Support for cop charged with murder

The mystery of why Delta PD Const. Jordan MacWilliams has been charged with murder for doing his job as a sniper covering other MIERT (Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team) officers who were designated ‘non-lethal’ ARWEN gun operators in a shots fired/hostage/standoff situation only deepens. The police did their level-best to bring a peaceful conclusion to the situation initiated by 48-yr.-old Mehrdad Bayrami on Nov. 8th, 2012 at the Starlight Casino.  Last week I told you how the hostage was rescued by MacWilliams and two of his colleagues, who risked their own lives to affect the rescue. If MacWilliams had wanted to end the situation with the suspect dead, he could have easily taken the shot when they broke cover after the hostage created separation between herself and the suspect. But he didn’t. They retreated to cover with the hostage safe to try and see a successful resolution. That’s an important point to consider in this case. If MacWilliams was ‘gun happy’ or a ‘cowboy’ cop he could have taken the shot much earlier than when he was forced to by the circumstances. It is still unclear what the theory of the Crown is about why a murder charge should be laid in this case. And not just to me. Puzzling. It is very rare for a police officer in Canada to be charged with a criminal offence in relation to a use of lethal force. The last time it happened in BC was, according to my research, in 1975 and involved a VPD member...

Murder charge against cop a travesty of justice

Since I started looking at the circumstances surrounding the murder charge laid against Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams the biggest question that remains unanswered is why. Last week in a discussion with me on Global’s Unfiltered with Jill Krop, former Crown Counsel Sandy Garossino tried to explain the charge approval process as it is practiced in BC. In a nutshell, she explained that for a charge to be approved it must have a “substantial likelihood of conviction” and “be in the public interest.” If a police officer abuses their authority then certainly it would be in the public interest to charge them. But in this case, MacWilliams was on a tactical call out with the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response team to a shots fired, hostage taking call. After MacWilliams and two colleagues heroically affected the rescue of the hostage, a then employee of the casino who was arriving for work, a stand off ensued which lasted five hours. All the while Mehrdad Bayrami, 48, was waving a pistol he had already fired three times. In fact, he ejected the clip late in the incident, leaving one round in the spout and pointed at one of the ERT officers held up one finger and said, “I only need one.” So, with the means and the stated aim, the police tried to arrest and disarm the suspect using a tactical, non-lethal approach using a flash bang and an ARWEN gun. As the “non-lethal” officers broke cover, they were covered by MacWilliams, designated in a ‘lethal’...

More questions in case of cop charged with murder

The more the extraordinary 2nd degree murder charge laid against Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams in the 2012 death of 48-yr.-old Mehrdad Bayrami is looked into, the more it appears to be the railroading of a good, young police officer. Murder is an extraordinary charge to be laid against a police officer engaged in executing his or her duty. It is even more extraordinary when laid against an officer working as an ERT (Emergency Response Team) officer. There are so many aspects of this story that haven’t been told and I’m sorry to say so many apparent gaps in the investigation conducted by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) that one must question whether ulterior motives or politics played a part in laying a charge of murder in this case. MacWilliams was a member of the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team (MIERT) on November 8th, 2012 when, at the start of his shift, his phone went off alerting him to a call-out after shots were fired and a woman was taken hostage. MacWilliams was the first MIERT officer to arrive on scene at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster. Within the first half-hour, the ERT members arriving set up their containment process which limited the armed suspect to a small patch of pavement on the sidewalk just outside the casino parking lot. MacWilliams then noticed the hostage had created some separation between herself and the armed suspect. Throwing caution to the wind, MacWilliams and two other officers broke cover and ran towards danger. They deliberately put...

Should Crown have offered an explanation for charging police officer with murder?

Here's a discussion of my piece on the police officer charged with murder on @bc1 with @JillKrop tinyurl.com/lx63wsx

Murder charge against cop makes no sense

In the wake of the madness in Ottawa, the words heroes and courage were being much bandied about. And as they should. We have all seen the video shot by the Globe & Mail reporter showing police officers with weapons drawn moving toward the sound of gunfire and then dozens of rounds being fired leaving Parliament’s attacker dead. It is part of the job for police to move to danger while the rest of humanity instinctively moves away from it. On the face of that alone, courage is needed. Two days before, a Delta police officer, Const. Jordan MacWilliams, was charged with 2nd degree murder resulting from an incident on Nov. 8th, 2012 at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster. The charge is chilling. MacWilliams at the time, was a member of the Integrated Municipal Emergency Response Team. They had been called to the casino after shots were fired and an agitated man was holding a woman hostage. Police contained the scene and isolated 48-yr.-old Mehrdad Bayrami who was waving around a pistol. As the five-hour stand-off dragged on, police tried numerous things to bring an end to it, including negotiators and deploying a robot equipped with a phone in an attempt to start a dialogue. A decision was made to try a non-lethal approach to arrest Bayrami using a ‘flash bang’ and Arwen guns, which fire large plastic projectiles. MacWilliams was designated “lethal” and positioned using an armoured police vehicle for cover. His job was to take the shot if the non-lethal approach went...

Media spin doesn’t reflect reality

In the past 48 hours a number of media stories have popped up saying the Prime Minister Stephen Harper "hid" in a closet during the terror attack on Parliament Hill Wednesday. Twitter was alive with those affected with Harper Derangement Syndrome (HDS) tweeting and retweeting  the stories gleefully. The suggestion obvious that the PM was scared and a coward. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Prime Minister was moved into the nearest place of sanctuary by aides once shots were being fired outside the caucus meeting room. Period. Any suggestion that this was anything else is pure nonsense. As someone who has spent time on the Prime Minister's security detail I do have some knowledge on the subject unlike some of the vitriolic tweeters gleefully pointing at these cheap journalistic shots. The Prime Minister's security detail has increased in the days since 9-11. But the one thing that didn't change was that they left the PM at the House of Commons and he was free to move between the House, Caucus meetings and his office without the encumbrance of his security detail. So, on Wednesday when an Islamic nutter killed a soldier guarding the War Memorial and took a run at the centre of our democracy, the Prime Minister's security detail was not in the building but waiting nearby outside Centre Block. In the caucus room the Prime Minister is the chairman of the meeting, but there are more people in there than MPs. There are a number of staffers and aides...

Clearing up media misconceptions in Surrey murder case

When the RCMP announced at a press conference last week they had made an arrest in the tragic murder of 17-yr.-old Serena Vermeersch in Surrey they initially didn’t the name of the man they had arrested citing a publication ban which they believed was in place. They wanted to. They even delayed the press conference for an hour while they sought clarification from the courts. They went with the announcement of the arrest but did not provide the assembled media with the name of their suspect while still awaiting a response to their question surrounding the publication ban. (The press conference can be viewed here) The Officer In Charge of IHIT explained the process when discussing why they were not, at that time, providing the name of the suspect. (It starts at the 2:01:54 mark in the video) Later that afternoon, at 3:40 p.m., once they obtained the clarification they sought, S/Sgt. Jennifer Pound issued a release identifying Robert Lee Caissie, 43, as the man charged with the murder. At no time did the RCMP say there were not identifying Caissie over privacy concerns as some have reported. Now that we have that clear, let’s look at some of the other misconceptions that have been tossed about willy-nilly in the media. Caissie served his full 22-year sentence. As it stands, there is no provision in Canadian law for Corrections Service Canada to hold any offender for one day longer than the sentence provided by the courts. That is why he was out in the...

Favours for political donations is corruption

Reaction to my column this week in 24 Hours because of the NDP's intention to give one last big favour to the unions in return for their being the largest donors to the NDP incensed some, all of whom are pro-union and anti-business. Fair enough. I suppose that was predictable. But their aim was off with their pointed shots and rhetorical diatribe. In the first instance, it is the recycling of taxpayer dollars to government coffers, to government workers wages, to union dues to NDP donations that at best creates a conflict of interest so large you could fly a 747 through it. At worst it lends itself to a quasi-legal version of the corruption we are seeing played out in the findings of the Charbonneau Commission in Quebec. In the second instance no comparison was made to somehow say business contributions were good but union contributions were bad. I said the NDP platform released two weeks ago contained a sop to the unions that was nothing more than reward for their loyalty and contributions - card check. Card check is the term for the elimination of the secret ballot in an organization attempt for a union and in my view this will cost all of us a lot of money if the NDP get a majority and try and ram this through. A version of card check used to be the norm in Canada, but more enlightened governments through the 80's and 90's brought in the secret ballot so that all affected...

Are guns to blame?

The shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, were shocking. Everyone feels that viscerally. But the rush to blame guns and the gun culture in the US is, at the very least, only a part of the issue. In the first place, none of the guns used in this incident were illegal and nothing that President Obama has done with his nearly two dozen Executive Orders would have changed that. Secondly, there has been precious little discussion about the impact that mental health had in this case.  Relatives have said the shooter was on some form of medication for "depression." So, we can assume some sort of psychotropic prescription pills. The more we look at other similar events it would seem a pattern emerges. A law enforcement friend sent me the following chart. While I haven't personally verified all of the information, I did have a look at a sampling and it seems accurate. Regardless, a pattern emerges that bears discussion. The Sandy Hook shootings have ignited a gun debate that is polarizing America and is causing politicians to do something for no better reason than to be seen as doing something in the midst of the debate. But new legislation or Executive Orders, no matter how well thought out, will only guide the behaviour of the law abiding. And no matter where you stand in the gun debate, this chart indicates what the real debate should be about. The prolific use of psychotropic meds is a relatively recent phenomena. It goes...

A compliant media and the Emperor with no clothes

Last week CNN was describing the developing story in the Middle East, the escalating battle between the Israelis and Hamas in Gaza. While the anchor Soledad O'Brien got the essential story line right, she neglected to tell the whole story. According to the CNN narrative, the latest violence was initiated when the Israelis took out the Hamas military leader as he was being transported in a vehicle and then posted the cockpit video on YouTube. Well, yes they did track and whack him and yes, he deserved it, and yes, the IDF did post it to YouTube. But what the irrepressible O'Brien neglected to mention is that in the preceding two days southern Israel was hit by over 100 rockets fired at them from Gaza by Hamas. A campaign undoubtedly directed by the man killed by the IDF. In the *quid pro quo* world that has become Israel's survival routine, what would you expect? But apparently it doesn't fit CNN's narrative. Better to just leave it out of the story so Israel can be painted as the aggressor. So much easier then to allow Islam's useful idiots to call for the Israeli's to stop "murdering innocent civilians." In this latest action, Twitter has been used as an information tool or spin tool by both sides. Admittedly though, it was the Palestinian side which was outed for using a photo of an injured Syrian child from a different conflict posted on the internet days earlier as an "example" of Israel's...