Just how powerful
are private police?
Somebody has given Genesis Security extraordinary powers
that it can’t handle
and doesn’t have to answer for.
How widespread is this problem?
Oct. 2, 2014
Genesis Security Group: The proud logo of an incompetent, irresponsible,
dishonest but powerful and highly rewarded private police force.
It took a suicide to bring these details to light. Canadian border guards have offloaded some of their responsibilities—and powers—to a private company called Genesis Security Group. Among other duties, the company’s security guards transport prisoners, detain them and incarcerate them.
The news comes from a coroner's inquest into the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez, a Mexican who hanged herself in a Canada Border Services Agency jail run by Genesis Security. One problem that hasn’t so far (and might never be) reported by media is that private security guards’ powers are increasing while their responsibilities and accountability remain murky.
Prior to starting this website I spent a frustrating amount of time trying to find out what security guards in B.C. may or may not do, and how to hold them accountable. I came to believe that any safeguards to citizens or oversight of security guards are strictly theoretical, and that provincial officials disregard complaints. Later, in October 2007, the Georgia Straight’s Travis Lupick had more success in digging up info and asking key questions. But after that the subject slunk back into the shadows as the province phased in new legislation without explaining it to the public at all adequately.
The CBSA/Genesis news, involving a federal agency, further confuses the issue. There appears to be many more private cops than the public realizes, but we don’t know what kind of powers they wield. That’s scary for a number of reasons.
Additionally, Genesis Security has been screwing up badly, showing the company’s unfit for such responsibilities. The inquest heard that the company has been short-changing the CBSA, leaving its private jail seriously understaffed. Former employee Jivan Sandhu portrayed himself and his fellow Genesis security guards as lazy, incompetent liars who falsified important records.
(Yet Sandhu seems to think he’s found his vocation. He now works for B.C. Corrections.)
The news about a private security company’s private jail adds substantial credibility to info I sent to the Georgia Straight and Vancouver Sun back in April 2012. An American who had just been kicked out of Canada informed me Genesis Security guards handcuffed, shackled and detained him in a jail they ran themselves. I was skeptical, thinking he might have mistaken CBSA officers for private security guards. But he was adamant they worked for Genesis Security. I then tried, without success, to get the Straight and Sun to look into whether Genesis did indeed have these powers.
Apart from concerns about their powers, my contact related disturbing events that call into question the accountability of private cops. He stated that a Genesis guard badly injured him in transport from Pemberton to Vancouver.
He wrote that with hands and legs shackled, “I was placed in a compact metal cage in the back of a dark unmarked high-security van. The driver/guard did not put me in any kind of seat-belt or restraint to keep me from being injured. The driver drove at very high rates of speed, making very hard starts and stops at traffic stop signs and stoplights. My head continuously slammed into the sloped metal ceiling behind my head, leading me to get very light-headed. I started getting dizzy and was leaning forward when the driver slammed on the van brakes at a stop light in Squamish. I went airborne, head-first into a thick metal-plated wall, knocking me unconscious and causing internal/external bruising, severe spinal/back/neck pain, sleeplessness, later memory/speech issues, current heart palpitations, and more….”
Since then a father of a Victoria police officer told me that Victoria cops will speed, slam the brakes, speed, slam the brakes etc. to repeatedly smash the heads of handcuffed prisoners against a metal plate.
My American correspondent stated he had “blood pouring down my right arm from my handcuffs, and felt horrible pain in my spine, neck, rib-cage, and legs. My legs were awkwardly twisted and up in the air due to the shackles and very confined space.” The guard eventually took him to a hospital in Squamish. After an examination, a doctor ordered her to keep the prisoner under 24-hour observation due to a potentially serious head injury. She drove him to the Genesis jail in Vancouver, but it lacked medical staff. A Genesis supervisor ordered her to take him to the Vancouver police jail, he stated.
The next morning, he said, a jail doctor came by, asking all prisoners if they wanted Tylenol or Aspirin.
“Soon after the doctor left, another Genesis Security driver/guard showed up. Once again, I was cuffed, shackled, and placed in a metal cage in the back of another unmarked van; again, without any seat-belt or type of restraint to prevent injury. Once again, the driver/guard drove recklessly, meandering through downtown Vancouver on the way to Genesis Security's facilities for my hearing. Again, the driver slammed on the van brakes, sending me airborne. This time, I was not dizzy and managed to throw my knees up to absorb the impact. My knees and legs were cut and bruised and I fell onto the edge of the steel bench, hurting my ribcage and back again. I screamed in pain and yelled some obscenities at the driver, stating this was the SECOND time they did this to me! I was furious and in horrible pain.”
“Once at Genesis Security's facilities, I was placed in a wheel chair, taken inside, searched again, photographed and fingerprinted twice (by a private corporation). I was placed inside of a small holding cell with 4-5 other detainees (all Hispanic, nice guys). I was denied access to the U.S. Consulate General, after 3 requests.”
For all that, they eventually released him with orders to report to CBSA twice a week, he said. But, he added, he eventually got additional brutal treatment when re-arrested, this time by CBSA officers.
“They drove me across the Canadian/U.S. border and told U.S. border agents they were “repatriating” me (without due process). The U.S. border guards said they had never seen that happen before. They said Genesis Security usually brings people across, not CBSA.”
His unfortunate story continued. I’ve related only the excerpts concerning Genesis Security.
Granted, these are one person’s statements that I have no way of vetting. But neither, it seems, does anyone else. If there’s any way to hold Genesis Security accountable, it’s not easily accessible public knowledge.
And how many other Canadian law enforcement agencies are handing over how many other responsibilities to private police?
On another note, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association deserves credit for criticizing the way Genesis Security carried out its duties. It’s good to see our “official activists” have some backbone after all. Too bad it’s limited to challenging federal institutions. When it comes to provincial issues, the BCCLA establishment lapdogs congratulated the BC Liberals and NDP for creating an ineffective Independent Investigations Office, twice lied to the media stating that B.C. had ended the practice of police investigating police and refuses, except on rare and mild exceptions, to criticize B.C.’s obviously corrupt Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.