Public, police deserve to know why charge laid against cop

Last week the Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) in Victoria released a statement saying that no charges would be approved in a case involving a relatively minor motor vehicle accident. That isn’t surprising, based on the facts where a female RCMP member was trying to effect a traffic stop and a motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction dumped and the rider suffered a broken leg. The IIO investigation tried to allege that it was due to the mountie, who had lights and siren activated, had somehow contributed to the accident and therefore would have been charged with something like drive without due care and attention. Which, of course, is nonsense and so said the CJB. But what was interesting to me was the media release was six pages long and 3,134 words explaining why they were not going to charge the police officer. Yet, in the case of Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams who was charged with second degree murder, the media release consisted of a single page and was 414 words in length and said absolutely nothing about why this extraordinary charge was laid against an ERT officer doing his job at an armed hostage taking situation. The last media release by the CJB was on January 14 in a case where the IIO tried to get charges laid against two dog handlers in incidents where the suspects were bitten in the course of the arrest. In that release, also announcing no charges would be laid, the CJB made the announcement in...

Leadership inquiry into IIO about time, but many questions remain

It seems the chickens are coming home to roost for the IIO’s Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal. The BC government has finally launched a probe into senior leadership. According to a story in the Victoria Times Colonist (BC government launches investigation into civilian police watchdog) the decision to involve the Public Service Agency, essentially the Human Resources department for government, was made by Deputy Attorney General Richard Fyfe after receiving numerous complaints. It’s about time. I wrote that Rosenthal should be fired last June for his horrible leadership and the resulting problems in the IIO. (IIO needs a leadership to be successful) Since then more investigators have resigned and the morale within spirals ever lower among those that remain The IIO is desperately trying to hire more people to fill the gaps and meet their statutory obligations. But the reality is that the only people with the requisite expertise who would work for Rosenthal are those who are desperate for a job or haven’t done their research. And there’s the rub. Without that expertise how is any police officer expected to have any faith they will be given a fair shake if they are involved in a serious incident? If you have investigators who don’t know what they are doing trying to handle, for example, an officer-involved shooting, essentially a homicide investigation, how can the police or the public be confident in their results? Every former IIO investigator I have spoken to describe a workplace mired in poor morale, bullying leadership and...

Much remains to be done in case of officer charged with murder

Spending Christmas in Costa Rica was outstanding. It was 85 degrees Farenheit under sunny skies every day. I heartily recommend it to anyone, especially the deep sea fishing with the folks from Kingfisher Sportsfishing. We had a good day out catching one blue marlin, three sailfish and five mahi mahi, known locally as dorado. But it, as with everything pleasurable, it's done. And back to work it is. And there is much to be done. Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams is still charged with murder. That travesty has yet to play itself out. Richard Rosenthal is still head of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO). That travesty also has yet to play itself out. This week, he lost yet another investigator who resigned. That makes 16, by my count, of the complement of 23. It's officially the latter day version of Ted Mack's Amateur Hour there. Let's make a bet shall we. By this time next year, I'll wager Jordan MacWilliams will be back at work serving the people of Delta and Rosenthal will no longer be the threat he now poses to every serving police officer in BC in his position with the IIO. In point of fact, at MacWilliams' last court appearance the Supreme Court judge presiding scheduled a 'pre-trial conference' with the Associate Chief Justice of BC on January 21st. Let's consider that for a moment. A sitting judge has no control over the schedule of the Associate Chief Justice. He didn't just pull this thought out of the air. Yet, he was...

Murder charge against police officer outrageous

The mystery deepens the more one learns in the bizarre case of Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams, who has been charged with murder in the second degree for doing his job in a shots fired / hostage taking incident at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster in November of 2012. Peter Juk, the Crown prosecutor responsible for this outrageous debacle, is, I am told, an ambitious political sort with little trial experience. Yet he, together with the civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) Richard Rosenthal, have somehow contrived to have this fine young officer charged with murder. Frankly, it’s outrageous. Jordan MacWilliams appeared in court this week to face a charge of second degree murder. He is a third generation police officer. His wife is also a police officer. If I were a betting man, I would bet that at least one of his young kids will aspire to be a police officer. Yet, given what is happening to him, one might ask why. The desire to serve is what drives police officers to do what they do. It is unique and ubiquitous in their ranks. And, simply put, that is just what Jordan MacWilliams was doing when he responded to a call, as a member of MIERT (Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team) on that fateful day when he shot a man who had fired three times at a female employee of the Starlight Casino and then dragged her at gunpoint more than 500 metres up the parking lot. When MacWilliams arrived...

Delta Cop charged with murder appears in court

Yesterday, Cst. Jordan MacWilliams appeared in New Westminster Supreme court to answer the charge of second degree murder laid inexplicably after he fired the fatal shot in a armed-hostage taking situation in November, 2012. There is something political about this and why this charge has been laid against a good, young officer who did his job and did it well. I don't yet know what it is, but, I will find out and I will ensure that is made known publicly. Whether it is the political ambition of prosecutor Peter Juk or the political survival of IIO chief Richard Rosenthal, I don't yet know. Equally, I don't know why Attorney General Susan Anton is letting this pantomime play out on her watch. But I will find out. Yesterday, the Crown provided MacWilliams' defence team with a document outlining what it is they think they can prove to justify a charge of second degree murder against MacWilliams. It is a flight of fancy at best. More to come in this. -30- Leo Knight @primetimecrime

Cop charged with murder did his job

I have never met Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams. But I know many young police officers like him. Indeed, in my younger, less cynical days, I was much like him. He is a young man seized with a singular ambition; to help people, to serve his community and make a difference in his lifetime, alongside with being a member of that community and raising a family of his own. That’s what young police officers believe. Anyone involved in hiring in any police department in North America will tell you that is the primary answer to the question inevitably asked: Why do you want to be a police officer? Cops are of a singular nature. They don’t become cops for the excitement. 95 percent of police work is boring and the remaining five per cent is sheer terror. But, there is a certain segment of folks who want to wear a badge and carry a gun in the service of their fellow citizens. And it has always been thus, as it was for me when I decided to join the RCMP, lo, those many years ago. And we, as a society, as a community, should be thankful for those who serve. So, how is it that a good, young police officer like Jordan MacWilliams has been charged with murder in the second degree for doing his job as a designated ‘lethal’ sniper on an ERT response to a shots fired / hostage situation at the Starlight Casino in November of 2012? I have reported on...

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