Friday, July 31, 2009

Guns 'n Hoses rock Vancouver

A welcoming committee of a different sort is getting ready to greet the 10,000 cops, firefighters and jail guards in Vancouver for the 2009 World Police and Fire Games.

Athletes are having a parade of their own from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. beginning at Science World.

The notorious Anti-Poverty Committee will march from Victory Square at 7 p.m. Friday to GM Place to wish the athletes well in their sporting endeavors.

"The APC calls on all those individuals and groups who are against police brutality and the everyday terror and violence caused by the various police forces to participate in actions and events during the police and fire Games," said an APC news release.

The WPFG opens just two days after West Vancouver Const. Griffin Gillan was given a 21-day conditional sentence with no jail time as punishment for attacking a newspaper delivery man outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Jan. 20.

Gillan pleaded guilty to the assault. He downed 20 to 25 drinks on a night out with New Westminster cop Jeffrey Klassen and Delta cop Blair Tanino. He threatened a person who gave him a lift before beating up Firoz Khan. He also kicked and punched a police cruiser. Klassen allegedly joined the melee and is to appear in court in September.

Many visitors to the WPFG -- perhaps even Polish police -- came through Vancouver International Airport, where Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died minutes after he was Tasered on Oct. 14, 2007 by RCMP Const. Kwesi Millington. His commander was Cpl. Benjamin "Monty" Robinson who was shuffled to the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit. He is suspended with pay from the Olympic security squad and banned from driving because of an Oct. 25, 2008 fatal collision in Tsawwassen.

Delta Police recommended to Crown counsel that Robinson be charged with dangerous driving and impaired driving causing death after motorcyclist Orion Hutchinson was struck by a sport utility vehicle.

Robinson and his comrades were not charged for their role in the death of Dziekanski, but their actions are under scrutiny in the ongoing Braidwood Inquiry. Retired judge Thomas Braidwood found that Tasers are deadly and must only be used under strict limits. The inquiry reconvenes in September to mull the bombshell email between senior RCMP officers that indicated the "YVR 4" decided to Taser Dziekanski before they arrived on scene.

In June, ex-jail guard Roger Brian Moore was sent to the slammer for four years because he peddled $20,620 worth of marijuana, ecstasy and steroids and $10,000 of tobacco to prisoners.

North Fraser was also the place where corrupt jail guard Edwin Ticne helped gangster Omid Tahvili escape in 2007. Ticne got three-and-a-half years. Tahvili is wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has much more to say about the sorry state of policing in the Olympic province.

Join me in saluting those in law enforcement who respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, risk their lives to save others' lives or tirelessly pursue murderers, rapists, thieves and fraudsters.

Most police honor the badge and understand their job is to serve and protect the citizens who pay their wages, but who can disagree that one bad cop is one too many?

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