Infighting and Porn Replaced Police Work: Reports
From infighting to porn-ogling, police conduct is coming under fire from within its own ranks before the British Columbia Missing Women of Inquiry, the panel investigating why serial killer Robert Pickton was able to murder women for years without detection.
The commission is deep into the evidence-gathering phase of its investigation, and even though many groups representing victims chose not to participate due to lack of funding, there is no shortage of testimony condemning the behavior of both Vancouver police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Perhaps most damning is what RCMP Corporal Catherine Galliford told The Province in an interview. She will be testifying in January on behalf of the victims, not her employers, she told The Province. She has been on leave for four years.
Reiterating what she said in a 115-page statement to the RCMP, Galliford told the newspaper that a search warrant could have been issued based on evidence the police had in 1999, yet Pickton kept butchering women on his pig farm, unimpeded, until his arrest in 2002. During that time, Pickton murdered 14 women. Further, Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard testified that Pickton knew he was under surveillance for two years before his arrest, Postmedia News reported.
Pickton was convicted of six murders, though he was charged with killing 20 more women but never tried. DNA has linked him to the murders of 33, and he may have killed 16 others as well, Postmedia News said.
Galliford also alleges that the RCMP and Vancouver police “engaged in sexual liaisons and harassment, watched porn and left work early ‘to go drinking and partying,’ ” she told The Province. They made constant jokes about sex toys and told her that “their fantasy” was “to see Willie Pickton escape from prison, track me down and strip me naked, string me up on a meat hook and gut me like a pig,” she said.
Meanwhile, a report made public on Monday November 21 called the lag on Pickton’s case “a tragedy like no other in Canadian history,” The Province reported. Peel Regional police Deputy Chief Jennifer Evans submitted what the newspaper called a “massive report” on the police that showed what she called “delayed reporting, a lack of traditional physical evidence and a misunderstanding of the lifestyle of the victims.”
The Pickton inquiry, headed by Commissioner Wally Oppal, is only looking into the cases of victims of this one killer, but part of the hope is that it will unearth underlying police attitudes that may have contributed to the lack of resolution of hundreds of other cases of missing women. Hearings began in October and will go into hiatus on December 1, resuming in January 2012.
ICTMN’s Valerie Taliman has written extensively about the more than 700 women who remain missing, or whose murders are unsolved.