Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu was facing criticism for being too slow in building cases against participants in the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver. Â So he held a press conference in August where he introduced Constable Lee Patterson to explain how evidence is collected. Â It was an odd choice of spokesperson, since Patterson is accused of fabricating evidence.
Since November 2002, Patterson has been dogged by allegations that he fabricated evidence, some of it sexual in nature, against a Vancouver woman. Â The VPD was fundraising for United Way of the Lower Mainland at the time, and was asked by United Way president, Ron Dumouchelle, to prevent the distribution to donors of a Report on United Way that she had co-authored, a report largely about unfair labor practices at member groups. Â On the day Dumouchelle and Patterson put their heads together at United Way campaign headquarters, a police report was produced falsely summarizing the Report on United Way as “paranoid in nature”. Â A range of manufactured evidence appeared in the police report in support of this claim, some of which the complainant believes could be considered sexual harassment. Â Following is a sampling of the manufactured evidence:
‘lesbian “couch trip” practices’
In Patterson’s police report, the complainant was identified as having Â written about ‘lesbian “couch-trip” practices’ in the Report on UW. Â Patterson presented the phrase “couch trip” as a direct quote — he put it in quotation marks in his police report — from the Report on UW. Â Outright fraud. Â A review of the Report on UW confirms that the term “couch trip” appeared nowhere in the Report on UW. Â The complainant says she has never used the phrase “couch trip” in any context and does not know what a couch trip is.
“sexual under tones and lesbian controlled supervisors”
In Patterson’s police report, the Report on United Way was misrepresented both as having sexual “over tones” (sic) and sexual “under tones” (sic). Â The latter was coupled with the claim of “lesbian controlled supervisors”, although there was no claim in the Report on UW of supervisors being controlled by lesbians. Â This entry appeared to be an attempt to ridicule and trivialize one of the many unfair labour practices discussed in the Report on UW: women had been reporting that their sexual orientation was being treated as a selection criterion in hiring staff and selecting trainees for programs at a United Way member group.
Far from being “paranoid in nature”, the emphasis on a range of unfair labour practices in the Report on UW was a result of the Canadian Auto Workers asking the complainant and her associates to outline these practices in writing.
‘mentions Karla Homolka and “comparisons” ‘
In the summary of the Report on UW, the complainant was presented as Â making “comparisons” with serial sex offender, Karla Homolka. Â The word “comparisons” was presented as a direct quote from the Report on UW, despite the fact that it appeared nowhere in the Report on UW. Â No “comparisons” were made with Karla Homolka. Â Yet a reader of the police report could be left with the impression that the author of the Report on UW was seeing “comparisons” between herself and Homolka.
This impression was created by excerpting Homolka’s name, out of context, from a sector of the Report on UW which focused on United Way’s failure to curb the practice of “counselors” without credentials performing assessments and assigning labels, a practice which had raised concerns at two psychologists regulatory bodies in British Columbia. Â Evidence of this practice included a videotape made by a television news crew of one such counsellor performing an assessment of Karla Homolka, without ever having met her. This tape outraged British Columbians when it was aired on a prime time local news hour, prompting the station to air a portion of it again on the following evening’s news hour.
“$525” per copy
In addition to manufactured evidence with sexual connotations, some less titillating fraud also appeared in Patterson’s police report as part of the effort to portray the complainant as irrational. Â For example, a form letter announcing the availablity of the Report on UW was identified by date in the police report, along with a fabricated quote attributed to it. Â The complainant was accused of asking “$525” — this number was presented as a direct quote from the letter — for each copy of the Report on UW. Â Outright fraud. Â It was clearly stated in the professionally written form letter that a $25 fee was being charged per copy of the Report on UW to cover photocopying, postage, and labor costs.
In 2004, a year after learning that Patterson had targeted a woman for “evidence” fabrication and distortion, the VPD took Patterson up on his offer to teach a course on “evidence search” to other police officers. Â Patterson was also promoted from Constable to Sergeant. Â And he was recommended for, and later got, a BC government, “Police Honours Award for Meritorious Service”, while he evaded responsibility for fabricating perverse “evidence” against a woman. Â The complainant asked the Police Board, headed by Mayor Gregor Robertson, to cease such attempts to rehabilitate Patterson’s image while the faked evidence remained attached to her name in police files. Â She was ignored, but noticed that Patterson’s photo accompanying the announcement of the award in the VPD newsletter on the internet was removed.
Patterson is not the only officer against whom there is evidence to support allegations of illegal conduct in the Patterson-United Way evidence-fabrication case. Patterson’s partner Jean-Pierre St. Amant, Constable Keith Dormond, and Sgt. Warren Lemcke who has since been promoted to Deputy Chief, are also implicated.
The complainant retained copies of voice mail messages from Constable Dormond, in which he threatened that if she did not stop pursuing this complaint, he would misrepresent her polite written complaints — she had been instructed to put her complaint in writing by authorities — as “harassment” and have her arrested. Â She later learned that he was being pressured by a United Way Board member. Â Dormond also stalked her after she had asserted her right not to speak to police; she caught him peeping through her apartment window in the early morning, after which he left her a voice mail (preserved), stating, “I could see movement in there.” Â Chief Chu then sent Dormond on an all expenses paid trip to a conference in Europe as the VPD’s stalking expert.
Lemcke became involved in the case when Dumouchelle saw documentation revealing that the complainant was seeking an investigation into the evidence fabricated against her. Â The police report reveals that Dumouchelle called St. Amant, on Boxing Day 2002 to devise a “strategy” in response to her request for an investigation. Â The strategy, approved by Lemcke, resulted in a myriad of illegal and sexist tactics, including arranging for her medical records to be illegally dictated to St. Amant over the telephone by an anonymous source, so that they could be mined for anything that could be used to portray her as crazy. Â They didn’t find what they needed, but they settled for humiliating her by illegally publishing excerpts about her physical body from the medical records in the police report. Â Lemcke and St. Amant destroyed their email communication leading up to the approval of this “strategy”, even though officers are required to keep email communication for six months.
The following year, 2003, Lemcke telephoned the complainant at her home, identifying himself as an officer with VPD Internal Investigations, and informing her that he was “postponing” the investigation into her case — an investigation that would have required his own misconduct to be examined. Â She’s still waiting for the investigation. Â Despite his high tolerance for fabricated evidence and low tolerance for a woman asking that it be investigated, Lemcke, as of his 2010 promotion to Deputy Chief, is in command of the VPD’s Investigation Division which includes major crime, gangs and drugs, forensic services and criminal intelligence.
It may be news to Seattle residents who are among the first 60 alleged rioters, out of an anticipated 500-700 against whom the VPD are recommending charges, that there are no effective checks on evidence fabrication or distortion by the Vancouver Police. Â Almost without exception, VPD officers investigate complaints against their fellow VPD officers, and dismiss them. Both the BC Civil Liberties Association and Pivot Legal Society announced at a press conference that they will no longer be submitting complaints against police officers to the Police Complaints Commission, as they have never gotten a satisfactory result. Â The process of police investigating police, they have concluded, does not work.
Several years ago, Vancouver lawyer Patricia Connor gave a talk at Carnegie Community Centre about the law and policing. Â She said the Vancouver Police hated the fact that when defending a client, she always asked to see previous complaints against the police officers on the case. Â If lawyers for 500-700 accused rioters do the same, it could give new meaning to ‘post-riot clean up’.
Requests for comment from Chief Chu and Police Board Chair Gregor Robertson for this article were not responded to.