It’s Called Justice, Alex

Friday, on the Abbotsford News, Alex Butler wrote: “Before the case went to the Court of Appeal, Const. Ian MacDonald told The News that there were real costs to having police collect the documents, including having three people collect the information, and if Pivot doesn’t cover the costs, it will fall on the taxpayers of Abbotsford.”

She was referring to the much delayed and dragged out case between the City of Abbotsford, its police department and the homeless men and women against whom the city’s ultra vires bylaws have been repeatedly and consistently used to harass and abuse people guilty of nothing more than poverty, mental illness and/or drug addiction.

Specifically; this week:

  1. The City of Abbotsford argued that it is not responsible for the actions of its police department
  2. The Abbotsford Police Department argued that the homeless should pay $29,000 to the APD before the APD would turn over documents the homeless say they need in order to make their case.

The court, once again, rejected those arguments saying that the evidence needs to be heard before it can decide who pays for it. Using a $29,000 charge to people who, by definition, have no money, in order to keep evidence which might inculpate the organization demanding the $29,000 from being heard by the court is, the APD has now been told, twice, not the way we do things.

If the evidence proves the APD’s innocence then:

a) The court may yet force the homeless to pay the APD

b) One might ask why, after spending so much taxpayer money fighting the homeless, the APD would want to keep evidence which exonerates it out of court

The court had previously ruled on both of these issues last summer but the City and the APD spent taxpayers funds as though they were buckets of free BC water, dragging the court and the homeless through eight months of appeals and delays arguing, as they did this week, that the City isn’t responsible for its police force and the homeless should have to pay that force $29,000 before it provides possibly incriminating documents to the court.

Taxpayers should know – but don’t – just how much all this legal maneuvering, delay and tactical dancing is costing them. The City has so far spent well over a million dollars fighting the homeless, much of that in legal fees.

The APD spent much more than $29,000 in one week in December of 2013 erecting concrete barricades, kleig lights, extra officers (who were not out fighting crime but amassed as a threatening army to face the homeless in the squalor of their Jubilee Park refuge).

Taxpayers will remember the helicopters, the ambulances, the patrol cars … the incredibly expensive show of force by a group of men and women who had, in that moment, become armed thugs, paid by the taxpayers of Abbotsford to scare and intimidate the poorest and most destitute citizens of the city.

The amount of taxpayer money the City of Abbotsford and the APD are prepared to spend keeping themselves from having to answer to the court and the world for their actions is mind-numbing. If you want to start comparing notes on how much the City and the APD have cost this community you’d better be prepared to deal with the truth instead of dripping out little tidbits which make it sound like “these people’ are a burden to the taxpayers.

It is the City and its police force which have spent millions trying to beat “these people” into the ground physically, mentally, legally, and spiritually. There actions towards “these people” have been more than expensive … they have been shameful.

Neither organization has spent a thin dime to help these citizens leaving them to starve on the side of the road, beside the railway tracks across from the Mennonite Central Committee’s shiny new building devoted to helping people elsewhere.

Yes Alex; if the APD and the City are found guilty, the taxpayers will have to fork over another $29,000 to the APD to cover the costs of proving their guilt.

It’s called justice.

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