2010 Vancouver police brutality
of Taylor Robinson
Media release from Greg Klein, February 14, 2014
A Vancouver police brutality case that’s already seen excessive delays won’t go to a public hearing until October. A recent post on the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner’s website indicates the hearing into VPD constable Taylor Robinson will start October 6, nearly eight months from now. Not only is that delay excessive, but the OPCC took three months just to set the date. The OPCC released its Notice of Public Hearing into the matter on November 12, 2013, stating that the hearing would take place at a date to be announced. Robinson’s actions took place June 9, 2010, when he shoved a disabled woman, Sandy Davidsen, to the sidewalk for no apparent reason.
The additional delays are disturbing partly because B.C. police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe has professed concern about the delays that occurred prior to his November 12 notice. What Lowe and his staff don’t acknowledge, and can’t explain, is their failure to order a Police Act investigation into Robinson’s actions, order a Police Act investigation into VPD Professional Standards officers who covered up Robinson’s actions, and monitor both investigations while they were underway to ensure they were conducted diligently. Law and duty required Lowe and his staff to do those things. They didn’t. They colluded in a VPD cover-up.
Vancouver police learned of the Robinson incident by June 11, 2010, no more than two days after it happened. The OPCC learned about it on June 28, 2010—but from the complainant, not the police. Yet no investigation was ordered until after the media publicity that started on July 22, 2010. Media learned of the incident despite the joint VPD/OPCC cover-up.
Lowe’s conduct of this case is part of a formal complaint I’ve made to the Law Society of British Columbia. Could the excessive delay in the public hearing help Lowe put off inquiries from the Law Society?
In another development, the OPCC has rejected a recent Police Act complaint into the VPD Professional Standards officers who handled the Robinson incident. My complaint pointed out that once the Professional Standards officers learned of the incident, they were bound by law and duty to call a Criminal Code investigation, call a Police Act investigation and inform the OPCC. They did none of those things. They conducted a cover-up.
My January 27, 2014, complaint stated that the 2010 actions of these officers should be investigated now because new information clarifying their inaction and the dates involved came to light only in the last few months, and that the seriousness of the matter requires investigation.
A letter from OPCC investigative analyst Andrea Spindler rejected the complaint because, she claimed, the conduct of those officers will be taken up in the Robinson public hearing and therefore “an investigation into the same issues would be redundant and contrary to the public interest at this time.”
However Lowe called the public hearing to look into Robinson’s actions and only Robinson’s actions. That’s clear from Lowe’s November 12 statement. Later, deputy police complaint commissioner Rollie Woods falsely claimed that Lowe called the hearing “in particular to look into why the police did not notify this office of the pushing incident and instead undertook some type of informal resolution process that is outside of the Police Act.” There’s absolutely nothing to substantiate Woods’ false statement.
If the OPCC wanted a public inquiry into the VPD Professional Standards cover-up, the OPCC would have to issue a Notice of Public Hearing stating that intention. The OPCC hasn’t done so. The OPCC can’t retroactively pretend that the November 12 notice called for a two-for-one inquiry.
Moreover the Police Act requires that a public hearing be preceded by an investigation and, if deemed warranted, disciplinary action. That hasn’t happened with regard to the VPD Professional Standards officers. Lowe and his staff are abusing the Police Act to evade scrutiny of their own part in the VPD/OPCC cover-up.
Additionally the OPCC is in an obvious conflict of interest and should have had my complaint assessed by an independent authority.
The OPCC answers to nobody—absolutely nobody at all. For the most part its staff operate in secret. Their conduct of the Robinson case once again demonstrates why B.C. must overhaul the OPCC to make it transparent and accountable. The legislature could start by firing Lowe and his crew.
Read more about the Stan Lowe/Rollie Woods/OPCC cover-up
of VPD constable Taylor Robinson’s assault on a disabled woman