This is the first in a series of articles where I advance the premise British Columbia should kick the RCMP out of the province and raise the BC Provincial Police from the ashes of history.
There are a ton of reasons why this is a good idea, but I will begin this series with the case of Ian Bush. I could start elsewhere, to be sure, but the case of Ian Bush shows with crystal clarity everything that is wrong with the RCMP including its culture of secrecy and its complete lack of accountability to the citizens of this province.
On October 29, 2005 Ian Bush was at a hockey game in the small town of Houston, British Columbia. He was drinking, and when he was confronted by RCMP Constable Paul Koester he jokingly lied about who he was and basically told him to pound sand.
The cop took offense to this, as you can imagine, and using the full and thuggish weight that comes with an RCMP Constable’s badge and gun, he hauled the young man down to the local RCMP detachment and into an interrogation room.
That’s where things went horribly wrong for all concerned, but for most of the “all concerned” the consequences of all that went wrong were quite minor. For Ian Bush they were fatal.
From the time RCMP Constable Paul Koester began his interaction with Ian Bush to the time Ian lay dead on the floor in an interrogation room of the Houston RCMP detachment was just 20 minutes.
The RCMP maintains that rookie Constable Paul Koester did nothing wrong and followed protocol.
That’s complete hogwash, of course, but the RCMP has a long and sordid history of standing by their man even when their man is completely in the wrong.
Conveniently for the RCMP, Constable Koester apparently chose NOT to turn on the closed-circuit cameras to record the interview, so there is no way to know exactly what happened.
Constable Koester claimed that Ian Bush attacked him and was choking him. He claimed that he pulled his service pistol and shot Ian Bush in self defense.
There’s only one small problem with that story:
It’s a blatant lie that violates the laws of physics and the joint structure of the human body.
It is physically impossible for you to shoot someone in the back of the head when they are choking you from behind. Your arms just can’t get there. Your joints just don’t bend in the ways that are required for this to happen.
The RCMP, of course, ignored all this and defended the murder of Ian Bush as the reasonable actions of a man in fear for his life.
They did this in the face of evidence from one of the world’s leading blood spatter experts, Edmonton’s Joe Slemko, who testified at the inquest into Ian’s death on behalf of the family.
Slemko did a pattern analysis of the blood spatter in RCMP photographs to try to determine the position of the 22-year-old mill worker and the officer who shot him, Rubin said.
In his report, which was sent to the family, Slemko said he didn’t find any bloodstain evidence to support the testimony of Const. Paul Koester, who told the inquest last month he was attacked by Bush and choked from behind and had to shoot Bush to save his own life.
It caused quite a stir in law enforcement circles… one of the best blood spatter experts in the world calling the RCMP liars. Telling the truth is like that sometimes though, isn’t it? Uncomfortable… disconcerting… confrontational even.
Trying to bury the criminal actions of an RCMP member pretty much guarantees that confrontation is going to happen.
Truth will always win out even if, as in the case of Constable Paul Koester, no actual charges of murder were ever laid.
Killing a man for the “crime” of having an open beer at a hockey game is just not okay.
For reasons beyond my comprehension and that of the Bush family the man who killed Ian Bush, RCMP Constable Paul Koester, was completely let off the hook.
That’s Reason Number 1 for kicking the RCMP out of British Columbia. Much more to come…
NOTE: You can read the Public Complaints Commission report if you like. It’s located here: http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca/af-fr/pdf/FACN_e.pdf
If you want to read an excellent overview of the entire events surrounding Ian Bush’s death, then I’d suggest Mostly Water’s post found here: http://mostlywater.org/node/5303