Good riddance to Paul Kennedy
Supposedly the RCMP watchdog,
Kennedy cleared the cops by creating scenarios
that didnt match the evidence
As head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, Paul Kennedys job ends on Dec. 31. The federal government announced on Nov. 27 that it wont renew his appointment. While initial coverage in the Toronto Star and CBC portrays Kennedy as a crusader for justice, an Oct. 31 CTV W5 documentary found the opposite.
Kennedy is supposed to be Canadas watchdog when it comes to our federal police, said W5 journalist Victor Malarek. But in order to defend police, Kennedy creates scenarios that dont nearly match the evidence.
While discussing the fatal RCMP shootings of Ian Bush and Kevin St. Arnaud, Malareks interview shows Kennedy alternating between smugness and stubbornness. In the Bush case, Kennedy manufactures an explanation thats entirely at odds with a forensic expert and DNA reports.
Blood splatter expert Joe Slemko tells Malarek he couldnt believe Kennedys report, calling it a laughable explanation for why evidence isnt there.
Kennedy sides with the RCMP on their refusal to conduct a re-enactment of Constable Paul Koesters implausible account of the events leading up to Bushs death.
To defend Ryan Sheremetta, the RCMP officer who shot St. Arnaud, Kennedy creates his own scenario, a scenario that not a single witness corroborates not even the officer involved, according to Malarek. Lawyer Cameron Ward says Kennedys explanation contradicts the facts.
Kennedys smugness shows again, as he rejects Malareks criticism that the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is actually an apologist for the RCMP.
Theres just a cluster of people, Kennedy responds, and thats the same song they sing. Its like having a bird that only goes tweet tweet.
As for Kennedys proposed changes to the system of investigating RCMP, theyd actually block reform. A Vancouver Sun editorial notes that Kennedys plan could allow the RCMP to investigate itself in the most serious cases, except those involving death. And cases that do involve death could be investigated by another police force, which means some apprehension of, and potential for, bias would still exist.
The editorial concludes that police should be investigated by civilians, not other police.
Kennedy brings to mind another faux watchdog, Dirk Ryneveld. When he was B.C.s police complaint commissioner for municipal officers, Ryneveld allowed deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce M. Brown to rubber-stamp biased police self-investigations. (Unlike Kennedy, however, Ryneveld was canny enough to pursue cases that received advance publicity or support from influential groups.)
Ryneveld was replaced by Stan Lowe, whos best known for exonerating the four Mounties involved in Robert Dziekanskis death. Like Ryneveld, Lowe heads a staff comprised almost entirely of ex-cops.
Kennedys successor hasnt been named yet.
Ryneveld and Kennedy were faux watchdogs and bogus crusaders. But will their replacements be any better?
Watch the W5 report online
To go straight to the Paul Kennedy segment,
click on Beyond Justice? Part 4
at the right side of the W5 Web page.
More on Paul Kennedy:
RCMPs watchdog displays arrogance and bias
Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun, Nov. 30, 2007