By AmbrÖse Bierce. Who turned the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) into the private police force of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA)?
On Saturday executive director of the ADBA Tina Stewart called the APD to enforce a parking bylaw. Surely they have better things to do.
“I called the police because they wouldn’t listen to me. The bylaws don’t allow [taking up] two spaces and [blocking] the sidewalk,” Stewart told the Abbotsford Times.Who gave Stewart the impression she was entitled to call the APD over a parking dispute? Close to 50 percent of our tax bill goes to pay for the APD. This is how they spend their time?
She was apparently calling the police because an organization, Sensible BC, was canvassing for support for its proposed referendum on pot.
In Abbotsford we’ve used the APD for years to deal with our social and political issues. Rather than help the poor, the mentally ill, the addicted and the homeless, we call the cops on them.
There is a long history of the ADBA using Bob Rich’s cops as though they were a private force belonging to the ADBA – especially when marijuana is involved.
Marijuana seems to be a real lightning rod issue for the ABDA.
To refresh your memory, in case it needs refreshing:When former ADBA boss Bob Bos objected to the politics of marijuana activist Tim Felger, the APD sent in a S.W.A.T. team to arrest Felger in front of a big crowd on Essendene during evening rush hour.
After having his business licence taken away, getting evicted from his own building, and being arrested on trumped up charges which were thrown out of court, Felger was found guilty on one count of possession. We will get to find out who was responsible for the evidence which led to his arrest and charges that he was selling marijuana to minors being published in a local newspaper when he sues the APD for false arrest.
All of the other APD and RCMP charges against him have been thrown out of court due to a lack of evidence or shoddy police work.As a result of the APD’s actions the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) is investigating the APD for professional misconduct.
Seemingly undaunted by the bad publicity or the mounting number of complaints against his department, Chief Bob Rich’s boys have taken to harassing Felger’s friends and family.
The APD is also being investigated by the OPCC as a result of allegations brought by Jesse Wegenast of The 5 and 2 Ministries for using inappropriate tactics against homeless people, another favourite target of the ADBA. Three officers have come forward and admitted to slashing tents and spraying them with bear spray.John Smith told the Globe and Mail back in 2008 that he was going to have the APD and the Bylaw Department start dealing with the homeless problem. We have all discovered to our horror what that looks like when the City poisoned the homeless at the Happy Tree across from the Salvation Army (with the Sally Ann’s agreement) this summer.
Someone has to step in and stop this ridiculous assumption by some members of the ADBA that the Abbotsford police force is theirs to order about on trivial little matters like parking complaints or political issues like a pot referendum or campaigns to legalize it.
Someone definitely has to reign in Tina Stewart and explain to her that her precious organization is neither above the law nor immune to prosecution for abusing it. She is not allowed to lie in order to get support for her political petition and she is not allowed to call the cops to stop someone else’s political petition.
Most importantly though … who told Tina she could simply call up the APD whenever she had a parking problem? She got the idea from someone.
AmbrÖse Bierce is Today’s writer in residence who occasionally gives voice to the concerns of individual citizens and taxpayers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to take a public stand on issues of relevance to the rest of the community. Reasons may include possible loss of job, injury to their business, or any number of quite legitimate reasons to keep their mouths shut.
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