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 since 2005, 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:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Not so fast, Police Chief Devon Clunis. We're still waiting for an answer.

He's retiring?

Winnipeg Police Chief Devon "Mack Daddy" Clunis is retiring?

How old is he? It seems he just started in his job and he's taking a flyer already?

Clunis is about 52 and he got the job as police chief barely 3 1/2 years ago.  That means he was 48 when hired, so whoever hired him had every reason to believe he would stick around for a long time.

Especially given all the big talk from Clunis when he started the job.  He was going to literally change the culture of policing in Winnipeg.  Police weren't going to be crime fighters so much as social workers, offering soft shoulders to cry on, strong arms to gather the broken, and sympathetic ears to hear the chorus of sad stories. Blah blah blah.

If you listen to Mack Daddy today, he's done all that. Mission accomplished, he said when announcing his departure. Sick healed. Blind seeing. Lame walking. Geez, the guys a candidate for Christ as his next job.

Oh, and he wants to spend more time with his wife.  Yeah, like we haven't heard that one before.

What was that all about? If he knew he wasn't going to stick around more than a few years, why take the job?  Was it to pad out the pension? Well, that won't fuel more cynicism of public servants, will it?

* When he was hired, the Winnipeg Free Press warned that he didn't have many qualifications. He has a divinity degree and had been the police chaplain. He had experience in the vice unit, traffic division and community service, hardly the hard crime-fighting fronts of police work.

"He has minimal experience in serious crime investigation, or in finance and administration. These are serious shortcomings, particularly at a time when the city is trying to control the escalating costs of policing, which represents 25 per cent of the city's budget." wrote the FP in a prescient editorial.

The knock is that Clunis is leaving because the new police board wants to start chopping the police budget, and with it staffing by as much as 80 police officers. 

He denies it, but a social worker always wants to spend more and not less.

* Clunis never worked his biggest strength. As a preacher he could have preached that the biggest root cause of crime is the refusal to accept the difference between right and wrong. Instilling the moral value of right over wrong is a more powerful deterrent to crime than a policeman on every block; it's a policeman in every heart.  

But social workers pride themselves on not judging. So, instead, they enable.

Mack Daddy got his nickname from his policy on street prostitution. He talked about wanting the working girls off the streets, but he did more than anybody to keep them there. He formed a special unit to do nothing but ride around and make friends with hookers and suggest they get another line of work. 

At last count the measure of the unit was one dead hooker (Tina Fontaine) and two claiming they might be interested in getting out of the biz.  Seriously, no joke. That's it.

* Clunis' finest hour was standing up to I'M-MARTY-MORANTZ-AND-I'M-A-LAWYER. 

As a newly elected councillor, Moranz tried to browbeat a senior police official at a committee hearing. The officer politely informed the shrill Moranz that the police reported to the new police board, not city council. Moranz tried to intimidate the officer but only demonstrated what a fool he was.

Clunis took Mayor Brian Bowman by the ear to the woodshed the next day. After a mano-a-mano talking to, Bowman learned his position in the pecking order in no uncertain terms. He took Morantz into his office for a good spanking before both of them offered a grovelling explanation to the press that, yes, the police official was right, Morantz was stupid and wrong, and that disrespect for the police would never happen again. Morantz was not allowed to open his mouth.

* Clunis' darkest moment was his cowardice four months ago over the killing of 24-year old Mark DiCesare who was surrounded by a veritable army of gun-toting police officers and blasted to death in an empty field in River Heights.

Clunis refused to answer the single most important question about the incident--- did the man have a gun? He was surrounded by 20-30 policemen, the officers armed with an assortment of weapons ranging from Glock pistols to pepper spray, to batons. He had no chance of escape. 

The only reason to kill him was if he had a gun? Did he?

The police department refuses to say.


Because if he did not have a gun, then this case should have already been turned over to homicide investigators from another police force.

Did Clunis, the chaplain, meet with Mark DiCesare's mother and offer condolences for his death? Or is he headed for the exit before this case is resolved.

It must not be allowed to turn into a repeat of the police shooting of Craig McDougall, the 26-year-old man shot by police in 2008. The authorities have managed to stall the mandatory inquest into McDougalls' death at the hands of police for EIGHT YEARS. His family is still waiting for answers. The McDougall inquest might start in August.

Will Clunis give Mark DiCesare's family an answer before he skips out the door to enjoy his fat pension and his time with his wife?

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