Cpl. Brown has at last filed a lawsuit against his cyber-stalker, Grant Wakefield (and two unnamed accomplices), and in so doing, himself published the entire volume of defamatory accusations that Wakefield is assumed responsible for publishing in letters to RCMP, national media, on Twitter, on blog comments, and in email exchanges with a blog writer. The lawsuit is also against a prominent lawyer, who represented many family members of the missing and murdered women who were not treated as a high enough priority by RCMP and VPD, thus resulting in their wrongful deaths at the hands of serial killer Robert Pickton. The lawyer in question, Cameron Ward, acted upon defamatory information handed to him — presumably by Wakefield — by publishing at least two entries on the blog associated with his website, calling Brown names and spreading baseless accusations. Of course, once again, despite the sheer volume of writing I have done, and despite the fact that Wakefield himself is behind at least two comments containing accusations that have been proven definitively false at this point, in addition to volumes of emails containing the same both before and after the search warrant for his home was enacted upon, I am once again surprised that any mention of my writing in the claim is conspicuously missing and that I have not been contacted at all. I think it should be perfectly clear why I wouldn’t just phone up the man’s lawyer myself, although both he and his client are free to contact me for further information in regards to emails and blog comments I received if it would help further the proceedings of the lawsuit.
Update: Wakefield has responded to the civil claim, stating that the two unnamed accomplices are Dr. Mike Webster and his wife Moira. You can read his lengthy and incredibly sarcastic response online here. Now the question remains whether Brown or Wakefield is the more arrogant of the two men.
In fact, I fully support his decision to pursue this matter in a court of law, because I cannot imagine anything more vexing than to be cyber-stalked by a complete stranger who turns out to be a compulsive liar, and wrongfully accused by the same person, of being directly involved in obstructing justice in relation to a serial murder investigation, in addition to wrongful accusations of pedophilia, serial rape, and criminal harassment. I can’t even begin to imagine how angry I would feel, and how utterly perplexed I would be if I found out the person responsible for spreading these lies turned out to be a complete stranger with no known connections to the matter he had deliberately tied me to in an effort to ensure it reached the widest possible audience — the entire world.
I can also imagine how angry I would feel if someone had come forward, as a result of these falsehoods acquiring a national platform in at least three mass media outlets, with factually accurate information about my misdeeds towards them personally. I can imagine how betrayed I would feel if that person stated transparently that because of the nature of those misdeeds, that they remained uncertain one way or another about my involvement in the criminal matters for which I would be investigated. I might even feel I was justified in being angry and frustrated with that person, when they insisted that I have exhibited predatory and domineering behaviour towards them, sexist treatment towards them and other women, and that I violated not only their confidentiality but that of two other people for absolutely no need other than to show what kind of power I can wield over another person if and when I chose to. That anger might be magnified when that same person started ripping one of my friends to shreds for what are actually similar reasons. I would no doubt be inclined to question this individual’s motivations, to carefully scrutinize every detail of what they’ve published online, and to criticize their character as a person. Especially if they kept publishing. But then again, I’d probably think twice about my anger if that person went on to challenge and confront other people for what amounts to similar mistreatment of them, while continuing to publish information that concerns me.
Read that first post here – With All Due Respect: Cpl. Jim Brown & Eroticized Violence Against Women
View the entire timeline of posts on the subject of these investigations (as well as other notable posts about my dealings with RCMP and VPD) from the link at the top of every page on this blog, on my #RCMP/VPD page.
It’s because I would be inclined to criticize the character of the person in my position, if I were Jim, that I am writing this entry now. I’m going to tell you all about my character and my motivations for coming forward with everything I’ve written to date. But first, as a result of filing the lawsuit against Wakefield (and his two accomplices) and Ward, the answer of how exactly Cpl. Brown produced Pickton witness Ross Caldwell has finally been aired. The underwhelming details of that interaction are coupled with further information that was not made so explicitly clear at any time previous to the best of my knowledge, and it also invites further criticism upon Coquitlam RCMP for losing track of this information and being unable to produce it themselves at any time in the past ten years. The following is a quote from the notice of civil claim:
In or about July of 1999, the plaintiff was working in the drug section attached to the Coquitlam RCMP Street Enforcement Unit. Sometime in late July 1999, the plaintiff was told by his supervisor, Sergeant Kathy Robertson, that there was a male who had been arrested and was currently in the Coquitlam cells. This male (later identified as “Ross Caldwell”), alleged that a female claimed to have witnessed Robert Pickton disposing of a body on his property. Sgt. Robertson asked if the plaintiff knew anyone on the Vancouver Police Department unit investigating the missing sex trade workers. The plaintiff did not, but contacted a Vancouver Police Department homicide detective who gave him a number for the unit investigating the missing sex trade workers. The plaintiff called and spoke to Vancouver Police Department Sergeant Geramy Field, and advised her that he had received information about Pickton from Sgt. Robertson. The plaintiff provided the Vancouver Police Department with Sgt. Robertson’s contact information and advised Sgt. Robertson of what was said. The plaintiff did not speak directly with Ross Caldwell nor was he aware of Ross Caldwell’s name or identity. In or about August of 1999, the plaintiff was assigned by his supervisor to participate in surveillance of Robert Pickton as a part of the investigation directed by Corporal Mike Connor of the Coquitlam RCMP. The plaintiff was involved in approximately six to ten surveillance shifts, for which surveillance reports were prepared and forwarded to the Coquitlam Major Crime Unit. In September of 1999, the plaintiff was advised by his supervisor that the surveillance was to be concluded and that the Vancouver Police Department was not interested in Pickton as a suspect. The plaintiff had no further investigation in the Pickton investigation. [emphasis mine]
So there you have it. No anonymous phone call, despite the suggestion of one in a comment received on this blog. No magic top hat and pulling Caldwell out of it by the ears, declaring “Tah-dahhh!” (I told you so.) And no relationship between the two men that would suggest that they were “tight”, despite this claim being an aspect of the defamation. Why the fuck was that so hard for Coquitlam RCMP to answer in the absence of Brown’s direct comment? Could it be because Coquitlam RCMP and VPD are trying to keep the lid on just how enormously they fucked up the Pickton investigation, costing multiple women their lives as a result of collective incompetence? Well, I at least am inclined to believe that’s the case until they come up with some other explanation, and I’m neither alone in my opinion nor alone in my direct experiences with RCMP and VPD that lead me to that conclusion. Given how many RCMP members they transferred in and back out again before the work was done investigating what turned out to be defamatory libel against Cpl. Brown, and then transferring some of the same members back in very briefly and back out again without explanation, and then transferring some of the responsibility that had been schlepped off onto other members to members who had as of that time not been involved in Project E-Norther at all, I’m certainly no longer impressed with their ability to maintain the consistency of their own files. Our tax dollars [facetious] certainly are hard at work [/facetious].
Now, about my character. Learning this new information about the exact nature of Cpl. Brown’s involvement in the Pickton investigation, and that the allegations connecting him to Caldwell (and therefore the Picktons as well) are now definitively falsified (at least to my satisfaction, as his former friend to whom he never lied—that I have found out about anyway), I took some time to think about all the ways I feel connected to the 49 missing and murdered women — through time and through shared disadvantages and direct experiences facing the same oppression. I went back in my own mind to the year Pickton was finally arrested. 10 years ago now, he was arrested on my oldest sister’s birthday. I would become homeless in Edmonton exactly nine days later, living in a women’s homeless shelter without my biological family’s knowledge (because I felt safer in the shelter than within arms’ reach of them) and without support from anyone but the single social worker who volunteered her time for an hour every weekday to offer her support to the women everyone else had left behind and forgotten about. It was twelve days before I would hear the words “Dissociative Identity Disorder” for the first time in my life. In fact, the very evening of the day Pickton was apprehended, I was at a bar demoralizing myself in an attempt to win the cash prize in a bikini contest so that I could buy some groceries, and a man who had very nearly raped me the week before stalked me around the bar until I left.
What no one up to this point would know, save for two psychiatrists (and that’s assuming they were paying attention) is that once I became homeless, I quickly reached a point of such acute desperation that I stared out the window, watching one of the sex workers from the shelter trying to hold her leather duster closed as the wind whipped up against her between the Salvation Army food bank and the 25-Cent Peepshows; and I seriously considered whether or not that would be my only way out of that homeless shelter. What I wouldn’t find out until a year later was that there was in fact a serial killer on the loose in Edmonton; systematically targeting sex workers, many of whom were Aboriginal. After successfully luring them into his vehicle, he would torture them to death and desecrate or dismember their bodies. One of those women (quite possibly two) lived in that very shelter during the same time period I was living there, looking at the street below every night, weighing the decision in my mind of whether or not to attempt to pick up a trick myself. Her name was Edna Bernard (the other was Monique Pitre), she was 28 years old and Aboriginal, and after being tortured to death, her body was dumped just outside city limits and set on fire. A man by the name of Thomas George Svekla, who is now in prison for the rest of his life, is her suspected murderer, though he denies murdering anyone. If you are unfamiliar with this story because the trial occurred simultaneous to Pickton’s trial, which attracted significantly more media attention, you may have to read the link I provided to understand just how impossibly inconsistent his denial actually is, with the circumstances of his involvement in the deaths of at least two women.
When I arrived in BC two and a half years after Pickton was apprehended, and the first thing I observed on the news was video of a woman dumping box after box of high heels on the steps of Vancouver City Hall to protest the neglect of Vancouver’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women due to police apathy, it hit me where I was already most vulnerable. But I couldn’t vocalize myself to anyone around me. My hidden shame reduced me to silence before I could utter so much as a syllable about it. Then my mother later claimed that late into that December, when she failed to reach me by phone and so immediately phoned the police and reported me missing instead of, say, trying to reach me by email and waiting patiently like any rational person, she did it because when she couldn’t reach me by phone, she thought my remains were going to be dug up on the pig farm and my photo displayed on the evening news. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she said this, not only to shame me, but failing to recognize until long after the words left her lips that I would have had to arrive in Vancouver at least two full years before I left, in order for that to be a logical possibility. I had begun doing sex work for the second time in as many years, just a month before this incident. And yet, neither while I was living in a homeless shelter contemplating standing on the corner, nor while I was living in a condemned house just months later, despite a fucking serial murderer driving around the streets of Edmonton for this entire duration, picking up sex workers and torturing them to death, there were no such emergency phone calls to the police.
I have absolutely zero doubt in my mind, that had I made the decision to try to pick up a trick either while I was in the homeless shelter or while I was in that condemned house just six blocks from where multiple sex workers vanished, that I would not be here to write this. I’d have had no idea what I was doing, and no idea how to avoid or escape a dangerous trick. It is largely because of this part of my history that I am forever spiritually connected to all the missing and murdered women who, unbeknownst to Jim at the time he was on his surveillance shifts at the nation’s most notorious pig farm, were buried right in front of him. But it is also because of my connection to the estimated 70 victims of Svekla. There are some things distance alone simply does not resolve. And it is because of the land I now live on: the unceded ancestral territories of the Coast Salish people, from which still more Aboriginal women are disappearing, along the Highway of Tears. Women who are targeted because their killers see their isolation, and know that no one with a voice that will reach the mainstream media will come looking for them. Jim probably didn’t have any way to anticipate this part of my history being unearthed by his exposure in national news. Certainly his doppelgang, the female model who posed with a knife against her throat, and the photographer who pressed the shutter button, all would have been completely ignorant as well. Especially given that they clearly weren’t thinking about how their project would impact the grieving families of all those women.
It is not a mere coincidence that just days before Jim’s exposure in national media, in relation to the photos which were erroneously attributed to him and to the accusations linking him to those murders which have since been proven false, I found myself standing just a few feet away from the surviving half-brother of Mona Lee Wilson, demanding accountability from the very police force whose apathy led to her death and so many others. I published my first blog entry in relation to the news story knowing all the rumours of Hell’s Angels and police rubbing shoulders together at that farm. Knowing that apathy on the part of police and RCMP, and an incompetently handled investigation allotted minimal resources, allowed Pickton to continue his murder spree for nearly three years, and that police and RCMP are interested in keeping this matter swept under the rug. Knowing that all the allegations against Jim might be proven wrong but still recognizing that the pictures (erroneously) described as him still represented the very same problem that the world now knows was perpetuated among the investigators responsible for stopping Pickton. I published knowing that what I had to say was important enough that I was directly willing to put my life at risk just to be heard.
I didn’t know that I would be taken seriously by RCMP, or that they would literally thank me for my cooperation. I didn’t know that I would be treated with respect and a high regard by investigators and their supervisors. And while I knew that people I used to know would try to slander or silence me, I didn’t know that so many more would take me seriously. I didn’t know that Grant Wakefield would write to me, and I didn’t know that by publishing my direct experiences, the CBC would conclude that I’m associated with him (and therefore, very conspicuously omit any reference to either me or my blog in their news stories about it, or censor my comments on the same stories online). I had no idea that another media outlet would finally contact me, seeking my input as they begin following the repercussions from all the misleading reports in the national news. I also didn’t know just how many lies about Cpl. Brown were actually being communicated, or to whom, through much of this experience. And while I hope he is successful in his lawsuit, for the sake of justice, I also hope more people start remembering all those women, as I do, every day.