A few months ago, Osoyoos Times editor Keith Lacey got into a poorly planned pissing match with the RCMP after he was pulled over for suspected impaired driving. Lacey vented his rage with a 1,400-word editorial describing what he called a “traumatizing experience” after being asked to submit to a breathalyzer test.
The authorities responded by threatening to post their video of the incident, which they said shows Lacey ranting about using his editorial superpowers to get revenge, and demanded an apology for slandering them. The Mounties soon got their mea culpa, and the angry op-ed, which prompted a considerable public backlash, has since disappeared from the newspaper’s website.
He fought the law and the law won. End of story.
K&K, however, would happily trade the shame of being asked to blow into a bag for having to pay the ridiculous fine we were recently given for, of all things, crossing the street.
After a long day of labouring in the Courier’s inky trenches, we stopped by the Waldorf Hotel’s liquor store on our way home to pick up a frosty tall boy. While returning to our car parked on an otherwise empty McLean Drive, a member of Vancouver’s finest suddenly pulled up and demanded to know if we’d been drinking. To his obvious disappointment, we hadn’t — so we were instead presented with a $100 ticket for jaywalking. Turns out we were found guilty of not turning our heads enough before crossing, and the cop wasn’t buying it that our hearing and peripheral vision are outstanding.
We get it. Staking out a booze store at night in a sketchy part of town should pay easier dividends when trying to bust drunk drivers, but police really shouldn’t be able to simply make up an offence at whim. Making the whole thing even more absurd is that, only a few blocks west, wayward perambulators have so completely taken over Hastings Street that the city simply gave up and lowered the speed limit to 30 km/h.
According to the VPD’s website, its “salary and benefits package is considered one of the most generous of all Canadian police forces.” Maybe we’d be able to see the funny side of being dinged a hundred bucks if we too were making their starting salary of sixty grand a year.
(This post was first published in Kudos & Kvetches © Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier)