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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:04 am
 


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/gary_mason/who-was-ultimately-responsible-the-chief-or-the-mayor/article2068610/

$1:
The inquiry into last week’s Stanley Cup riot must zero in on one overriding question: When sporadic outbursts of violence morphed into a full-scale riot, how was it that the Vancouver Police Department found itself so badly outnumbered and ill-prepared to handle the braying mob?

It’s a question that many officers are asking themselves. At least one senior member of the force said Monday that alarms were sounded internally about the growing threat posed by the tens of thousands of people jamming into the downtown core to watch the Stanley Cup final games on large outdoor television screens.

“Our understanding is the matter was brought up with the people at city hall,” said the officer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of his job. “And the chief [Jim Chu] was told that he could put as many officers as he wanted downtown to control the crowds but the money had to come out of the existing budget.


“So city hall, or the mayor or the city manager, didn’t turn down a funding request, per se. They said put as many officers on the ground as you think you need. But it has to come out of your overall budget.”

The Vancouver Police Department issued a statement Monday in response to questions it has received about the role city hall may have played in strategic decisions that were made about policing the Game 7 crowd.

“Recently the Vancouver Police have received reports of rumours that appear to become more fantastical every day,” the release said. “The rumours tend to involve perceived interference with strategic, operational or budgetary police matters from politicians or bureaucrats.

“The VPD would like to make it absolutely clear there is no shred of truth to these rumours.”

City manager Penny Ballem did not respond to queries about meetings she had with Chief Chu regarding Game 7 policing plans.

It’s perhaps understandable that the two central figures in this matter – Chief Chu and Mayor Gregor Robertson – might be a little sensitive to suggestions that grand screw-ups were made. To some extent, both their reputations are on the line.

If Chief Chu was the primary architect of the police plan heading into the Game 7 event, then he has a lot to answer for. There seems no logical explanation for having only 300 to 400 officers on the ground to handle a crowd of more than 100,000.

During the Olympics, there were more than 400 officers to handle the Granville Street mall alone. And that was to police a far more genteel crowd.

Last Wednesday’s Game 7 police plan would seem even more illogical if many of the department’s own officers were making noises that the fan zones had been becoming more unstable – mostly because of increased alcohol consumption – with each passing game.

Did Chief Chu raise those concerns with the mayor’s office or with Ms. Ballem? For Mr. Robertson, this is a critical line of inquiry, given that we are in a civic election year.

To no one’s surprise, Mr. Robertson’s chief rival for the mayor’s job, Suzanne Anton of the Non-Partisan Association, is already trying to exploit the riot for political gain. And she is blaming Mr. Robertson for spending too much time talking about backyard chickens and not enough time discussing public safety at the live sites where people were watching the hockey games.

Did the police chief express concerns to the mayor about the size of the crowds and his department’s ability to control them within the existing operational budget? Is the mayor in any way culpable for the inadequate plan the police appeared to have to handle a 100,000-plus crowd that spun out of control?

The only person with a chance of getting to the bottom of those questions is the head of the independent review looking into the riot.

The terms of reference into the probe were released on Wednesday. It appears the review will be narrowly focused and done in a hurry.

Solicitor-General Shirley Bond said the person heading the inquiry will not have the power to subpoena witnesses. Nor, it can be assumed, will the inquiry head be able to demand any and all e-mails related to police planning around Game 7.

If this inquiry amounts to little more than an academic exercise, which it looks like it will be, it will do little to allay concerns that warnings were ignored and that operational budgets may have played a bigger role in shaping the police department’s crowd control plan for Game 7 than people are letting on.


The police chief has stated "If I had expected a riot I would have done things differently." So it doesn't sound like the internal VPD alarms reached him, and he was lulled to sleep. Instead he's trying to discredit one of the authors of the '94 riot report. Doubt that will work.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:13 am
 


I say both.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:16 am
 


Scape Scape:
I say both.


You mean Robertson and Chu? I agree. And Christie Clark as well - she could have chipped in for some policing costs and might have prevented this. Peggy Ballam has admitted she didn't even read the 94 report when she met with Jim Chu. Looks like lots of blame to go around for all the top people.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:16 am
 


Who's ultimately responsible? Douchebag rioters.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:20 am
 


Yeah, I gotta think that when there's a huge outdoor event going on, the city would be making sure the police could afford to throw in the extra manpower, instead of telling them it's coming out of the police budget.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:21 am
 


commanderkai commanderkai:
Who's ultimately responsible? Douchebag rioters.


And they will mostly get slaps on the wrist if their cases come to court at all. Does that mean we should hold the police and city blameless and never learn from their mistakes? The rioters will riot any chance they get. If you let the authorities off the hook for being prepared we'll just have more riots.

Take the Picton killings. He might have been stopped much earlier if the police had taken warnings from Kim Rossmo of a serial killer seriously. Should we shrug our shoulders there too, say it was all Picton's fault and too bad the police let politics interfere with their investigation?

If military command fails and gets soldiers killed, do you only blame the enemy, or take a look at what command should have done differently?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:59 am
 


commanderkai commanderkai:
Who's ultimately responsible? Douchebag rioters.


A beer garden was better organized then this fiasco.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:10 am
 


andyt andyt:
And they will mostly get slaps on the wrist if their cases come to court at all. Does that mean we should hold the police and city blameless and never learn from their mistakes? The rioters will riot any chance they get. If you let the authorities off the hook for being prepared we'll just have more riots.


Did I say blameless? There were mistakes made, sure, but ultimately, the rioters are responsible for their actions. If rioters are going to riot any chance they have, trying to say that either the mayor or the police chief should be "ultimately responsible" for the riot is wrong.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:11 am
 


commanderkai commanderkai:
Who's ultimately responsible? Douchebag rioters.


PDT_Armataz_01_37


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:18 am
 


Of course, the douchebag rioters are ultimately responsible. But how about the rioters' parents? Don't peole get taught common decency at home any more? How about the Canucks organization? It was their party, they should have provided security.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:20 am
 


commanderkai commanderkai:

but ultimately, the rioters are responsible for their actions. If rioters are going to riot any chance they have, trying to say that either the mayor or the police chief should be "ultimately responsible" for the riot is wrong.


Actually the headline just says ultimately responsible, not "for the riot". The subhead that was only with the print version said "The investigation of the Stanley Cup riot must clarify the role the VPD's political masters played in a plainly inadequate policing plan." As the article makes clear, if you had read it, the question is who is responsible for the poor response to the riot. Was the police chief hamstrung by the mayor withholding funds or was the chief the negligent in his duty? As Scape says both are responsible, but as the chief has already admitted that if he had expected a riot he would have done things differently, I think he has to take a large part of the blame. If his cops were telling him things were getting uglier every game, and he still didn't expect a riot then he was sleeping on the job.

Saying the rioters were responsible for the riot is just belaboring the obvious.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:24 am
 


Lemmy Lemmy:
Of course, the douchebag rioters are ultimately responsible. But how about the rioters' parents? Don't peole get taught common decency at home any more? How about the Canucks organization? It was their party, they should have provided security.


It wasn't the Canucks organization's party at all. This was put on by the city.

But Christie Clark, who was so eager to ride the Canucks bandwagon should have chipped in for policing when asked.

As for teaching common decency, as one writer pointed out, Constantinople was half destroyed because of a chariot race outcome in 546AD. Sports riots have a long history, so I guess parents have never been teaching common decency.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:36 am
 


andyt andyt:
Actually the headline just says ultimately responsible, not "for the riot". The subhead that was only with the print version said "The investigation of the Stanley Cup riot must clarify the role the VPD's political masters played in a plainly inadequate policing plan." As the article makes clear, if you had read it, the question is who is responsible for the poor response to the riot. Was the police chief hamstrung by the mayor withholding funds or was the chief the negligent in his duty? As Scape says both are responsible, but as the chief has already admitted that if he had expected a riot he would have done things differently, I think he has to take a large part of the blame. If his cops were telling him things were getting uglier every game, and he still didn't expect a riot then he was sleeping on the job.


The headline implies the direction of where people want this to go. The push of individuals to try to blame the riot on anybody else but who rioted is getting a bit tiresome. The city and the police didn't plan properly, but we all know what would have happened if there was an overwhelmingly large police presence on the scene too.


$1:
Saying the rioters were responsible for the riot is just belaboring the obvious.


I've been quite amazed at the ability of some people to try to take responsibility away from the individual rioters. Some people cannot just accept the obvious.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:43 am
 


I haven't seen anybody say the rioters aren't responsible. Neither on this forum nor in the media.

But we know people riot, it happens quite frequently. The question is how to prevent or minimize it. As the chief admits, if he had expected a riot he would have done things differently, ie had way more cops present to deal with the initial incidents. This is what needs to happen now, asking questions so that maybe next time things can be done better. But with Regina suggesting that thee 17 yr old report on the last riot is irrelevant, I guess we're doomed to just keep repeating this cycle over and over if we don't learn from it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:04 am
 


I'd have thought they might have talked to Edmonton police about how things were handled here in '06. After a bit of trouble early in the play-off run the cops here did a remarkable job of keeping things in hand.

I was on Whyte Ave for a lot of the games, includin game 7 and it was incredible the difference from the beginning of the run to the end. I think the biggest thing was a massive visible police presence and some strictly enforced rules.

If you were on the street you had to keep moving. Standing on one spot milling around would have cops asking you to move along. A bit annoying if you were just stepping out of the bar for a smoke but understandable. The bars quickly figured out to open the back door for patrons to smoke in the alley. Which was fine.

They also kept the street clear. If you stepped off the sidewalk you got one chance to get of the street.

Some people thought they were a bit heavy handed but the fact is most people were able to have a great time watching the games and things never got out of hand.


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