I had a long phone call with Jennifer Allan on Thursday. I like Jennifer, she seems like a genuinely good person who is in the middle of something rather sinister. She self-describes as a Christian who, in a previous life spent over seven years as a prisoner’s rights advocate. Jenn tells me her motivation is, ultimately, to make peace- and I have no doubt about that. Unfortunately, this is not true of all the people inside her organization…
We spent a lot of time talking about the duality of Vancouver Cop Watch (VCW). We started-off talking about the negative content VCW have been posting about the police on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Jenn explained “Three people run twitter. We are an anti-police violence organization, but yes we do have some people who are anti-police.” I wish she had explained this on CKNW in the first place.
I explained to Jenn that it was counter-productive to post all of this negativity. She responded saying “Like I said, we do, Vancouver Cop Watch does work towards building rapport with the police. But various people run our social media site and Not everyone is pro-police. We have people who are anti-police fans, so we like to put things on there for the different kinds of fans we have. I don’t police our people, We are a democracy, people want to post things and we let them.”
This is exactly the problem I’ve been writing about. VCW is not putting enough focus in the right place- posting negativity as they are is only bound to cause more unrest between the people of the DTES and the police. Eventually, someone is going to get hurt because of this.
I then explained to Jenn about Chris Hedges’ statement about how “every revolution ends at the moment that the police lay-down their arms”, and my thoughts on how it is an act of violence do do anything to take them in the opposite direction. Jenn explained to me “When I first started this organization i shook hands with the police and I got slammed for it. So, I have to walk a fine line between either you are anti-police or pro-police.”
I asked Jenn about the above Twitter posting- being an example of the negativity I object to. Jenn responded to me saying “I personally did post that one- the reason is that my cousin was tazered to the death by the RCMP. My cousin was drinking, the rcmp took him to jail, he got really sick, they took him to the hospital because they tazered him to death. So, in my family, we do refer to the rcmp as the “murder patrol” because they murdered our family member”
Jenn also said to me “When I first started this organization i shook hands with the police and I got slammed for it. So, I have to walk a fine line between either you are anti-police or pro-police.” So, while Jenn seems to be trying to do the right thing- she still has some adjustments to make to her approach.
Jenn then explained to me how Jamie Stuart Richardson, VCW’s co-founder, has also had personal experience with someone being killed during a police incident. Apparently, his girlfriend was shot to-death by a member of the Vancouver Police.
Jamie is a board member of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, a co-founder of VCW, and (curiously) a longshoreman. After a quick Google search, I also found it interesting to see that Jamie was interviewed on the Vancouver Sun about his discontent being evicted from the Downtown Eastside Resident’s Association (DERA) Marie Gomez Place after the building was declared derelict. DERA was a social housing organization that was shut-down by a mismanagement scandal.
Curiously, Ruth Meta, another member of Cop Watch, was on the board of DERA. There was talk that DERA was accused of giving housing to people who weren’t qualified for subsidized housing- Jamie is a well-paid longshoreman, could he be one of those people? You can be sure I will be investigating this…
Looking at his Facebook page, it seems that Jamie is responsible for some of VCW’s most hateful postings about the police. Jamie is the tail that is barking.
Jamie has setup an application that posts simultaneously to both the VCW Twitter account and his personal Facebook page. So, it is easy to see what content is his or not. The above posting is a great example of the type of hate he has been putting out there. Here’s another example:
There was a serious complaint that one the people who were arrested in this incident was treated badly. The above posting was made before the news came out about that accusation. Here’s the posting he made after:
Considering how angry this man is, am I the only person who sees that the above complaint may not be so credible? I’ll reserve making judgement, we’ll leave this to an investigation- but, the conflict here is exactly the reason I have been so vocal about VCW’s irresponsibility by posting superfluous hate against the police. Because, if one cries wolf too many times, they invalidate the claims of real incidents.
This leads us to David Eby…
Jenn admitted to me that David Eby is VCW’s lawyer. David is probably Vancouver’s most famous cop hater, so I guess it isn’t a great big surprise that he would get involved with this group. And, if the optics of consistently making the negative comments about the police are damaging- the optics of having David Eby as a member of your organization are much worse.
As I explained to Jenn, I’d I dearly hope she will understand, one is judged by the company they keep…