BC Coalition for Police Accountability

 

All hail Tom Stamatakis

Stakeholders respond as new director
appointed to B.C. Independent Investigations Office

 

SURREY B.C., OCTOBER 3, 2016: Today representatives of the British Columbia government and opposition, two civilian activist groups and two police watchdog agencies gathered to comment on the recently appointed director of B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office. The announcement follows the departure of the IIO’s first director, Richard Rosenthal, who retired effective September 7.

“The only issue that has ever consistently united both sides of the legislature is police accountability,” said B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton. “So we’re pleased to join hands with the opposition today.”

NDP justice critic Leonard Krog explained further. “Both parties also agree that the police accountability file has been stressful. Imagine what it’s like to be at the beck and call of an overbearing control freak, having to do his bidding day in and day out, year after year after year. It makes you feel kinda small, even by political standards.

“So we said to Tom Stamatakis: ‘Just leave us alone and do your own bidding. Here, take it, it’s yours—you’re the new IIO director.’”

Simultaneously president of the Vancouver Police Union, B.C. Police Association and Canadian Police Association, Stamatakis is arguably B.C.’s most powerful lobbyist. Under his leadership, the legislature has unanimously supported one police agency that works in near secrecy and with absolutely no accountability, and has created another agency handicapped by legislated weaknesses and woefully inadequate resources.

Stamatakis wasn’t the first choice of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, acknowledged executive director Josh Paterson. “As up-and-coming establishment lawyers we naturally preferred one of our heroes like Stan Lowe or any of his predecessors at the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. But whatever the legislature does on police accountability is fine with us. You don’t get a social justice paycheque by taking a stand on that issue.”

Pivot Legal Society lawyer Doug King also heaped praise on Lowe, and not for the first time. King has previously congratulated Lowe for the way he handled the case of Vancouver police constable Taylor Robinson, who was caught on video shoving a disabled woman to the sidewalk.

“But in lieu of an establishment lawyer, I’d have preferred Rollie Woods. He’s the OPCC’s deputy police complaint commissioner, he’s a former head of VPD Professional Standards and he was like, totally awesome on the Robinson case.”

No investigation began into that incident until more than six weeks after it happened, nearly six weeks after VPD Professional Standards found out and nearly four weeks after the OPCC found out—but just days after the media found out. King represented Robinson’s victim.

“In praising Lowe and the OPCC, I’m taking the same brave, principled stand I took when I left the racism and urban squalor of my own country to seek better career opportunities provided by Canadian injustice.”

As for Lowe, the OPCC chief said, “Of course I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity to work even closer than ever with Mr. Stamatakis. The boss isn’t big on praise, but let’s remember his criticism has always targeted Rosenthal, never me.”

The new IIO head confirmed his bond with Lowe’s crew of ex-cops will become tighter than ever. “Now that we’re finally rid of Rosenthal, I’ve ordered the OPCC to move their HQ from Victoria to the IIO’s Surrey office,” Stamatakis said. “Not that I don’t trust them to work on their own. But Stanley can be useful in other ways too, like fetching coffee or washing my car. And I’ve never found anyone, not even Lowe’s OPCC predecessors Dirk Ryneveld and Don Morrison, who does such a darn good job shining my shoes.”

Stamatakis also said he’s ordered his legislature to grant the IIO zero transparency and zero accountability, as enjoyed by Lowe and his crew.

“As usual, I don’t expect a squeak of protest from anyone, least of all the BCCLA or Pivot—or, from what I’ve heard so far, the media either.”

For more information contact Greg Klein:

Contact Greg Klein

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