Home > Journalists in the news > Osooyos editor slams cops after traffic stop; RCMP threatens to release video

Osooyos editor slams cops after traffic stop; RCMP threatens to release video

February 9, 2012

I’ll have more on this soon, hopefully. But this has blown up this evening so I thought I’d put it all in one place, then come back to it when I have some time.

So this was posted by Osoyoos Times editor Keith Lacey Monday (it’s since been taken down but can still be found online here):

SELF-RIGHTEOUS COPS WHO TREAT INNOCENT TAXPAYERS LIKE CRIMINALS IS UNACCEPTABLE

Posted on 08 February 2012 by Keith Lacey

For 20 minutes this past Friday night, I was treated like a criminal and presumed guilty until proven innocent, which is not how the law is supposed to work in this country, especially when you have done absolutely nothing wrong.

But, according to Cpl. Ryan S. McLeod of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he had every right to pull me over, treat me with basically zero respect and humiliate me in front of my girlfriend, who was so upset she got physically sick and was in tears hours later, just because he believes he has the power to do whatever he likes.

After a long week at work, me and my girlfriend headed to a local restaurant/pub to grab a meal with some friends and share a few stories and have a couple of laughs.

After consuming a meal, we made the decision to grab a bottle of wine at the adjacent liquor store to spend a nice, quiet evening at home.

However, seconds after pulling out of the liquor store parking lot, Cpl. McLeod flashed his cherry tops and pulled me over.

When I asked him very politely what the problem seemed to be, he told me he had pulled me over because my license plate was dirty, which remains as a very lame excuse as he proceeded instantly to asking me about whether I had consumed any alcohol.

I responded very politely, once again, and told him I had gone out after work for a meal with my girlfriend and some friends and he had no right to pull me over when I had done nothing wrong.

When I suggested to him I was not displaying any signs of impairment, I did not weave or speed and was wearing my seatbelt and he had no right to be interrogating me like this, he made it very clear he was going to make me undergo the humiliation of having to undergo a roadside breath test.

He had no reasonable or probable grounds to be doing any of this, but yet he persisted to show just how much power he had.

Of course, you don’t have any choice but to oblige or else face some very dire consequences whenever a police officer asks you do anything in this country (that’s another story for another day), so I politely stepped outside my truck, listened to his instructions and blew into the screening device.

When the readings registered, I could honestly tell Cpl. McLeod was disappointed as the readings were, how do I say this, pretty much close to zero.

He never said sorry, never apologized, informed me I was “Ok to drive” and more or less appeared ready to waltz back to his vehicle and carry on his merry way and harass somebody else I’m thinking.

But now I was upset and I made it very clear to him for a third time that pulling me over for having a dirty license plate was a very lame excuse because his police cruiser was 20 feet from my truck and I could read the plate no problem at all.

What Cpl. McLeod wouldn’t admit was the truth. What really happened was he sat in his vehicle outside a licensed establishment – which he kept calling a bar and I insisted was a restaurant – and then watched me and my girlfriend head inside to buy a bottle of wine, so he instantly presumed I must have been drinking.

After the traumatizing experience of having to go through a breath test for doing absolutely nothing wrong and registering a reading so low it was laughable, I had had enough of his ridiculous treatment and told him I wanted his badge number, name and business card.

At this point, Cpl. McLeod commented to me about “not giving him attitude” because I dared speak back to him about his unfair treatment.

There was a lot of attitude shown our encounter up until that point and none of it came from me. I’ve been a journalist for 27 years and my integrity as a writer and reporter of the truth has never been questioned and I’m not going to let some stranger with a badge, gun and attitude take that away from me.

I’m 50 years old, was polite and co-operative, showed no signs at all of any impairment, yet this experienced officer couldn’t help himself and had to humiliate and embarrass me just because he can.

It’s disgusting.

When I left the Bonnyville Nouvelle newspaper to come to Osoyoos, Sgt. Luis Gandolfi, RCMP detachment commander, phoned to say thanks for all my hard work and wish me good luck. When I worked in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario for 20 years, police chief Alex McCauley became a good friend.

I have no issues with police, but I have great issue with Cpl. McLeod’s treatment and what happened to me Friday night.

When I later informed him I was the editor of the local newspaper and was going to write about our little episode, he finally shut up and showed me some respect. And one final time, I told him he had no right to pull me over.

While he was a lot quieter and less cocky, he kept repeating his mantra he was a police officer and he could basically pull me over whenever he likes for whatever reason he justifies.

I found out this past weekend from other friends I’ve already made in Osoyoos this kind of incident happens on a regular basis in this community and it’s not the first time this particular officer has been involved.

I know I speak for a lot of frustrated citizens out there when I say enough is enough. Sitting in the parking lot of a licensed establishment and pulling people over for whatever lame reason you come up with, is not what citizens want or expect from the police.

This is a free country, not a police state.

If someone is speeding, driving erratically or blows through a red light, of course they can expect to be pulled over by the police. If a RIDE spotcheck is set up, they have proven to be an effective and excellent way of catching drunk drivers.

No one condones drunk driving either, but that’s not the point. I wouldn’t be writing or expecting any sympathy if I was caught drunk driving. But I didn’t know going for a meal and having a pint on a Friday night was against any law in this country.

Cpl. McLeod can justify his actions any way he likes, but I’m not buying what he’s selling and I know most people out there won’t be either.

This is another example of a cop who abused his power.

It’s incidents like this and officers like this, who are loaded with arrogance and self-rightousness, who give all the good officers out there, who are in the majority, a truly bad name.

Sitting in a parking lot outside a restaurant that serves liquor on a Friday night, then lying about the reason you’re pulling someone over and humiliating him in front of his girlfriend isn’t what I want my taxpayer dollars being spent on.

I suggest to Cpl. McLeod you get out there and catch the bad guys. I’m not one of them.

And if you’re not cut out for treating people with dignity and respect, even though you have all this so-called power you’re so easy to abuse, perhaps you find another profession.

When I told my girlfriend I’m sick and tired of police officers who feel they are free to do whatever they please whenever they want without consequence and I was going to write about this incident and let the people of Osoyoos know what’s going on, she was worried this officer “might make my life a living hell.”

I told her, “don’t worry honey, I’m not a criminal and I don’t break the law” and I refuse to live my life being worried about a person hired to serve and protect, not bother and harass innocent taxpayers who pay their salary.

I also told her if I ever run into Cpl McLeod again and he pulls this kind of crap on me again, I’ll treat him with the same respect he showed me last Friday night.  Zero.

And I’ll be glad to let everyone in this community I’m now proud to call home know all about it.

Then, on Thursday, the following gauntlet was thrown down by the RCMP. (Find it here).

Dear Osoyoos Times Editor,

I read your article wherein you discuss that, after having consumed beer at a local pub, you were stopped by a police officer and humiliated by having to comply with the officers lawful request to do a roadside test to ensure you were not impaired. You go on to say he harassed and intimidated you and “abused his position of authority”. Your allegations are very serious and certainly cast the officer, who you name nine times in your article, and the RCMP in a very negative light.

As the Editor of a local newspaper, your readers must feel it important to know that when you report something in your paper, it is factual. I imagine your credibility and that of the Osoyoos Times relies heavily on that.

Well sir, I’m very pleased to report that there is a video of this incident. The video was taken from the police car and includes audio of the entire interaction between you and the police officer. I have just watched the video and observed a very calm and professional member of the RCMP doing his job. The RCMP has proudly served the people of Osoyoos for a very long time and I fear your one sided article could adversely, and incorrectly, impact their view of their local RCMP. Thus, I suggest that we post this video on-line so the good people of Osoyoos and others can make their own determination of what occurred. This is the type of transparency British Columbians expect from the RCMP.

Alternatively, I would be willing to drive to Osoyoos, at my own expense and on my own time, to show the people of Osoyoos this video. Perhaps we could capitalize on this opportunity by publicly discussing the important issue of impaired driving. As a new resident in Osoyoos, you may be interested to know that the RCMP has conducted extensive community consultation and traffic safety, including impaired driving, has been raised as a serious concern. I think the residents would be pleased to learn that their police are working hard to ensure that no lives are lost due to impaired driving. The residents of Osoyoos will also learn that this particular police officer carries a photo in his duty bag of a young girl who was killed by an impaired driver. This police officer, who you so freely defame using your position, also has extensive training and experience with impaired driving investigations. He has, no doubt, saved many lives by taking drunk drivers off the road using the exact same lawful means as the night he stopped you.

Perhaps, before slandering an Osoyoos resident and member of the local RCMP, you’ll do some research just as the member suggested to you during the stop. In this case, it may have included reading the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Ladouceur (1990).

Admittedly, I am not a regular reader of the Osoyoos Times but if I was I would be troubled by the seeming motivation of an article written by the new Editor of my local paper. Allow me to quote you from the video sir. I am the editor of the newspaper and you will see the powers that I have.

If there was one positive to your negative article, it was a reminder to me of the many baseless and malicious allegations our members must constantly face while carrying out their duties. Fortunately, in this case, the video removes any doubt that the police officer’s actions were professional and respectful.

I look forward to a retraction or correction and to, potentially, facilitating the public’s viewing of this video.

Supt Ray Bernoties
Officer in Charge
BC RCMP Communications

For obvious reasons, not least of which is the fact that it was posted on the RCMP news site and subsequently tweeted, the letter instantly got LOTS of attention. As I said. I’ll have more later. In the meantime feel free to have at’er in the comments section.

[UPDATE: Lacey first said he planned to apologize, then said he only planned to correct parts of the editorial.]

[Ed. note: The comment section was getting boring and repetitive, so each must now be approved ala a letters page. I’ll approve any comment that says something different than those that have already been published. Those from regular readers and journalists/RCMP are especially welcome.]

 

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  1. Adopted by SK
    February 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I am a retired Regular Member of the RCMP, having completed 35 years of service, the vast majority of which was traffic-enforcement related, the majority of that being Alcohol-Impaired-Driving enforcement (Criminal Code and Provincial Statute). “Client” LACEY’s self-righteous, incorrect and laughable comments do NOTHING to harm the reputation of the RCMP in general, nor of the investigating member, Cpl McLEOD – if anything, the reputations are enhanced, burnished and made praise-worthy. Let us not forget the fine, up-standing comments by Supt BENOTIES, which makes me even that much more proud of my having been part of that long line from The March West to today.

    See, folks, what the Police have to deal with? LACEY is a member of YOUR community; how proud does THAT make you feel, Osoyoos?

  2. Anonymous
    February 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    The editor pushed his big red button during a (hopefully) momentarily lapse in reason. He knows he was wrong to broadcast such a self-centered rant. At his age he really ought to know better. Maybe he didn’t read Spider-Man as a kid but I’d say he blew it when it comes to showing any sense of responsibility. Time for him to move on to another small town and try again.

  3. leo
    February 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    question for Mr. Lacey,
    If another citizen had submitted a letter to the editor (in this case Mr. Lacey himself) like the one Mr. Lacey wrote, BUT was biased against what he calls one of his “good friend” police officers. would he have published it? or would he have refused on the grounds of slandering an officer, or in this case public mischief?

  4. Small town police officer
    February 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    All I can say is….”Better to thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
    All removed Mr.Lacey….alll removed.

  5. daniel
    February 11, 2012 at 2:55 am

    I am not a fan of cops, I to believe most abuse their powers appointed to them, when you see a city cop turn on his cherries and go through a red light, and after passing said light turn them off, just to pull into a coffee shop(city of Calgary police). I find this wrong.
    but this being said I must say in my own opinion i think the paper editor is in the wrong, and the publisher should force him to publiclly appologise.
    The RCMP should have the right to publicly post the video, in their own defence. if for no other reason then to prove to the people of Osoyoos that the RCMP are doing their jobs, and there is no basis for the wrongfull alligations.

  6. February 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I can’t help but notice that in the third paragraph, the editor of a newspaper states “…me and my girlfriend…” instead of the grammatically correct ‘…my girlfriend and I…”. Hmmm… complain about how someone in another profession does their job? Physician, heal thyself.

  7. concerned citizen
    February 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Wow Great article Mr.Editor. You really want the Cpl. to appoligize to you for doing his job. I am not a Osoyoos resident but i would encourage all the Osoyoos residents to stop reading this new paper until this editor look for another job. If he is not truthful in his repoting how can we trust anything on his new paper.

  8. Tim
    February 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    The whole premise for this article is crazy. Any police officer at any time has the right to pull ANYONE over if they even suspect that someone has consumed alcohol. Whether thats one drink or 12 drinks they can do it. Its called due diligence in the face of public safety. It is this “writers” right to refuse. However, should he chose to do so he will promptly be arrested and have his car impounded so I don’t understand why, if he had nothing to hide, he didn’t just shut up, blow into the machine, pass and go home and enjoy his wine with his gf.

    Also, I bet she loves that all of her friends/family now know that she got so worked up over a nothing situation that she was vomiting. Such a farce.

  9. Emily
    February 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I guess you don’t have to be a genius (or intelligent whatsoever) to be a newspaper editor. As someone who has lost someone due to drinking and driving, amen to any police officer who pulls any person over for drinking any amount. I guess there is nothing more exciting going on in the city so he’s left to discuss his personal opinions of the RCMP publicly through his newpaper. I thought public media was supposed to be unbiased and simply present both sides of issues.. as mentioned before, I wonder if this guy still has a job.

  10. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    The editor was miles out of line for many reasons, most of them noted above – and he should lose his job.
    BUT
    What about the threat in Supt. Bernoties final sentence: “I look forward to a retraction or correction and to, potentially, facilitating the public’s viewing of this video.” If I said I had a video of you doing something embarrassing that would cause you to lose your job and demanded you do something or I’d make it public, what’s that called? Blackmail. An unprofessional threat at the very least. Is Cst. Julian Assange working in the RCMP media room now?
    And why is everyone jumping to the conclusion that the video would be damning of Mr. Lacey? Why not just release the full, unedited video instead of issuing public threats? The Vancouver Police Department set that precedent with the guy smashing the bus window with his skateboard. The RCMP’s version insinuates Lacey was acting like a major twerp in the video – maybe he is, maybe he’s not and the RCMP is calling the kettle black with their own defamatory attack.
    In my opinion, this pissing contest is soaking everyone involved – including you and me when we foot the court costs for two defamation lawsuits.

    • Somewhere North of Here
      February 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      That is a good question… why can’t the police have their own ‘YouTube’ channel where we can post all our favourite clips? Because I can tell you, it would be quite entertaining… and a lot more people would be pleading guilty at their first appearance…

      • Anonymous
        February 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

        SNOH, Thanks for your reply, but your response dodges the question. Presumably, the YouTube channel you’re speaking about is the courtroom, where the video and audio recorded in these roadside stops are matched up with the breath samples that are over the limit, leading to criminal sanctions. Everyone’s supportive of that.
        What you didn’t address is the fact that a police boss is muddying himself in a poorly thought-out and highly defamatory attack against an already marginalized newcomer to Osoyoos.
        If I was on the run from the law and the media in Osoyoos, I’d take the high road.

    • Anonymous
      February 11, 2012 at 5:44 am

      Funny how it’s great when people post videos of the police doing bad things, but when the police have a video showing that the suspect did something wrong – the thought of releasing it is a threat as the suspect could lose is job – glad to see you posted anonymously – if I were you, I wouldn’t want people who know me seeing what kind of a coward and idiot I was!!!!

      • Anonymous
        February 11, 2012 at 10:06 am

        Anonymous, your handle is Anonymous too. It seems you’re having trouble with simple concepts. Your argument is specious. My post above suggests the RCMP should release the video now that they’ve come this far. It argues against withholding the video then demanding something or else they’ll release the video. That’s blackmail. It also suggests getting into this public pissing contest was a bad idea. It puts the police on the same level as the editor. It’s unprofessional. The RCMP had several other far more classy options here, but they chose the low road. That brings everyone down. People expect more of their public servants. Clear?
        And please, four exclamation marks? Make the sentence exciting, don’t tell everyone they’ve just read a really exciting sentence. In a local journalism forum, your punctuation is making you look like the undercover cops from Kids in the Hall.

  11. Daniel
    February 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Odd comment above there, “this site is meant for journalist/media types but “we” welcome non media types to comment freely”.

    Odd have you not heard of citizen journalism, most of the posts above are written by the public and are unbiased and are calling it as they see it.

  12. Don
    February 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    The best response from the R.C.M.P. in a long time. I was a member for 32 years and have a lot of poor press in my time and have been attacked by the media. Oh how sweet it is to see this happen. I will sent this site to a couple of media people who are just like this guy.

    • Tom Larkin
      February 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      dido

  13. Larry Spurrell
    February 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    To: Supt. Ray Bernoties, thank you very much for standing up for justice and for Cpl. McLeod as your jobs are not easy ones. Great job! Please seek to have the video placed online so the same people that read this demeaning article can have the privledge to see the truth.

    To Keith Lacey, I hope that Supt. Bernoties has the authority or gets the authority to place the video online so that we all can see the truth. Of course since we were not there during the situation nor have we seen the video yet we can not be sure whom is correct. But I am willing to bet that Cpl. McLeod was correct and that you were trying to impress the girl who was with you that evening. Now see if this lady will go out with you for your next meal of CROW.

  14. Somewhat small-town RCMP
    February 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I’ll have to remain somewhat anonymous, as RCMP members are under scrutiny to not be seen as influencing social media sites… and I’m no spokesperson so I can’t comment on this incident specifically. What I’d like to say though, is the type of service people experience from police is often a reflection on the ‘tone’ of their community. If there is a certain group of people, especially in a smaller town, that sees it as a game to try ‘get away’ with whatever they can – then the police often get pushed into a response-driven method of policing where tickets and enforcement are needed. Basically, because there is no respect for the rules a community expects its citizens to abide by, and the police become a focus for this lack of social skill.

    Because that is what we are really talking about… it’s not about driving drunk, or going 10 km/h over the speed limit. It’s about a group of people, your friends and neighbours, participating in a system of laws that are based on their own values. Police don’t make the rules, but as community members we participate in this process as well. The majority of people have decided that impaired driving is a cause worthy of significant penalty. And, courts have decided that some Charter Rights can be bent to accomodate the goal of public safety (Check Stops for example). So, when someone chooses to drive drunk – they are creating a risk, committing an offence, and my job is to stop that from happening. Because that is what the people in my community have asked me to do.

    The issue that always bothers me about drunk drivers is their lack of respect. It reveals itself in their hatred for police, and that is just part of the job, but it really bugs me that they feel so disconnected from their community that they risk so much just to ‘stick it to the man’.

    Being a safe, sober driver isn’t about complying with ‘big brother’ or police abusing their power. It is about a citizen abusing THEIR power. It is them choosing to disregard their community’s expectations on civil behaviour because of some selfish of immature reason.

    it’s the same attitude of people that we go deal with endless noise complaints, whose dogs run free and terrorize the kids, drive their ATV’s in the campground, or who otherwise just don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves.

    So… that is where I come in. Because I do give a shit. And I completely expect that in the course of my lawful duties, that this polar opposite in attitudes is going to create conflict. I don’t enjoy the conflict… or dealing with the Public Complaints Commission… but, I sleep quite soundly every night knowing that being fair and professional as a police officer sometimes means some people are going to be unhappy.

    But, I think of the other people that I’ve made happier – and it all works out just fine. I don’t often hear from the happier people, but every now and then one of them will let me know I’m doing my job.

    So to Mr. Editor, I thank you for letting me and the community know that there is someone doing their job just fine in Osooyos. To each their own in deciding which person they want that comment to refer to.

  15. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    This editor is off his rocker – bigtime! At no point should a person be humiliated to take a breathalyzer, especially if there’s nothing to hide. This guy even says for himself that he blew an ‘almost zero’ which means that he wasn’t out just having a few laughs with his friends!

    It disgusts me when people in his position take advantage of the audience they tell stories to and make such negative comments about the men and women that continue to keep our cities safe. If they pull over a 1000 people and only have 1 blow over the limit, I know that my tax dollars are going to good use and saving that person’s life!!

    The Osoyoos Editor needs to apologize for his unprofessional comments and bite his tongue the next time he chooses to say such idiotic things. Remember buddy, you’re not as important as you think you might be – you work for a local newspaper… chew on that for a while!

    • Cameron O
      February 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      “Remember buddy, you’re not as important as you think you might be – you work for a local newspaper… chew on that for a while!”

      As a person who works for a local newspaper: ouch!

  16. Brock Clayards
    February 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    This incident reminds me of a similar one which circulated from australia about the moselem woman who falsely accused an Aussie officer of misconduct but was caught by the video lense . Obviously newspaper editors need to be aware that camers are out there….the position at the top of their ivory pulpit is not as secure as they might think

  17. John Taylor
    February 10, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I find it particularly interesting that I found this information on this site, which apparently picked up and published before anyone else had information out there. From what I have read, the purpose of this site is to discuss journalism rather than the actual “topic” at hand. I like that now that I understand it.

    The information is now slowly coming out in other forums; a little slower of course, because of the method of reporting I suppose.

    Abuse of power by anyone is always interesting to me, and once again Karma proves its existence.

    What I also find interesting is how people (the paper and now the RCMP) believe that something posted on the internet can be removed. That just ain’t gonna happen, you can’t make it go away, which is a valuable lesson to us all. Don’t say what you don’t want heard in perpetuity, it doesn’t work that way anymore.

    The behaviour of the “editor” in this case was inappropriate. I am surprised there is no statement or acknowledgment of the issue from the publisher on the website of the paper… In my experience with the media over the years it was always best to get the information out as the longer something goes unanswered, the more the usual gang of idiots distort the issue.

    This appears to be borne out by some of the comments here and elsewhere with regard to running off about how much someone loves or hates the media and the police… It gets rather ho-hum when that happens doesn’t it?

  18. Velma
    February 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Wow not surprising another inaccurate media report. Shamefull a reporter would use this for his own personal agenda. Wonder what would happen if they had to report accuately to get paid…perhaps would be on the soup line

  19. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I cannot for the life of me comprehend how someone who passes the roadside screening test can say he was humiliated, I would feel proud of this fact and take the opportunity to thank the officer for doing what his so called TAX DOLLARS are paying for. Could someone give this editor a quarter and refund his tax contribution to that members salary. It would likely be an overpayment but hey, there is still love in this world.

  20. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 10:55 am

    That Cpl. should sue the paper for slander.

  21. Mike
    February 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Don’t write cheques with your mouth that your ass can’t cash. As police officers, we deal with these types of false complaints all of the time from self rightious complainers who believe that they will have the officer fired for their “tramatic event”.
    Reality is, the RCMP are being transparent, respectful in their response, and have physical proof of their comments. The so called Jounalist has nothing except for a vomiting g/f witness who I would have no doubt say that she was “tramatized” as well.
    I am not saying all police officers are angels but any officer who is attempting to enter into an Impaired Driving Investigation should be applauded, not shamed. Too many times we have to attend MVA,s or Veh/Pedestrian accidents due to a self rightious driver who is better than the cops and “won’t get caught cause they never do”. The general public continue to drink and drive because they do get away with it. Job well done to the RCMP.
    To the “jounalist”, speaking of abuse of power, nice job in using a public forum and paper to commit Public Mischief. Yes that is a criminal code charge, so now you may be treated like one. Being in a paper, there are plenty of witnesses. I hope to see your name in the paper next…..in the court readings.

  22. Jocelyn
    February 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Mr. Lacey is eating a large portion of crow today. I’m sure he’s discovered that contrary to his belief, most people actually do “buy” what Cpl. MacLeod is selling. If stopping 100 drivers who blow “almost zero” will stop one drunk driver from killing an innocent person, then I’m all for it.

    As you told your girlfriend, you may not be a criminal Mr. Lacey, and you may not break the law but you certainly come off as pompous and arrogant. Perhaps the next time Cpl. McLeod has to do a next of kin notification to a parent whose child has just been killed by a drunk driver, he should give you an invitation to accompany him. Maybe seeing up and close and personal, the kinds of things that police officers deal with on a daily basis, would change your self righteous opinion. Perhaps the next life a police officer saves will be yours.

    To all of those who serve and protect, I think you. To Cpl. McLean, Maintiens le Droit!

  23. Tom Larkin
    February 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

    “…A case of a “stone thrower” getting hit with his own ricocheting rock!”

    Please excuse my additional post here, but actually I laugh every time I think of the above statement. Sort of sums things up a bit don’t you think?” Hahaha. There has to be some humour in this!

  24. February 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Jesus came our debt to pay, Saved our soul in grace one day; So in love we all should live, Ready always to forgive!
    WHEN IT SEEMS YOU CAN’T FORGIVE,
    REMEMBER HOW MUCH YOU’VE BEEN FORGIVEN!

    This is certainly a good lesson to all of us looking in & judging & wanting this mans life to come to ruin from his mistake obviously made! I just hope that he can see what he has done & move onto being a better human being!
    Lets face it! we have all made mistakes, some bigger than others, but that is no reason to crusify!

    • Tom Larkin
      February 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

      I don’t think anyone is saying that this gentleman is unworthy of being forgiven. It really is more of a case of a “stone thrower” getting hit with his own ricocheting rock! The question then becomes, “Did he learn from the experience?” No one is questioning his value as a person. It is more of a case of just identifying to the media that one of their own has acted poorly. Now let’s see as an entitiy whether or not the media can hold themselves to the same standards of behaviour and reporting that they impose on the rest of society. If this reporter has not learned from his experience then he is simply destined to repeat it. Next time, if there is a next time, the cost of the lesson may be more expensive than just embarrassment. No real harm done here, just the red face of embarrasment. I think we have all been there, some of us maybe even more than one. It’s call life. Learn from it and move on.

  25. Tom Larkin
    February 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

    “…[Ed. note]: The comment section was getting boring and repetitive, so each must now be approved ala a letters page. I’ll approve any comment that says something different than those that have already been published. Those from regular readers and journalists/RCMP are especially welcome.”…… Interesting.

    Just so I have interpreted the above correctly, a media person has been criticized for his unprofessional conduct by readers but, because the consensus of option is so overwhelming it now warrants censorship? Hmmm…I guess media personnel really don’t like it when the spot light is turned on them. We only get better when our own actions are called into question. It would be an interesting read to hear just how the other medias are handling this situation. Moreover, I believe this would be a good exercise for a journalism class on ethics. He who has his hand on the tap has the ability to control the flow of information. In this case the public has the information in the form of their opinion and the flow is backwards towards the media. It will be interesting to see how quickly the media turns off the tap to prevent the release of information within the media itself and subsequent dissemination to the public elsewhere. If the information is suppressed or marginalized as non-newsworthy then such action can be used as an argument in the future against the media by those being accused of not being forthright with the release of information and further stated that in doing so the media is acting in its own self-interest. It is a situation like this that adds merit to the burgeoning popular opinion that reforms are necessary within the media industry itself so as to move away from the prevalence of tabloid journalism. Many journalist believe reforms are necessary. This case gives them an opportunity to either step up to the plate and report on the bad behavior of one of their own or stay in the safety of the shadows of mediocrity and turn their meritorious words into rhetoric. Many will commit but few will have the courage to institute reform. After-all, journalist are only human too. The best way to marginalize damage to oneself is to mitigate the importance of the message delivered, “…..boring and repetitive.” Maybe there is an important lesson to be learned when receiving the same message many time. “Learn or Dismiss?” It’s your call.

    • February 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

      Point taken. It’s more to explain why comments aren’t going to show up instantly. Personally, I get tired of comments sections where everybody feels the need to chime in with their two cents when their opinion is the exact same as the guy who posted before. E.g. “I want to see the video.” Yes, well, that point has been made. To make it again, after it has been established as consensus, serves little purpose. I prefer “curated” comments sections to ensure that the discussion remains interesting and so that they remain something people want to read, instead of just places for people to see their names and their writing on a screen.

      That said, half an hour into this, it’s pretty clear that it’s pretty much impossible to pick and choose comments because their is no clear dividing between what is a “good” comment, and what is repetitive and redundant. So 99% are going to get through. I’ll only deny the ones that explicitly repeat a point previously made.

      Note, though, that unless you are a journalist this site is not designed for you. You’re welcome here, of course, but my intention is to stir discussion among reporters. The fact that the blog has received thousands of hits today from non-journalists isn’t a bad thing, but it changes the discussion in the comments section from “what does this say about journalism” to “why is this guy wrong.” For me, it’s clear why this guy is in the wrong. The discussion about journalism is more interesting (to me) and I would like to see more comments that reflect that. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen until the general hubbub surrounding this dies down. I think we’ll probably return to the issue in a month or so to talk about it in a more journalism-centric way. Hopefully, we can get a real conversation going then.

      • February 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

        Also, note that any name-calling will not be published. This blog ain’t going there.

      • Tom Larkin
        February 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

        Thank you for taking time to provide some well articulated feedback. I certainly agree and encourage future discussion about journalism ethics, etc. amongst your peers when the waters calm. My apologies for misinterpreting the purpose of this forum. As this is my first visit to this form via a post on Facebook, I will, “ask” in the future as to what perspective you are seeking before I tickle the keys. Please don’t misinterpret my point here. I wish to neither offend nor waste my time or yours expostulating on transgression that have already been communicated or perspectives already stated. So if I ask in the future and receive feedback then I am in a better position to provide a different perspective than one already stated. I rarely take time to comment on issues in the media but felt compelled in this case. I appreciate hearing your comments and perspective which has made my visit to your site enjoyable. Thanks again and good luck in your future posts. Best Regards

      • February 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

        Thanks Tom. Your comments, including (especially) the one about me approving comments, have been good contributions. In general, I never read comment sections and hoped to avoid the reasons that make me ignore them. For a number of reasonsI think that is pretty much impossible with a mass audience, unfortunately. It’s clearly a subject for another day, but it is something I’d like to come back to (if I haven’t already discussed it. Will have to refresh memory.)

    • Tom Larkin
      February 10, 2012 at 11:25 am

      No worries. You have my email should you ever wish to discuss something, I learnt a good one the other day. “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it just might be a ………Platypus!” hahaha! Perspective is everything. Cheers….Tom

  26. Jack
    February 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Suck it newsie! I hate the media.

  27. Brian
    February 10, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I’d rather be stopped and checked out for alcohol consumption than the alternative….no roadside checks and drunk drivers on the road unchecked! Too bad it didn’t happen during the Christmas season eh Lacey???? I’m sure you would have sent the RCMP Constable a piece of coal for a present??

  28. Lindsey Carter
    February 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

    As a retired member of the RCMP I say “Thank you” to the Supt. for the very professional and respectful response to the editor. It is refreashing for the public to see there is always two sides to a story not just the side which shows the RCMP in a bad light. I hope it is a sign to come of the RCMP showing the true side of an event and letting people decide for themselves what happened.

  29. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

    The Motor Vehicle Act allows any police officer in BC to stop a vehile to check for three things; check for a valid drivers license, check for valid insurance and to check the sobriety of the driver. For some reason Mr. Lacey thinks a person operating a motor vehicle has to do something wrong before they can be stopped, and goes on to say that this is a free country and not a police state. If Mr. Lacey knew anything he would understand that this only applies in the USA where there must be a violation before a traffic stop can be conducted.
    Then Mr. Lacey says that Cpl McLeod did not have reasonable or probable grounds to be conducting an appoved screening device test. Again, if Mr. Lacey knew anything he would understand that an officer only has to have a suspicion of the presence of alcohol in the drivers body, upon determing care and control of the motor vehicle. Reasonable grounds is not required because the driver is not yet under arrest. The approved screening device allows the officer to move from a suspicion to forming the opinion that the driver has committed an offence under Section 253 (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada. In this instance it would appear that the officer could articulate his suspicion, which is all that is requried. A valid breath sample on average take about 3-5 seconds and requires the subject to blow into the end of a plastic tube while standing roadside, hardly a traumatizing experience.
    It is in-appropriate for Mr. Lacey to write his OPINION in a column that may be misunderstood by readers as factual. To tell the true version of events he should perhaps consider telling both sides of the story and have an understanding of the BC Motor Vehicle Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

    • John Taylor
      February 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Well put, we have a more reasonable justice system in Canada. That is why I choose to live here. For a very small personal inconvenience, the roads are kept safe. I am good with that.

  30. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

    [Ed. note]: The comment section was getting boring and repetitive, so each must now be approved ala a letters page. I’ll approve any comment that says something different than those that have already been published. Those from regular readers and journalists/RCMP are especially welcome.

  31. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

    “When I left the Bonnyville Nouvelle newspaper to come to Osoyoos, Sgt. Luis Gandolfi, RCMP detachment commander, phoned to say thanks for all my hard work and wish me good luck. When I worked in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario for 20 years, police chief Alex McCauley became a good friend.”

    Welcome to B.C…..”You can fool some of the people, some of the time but not all the people all the time! Get rid of your condescending and self-righteous attitude or go back home to Ontario. Such actions are not acceptable in B.C. nor should they be in Ontario.” I don’t believe your friend, “Sgt. Gandolfi” would be proud of your actions should he review the video tape. Next time you are on video, you may wish to maintain your professional masquerade by remaining mute. To put pen to paper after your actions have been captured on tape can only be interpreted as impetuous and immature resulting in embarrassment to both yourself and your paper. Your best course of action is to put your battered ego back in its box, apologize to both the towns people of Osoyoos, and the RCMP members involved, learn from your mistake, and get on with the job of being a professional journalist if you want to be taken seriously again in the future. We all make mistakes. Own up to it, make amends, and move forward. Your evolution as a person and a journalist requires you to take a serious introspective look at yourself and your actions and make the necessary adjustments to become a desired and valued person and journalist in Osoyoos. You are being watched, judged and valued by the people of Osoyoos. How you handle this situation will follow you for years to come. If you want to be perceived as a professional you have to act professional.

    • February 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

      I sure wouldn’t want to be in this guys boots!! great letter you wrote.

  32. tim
    February 10, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I don’t know about you, but cops pulling people over to even CHECK for drunk drivers is exactly what I want my taxpayer dollars to be spent on. Getting drunk drivers off the road should be #1 priority for RCMP, and this officer has every right to pull someone over coming out of a bar/pub/restaurant and getting in their car. I really don’t understand how being pulled over and breathalyzed is A) a big deal, B) a humiliating experience, and C) a problem. That’s exactly what a police officer is around to do.

  33. Paul
    February 10, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I am will to bet that this “editor” Is the same type of person to complain how the RCMP does not do enough to prevent drunk driving accidents or any crime. The same type of person that wants justice to be done, but complains endlessly about jury duty, or having to give a witness statement, or actually have to do their part to help in the protection of society.

  34. Tom Larkin
    February 10, 2012 at 8:21 am

    “…Connecting the dots to reach an incorrect conclusion is the privilege of the general public and not that of a professional journalist.” It’s reassuring to see so many, non journalists, exercising their inherent right to jump to conclusions and expressing same via their right to freedom of speech. To comment on the issue at hand through the use of hyperbole in support of one’s own paradigm does little to foster credibility for any stated argument. As the axiom goes, “better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

  35. Lee Manning
    February 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

    This editor is an immature individual, he wanted the police officer to suck up to him. He thought since he wasn’t drunk that the police officer should have said sorry but again the police officer was doing his job. So sick of people saying police abuse their power, some do but there are bad apples in everything.

  36. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Cops are nothing more than revenue agents … it is time we start telling these fucking politicians that legislative statutes DO NOT override the CAnadian Charter of rights and Freedoms. To the RCMP… do your fucking job – which is protecting people and private property!

    • Anonymous
      February 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

      I like how you say those things anonymously.

      • Mike
        February 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

        The next time a drunk driver runs his vehicle into your families home…..dont call a cop, call a crack head. The cops will be off “doing their job” as you put it.

  37. Greg Irvine
    February 10, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I was an RCMP member for 28 years and became used to small town newspapers using their publications for their own one sided rants although I must say this one likely takes the cake. I look forward to the retraction from the ‘editor’ and please advise us all out here when the date is set for us all to have a look at the video and see the ‘real story’. I assume Mr. Lacey would have no problem with this…..would he??

  38. Alan Strom
    February 10, 2012 at 7:33 am

    In Calgary the young recruit cops abuse their power all the time. It seems to be a joke to them. Maybe the RCMP are different then city cops… I dont know, but I sure don’t have much respect for them.

    • Janos
      February 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

      Well, one day when they come to your door at 0200 to tell you that your loved one has been critically injuried or worse by a drunk driver, maybe then you will have respect for “them”!!

  39. Lee Manning
    February 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

    The editor was just embarrassed in front of his girlfriend for being a such a twit so he had to write up that joke of a letter to impress her.

  40. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Hah….Bravo RCMP. It’s about time.

  41. February 10, 2012 at 6:45 am

    RCMP link is now coming up 404 as well…

  42. Tom Larkin
    February 10, 2012 at 6:18 am

    This might be one of those cases for the new RCMP Commissioner who promises to speak up when the members are treated poorly. When our Constitution is used to, “Grand Stand” by anyone, particularly those in the media, to justify their behavior at the expense of others then it is only appropriate that a tactful and respectful response be given the “SAME” space in the “SAME” publication less the publication be accused of preferential and bias behavior. Everyone, including an organization, has the right to both voice their opinion “equally” and to be heard, “equally”. Please note the lack of opinion respecting the “incident in question” only a stated position that when those within the media industry use their access and influence to champion personal agendas then those who are the subject of their tirades should be given equal opportunity to response without “trying” a matter in the court of public opinion. The actions of the reporter/editor, in my opinion, are both unprofessional and an abuse of his privilege to submit articles to the paper as a reporter and editor. If the reporter was unhappy with his, “treatment” by the police, as a citizen of this wonderful country, he has two options available to him that are also available to the rest of us citizens; report the incident to the Public Complaint Commission for the RCMP, “and” submit a personal, “editorial” like the rest of us, so that readers are aware that the writer is voicing a personal grievance and not reporting the incident as news. The editor of the publication if anything has maligned the integrity of the publication itself. As society holds law enforcement to a higher standard of behavior than those they protect, then we should expect a higher standard of behavior from journalists and editors not to use their access to the media to champion personal grievances. The response penned by Supt. Ray Bernoties was respectful, articulate and well stated. It is the kind of, “defense” members of the RCMP have along awaited particularly when it comes to media personnel abusing their authority at the cost of members’ reputations. For media personnel to “judge” existentially the actions of the police based on previous reports in the media and imply the officer’s actions in this case are anything but professional, especially without having been witness to the events, is also an abuse of their position as a journalist. Connecting the dots to reach an incorrect conclusion is the privilege of the general public not that of a professional journalist.

    • kim
      February 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Awesome Tom! I fully agree. very well put.

  43. Fred
    February 10, 2012 at 6:13 am

    The RCMP Officer was doing his job. Too many people die from drunk drivers every year. In Canada, the latest information suggests that of the 3,045 individuals killed in traffic accidents, 1,239 were the result of drunk driving. On average, that is almost 4 people per day.

    The officer does not have to apologize to you. He did not have to kiss your butt just because you were not over the legal limit. Good for you. Everyone that is driving a vehicle should be just the same. Did you want an award for being an ass to an officer that risks his life everyday. Next time you are in need of help in any way I am sure you would call the police. These officers are doing their job and it is great to see. You should do your job and write about something that is more important like drunk drivers and their families that have to cope with the loss. Great story Osoyoos Editor. This story will bring you lots of readers but they are not in your favor.

  44. Jackie Smith
    February 10, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Mr. Editor,
    You say you are someone who writes for a living, and yet you write a sentence that includes “me and my girlfriend”? Not only do I not give credibility to anything you have stated in this article and have no sympathy for your supposed traumatizing encounter with a road side screening device, but your writing is mediocre at best. I cannot believe you have made a living at it this long. You need to apologize.

    • Jen
      February 10, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Agreed!!!

    • Dana
      February 10, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Exactly! That was my first observation…an editor who writes like this??!!

  45. Bman
    February 10, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Mr Lacey was lucky he was stopped. Imagine if you will if he was involved in a collision and someone was hurt. With any reading of alcohol. Its not the police that would be his problem but civil court and ICBC. I feel safe thanks to what the police do. Not just the RCMP but all police. The police are committed to public safety.Mr Lacey has a different agenda. Being an editor of a news paper carries the responsibility of just that, being responsible. I feel the people and subscribers in this community are being misled with the power of liquor and arrogance. If you eat,drink liquor and drive. Be prepared for the safety of the majority, to display your responsibility as a driver.

  46. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 1:36 am

    I really hope that the RCMP releases this video. If you didn’t do anything wrong then you should have no problem doing as a police officer asks. The whole article that this editor wrote sounds ridiculous. How can he think a breathalyzer test is a ‘traumatizing experience’? His girlfriend in tears and sick?

    People like this editor are ridiculous, thinking that the police are out to get them. Sounds like all the Cpl was doing was his job…trying to keep people from driving drunk, who cares if you get pulled over, blow into the machine and go on you merry way. It means the police are precautious and are making sure no one is driving impaired.

    This Editor totally abused his power as a writer and a reporter. The video needs to be released.

    The whole tone of the editor’s article is amateur.

  47. Anonymous
    February 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Mr. Editor, you played your hand, the Mounties called your hand, let’s show the cards. Man up an publish the video.

  48. Mark
    February 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I am very pleased to see the RCMP turn this around. Far too often the RCMP and police in general have been ambushed unfairly simply due to the fact that they don’t/can’t defend themselves. The Osoyoos editor is now going to see who has the power as his bluff has been called. Jeff Lee, thank you for your very thoughtful posting, as an RCMP officer I appreciate your taking a stand.

  49. John Taylor
    February 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I love it!!! The power to abuse via the media is caught on tape, the abuse by the police back at Vancouver Airport caught on tape… A picture doesn’t lie, but this “editor” got caught with his proverbial pants down.

    Aside from that he doesn’t write very well…

  50. Joe Q Public
    February 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks you Mr Lacey for this great example of yellow journalism. Every journalism program should include it in a curriculum as one of the worse example of abuse of the press.

    Now I hope you will allow the public viewing of the video and then promptly resigned from your position. Editor of a newspaper is a position that require intergrity and the trust of the public. It is obvious that you are not worthy of either.

    Let’s see the video!!!!

  51. Anonymous
    February 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I wonder if the editor still has his job?

  52. February 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    The real problem with this story is that it has the potential to hurt a lot of serious and well-meaning journalists.
    The RCMP have, in recent years, seemed to crash from one side of the room to the other with publicity and credibility gaffs. The Robert Dziekanski taser incident. The handling of the Pickton investigation. Allegations of harassment of female Mounties by their own colleagues.
    Etc. etc. etc. They don’t really need our help in pointing out their flaws.
    But at their basic they’re also professional force and for every bad apple there’s a whole orchard of good people. Sometimes they mess up. But more often than not they do a fine job.
    In this case, I am surprised and disturbed that a member of the media would use a forum such as an editorial for such a personal attack. The old saying “never get into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel” isn’t a license to attack someone who is doing their job, even if you don’t like the job they’re doing.
    I’ve lived in small towns and I’ve seen cops – human beings – do stupid things as much as the guy next door. But I also would expect them to do their job and if that means pulling over someone who is coming out of a bar, restaurant, whatever, that shouldn’t be too surprising. I once watched the Boston Bar RCMP detachment set up a roadblock at closing time outside the only bar in town, much to the imbibing population. A lot of people walked home that night.
    The appropriate thing, if you think you are being unfairly targeted, is to take the officer’s information and make a complaint to his superior or to the RCMP Public Complaints Commission.
    Getting into a very VERY public pissing match with the officer – especially in a small town where everybody knows each other and your kids are likely to be on the same minor hockey team – doesn’t usually end well. This editor is going to have a credibility problem, and in our business credibility and integrity are the only tangible commodities we have.
    I’m not suggesting one should roll over when faced with a bully cop. But cool heads, common sense and the shelving of ego and sense of entitlement as a journalist would better resolve these kinds of disputes.
    Frankly, as a journalist of more than 30 years, I would never gratuitously wave my credentials around. In fact, if anything, journalists need to be held to as high a public standard as police, judges, politicians and others they cover. We live in a goldfish bowl, and to mix metaphors, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Personally, I want to see the video. I also am curious to hear what the owner of the newspaper has to say about this.

  53. Adam Steven
    February 9, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Does the Editor not know that the Police have Video and Audio in use when they do random Breath Tests

  54. PavementPilot
    February 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I whole-heartedly believe the officer was in his right to stop you, after observing you having an alcoholic beverage. You will never understand what carnage there is at a crash involving alcohol. Try having an innocent bystander of said crash, die in your arms as the EMT’s just arrive.

    That said, let’s see the video!

  55. Cheryl
    February 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    First of all, I can’t beieve you’re the editor of a paper. Your journalism skills are sorely lacking. To use this platform for your own personal agenda is completely unprofessional.
    I too look forward to seeing the video and hope that it is released as I believe it will show you embarassing yourself rather than the officer embarassing you.
    I am hopeful that your conduct will lead to punitive consequences for you both personally and professionally.
    I am thankful that there are members of our community who still work to keep our roads safe from impaired drivers despite the constant barrage of criticisms and allegations.

  56. Barb Cray
    February 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Keith Lacey … I look forward to seeing the video for myself … I have a hard time believing your story. Glad that you blew under … I just wonder if you showed some attitude too …

    Sorry but I am not buying this … what you are selling …

  57. Rick Eway.
    February 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Sounds like the Osoyoos Editor has a chip on his shoulder and thinks that he’s above the law. If he blew ‘almost zero’ it would mean that he indeed does have alcohol in his system. As for the name dropping by him…. that does nothing to sway me from siding with the police in this case. I’d love to see the video with the audio of the alleged victim.

    • Dan
      February 11, 2012 at 8:55 am

      Me too Rick but only because the video was mentioned. However, I will live without seeing it, eh by! That aside, this guy Keith Lacey was about to get an ear full from me, some how some way, until I saw Supt Ray Bernoties response. Now for me, the case is closed as my faith in the RCMP and many other enforcement officers, it still intact.

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