The Mounties strike back!
The editor of a small publication called the Osoyoos Times recently wrote a scathing editorial after being pulled over and having to provide a breath sample for a roadside screening device. He implied that the officer that pulled him over abused his authority. To quote Keith Lacey (the editor who wrote the article)
"He had no reasonable or probable grounds to be doing any of this, but yet he persisted to show just how much power he had." He later says "This is another example of a cop who abused his position of authority."
What Lacey doesn't seem to understand is that the police in B.C. are allowed to pull vehicles over to ensure that the driver is properly licensed and vehicle insured, the vehicle is sound mechanically, and the driver is sober. All that is required for a roadside breath demand is a suspicion that the driver has consumed alcohol. I suspect he likely told the officer that he had consumed a drink or two, or there was some other evidence that he had, so a roadside breath demand is fully legal. The officer was doing his job.
In an open letter to the editor a Superintendent with the RCMP (Ray Bernoties) refutes Lacey's claims that the officer was unprofessional, and says he has the audio/video from the police car's dash camera to back him up. Pow!
"The video was taken from the police car and includes audio of the entire interaction between you and the police officer. I have just watched the video and observed a very calm and professional member of the RCMP doing his job." says Bernoties in the letter.
The RCMP coming out like this is interesting. They've taken a lot of hits in the media lately, some justified and some not, and perhaps Lacey thought he could jump on that bandwagon and use it to his advantage. The public seemed to overwhelmingly disagree. The story went viral on social media and Lacey isn't looking good.
In his letter Bernoties quotes Lacey as saying to the officer "I am the editor of the newspaper and you will see the powers that I have."
If indeed Lacey made that comment, and I doubt the RCMP would say he did without evidence to back it up, it highlights a serious issue for this publication, and a more serious issue for Lacey himself. His credibility is gone.
The Vancouver Sun was one of several media outlets that wrote an article about this saga and invited reader comments. I have no way to verify the legitimacy of this comment but a reader named 'NorthernBorn' left the following comment.
"I know Keith Lacey from his years working in Northern Ontario. I can report he has been unceremoniously fired countless times for exactly this kind of rage-fueled incompetence. In fact, this guy was once successfully sued for libel by another journalist in Sudbury. The only real mystery here is why people keep hiring him. Oh yeah, when I first met Lacey, he was without a driver's licence - guess why?"n
In media interviews Bernoties says the video shows a pretty standard vehicle stop. The officer is professional throughout and Lacey seems cooperative. He says most viewers would find it relatively boring video. So what then prompted Lacey to spew his venom? Only he knows. Or maybe he doesn't. In media interviews he says he regrets writing the piece. He says he maybe shouldn't have named the officer (he names him 9 times in his article). He also says he told the truth in his article.
It's time for Lacey to man up and authorize the RCMP to release the video. It might be unspectacular as Bernoties says, but even that would be a contradiction to Lacey's version of events. Let us see and judge for ourselves. As a member of the media you should want the truth to come out.
An interesting statement is found towards the end of Lacey's editorial.
"And if you’re not cut out for treating people with dignity and respect, even though you have all this so-called power you’re so easy to abuse, perhaps you find another profession."
Words to live by Keith, words to live by.
UPDATE: On Sunday, Feb 12, 2012 the Editor of the Osoyoos Times printed an apology. You can see it here.
"The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence." Sir Robert Peel
"Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs." Sir Robert Peel
This site is Copyright 2011-2012 ViewFromTheCop.com