The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

CBC Helps The Black Rod Reconstruct Police Shooting

Last evening CBC-TV tried to restore the credibility of Terry Nelson, shattered by letters he wrote espousing anti-Semitism and full of demagogue threats. Suddenly revived was a story about a police shooting of a Native man this winter, that no one from MSM properly covered in the first place.

You will recall that Nelson was at the forefront of native leaders depicting city police as murderers, when 18 year old car thief Matthew Dumas was being apprehended as a suspect in an East Kildonan robbery.

Reporter Ian Flett took a camera to an unspecified address next to the shooting location, and interviewed an elderly native man who is a police witness. The witness, he said, stepped forward because there was something not right about what he saw and how the police chase ended.

CBC used the opportunity to once again allow an "expert" to blame the police for the death, and thereby revive the anti-police hysteria that Nelson whipped up in the first place.

The witness told CBC that Dumas knocked on his back door, looking for someone who didn't live there. Before anything much happened a police officer appeared on the doorstep, and the witness exclaimed, 'oh man you're caught'.

The officer grabbed Dumas by the arm and led him away.

The CBC, instead of asking, what actually happened that led to the shooting, instead devoted an unusually long chunk of airtime, to speaking with a defence lawyer from Toronto. He blamed the police for failing to handcuff Dumas immediately to "control the situation."

Chief Ewatski in a terse response, said it had to be up to officers to be able to evaluate a situation on its' own merits.

The Black Rod knows what CBC does not, that this witness fills in a missing piece of the puzzle of the story uncovered by The Black Rod at the time.

We were aware of a witness who said Dumas and a police officer who was chasing him had scuffled in a back lane and the officer "gave as good as he got". This explained to us, the reports that an officer had lost his radio.

However because we could not confirm the details of this confrontation to our satisfaction, we did not include it in our original report of Feb. 2.

Now the CBC witness has filled in the blank.

As you remember Dumas took off and was being chased down the black lane. The officer caught him on the backporch where he had hoped to hide in a friends house, took him into custody and was leading him away.

It is not unimaginable that when the officer radioed for a cruiser car Dumas broke away, a fight ensued (as our witness had said months ago), the cop lost his footing and dropped his radio in the snow, and the chase resumed and headed onto Dufferin Acenue.

The Black Rod has tried to reconstruct what happened in those fateful minutes. We will only find how accurate this timeline is at the inquest.

We have gone right to the beginning and revisited the Elmwood neighborhood
where a group of youths broke into the wrong home on Martin Avenue W. This error sparked a sequence of events that led to Dumas being shot on Dufferin in the north end.

The Black Rod has learned that the youths, went to the home in search of somebody they had a beef with over drug money. They broke the window to open the front door around 1PM on January 31st only to find new tenants in the rental. Their target was nowhere to be found.

This was not so much a case of breaking into the wrong house, as much as the invaders not realizing the person they were looking for had moved away.
(When newsmen went to the area their cameras filmed the townhomes at the end of the block, in the mistaken belief the break-in had been there and not where it actually occured, across the street in a house. Our information is, that one of the suspects lived or hung out at those townhomes.)

What seems like a comedy turned tragic.

Police have been told that one of the invaders phoned Spring Taxi from the house, but that is unlikely. Our sources suggest a fourth member was sitting in a running taxi they planned to use to make their getaway and got a call on a cel phone.

When police attended the house they tracked down the cab over the Redwood Bridge to the 200- block of Dufferin in the Lord Selkirk developments and the investigation gradually moved past RB Russell High School a few blocks to the west.

It was never confirmed that Dumas was one of the EK suspects, but our sources noted he was seen hanging around Martin Avenue in the past. Dumas certainly attracted the attention of police in the North End by bolting when approached.

When Terry Nelson writes, that natives "soon (they) will be killing police officers on a regular basis" he is refering to the controversy over this shooting and the pathological need to always, somehow, blame the police, cry racism and play the victim card.

Here is our original report, and the reader can factor in the new information about the last few minutes of the chase.

The Black Rod originally published Feb. 2, 2005
Today's topic: The Politics Behind The Race Card

The simmering anger of Winnipeggers over slanted media coverage of the police shooting of Matthew Dumas reached a fever pitch Thursday as CJOB tried to separate itself from the media horde and joined CKY in resisting the urge to pander to a politically correct fringe.

One of the most inspired performances by Charles Adler in some time saw him rip the tear-jerker story shown on CBC TV by airing the audio part of the report and dissecting it.

CBC hustled leather-girl Krista Erickson from behind the anchor desk Wednesday onto the mean streets of the North End to file a maudlin piece for Peter Mansbridge to intone a solemn preamble for to set up the telecast to a, er, THE, National audience.

The story portrayed Winnipeg as a city divided, with the entire North End (looking curiously all native with nary a white person in sight) united as 'victims' against a 'racist' police and justice system, and against the rest of the city that supports the cops while their young are gunned down. Shades of JJ Harper, replete with Harper's nephew doing a blubbering guest turn.

For once Adler's "it's an outrage" act was not an act, as Chuckles correctly deduced that he was misled when CBC filmed his gabfest the day before. He predicted the tall foreheads had no intention of airing any of the comments of Adler's audience. That is because the callers had seen through the politics of the race card.

But not CBC. If anything, they ran towards it. Maybe the desparate CBC smelled ratings (about 40,000 viewers have abandoned the now third-place dinnertime newscast in the past decade, and about 100,000 since the 24 Hours/I-Team heyday).

What the CBC brass should have smelled was the stench of their complicity in the attempt of a radical native leadership to foment distrust and to propagate an agenda designed to create an artificial class of native leaders, designed to parallel the existing structure but with no real justification except that, well, they are native and the rest of us cannot be trusted to investigate this shooting or to deal with their community as police, judges, jurors, parole officers, social workers ... we should just foot the bill for it all.

A-Channel showed Chief Irvin McIvor saying he wants the aboriginal population recognized as "equals" with Manitobans. But there is a distinct disconnect between the values of most Manitobans and those of the media darlings.

The sad and frightening thing to see is who the Indians have chosen to be their poster boy.

1) One TV outlet ran a clip from one of the ceremonies where Matthew Dumas was called "our young warrior". Based on the facts, the term seems to embody being:
*a convicted car thief,
*a mugging suspect fresh out of jail for possessing a knife,
*wanted on a warrant for breaches of probation,
*in current possession of a knife (ditched during the chase) and the tools-of-the-trade for a car thief (a screwdriver),
*who was shot while menacing a police officer, after not stopping when nailed with 3 blasts of pepper spray and after being ordered, repeatedly, to drop his weapon.

2) Frightening because they have chosen to gamble away all their credibility on this guy. It will take years for the good will of Winnipeg citizens to come back.

What tells the whole story about the Native community in Winnipeg is who they chose as a poster boy--- and why. Dumas's mother said on TV he was a kid who had had a few run-ins with the the law and "I never met anybody who didn't". Think about that warped view of what is "normal".

That statement will echo throughout the city, out of the North End, into the suburbs, into Waverly West (which will surely sell out now), into Headingley (hey, new water park, no race problem)...

3) Frightening because of who the "spokesmen" for the aboriginals turned out to be. Demagogues. Mini-Al Sharptons. Terry Nelson (no stranger to the authorities). People who want to turn this into a race issue for their own purposes. People who don't care if the cop was a Metis because they want to turn this into a hate-all-cops cause, a they-hate-us issue.

For instance:
The Winnipeg Sun: "Nelson said 'the cop didn't have to kill Dumas. There is a racial issue in terms of the way Winnipeg police have been dealing with aboriginal people,' he added."
"Nahanni Fontaine, director of justice (!) for the Southern Chiefs Organization, said yesterday's revelation doesn't change anything. 'The fact still remains we have a dead child on our hands shot by the cops,' she said."

Believe it or not, this attitude towards the police is so blinding that supporters are actually saying they would rather have had the police beat Dumas with their clubs.

Think about that.
They are saying they would support having an aboriginal youth beaten Rodney King-style on the streets of Winnipeg. Of course, how would they have reacted to that? Well, we guess, exactly the same way they are reacting now.

4) Where are the other native "leaders"? Where is Mary Richard? A community activist, a politician, an elder. Hers is one voice that would have been welcome, if only she had spoken up.

Where is NDP MLA and Speaker of the House George Hickes? Is he busy rehearsing how to shut down the opposition in Question Period when the House finally sits again in March? The shooting took place in his riding yet he is nowhere to be seen.

Where is NDP Minister Eric Robinson? Too busy handing out puffed-up tourism and feel-good arts and music awards? The Black Rod recalls he was very vocal in support of the criminal gang the Manitoba Warriors. Is the Indian "establishment" only supportive of criminals? (Remember the Manitoba Warriors all pleaded guilty of a raft of charges.)

Where are all those First Nations leaders like David Chartrand, president of the Metis Federation, who were smiling ear to ear last week when the mayor signed an agreement with the Manitoba Metis Federation and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs "to train and recruit indigenous peoples for firefighting, police, transit and other operations."

Not a word from them either. Oh wait, Chartrand was a late entrant to the "can't we all get along" bunch that emerged around the time the shooter was ID'd as a Metis.

5) And look at the frightening void in the non-native leadership of Winnipeg. The Mayor is out of town.

He always seems to be out of town when an emergency comes up. Remember Sam was silent last summer when Natives including a teen were playing fatal shooting games on Selkirk Avenue. He hasn't even issued a statement of any kind about what's happening in town. Somebody email him and bring him up to date.
The deputy mayor Mike Pagtakhan is out of town.
Gord Steeves (St.Vital) , the Chair of Protection and Community Services, is out of town.

No other single councillor has stepped up to defend the city and its citizens, not even Secretary of Urban Aboriginal Opportunities Lillian Thomas.

And the Chief of Police has abandoned his force. He has been in touch with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, but he has not said a single syllable of support for the men and women he ostensibly "leads", nor to the people who pay his salary, the citizens of Winnipeg. The Invisible Man. He should be fired.

Oh, and now how are the politicians and good corporate citizens like the Winnipeg Free Press going to convince people that it's safe to come downtown and go to the new Arena?

6) The media - not just CBC - gave the demagogues a platform right from the get-go. If there is any attack on police officers attending a call, the news media will carry the blame. Instead of providing a platform for reverse racism, they should be demanding that the native 'establishment' come out of hiding and support the legal process that establishment helped put into place.

Media comparisons to JJ Harper are an insult to his memory.

He was an innocent, unarmed man walking home in the dead of night, not bothering anyone when he was literally grabbed from behind by an over-excited police officer.

The incident on Dufferin Avenue was a hot pursuit of a robbery suspect who resisted pepper spray, would not drop his weapon and advanced on a cop despite being warned. And all in broad daylight in front of a dozen witnesses. No shrining violet, this boy.

7) After the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry report came out, the police went into a frenzy of affirmative action hiring. The federal courts have since ruled we can't send Natives to jail except in exceptional circumstances because there are too many in jail. The province is negotiating a separate probation service for them (there are now 5,500 Indians on probation in Manitoba). And it's still not enough; it will never be enough for the demagogues.

The NDP adopted the AJI as an election issue to use against the Conservatives, and by doing so they bent their principles of treating people fairly without considering race.

Now they will learn that they can never compromise with people who don't want to compromise. The NDP lost their principles, and the Tories have no balls. That's frightening too.And it's going to backfire big time.

8) Remember the civic election? The biggest issue never discussed was the Urban Reserve concept, coming soon to a tract of land near you. Election hopefuls like Donald Benham couldn't run away fast enough from the question of which neighborhood would hold it ( ie - River Heights), who would police it, and what would happen to property values.

Over on CBC radio, there was Glen Murray's heir-designate, Dan Vandal, claiming (a)downtown Winnipeg was safe - (recently disproven by the Downtown Biz reaction to our recent reports on muggings and strung-out panhandlers) and (b) guaranteed that there would be action on the Urban Reserve plan "within 90 days."

The foundation of the plan turns out to be a $2 million dollar Government House, an aboriginal "parliament building", to house some sort of council made up native leaders who can continue to treat the Matthew Dumas' of the world like innocent children, and not like repeat offenders.

(Seemingly the urban reserve depended on both Vandal and Glen Murray getting elected, since now the idea is stalled and native bands argue over squatting rights to Winnipeg for the project. Or maybe it depended on rapid transit. We'll have to ask Don Benham. )

The citizens of Winnipeg are not about to accept as autonomous neighbours a community with leadership that glorifies gangsters like Matthew Dumas, that insists it is our fault Dumas came at a cop with a screwdriver and got shot to death, that claims the cops on streets near the U.R., are racists plotting against their community, and that expects average Winnipeggers to pay for their new monument, their new bureaucracy, their new inquiry, and their new justice and social services system.

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