An open letter to
Police Complaint Commissioner
I sent this letter the day after a brief meeting with him
Sept. 24, 2009
Dear Mr. Lowe:
It was good of you to come out and talk to me briefly yesterday as I was distributing leaflets outside the Deltassist AGM where you were about to deliver a speech.
You were gracious in your remarks and Deltassist does good work in the community. So I was reluctant to say very much because I didnt want to risk marring the Deltassist event with a possible argument.
You said you want people to judge you by what you do. Ive been judging you by your decision on the Dziekanski case. I assume you mean you want people to judge you by what you will do in the future.
Youre a personable guy but I stand by what Ive written about your decision in the Dziekanski case. That decision certainly doesnt bode well for what youll do in the future.
Even if you do intend to work honourably within the confines of a system based on police investigating police, youre still stuck with a staff of ex-cops, at least some of whom are extremely biased. Theres no doubt that deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce Brown conducted an extremely sloppy, highly biased review of the investigation into my complaint by Vancouver Police Professional Standards.
Brown has spent most of his life as an RCMP officer.
The VPD investigation, too, was extremely sloppy and highly biased. It was conducted by Vancouver Police Professional Standards officers Ian Upton and Rollie Woods.
Woods now works for you at the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.
Their work on my complaint was so obviously biased that I think I can generalize from that one case. No one can screw up the way Upton, Woods and Brown screwed up unless its deliberate and they know they can get away with it.
The VPD takes it for granted that the OPCC will rubber-stamp their investigations.
As for the OPCC, it couldnt care less about fairness or professionalism because its unaccountable. In theory it answers only to the legislature. But because the legislature doesnt review the OPCCs work for fairness or competence, the OPCC really answers to no one.
The fact that the OPCC hired someone from VPD Professional Standards, especially Woods, strongly suggests cronyism and a commitment to biased decisions.
My concern about this issue goes far beyond an ugly incident that happened a few years ago. I think its likely that some police deal that way regularly with marginal people, many of whom have trouble speaking for themselves.
If any of them do complain, theyre confronted with police and OPCC officials who are not only biased, but extremely complacent about what they can get away with. Theyre milking a system that encourages bias and complacency.
The exceptions would be cases that get advance publicity or the advance support of groups like Pivot and the BCCLA. I think thats how Dirk Ryneveld got his bogus media rep as a crusader.
Maybe, just maybe, youll try to work honourably within the constraints of a system based on police investigating police. Frankly thats hard to believe, given your decision on the Dziekanski case. And I dont know how you could do it anyway, when youre stuck with a staff of ex-cops that includes people like Brown and Woods.