A Classic Reason To Stop Using Bob Rich’s Cops To Deal With The Homeless

By October 19, 2014Issues

By Mike Archer. Last week we witnessed one of the ways people become homeless. A 75-year-old woman from Squamish, whose crime was to fall and injure herself, was ‘dumped’ at the Salvation Army … in Abbotsford.

Originally reported by Abbotsford Today’s James Breckenridge [BLEEP Deniability – Vancouver Health Drops Elderly Woman At Sally Ann … In Abbotsford], who asked what kind of ‘normal’ we have created, “Where it is business as usual for Vancouver Coastal Health to have an employee take a frail, elderly woman from Squamish and drive her into Fraser Health and dump her in Abbotsford – a city she has no knowledge of or connection to – not at a Fraser Health facility, but at the emergency shelter.”

Glenda Lyumes of the Province Newspaper pursued the story [Health authority ‘dumps’ bloody Squamish woman, 75, at Abbotsford shelter] and discovered the logic of the move – “Lowery was unable to pay for her room at the inn. Her social worker told her there was no shelter available in Squamish or Vancouver, but “she could take her to the Salvation Army in Abbotsford.”

Much like the man who, two days before Bruce Banman’s Chicken Manure Inicident, lost his business, his home, his bank account and his family and drifted down to the Happy Tree for help and ended up nearly losing his eye from the infection causes by the chicken feces, this woman, was simply out of options.

Where is she to go after the Sally Ann can’t house her? Before Banman and BC Hydro evacuated the Happy Tree in July, she would probably have ended up there. As it is, the DWS protest camp opposite the new Mennonite Central building or one of the camps in the forests, the ditches or the alleyways may be what await her.

Until the emails revealing just how Bob Rich and his police feel about the homeless, and the evidence brought forward by Jesse Wegenast and Ward Draper of the 5 and 2 Ministries about the ongoing problem of Abbotsford police regularly, stealing from the homeless, assaulting them, harassing them and using pepper spray to ruin their belongings while no one is watching, she could probably expect the same kind of treatment at the hands of the APD.

As chair of the police board, Bruce Banman cannot have been so incompetent as not to know what was going on. It has been a year-and-a-half since his world-famous Chicken Manure Incident and almost a year since the City’s illegal Harm Reduction Bylaw was thrown out as a result of the law suit from the Drug War Survivors.

The online media attention to the homeless issue, combined with the interest of the Vancouver and national media has forced the APD back on its heals. It had to make cash settlements with several homeless people and it still faces months worth of revelations which will come out in the DWS law suits against the City and the APD in the BC Supreme Court.

Since Abbotsford politicians seem incapable of doing the right thing unless forced to by a court of law, we can only hope that, while we wait for the court to do that, innocent citizens like Barbara Lowery will be protected from Bob Rich and his cops by the media attention which continues to shine a spotlight on Abbotsford’s disgraceful inability to deal with the human rights crisis in its midst.

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  • Observation says:

    What a sad piece regarding Ms. Lowery. I’m hopeful she’s now in the comfort of her own home…To the social worker who drove her two hours out of town to find a bed “Where is your sense and moral compass.” I understand there may be policies that could have precluded you from taking her to a motel/hotel/perhaps your own home for but there are there not exceptions on compassionate grounds?…To the idiots at Vancouver Coastal Health who misexamined her you need your certification revoked. Thank you to James Breckenridge and Glenda Luymes for breaking this story, which unfortunately won’t be the last of its kind.

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