I’m going to deviate from eating-well-on-vacation posts because I’m just so annoyed by our latest bit of British Columbia-style justice, a.k.a. competition to see which judge can raise the cynicism level of our already-jaded province the highest by letting some total criminal (a.k.a., ex-police officer) off the hook.
If you live in BC, you’re probably sick of hearing about Monty Robinson already – not because he’s in the media a lot but because it reminds you of all that is apparently corrupt about the RCMP – a law enforcement organization that is supposed to uphold the law and protect us. Instead our tax dollars are hard at work building them a canteen that serves liquor (!) and paying lawyers when their members stray from the straight-and-narrow. In Robinson’s case, he’s swerved completely off the map.
In 2008, he had 5 beers at a party and then drove home with his kids in the car. See, I’m up in arms about that and he’s only just getting started. On the way, he struck and killed motorcyclist Orion Hutchinson. Instead of acting like a normal, feeling, thinking person, let alone a police officer who should bloody know better, he rushed home to do a few shots of vodka in order to disguise the fact that he was drunk when he hit Hutchinson. I know, right? The rest of us would be freaking out over the welfare of the person we’d struck, but Monty is more concerned about his own dear self. And he’s in law enforcement so he knows exactly how to mess up a Breathalyzer test, so that’s good. Imagine, your child is dying by the side of the road and the person who hit him is doing shots of Stoli in order to avoid being nailed for it. Never mind helping the victim, just get real drunk so you can return to the scene, and say, Yeah I’m real drunk now but when I hit this guy I was A-OK. It would make the angels weep. Oh, and he said in trial that he did the shots to “dull the pain” he was feeling. Poor guy! Again, it’s all about him. He’s the real victim here. But. I wonder what Orion Hutchinson was feeling?
Anyone else would wind up spending many years in jail for these kind of shenanigans, but what happens to him? Loses his job. Big deal, anybody else would lose their job too. Otherwise, he’s just getting house arrest for a blink’s worth of time. The judge is taking into account the fact that he’s an alcoholic? It’s been four years, people. Now he needs rehab? That’s super-convenient. Exactly when he’s being sentenced. What has he been doing for the past four years? What, killing someone wasn’t enough of a wake-up call? And she’s concerned because he’s native. If I were a native person I’d be hopping mad about that bit of racism. It’s exactly that kind of patronizing attitude that weakens the native community.
The judge also points out that he’d need to be in protective custody. I don’t buy this either. He strikes me as exactly the kind of guy who knows how to work any angle. Don’t they have rehab programs in prison? Two birds, one stone.
(Is it a coincidence that in 2007 he was a member of the crack team that walked into YVR and killed the hapless tourist Robert Dziekanski? Aren’t cops taught to talk people down? No, they couldn’t wait to use their lethal little toys on him. And they killed him – because he didn’t pipe down quite fast enough for them, and they gave him a whole 20 seconds. What, four guys can’t calm one exhausted guy down? Any mom with a 4-year-old could have done a better job. Just sit down cross-legged on the carpet and announce it’s circle time. Pass some snacks: Cheerios in a plastic cup, tetra-pak of apple juice. Be real calm, smile – what’s hard about this? It’s just a tantrum! No, instead they zapped him with enough electrical current to stop a bear. Easier. More fun. And then….they totally lied about it! Even though there was video, can I have a duh for the brothahs? Angels. Weeping.)
OMG, I’ve been dying to get that out for 5 years. My heart is with Dziekanski’s mom, Zofia Cisowski, and the parents of Orion Hutchinson, whose pain I feel today. It’s just insult on injury when wrongdoers walk away from out-and-out crimes, and when those wrongdoers are members of law enforcement agencies it’s a monstrous betrayal of the public trust. Frankly, I think that when police officers commit these crimes their punishment should be more than for the average person. Like when they threaten to double the fine when you speed in a construction zone. Sometimes the average citizen idiot breaks the law just out of cluelessness, or laziness, but a cop? Should know better. And they do it anyway. Like the officer that was selling weed? That’s baaaad. And the punishment should be commensurate with that fact. We should hold them to a higher standard.
I know there are lots of police officers out there toiling away and doing a great job, like the guys who came out when I called 911 because someone banged on my door in the middle of the night. As it turned out, there was a car parked in front of the house with its lights on and the person was actually being a good Samaritan and trying to let us know. But he scared the bejesus out of me and I called my husband and then I called the cops. So the police arrived lickety-split, and while they were looking round the house and the yard my husband comes screeching around the corner like a bat out of hell, startling me, startling them, and….well, I’m just glad they didn’t have tasers and were very calm people, that’s all. Also they were VPD.
Although….sometimes I wonder about the VPD too. We are members of RestaurantWatch, which is an organization designed to make drug dealers and gang members regret their means of livelihood by essentially identifying and shaming them when they try to go out to a restaurant for a meal. Basically like BarWatch, except that with BarWatch the officers can just come in to any bar and have a wander round, and nab the “baddies”. With RestaurantWatch the staff are obliged to call RestaurantWatch squad and have them come in and roust the identified alleged gang members. They make them pay their bill first, which is the important part. Now the RestaurantWatch squad are well-trained in discretion and don’t make a big deal about moving people along. But here’s the thing. The officers responding to the call aren’t always trained in RestaurantWatch protocol! That’s when it gets exciting. More than once we’ve had a small army come tromping in, say in loud voices with pointing fingers, “That them? Looks like them!” and turning to the horrified manager, “They’re the ones you called us to kick out, right?” In full view and hearing of all patrons. This is unbelievably mortifying and terrifying to our staff. Although it must be said that the identified persons are almost always beautifully-mannered about it, or at least don’t give the staff a hard time. There was one time that a few guys came back but it turned out they had forgotten to tip and were returning to rectify that little omission, God love them. So while RestaurantWatch, while an admirable program designed to take a bite out of crime by not allowing crime to have a bite of anything at all, in theory, is not perfect in practice. And that’s not the fault of the guys heading up the program, who are awesome. I guess it’s going to take a little time to get a bit more seamless. But I would think it’s just common sense, wouldn’t you? They way they do it, they may as well bring a big bullseye to spang on the manager’s shirt. So, while the VPD are on the whole a well-disciplined organization (great restraint during the riot; I was worried it would look like a Punch-and-Judy show with batons going up and down but it wasn’t), they aren’t perfect. But who among us is?
Whew! My goodness! So self-righteous! Tomorrow I’ll have to talk about makeup or similar just to balance out the vitriol.