SIMON NATTRASS: Victoria police force livens up spring

Winter is a slow time for politics.

Winter is a slow time for politics. Whether the holidays take precedence over governance or the politicians are secretly lizards and the cold is slowing them down, you can usually count on a few months of inactivity from November to January. Coming down the mountain from a brief retreat away from city life, I arrived home to find our region had thawed in my absence.

The Victoria police force dominated the headlines in recent weeks, wasting no time in sparking controversy in The Capital and beyond. After three long years, Const. Chris Bowser and Brendan Robinson finally came before the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) to answer for excessive use of force and abuse of authority.

A YouTube video from 2010 shows Robinson tackling a man to the ground and Bowser repeatedly kicking him in the ribs. The commissioner found both officers used excessive force.

Owing to the fine tradition of police regulating themselves, both officers had almost dodged reprimand after a review by the Vancouver Police Dept. recommended that no disciplinary action was needed.

Speaking of long-awaited developments, Victoria’s much-maligned police Chief Jamie Graham announced his retirement after a decade of controversy. In a short five years, Graham’s force has received criticism from the OPCC, BC’s Director of Police Services, the Esquimalt council and a range of local NGO’s — to name a few.

In the running for Graham’s job is Deputy Chief John Ducker, who made headlines last week for comments on the Bowser/Robinson ruling that adjudicator Ben Casson called “totally inappropriate.” Despite evidence to the contrary, Ducker maintained VicPD’s assertion that “these are some of the best officers we have.”

In other news, activists at johnsonstreetbridge.org revealed (to the deafening sound of silence from officials) that the City of Victoria lied to both residents and their representatives on council during the 2011 referendum.

None of this is new, of course. Being lied to and abused by government representatives, it seems, is an integral part of citizenship and life here in The Capital.

Any consolation found in the coming changes for the VicPD will have to tide us over for a long while if this spring’s headlines are any indication of the months to come. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Stephen Laidlaw, prepator with Nanaimo Art Gallery, hangs a photograph of Anna Wong, a B.C. print maker whose works are on display at the gallery. The exhibit opens Friday, Dec. 4, and runs until Feb. 7. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores life work of overlooked B.C. printmaker

‘Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads’ features more than 70 art works and personal belongings

Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus released their first joint album, <em>The Invasion</em>. (Photo courtesy Raymond Knight)
Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus release first joint album

Duo plan elaborate live-streamed CD release for ‘The Invasion’

Next month Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases his solo debut album, ‘Wildlife.’ (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases solo debut album

New record ‘Wildlife’ about taking chances and going through changes

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

Most Read