Ask Stan Lowe and Rollie Woods
some obvious questions
I tried to get reporters to do so. The Vancouver Sun calls
my effort a hoax. Woods called the cops. But is anyone
in the media actually scrutinizing this agency?
Greg Klein, February 19, 2014
After many efforts to get media to ask B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner some obvious questions (here’s just one of many examples), I took a different approach on February 19. It’s copied below. The Vancouver Sun calls it a hoax. Deputy police complaint commissioner Rollie Woods wants the cops to consider charges. What seems to have been lost in this little tempest is my real intention and the very serious questions I’ve raised.
A hoax is deception. I wouldn’t have thought any competent journalist would mistake that e-mail for an actual OPCC media release. The first clue is the second sentence of the second paragraph. It then becomes progressively more obvious, in content and tone, that the media release was written by a critic of the OPCC. My name and contact info appear at the bottom.
The repeated pleas to phone Stan Lowe take on a humorous tone, but the charges I make are dead serious. The intent of the letter—in case I have to spell it out—wasn’t to fool media into posting an inaccurate story (which the Sun actually did, before promptly removing it). I was trying to encourage media to contact the OPCC and ask some very serious questions.
The anonymously written Sun story says I admitted in an interview that the letter was “fake.” I admitted writing the letter. The charges are anything but fake.
That was some interview, by the way. It lasted about 35 seconds. Sun editor Dan Cassidy did most of the talking and quickly cut me off when I tried to state my intention. A bit later he hung up abruptly.
The Vancouver Sun story even seems to imply that police should clamp down on dissent of this kind.
For the most part the media have been ignoring the info I brought up, even though it’s easily verified. I’m not a member of the BCCLA or Pivot, nor do I block traffic, disrupt meetings or vandalize property. Therefore nothing I say on this issue matters, it seems.
Stan Lowe and Rollie Woods are bigshots. Therefore, it seems, no one may challenge their statements or conduct.
The Sun story emphasizes that the media release uses the “police complaint commissioner’s letterhead.” If Sun journalists are concerned about actual deception, they should challenge the misinformation and outright lies released under that letterhead by the OPCC.
Here’s the media release that I wrote:
Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, British Columbia
250 356-7458 1 877 999-8707
February 19, 2014
“Cover-up” allegations refuted by B.C. Police Complaint Commissioner
Replying to persistent but irresponsible charges, B.C. Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe today commented on his office’s handling of circumstances involving Vancouver police constable Taylor Robinson. On June 9, 2010, Robinson pushed a disabled woman to the sidewalk. In July 2010 a member of the public began accusing the OPCC of helping the VPD cover up the incident. Recently his allegations surfaced again, when the accuser claimed new information had come to light clarifying the conduct of this case by Vancouver Police Professional Standards and the OPCC.
“What this person says is nonsense,” Lowe maintained. “If there were any truth to his allegations this would be a scandal far worse than anything uncovered by Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin in his historic 2008 investigation of that province’s Special Investigations Unit.”
“This is a smear on the integrity of my staff and myself, an independent officer of the legislature and prominent member of the B.C. legal community,” Lowe continued. “Therefore I invite journalists to contact me so I may refute the allegations clearly and truthfully. Just call me, that’s all. My number is 250 356-7458 or toll-free 1 877 999-8707.”
The allegations are as follows:
- On June 9, 2010, VPD constable Robinson shoved a disabled woman, Sandy Davidsen, to the sidewalk for no apparent reason.
- VPD Professional Standards officers learned of the incident by June 11, 2010, when they interviewed the victim. But they did not order a Criminal Code investigation, order a Police Act investigation, or inform the OPCC, as they were required to do by law. Instead they covered up the incident.
- The OPCC learned about Robinson’s actions on June 28, 2010, but from the victim, not the police. At that point Lowe and his staff were legally required to order a Police Act investigation into Robinson’s actions and another Police Act investigation into the VPD Professional Standards officers who covered up Robinson’s actions. Additionally Lowe and his staff were required to monitor both investigations as they took place and provide instructions if the OPCC believed the investigations were conducted inadequately. Lowe and his staff did none of those things. They colluded in the Vancouver police cover-up.
- Media learned about Robinson’s actions on July 22, 2010, when the B.C. Civil Liberties Association released surveillance video. It was only after the extensive publicity that began on July 22, 2010, that the OPCC and VPD agreed to have Robinson investigated.
- No investigation has ever been ordered into the VPD cover-up, in which Lowe and his staff colluded.
- Further evidence of the OPCC’s dishonest handling of this case comes from a letter by deputy police complaint commissioner Rollie Woods that was posted on the Georgia Straight’s website on December 5, 2013. In the letter Woods falsely claims that Lowe has ordered a public 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.” That statement is completely false. Lowe has not ordered a public hearing into anything regarding this case other than Robinson’s actions. If Lowe did want a public hearing into the VPD Professional Standards officers, Lowe would have to first determine their identities, then order and monitor a Police Act investigation. Only after that investigation was complete could Lowe order a public hearing into their actions.
- If Woods had got his information completely wrong by accident, the OPCC was required to issue a public correction. The fact that the OPCC didn’t issue a correction further indicates that Woods deliberately lied and did so with Lowe’s knowledge.
- It is additionally alleged that this information is on the public record so Lowe is free to discuss it.
Lowe responded vigorously. “What really gets me is the accuser further claims that, because B.C.’s Police Act gives me immunity from transparency and accountability, this so-called ‘cover-up’ could be just the tip of an iceberg,” the police complaint commissioner complained.
“Again, I can’t emphasize strongly enough that it’s all wrong, completely untrue and absolute fiction,” Lowe insisted. “Just phone me—please, please, please phone me at 250 356-7458 or toll-free 1 877 999-8707. I’ll refute each and every allegation clearly and truthfully.”
“Those numbers again? 250 356-7458 or toll-free 1 877 999-8707. You have my word of honour.”
For more information, contact:
Stan T. Lowe
Police Complaint Commissioner for British Columbia
1 877 999-8707
[end of media release]
Postscript: After seeing that Vancouver Sun reporter Tiffany Crawford wrote two wildly inaccurate stories concerning me in the same day, I started to pay attention to her other work. It’s often riddled with errors. She frequently gets facts wrong, a problem possibly exacerbated by a deficient vocabulary.
So when she reported that Woods wanted Vancouver police to investigate me, that statement presents a disturbing problem that Crawford can’t recognize. It suggests that Woods, a former Vancouver cop and a repugnant liar, tried to get his cop cronies to harass a legitimate critic.
But maybe Crawford got her facts wrong yet again.
Or maybe Woods lied yet again.
Read more about the Stan Lowe/Rollie Woods/OPCC cover-up
of VPD constable Taylor Robinson’s assault on a disabled woman