Stench from apparent police cover-up won’t go away

The story that broke in the Calgary Herald this morning is remarkable for a Canadian police department in this day and age.The piece written by staffer Suzanne Wilton, details a memo written by then Inspector, now Deputy Chief Jim Hornby of the Calgary Police Service to then Deputy Chief Rick Hanson. The first paragraph of the memo is striking:“As per our conversation, I have a situation where I believe an officer’s notebook has been modified improperly that may bring the Service into disrepute. This surrounds an application for a search warrant and the grounds required to obtain it.”Especially troubling is the fact that the warrant was returned empty. In other words, the warrant to search for a grow-op was granted based on information that was, at least in part, fabricated and the police found nothing. Which isn’t terribly surprising given the family who lived in the rented house are Joe and Jane Six-pack who run a small business refinishing furniture not growing marijuana. They don’t even use marijuana.The raid occurred in September of 2000, nearly six years ago. Since then, the mom of the family, Nancy Killian Constant, has been desperately trying to find answers to determine why members of the Calgary Police Service forcibly entered her home at gunpoint and ordered her and her family to the floor.She has gone through the police complaints procedure, the Law Enforcement Review Board and has launched a lawsuit. And so far, she hasn’t even received...

No surprise in lack of success in OC war

The revelation by RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli that we are not being effective in the fight against organized crime should not come as a surprise to anyone. When Zaccardelli rose to the position as the top cop in the country, his first message was that organized crime was the biggest threat to Canada. At the time, in September 2000, Zaccardelli astonished the assembled media at his first press conference when he said: " For the first time in this country, we are seeing signs of criminal organizations that are so sophisticated that they are focusing on destabilizing certain aspects of our society.""There are criminal organizations that target the destabilization of our parliamentary system," Zaccardelli said to the astonished press corps. Not that they should have been astonished given things like Project Sidewinder and the obvious cover-up by the Liberals to ensure the country stayed ignorant of the threat and their failure to act upon it. For the record, the Libs denied any cover-up and then underlined that with a whitewash by the civilian oversight body SIRC. But, that's a little like believing neither the Prime Minister nor the Finance Minister knew anything about the Sponsership scandal. And to quote LBJ, that dog won't hunt.But however zealous "Zack" may have been coming out of the gate, he was quickly educated in just how political his office has become. With the ink barely dry on the newspapers reporting his comments, Zaccardelli was summoned onto the Prime Minister's lush carpet and put...

Biker bust reveals truth

The arrest on the Friday of Hells Angel Villy Roy Lynnerup, 41, at Vancouver International Airport is yet another example that the bikers are anything but good ol' boys who like to party hard and ride Harleys. Allegedly, Lynnerup was inexplicably carrying a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage right next to his colours depicting him as a full-patch member of the White Rock chapter of the world's biggest biker gang when he was trying to board a plane to Edmonton. How he thought he'd get the gun through airport security is a whole other question.But Lynnerup is not just another biker. Police believe he is the Sergeant at Arms, a senior position in every Hells Angel chapter, for the White Rock chapter. Sources say he was carrying notes from Hells Angels officers meetings in the bag as well, leading them to speculate that he was heading to a high level meeting with other senior members of the club.The Hells Angels have long maintained they are not a criminal organization. Their propaganda machine fuelled by their charitable toy runs and the like. But, even though the police have had only limited success in breaking up their criminal networks, taking a gun to a high level meeting certainly seems to tell a different story.Leo Knightleo@primetimecrime.com

Cops do it right despite criticism

In the week since Graham McMynn was abducted the Vancouver Police threw every resource possible at the investigation. The stated “24” investigators working on the case cited in the media reports was thrown out by police as a number, but was no indicator of the actual police resources utilized in this very challenging investigation.A hint of what really went on came on Wednesday morning when over 100 officers mustered in a Vancouver armoury to get briefed on the plan to rescue the young man.During that week as well, the police were hampered in their efforts by some elements of the broadcast news media who simply would not do as they were asked and refused to “blackout” the story so the police could do their job. With a kidnap victim’s life hanging in the balance, one has to question the judgment in those newsrooms.But the story that really stuck in my craw was the piece done by CTV’s Lisa Rossington when she “tracked down” the rental car used by the kidnappers to abduct McMynn. Rossington spoke to someone in the car lot office who said the police had not contacted them, implying that somehow the police were incompetent. Given that the girlfriend of the victim was present at the time of the abduction and was the one who gave them the information about the vehicle, did Rossington really believe that the police wouldn’t have followed up on their only solid lead from the get-go? It strains credulity...

Irresponsible media hamper police investigation

The media attention on the kidnapping case of a young Vancouver man has been like nothing I’ve ever seen in this type of case. It may also have harmed the police investigation and made it much more difficult for the police to bring about a safe, successful resolution.Late Tuesday morning, Graham McMynn, 23, a UBC student, was snatched off a street in broad daylight by armed Asian gunmen, leaving his distraught girlfriend screaming for help on the street. By early afternoon CTV news had a microwave truck positioned outside the McMynn home. A news crew from Global was on the scene as well, but they chose to be much more discreet.In short order radio station CKNW were broadcasting news of the kidnapping, admittedly with few details.Police asked that the media sit on the story knowing full-well that in kidnapping cases their ability to control the information known to those responsible is critical. That evening, the debate raged in newsrooms throughout Vancouver, whether to go with the story or not. Responsible newsrooms like BCTV on Global, CBC and The Province made the right decision. CITY TV decided not to go with the story on their six o’clock broadcast, but had a reporter ready to do a “live hit” if the other stations went with it. CTV ignored the pleas from the police and led with the story so CITY did their live hit ten minutes into the newscast. With the actions...

When is an investigation not an investigation

So, what’s with the RCMP saying they are investigating the sinking of the Queen of the North one day and then getting all wussy about it the next?Yesterday, The Province reported they had begun an investigation into the sinking. Reporter Matthew Ramsay quoted Sgt. Ken Burton saying, “The RCMP is running a parallel and concurrent investigation. We are exploring all the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event.”Sounds pretty unequivocal to me. But then the day the story appears, BC Ferries boss David Hahn denies any such thing and calls the story “reckless” and RCMP media flak Sgt. John Ward says they are only at the stage of determining whether they will do an investigation.But, when asked if the Province story was wrong, Ward had this to say: “I don’t think you were wrong. I don’t think Burton was wrong.”So, which is it? Is the RCMP back-pedalling because Hahn didn’t like the inference that someone at Ferries had done something criminal that led to the ferry sinking and the apparent loss of two lives?While we can’t discount the possibility of some type of equipment failure, it seems pretty clear to me that the tragedy was likely the result of either human error or human misconduct. The first would not be criminal, the second would. With a boat on the bottom and two people missing and presumed drowned, if there is a possibility of criminal behaviour being the cause, the RCMP are duty-bound to investigate regardless of...

Justice denied for innocent cop

The case of former RCMP Constable John Hudak is more than a little troubling. Hudak’s story, called Branded for Life was told on CTV’s  W5 . Hudak was a small-town cop, a Mountie involved in his community who was accused of sexual assault by a local nurse, Mildred Johnson, 58. By all accounts it would appear as though the investigation was botched early on and in reality, it should have clearly determined that the complainant was either wrong, or more accurately, deliberate in a false accusation of a man who had spurned her attentions.Hell hath no fury and all that, but this case literally screams out that the man in this case is clearly not the predator and the woman clearly is. Unfortunately, all too often the system is too politically correct to get its head around that concept. Any allegation of a sex assault should be treated seriously. But, as any investigator of sex crimes will tell you, the majority of complaints they get are unfounded or vindictive. That’s not a popular statement but it is very accurate.As much as the ultra-feminist movement would have us believe that men are evil predators, the reality is that women are by far and away, more dangerous in the way they use the public perception to gain either an advantage or vengeance. While this certainly doesn’t pretend that some men aren’t sexual predators, it also doesn’t automatically assume the woman making the complaint is telling the truth. In point of fact, as...

Harper’s bold moves show promise

Despite the incessant whining from the lib/left, and I include the bulk of the mainstream media in this, I think newly-minted Prime Minister Stephen Harper is off to a pretty good start.He made some moves in the wake of the election of his minority government that will serve to unite the centre-right of the country politically and at least give his Conservatives the chance to be more than a political flash-in-the-pan.Harper knows that the Liberals need to re-invent themselves after ten years of Martinite/Chretienite blood-letting. Without seats among the tongue-clucking classes in the three major urban areas of the country, he addressed these gaps by appointing Michael Fortier and David Emerson to cabinet posts.Fortier is a major Tory political force in Quebec and Emerson is a well-respected businessman first recruited by Paul Martin in one of his infrequent moments of clarity.The floor-crossing of Emerson has created an outcry from the lefty/unionist types in the blue collar riding of Vancouver-Kingsway, but really, I fail to see why it should be still on anyone’s radar screen this long after the appointment.Yes, Emerson was elected as a Liberal. But frankly, Emerson is far from a Grit true-believer. He is still the same man the riding elected only now he has a seat at the cabinet table. If the trendy lefties in Vancouver Kingsway are so worried that the “scary Harper” might unleash his “hidden agenda” upon an unsuspecting population, aren’t they in a much better position to monitor that with a member...

‘Skids’ clean up needs support

I'm more than a little heartened to see Vancouver Police Inspector Bob Rolls talking tough about cleaning up the world's largest open air drug bazaar, the Downtown Eastside. Or, as it was known when I walked a beat on its mean streets, " The Skids." But talk is cheap. And the real test of this is whether the courts, the Crown and the Department itself, will withstand the inevitable pressure they will face as they proceed with their stated "zero tolerance" policy. When I first set foot on the "beat" in the Skids it was a different job. In those days, in the early '80s, the beat was a coveted job. It was only given to those officers who had proven themselves in patrol cars to have the right stuff. In those days, the beat squad in the Skids was totally self-driven in terms of the work that was done. We weren't responsible for radio calls and our work as part of the 12 man crew was totally self-generated. We went out and found the bad guys and put them in jail. In some ways it was a much more simple life. Within hours of a new guy arriving on the beat he was challenged. Not in the way the word is used today, but in the manner of the Wild, Wild West. To see how tough you were. One of the local street thugs would throw down the gauntlet and you either picked it up and hit him...

Move on please

Is it just me, or is the media making a mountain out of a molehill on the David Emerson defection to the Tories?And then there was the comments by the gone but not missed, former Prime Minister Paul Martin yesterday. He's astonished apparently, that someone he plucked out of the private sector with promises of a cabinet post would have been plucked from the Liberal backbences by the promise of a cabinet post. Why he would wait more than ten days to tell a disinterested country that he's "astonished" is anyone's guess. But frankly, Martin is yesterday's man and few, if any, are interested in his opinion on anything. And today NDP leader Jack Layton is swanning into Vancovuer to "make sure the matter doesn't die." Give us a break Jack. Everyone in the country, with the exception of the liberal media and the looney left has come to grips with why it was done and, agree or not, has moved on. There's nothing left to be gained in trying to engage the nation this extended period of political flagellation. Move on. For God's sake, move on.Leo Knightleo@primetimecrime.com