Police corruption snapshot - Vancouver
- Police corruption snapshot - Vancouver
CanWest News Service
April 30, 2004
VANCOUVER - The Stanley Park six.
The moniker first ran in a newspaper headline and then stuck as the case proceeded against six Vancouver Police officers who beat up three suspected drug dealers one dark morning in January 2003.
As victims go, the three crack-cocaine addicts who had more than 100 criminal convictions between them were not the most sympathetic. Their allegations against six junior police constables whose re cords were previously unblemished might not have been believed were it not for a police recruit who, after a few days reflection, reported what he had witnessed. From that point on, justice was swift.
By November, the officers had struck a deal and each pleaded guilty to three counts of common assault.
But the real controversy erupted in January when Chief Jamie Graham released results of his disciplinary ruling. Graham fired only the two most-experienced officers and kept on the other four.
The department's internal affairs investigators have also come under scrutiny in at least two cases where cover-ups are alleged.
There are lingering concerns over the case of Frank Paul, an aboriginal man who died of exposure in 1998 after police dumped him drunk and soaking wet in an alley. Internal investigators found he w as able to care for himself, but a jailhouse video taken hours before his death shows police and prison guards dragging a comatose Paul into a police wagon.
Similar whitewash allegations have surfaced in the case of Jeff Berg, who died in 2000 as a result of injuries he received during his arrest by the VPD. Internal investigators ruled Berg resisted a rrest. But a number of civilian witnesses report he was beaten while attempting to surrender. The Paul case is back with crown counsel for a second look. A police complaint commission public inquiry into the Berg case is scheduled for June.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]