Hullo again, VPD.
Here’s what I’ve been told happened in the wee hours last night in your city:
My two flatmates (who were out for the night, one with his alcoholism and the other with his Filipino girlfriend) were getting out of a car when approximately 16 assailants (at least one of whom is known to both men, the girlfriend, and even myself) jumped one of those men and boot-fucked the shit out of him. I’m sure this sounds familiar to you, since you were called to the scene and since this is what you were actually doing yourselves, to my friends, the last time I wrote you an open letter.
I am told that when two or more of your officers arrived at the scene, that man’s face was swelling to dangerous proportions as he was passing out on the street, and the man who was accompanying him kept him awake while giving a statement about what he saw while he was helpless to do anything himself against a pack of 16 people. I am told he said things like “This is a hate crime!” and appointing the man “minority” status even though he is as white as I am, but because he is Irish. Now, I don’t actually know whether or not the ethnic Irish are a minority here, because through no fault of my own, I nearly trip into them when I’m making new friends or looking for a home. I’m going to say I’m inclined to believe the ethnic Irish are not accurately described as a minority (because if they are, then everyone is a minority, and this term loses the political impact it currently connotes for, say, LGBTQs), and this event is not accurately described as a hate crime. I know if I were you, it would take all my might not to roll my eyes when I heard those words being shouted at me, is what I’m getting at.
And in fact, when they were being (almost) shouted at me in the wee hours of the morning yesterday, it really did take all my might not to roll my eyes and turn away angry. But I wasn’t dealing with someone who was saying this in a knee-jerk reaction to being called on their social privileges as a white person. I was dealing with someone who had just watched, powerless to do anything to intervene, as his best friend was swarmed and boot-fucked by a pack of assailants. Someone who was mishandled by police who arrived at the scene and acted like they had better things to do while a man was in very legitimate danger of dying right in front of them — his face swollen, battered, and covered in blood. Someone who was dismissed by those very same police officers, with no way to get to his friend in the hospital or back to his home. He had hitch-hiked from South Vancouver before knocking on my bedroom door as soon as he came inside, to tell me what had just happened.
I’m going to be honest: I don’t trust either of these men. They both have repeatedly spoken to me and about me in just about every bigoted gesture I’ve ever heard over the course of my entire life, and I’ve only been here living with them for a few weeks. The one who was so severely battered called me an ignorant cunt when I told him a portion of my rent was going to be delayed for merely one business day. They both spew racial hatred almost literally as frequently as they breathe. They both talk like homophobes who think that merely associating with someone who is transsexual is a sign of such profound tolerance that I need to be reminded of it daily, even though I’ve never met her and likely never will. And your witness, the alcoholic? What a piece of work this one is, talking to me one minute like he thinks it’s hilarious to joke about perpetrating an aggravated sexual assault against me, and the next, talking like I’m oversensitive, and being around me is like dancing the fucking Black Swan on eggshells.
Update: please also read this blog post, as I’ve realized there’s something fishy about what I’ve been told by these men, but I can’t quite put a finger on it.
But none of that has any bearing on the fact that a man nearly died right in front of you as his battered and bloodied face swelled, putting him at significant risk of being unable to breathe unassisted, and nearly passing out in the street while the only witness repeatedly shook him awake as you took his statement. Your officers handled this emergency so poorly — so carelessly — that now I’m left sitting here wondering if this pack of assailants who are still presently free to crack open a beer and give their kids a pat on the head, are going to drive up to this house I’m living in and perpetrate even more violence.
Against the man they’ve already beaten?
Against his two teenage daughters?
Against the man who witnessed it all?
Against me, even?
Update: The man who was beaten during this incident deliberately started fishing for a fight four days later, during which he spat in my face and grabbed me by the throat. Criminal charges are pending. I guess I got my answer concerning who is going to retaliate, and against whom.
I might not have such confidence in the witness, just because of how many disincentives I already have to not trust a goddamned thing that comes out of his face hole, except that battered man was already home this morning, and I could hear how swollen and battered his face is before I even got up for the day. I have not heard any law enforcement come around today to talk to him while he’s alert and conscious. And you know something? This may be largely due to the fact that the way you handled the emergency yesterday night effectively dissuaded the only witness from advocating any further for his best friend’s rights. He doesn’t trust any one of you to do your job. I don’t think I have to tell you exactly where this is headed, because you’re fucking detectives.
And then there are the issues I already have with members of your force, many of which have manifested since my last open letter to you. Such as the one who just didn’t even file the 9-1-1 call when I was verbally gay-bashed, trans-bashed, and then threatened with battery, all in the same two minutes. One who slut-shamed me for being topless to protest what is essentially a hate movement with the explicit goal of taking the right to bodily autonomy away from every female-bodied person in the country. Another who refused to do anything when not just one but two of my friends were assaulted by pro-lifers after weeks of intimidation and badgering at the same picket. Still another who ‘splained to me and my friends that demonstrating in public negates our right to be protected from criminal harassment, after our weekly picket was approached by a known anti-abortion extremist who has cracked a man’s skull and repeatedly published letters attempting to incense fellow extremists to violence against people like me and my friends.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You, as police officers, don’t have to trust me, a mere civilian. Some of us aren’t trustworthy people. But I don’t have the option of not trusting you. No civilian does, whether they are trustworthy themselves or not. You shouldn’t have to be reminded of this daily. It is, after all, your job to keep this in mind at all times, and to navigate your interactions with civilians accordingly.
Get your shit together, VPD! What the fuck are we paying you for?