Of course the Vancouver police are horrified and reply "those were not police officers!". Of course not. That is not proper police procedure. That's the story from the CBC five months after the event. I've added bold for the key bits:
The concierge at a downtown Vancouver condominium highrise says surveillance video proves his allegation that a group of men dressed in city police uniforms strong-armed him before entering one of the building's suites without permission.There you have it. Five months later the official police story is that these four were not police officers. But you also have the odd fact that no police were dispatched for the 911 call from Lucian Naita. Isn't that strange!
Lucian Naita told CBC News on Tuesday that during the incident on March 31, the four men wore what looked like Vancouver police uniforms with badges and holstered handguns.
The men were with a woman who wanted to enter a suite where she once lived with a friend so she could retrieve some belongings, Naita said, and the men demanded his master key to let her into the unit.
"They were very aggressive," Naita said. "When I asked if they have a mandate, they said, 'We are police, we don't need a mandate.'"
Naita said that he refused to hand over the key without a warrant, and that's when things escalated.
"They twisted my arms behind my back and they forced the keys out of my hands and then took off," Naita said.
In a grainy black and white video, the four men appear to be physically grappling with Naita.
"I was shocked. I couldn't believe this happened to me," Naita said.
The keys they took from him did not work because the owner had changed the locks. Naita said the men then called a locksmith who let them into the suite.
Naita said he phoned 911 but then heard one of the officers talking to a dispatcher cancelling the emergency call.
Vancouver police told CBC News said they had no record of police being dispatched to the condominium building that night.
Now if Lucian Naita was telling the truth and this was the police, then it would make sense that the police would not dispatch police to arrest police who were on a legitimate police operation. So what's going on here?
From a CBC story two days later (but five months after the event):
Vancouver police are investigating allegations four officers forced their way into a private Coal Harbour residence by strong-arming a concierge and hiring a locksmith to open the door — all without a warrant.Whoa! It takes five months for the police to admit to the facts. And they only admit it when video tape of the event surfaces.
Vancouver police originally told CBC News on Tuesday that they had no record of police being dispatched to the condominium building on the night of March 31. They made the inquiries after the concierge, Lucian Naita, came forward to media with security footage of the incident.
On Wednesday, the police department confirmed officers did, in fact, respond to a domestic dispute at the building that night and said it is launching an internal investigation to identify the officers and determine what happened that night. ...
Sources told CBC News a tenant in the unit at the time had broken up with his girlfriend that day and had changed the locks and ordered that his girlfriend be denied access to the building.
Hours later, the girlfriend returned with four officers from the Vancouver Police Department, who allegedly demanded the concierge hand over his master key to the suite so the woman could get her things.
Naita told the officers the woman was not in his database and refused to hand over the keys without a warrant, and that's when things escalated.
"They were very aggressive," Naita said. "When I asked if they have a mandate, they said, 'We are police; we don't need a mandate'."
What happened next was captured by the building's video surveillance cameras: the officers circle the concierge's desk, one appears to grab the arm of the concierge, twisting it behind his back, and then another officer appears to take the concierge's other arm and grab his keys.
At that point, Naita said he realized the police intended to hurt him if he did not comply.
"When I saw that it was very serious because they were really hurting me, I gave them the keys, and they took off," Naita said.
The concierge claims after the officers confronted him and went upstairs, he called 911 to complain about the incident. One of the officers later called the 911 dispatch back and told them to ignore the call.
B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director David Eby welcomed the police investigation but said he's heard similar complaints before.
"We've had complaints in the past with roommates being escorted in by police to obtain things, and, actually, the complaints have been upheld — that the officers acted inappropriately … So there is a pattern to this kind of behaviour," said Eby.
Meanwhile, the building's strata council president, John Harrison, said he backs up Naita's version of events completely and is eagerly awaiting the results of the investigation.
"We felt violated," Harrison said. "A very professional and first-class employee had been abused and mistreated, and we also felt our rights as people in a building were violated in terms of demanded access to a suite."
This shouts for "police investigation"... oh, wait a second... in Vancouver it is the police who investigate themselves. Can you guess the outcome of an "investigation"? Yep... it was all a misunderstanding, no harm, no foul, those four outstanding exemplars of police will continue on in the "duty" and all will be forgotten. (As the BC Civil Liberties Association points out, this police misconduct has happened over and over again with no apparent penalties for the cops-as-burglers miscreants.)
The fact that people are strong-armed by the police, that they break and enter like common thiefs, this will all be white washed.
This is what you get when you have a police "system" like Vancouver's (and for that matter, the federal RCMP) that is allowed to "investigate" itself.
Tell me, how many times has a little kid voluntarily come forward and admitted to having their hand in the candy jar? I'm afraid I can't think of a single instance. So why would the police be any different? To keep the police honest, you need an independent agency that watches over them. An agency which itself has no policing power other than the ability to investigate, full strong powers to subpoena and compel testimony. Otherwise you simply move the corruption to the next level. It is a bit tricky, but an intelligent government can organize the appropriate safeguards.
Let's see, Canada is nearly 150 years old. Maybe it is getting close to being "mature" enough to properly organize itself with a police force that is under control. Then again, once you let the government govern itself -- instead of having the citizens have final say -- it can be very, very hard to get control back into the citizen's hands.