Tree popping out to scare other investigators, sprinkling fairy dust about hoping the reports write themselves.

      Mischievous Elves……….there can be no other explanation.

      The PAL issue is mute point as these Elves are currently covered by the CCC as peace officers status……………but the reason the code gives and has given Peace Officers this privledge over the years is that ‘every’ peace officer takes extensive firearms training from their own agency. This section of the CCC was written with the complete expectation and understanding that the training occurs.

      I’m guessing as soon as this comes to light a few things may happen 1.) the IIO lose their status 2.) the CCC is re-written to exclude IIO from this privledge, 3.) the CCC is re-written to exclude all peace officers………..ha, yah right! …..

      what’s really going to happen is after an accidental discharge in the Elves Office there will be an investigation of embarrassing magnitude and the CCC will drop on this agency like a ton of bricks, the BC Govt will be given a public spanking for allowing such wasteful incompetence at public expense and the Cat in the Hat will have to vacuum up the IIO Elf Office until no sign of existence.

      Things go back to normal and all live happily ever after………right? This is all a Fairy Tail after all right?

      D Bain

      December 28, 2016 at 4:07 pm

  10. Hi Leo,

    my name is Arthur I work at Canadian Tire on Grandview. I was one of the key witness that saw the attempted robbery. the Independant Investigator is so ridiculous they called my co worker who was the victim of stabbing. they asked him for a blood DNA sample and he declined them.

    the guy comes in to the hunting desk at a time when there was 3 employees Joe, Steve and Ryan working behind the counter. he demands a firearm from the case. they declined. he peppersprays them. one of our firearm employee Joe quickly grabbed a gun and stabbed him in the neck and told the others to get out and evacuate. so Steve and Ryan runs out of the desk and tell me and others to get out. this guy stabbed Joe and eventually subdued him. he somehow managed to break into the firearms case. he tried reloading the rifle with random ammunition. he gives up. he grabbed a 82 year old as hostage to make his escape. he makes his way to the exit. he lets go of the hostage. police arrived and he peppersprayed them, police used tazer and rubber bullets. they tried to arrest him but he stabbed the officer. they decided to use last resort so they all backed off and shot him 5 times.

    everybody including the police officers were traumatized. I felt bad especially for the officer that had no choice but to use lethal force. the IIO is on him. we work very close with the VPD and everybody here thought the police handled the situation professionally. as for the IIO, many of us declined to cooperate with them because they would request that we go to their office in Surrey for interview. and when they do come in the store they spend hours and hours asking questions. and couple days ago they asked Joe for a blood sample. it is so ridiculous they are just as terrible as Parks Canada.

    this is an example of an mentally ill individual. he comes in at a time when there was me and 4 other guys working in Sports. if he was smart, he could have came in at a time when there is only one staff working on the floor. he does not have firearms knowledge. he loaded the wrong bullets. he shouted kill me when he stabbed the officer. that was probably the saddest part of the story.

    Arthur

    Arthur

    February 10, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    • Arthur, thanks for sharing you story. It must have been a very frightening and chaotic experience for you and your coworkers. I hope that you all have friends and family to support you as you deal with the aftershocks of this event.

      I am sure that the VPD officers involved appreciate the working relationship with you and your support of them during this investigation. I am also glad to hear that you are standing up to the IIO, don’t let them push you around. I can’t imagine for the life of me why they would want a DNA sample from your co-worker, he was right to refuse as they have no authority to make such a demand.

      Rob

      February 13, 2017 at 1:06 am

      • he eventually did agreed to give them a blood sample and he told me charges were already placed against the 2 officers. their reason was that one of the bullets missed and almost hit someone. it just makes you roll your eyes.

        Arthur

        February 14, 2017 at 3:09 am

    • Arthur,

      Can you please email me at primetimecrime@gmail.com

      Thanks,
      Leo

      Leo Knight

      February 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm


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