I came across this blog post about the Vancouver Police department. I couldn’t agree more with just above everything stated here. I was debating what parts to post and talk about but the whole thing is great (the post not what happened). It’s exactly why Cop Block was created and hope you enjoy (and share) it as much as I did.
In our story Vancouver Police Beat Yao Wei Wu After DV Call from January 2010, we reported on the disturbing case of police abuse against Vancouver resident Yao Wei Wu who was assaulted without provocation by two plainclothes Vancouver Police Department detectives, Nicholas Florkow and Bryan London, as they responded to a domestic violence call from another living unit at the same address. They not only failed to determine if there was any actual domestic violence before acting with severe physical force, they didn’t even bother to determine if they even had the correct person at the door. When Yao Wei Wu answered the door of his home, the cops shoved the door in, hauled him outside, and proceeded to beat him in the face and back in front of his wife before handcuffing and arresting him. Only after all of this did they bother to ask his name and found out they had just assaulted a person who had absolutely nothing to do with the domestic violence call to which they were responding.
VPD Apologizes to Wu
VPD Police Chief Jim Chu initially blamed Wu for resisting arrest, the kind of knee-jerk blue brotherhood response that cops have whenever “one of their own” beats the living daylights out of one of their unfortunate civilian victims. Then he later retracted that claim and apologized to Wu and his family for the assault.
Vancouver Police Step Up Intimidation Efforts Against Wu
Dissatisfied with a mere apology and no disciplinary actions being taken against Nicholas Florkow and Bryan London, Wu hired a civil rights attorney, Cameron Ward, to litigate against Vancouver and its police department. The Vancouver Police Department allegedly responded by stepping up efforts to harass and intimidate Wu:
“We have been instructed that uniformed members of the Vancouver Police Department have been contacting Mr. Wu, repeatedly visiting his residence and attempting to discourage him from using our services. Please ensure that this inappropriate conduct ceases immediately,” Ward wrote in the letter.
Vancouver Police Brutality Commonplace
The VPD assault on Yao Wei Wu is hardly an isolated incident. The cops in this department have shown a pattern of brutality and misconduct against innocent civilians. In another recent case, on August 23, 2009, VPD Sergeant Darcy Taylor assaulted a man without provocation. The man, a 27 year old named Justin, was using his cell phone to write a text message outside of a bar known as the Regal Beagle. Sergeant Taylor pulled up in his squad car along the sidewalk outside the bar allegedly to respond to a fight which isn’t even shown in surveillance footage of the incident. With him were multiple other VPD officers. As reported by former bar employee and witness Sarah Penman, Taylor charged the man, hit him in the chest and/or face with his police baton, knocked him to the ground, and then proceeded to taunt him to hit back.
Penman said she was outside the bar, paying the bouncers their tips, and witnessed the incident from the beginning.
She said the sergeant drove his cruiser onto the sidewalk in front of another bar a short distance away and began “screaming through his [public address speaker] on the car.”
Although a VPD spokesman said Taylor was responding to a call of a fight in progress and called for backup from fellow officers, the video shows no such disturbance.
Penman said the victim, a 27-year-old Vancouver man named Justin, was using his cellphone when the sergeant knocked him down.
The video shows a police officer rushing from across Broadway toward a group of three people standing on the sidewalk.
The officer delivers a blow to the man’s chest and knocks him off his feet onto the sidewalk.
The man’s lawyer, Jason Tarnow, said his client suffered a bruised chin and smacked the back of his head on the sidewalk when he was sent flying.
“The cop was telling Justin, ‘What are you going to do now? Hit me. Hit me,’” said Penman.
Penman said she has been interviewed by police investigating the incident and expects to be called as a witness, if needed, by prosecutors.
If you take the time to watch the surveillance video from the bar, you’ll see that everything is uneventful until the Vancouver cops show up and make a scene. There are several people hanging around the front of the bar. Some appear to be dancing around, others are talking. Occasional people walk into or out of the bar. Taxi cabs come and go. A man who appears to be the bar’s bouncer is seen standing and walking around the front door more or less continuously with no apparent concern until a police car with flashing lights pulls up down the street on the sidewalk. Some people in the video are watching the police car in the distance. Suddenly another police car pulls up and a cop runs from it and attacks a bystander who is simply observing the police in the distance, hitting him and pushing him to the ground with absolutely no evident reason. It frankly appears as if he was a target because he was standing still and would be easy to assault. There is no sign of any hostility except for the actions of the Vancouver Police Department. It’s increasingly looking like VPD is hardly a “peacekeeping” police force. Instead, it’s a bunch of bullies with badges who view their role at “keeping the peace” as intimidating, terrorizing, and abusing citizens at their whim.
Bad Cops Often Escape Punishment
For many people who are not criminals, the police are a bigger threat than the typically maligned criminals such as gang members, drug dealers, and thieves. Nicholas Florkow and Bryan London are criminal bullies with badges. Such cops are a special kind of criminal, one which the government frequently regards as above the law.
Police chief Jim Chu requested an “investigation” of the assault on Yao Wei Wu by neighboring Delta Police Department in British Columbia, Canada. The “investigation” was a white wash job, with investigators failing to collect evidence and witness testimony necessary to pursue charges against these abusive cops.
Cops cannot be allowed to police cops with any expectation of objectivity or justice. This case is just one more example of police cover-up that occurs across the world even in supposedly “free democracies” like Canada and the United States.
Independent Investigations and Severe Sentences Needed
The police can’t police themselves. Except in cases of extremely egregious incidents which are documented via third party photographs or video that earn media notoriety, it is common for the police to be able to cover up the brutality and civil rights violations committed by officers. Part of their usual tactics are to blame the victim for resisting arrest, just as Police Chief Jim Chu initially did to Yao Wei Wu.
Free nations require independent oversight over front-line government employees who interact with the public. Anything less than this creates an aggravated risk of these employees violating the law with impunity and the violations and misconduct becoming typical. A culture of government-backed abuse develops when there is insufficient oversight.
Furthermore, it is clear that even when there is some level of oversight of the actions of government employees that catches their misconduct, often it is only after many people have been harmed. Such misconduct is not only committed by cops. Consider one of the most outrageous judicial misconduct cases in the United States, that of corrupt Pennsylvania juvenile court judges who over the course of several years systematically deprived thousands of children of their due process rights and sentenced them to time in private prisons, “earning” millions of dollars in kickbacks for their misconduct. Some of these kids had done nothing criminal. One had merely complained on a web site about a school official. Others were accused of being first-time shoplifting offenders of items worth less than $5, an offense that doesn’t justify prison time even if they were guilty. Yet the judges treated these children worse than criminals because doing so was profitable.
The punishments for misconduct by government officials are apparently not enough to keep government officials in line. Free nations can only be free if they can count on their government to obey the law. Government employees who brutalize, intimidate, terrorize, and violate the rights of citizens are a direct threat to the safety and security of the public. These people should be black-listed from ever working for any government again. When they are convicted repeatedly of misconduct against innocent people, especially when it is done for their own profit or amusement, they should be subjected to increasingly severe penalties all the way up to the death penalty. They need to understand that blatant abuses against the people they are supposed to protect could cost them more than just their jobs, it could cost them their lives.
The police “blue brotherhood” should view government employees who act illegally and with great hostility and blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of others not as fellow officers but as their own personal enemies. Good cops and judges are having their reputations sullied by bad cops and judges. This won’t stop until the bad ones are few and far between and the good ones speak out against them in particular and abusive government actions in general. Unfortunately, it appears police officers and judges identify more with each other than with the ideals of free nations and their professional duties to protect the public and obey the law.
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