Editorial: Bob Rich Should Resign

By August 16, 2013Editorials, Pop Voice

The callow and juvenile comments made by Abbotsford’s police chief during and after the Abbotsford Chicken Manure Homeless Incident reveal a lack of maturity and professionalism that is frankly astounding for a man in his position.

Given the amount of time he has been in the position, it is clearly too late for sensitivity training. Rich should resign and make way for someone who better understands the role of a police chief in a modern city.

The emails, revealed on Abbotsford Today Thursday morning, provide damning evidence of a culture and tone, set by the chief, and adopted by his subordinates, which shows such utter contempt for the homeless people he and his department are alleged to have terrorized that he can’t possibly think it appropriate to continue in his job.

—– Original Message —– From: Bob Rich Sent: Friday, July OS, 2013 01:28 PM To: Len Goerke; Rick Lucy; Ian MacDonald Subject: Re: Chicken Manure class action lawsuit
Let us know if you think of something funny! (Please)

From: Bob Rich Sent: Wednesday, June OS, 2013 2:05 PM To: Tom Chesley; Ian MacDonald Subject: Re: The Province and others have called about manure story
Really, I mean if you think about it, its a chicken shit story for sure.

—– Original Message —– From: Bob Rich Sent: Friday, July 05,2013 11:09 AM Pacific Standard Time To: Ian MacDonald; Rick Lucy; Len Goerke Subject: Re: Chicken Manure class action lawsuit
Oh please let it be so! I would need a copy of that writ. Damages would be what, hurt feelings, or?

As Pastor Ward Draper of The 5 and 2 Ministries said in a column on Abbotsford Today, “Hurt feelings. It is sad to see such disregard for our homeless community members. I am truly shocked that real human rights violations can be taken so lightly by our leaders.”

Draper is right to be shocked. While he freely admits that all of us can be found guilty of the occasional lapse in judgement when it comes to the humour we share, either around the office or with friends or colleagues, this is something entirely different.

This is the police chief of a city of 133,000 people communicating with his staff about one of the most serious human rights violations in the city’s history. His own police department is under investigation for allegedly tearing down homeless people’s tents and slashing them with knives, spraying their belongings with pepper spray and generally having a policy of terrorizing and abusing them.

Rich himself has referred to it openly as his, “displace and disperse” policy. Whatever the investigation into the APD’s behaviour by the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) finds, Rich has left no doubt how he feels about the homeless and, more disturbingly, how appropriate he thinks it is to talk about them in a demeaning and hurtful fashion in interoffice communications.

We certainly hope the OPCC will now broaden its investigation to include emails over the last five years to see what kind of evidence can be turned up there.

Read the rest of the emails from the other APD staff and you will see the result of the example set by the chief.

Councillor John Smith announced to the CBC in 2008 that the police and the bylaw department were going to launch a major offensive against the homeless in Abbotsford after he, along with former councillor Bruce Beck and former ADBA president Bob Bos had tried to have Pastor Christoph Reiners stop feeding the homeless.

If this is what the offensive announced by Smith back in 2008 has led to, then Smith should resign as well. We have a right to expect better from both our elected and appointed representatives.

The fact that both these men are allowed to continue to sit, along with Mayor Banman and other city administrative and political representatives, on the Abbotsford City of Character Council demonstrates the danger of creating such phony organizations made up of people who are members, not by virtue of their character, but by virtue of their title or position.

This community has been sold a bill of goods if it has been led to believe that the City of Character movement can actually achieve acts of character. All of the organizations involved, at the highest level, in the poisoning of the homeless with chicken feces were and still are members of the City of Character Council.

These men and women have brought disrepute to their community and to the organizations which have paid them very well for their service. If this is how they have decided to replay their friends and neighbours for their trust, they should simply resign and let us clean up their mess and try to fix this broken city.

Vince Dimanno and Mike Archer



Look at the difference between the way Deputy Chief Rick Lucy represents himself when discussing Abbotsford’s homeless citizens with his colleagues and his boss in the email below and then as Vice Chair of the Abbotsford City Character on the organization’s website.

* From the emails revealed August 15, 2013:
—– Original Message —–
From: Rick Lucy
Sent: Friday, July OS, 2013 12:25 PM
To: Ian MacDonald; Bob Rich; Len Goerke Subject:
Re: Chicken Manure class action lawsuit
“Can’t make this sh#* up.”

From the Abbotsford City of Character website:
Rick Lucy City of Character.

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