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.

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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: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Craig McDougall inquest is being deliberately botched. What are they hiding?


Is the inquest into the police shooting death of Craig McDougall being deliberately botched?
By all the evidence, the answer is "Hell, yeah."

And if that's the case, the obvious question is 'why?'

The obvious answer is because they're hiding something. Something big. Hiding something important that they don't want the public to find out.

A week and a half into the inquest, we know next to nothing about what happened that early morning Aug. 8, 2008, when a policeman pumped three bullets into McDougall within two minutes of arriving at 788 Simcoe Street.  He fired four shots but one missed and, wouldn't you know it, went who knows where?  

Oh, and in those two minutes or less, someone shot two taser rounds at McDougall, one of which stuck in his stomach and should have left him quivering helplessly on the ground.  Or it did and we don't know.

The inquest has called a bunch of witnesses, none of whom saw the shooting, and most of whom weren't even there when it happened.

The shooter, Curtis Beyak, who should have been the first witness to testify, is scheduled to give his account on Monday, November 21. 

 Guess what else is happening on Monday, November, 21.  

The Throne Speech!

So the most important witness at the inquest has been scheduled to appear on the one day when virtually the entire press corp will be diverted to another story, and even if some reporter shows up, his or her story will be given the least space and attention as possible.

Coincidence?

Not when you realize that the parade of useless witnesses to date is obviously intended to dilute press interest in the inquest until no reporters or at most, the bored CBC reporter alone, attends.

This simply fits the pattern of cover-up that's carpetted the shooting from day one.

The alleged investigation of the death of Craig McDougall at the hands of police took TWO YEARS AND THREE MONTHS to complete and be sent to the Ontario Provincial Police for review,  and then only after the chief medical examiner sent two emails to provincial officials, a year apart, asking "where's the report?" 

The OPP then took more than another year (14 months to be exact) to send it back. Maybe they're slow readers in Ontario.

The Manitoba government then sat on it for two more months before passing it over to the Manitoba Prosecution Service, emphasis on the word Prosecution.

They were worried about something in the report, so they sent it to an "outside counsel", name unknown, to advise them whether charges could be supported. That lawyer said there wasn't enough evidence to get a conviction, so that's what they informed McDougall's family and the medical examiner, who had by then been waiting more than FOUR YEARS to call an inquest that's mandatory whenever someone is killed by police.

Guess what? It took another eight months before the inquest was called, and almost EIGHT YEARS to the day that McDougall was shot for its scheduled start. And then it was delayed another three months for good measure.

How can a mandatory inquest be sidetracked for eight years? Only with a lot of help from a lot of inside sources.

So, what have we learned from the inquest so far?

Start with the incredible double standard in how police treat cops who shoot Indians and Indians who manage to avoid being shot by cops.

 The officer who shot McDougall and two others who were present were whisked to the police station where they were comforted and soothed to reduce any trauma they might experience.

 Instead of being asked to immediately write down what happened while it was fresh in their minds, they were instead advised they had the, ahem, right to speak to trauma councillors and their union rep first, and to take as much time as they wanted before telling what transpired the morning they confronted McDougall. 

 They eventually showed up three days later to give unsworn statements.

By sharp contrast, Craig McDougall's father, Brian McDougall, was tackled as he tried to get to his dying son to comfort him. His face was ground into the dirt by a police officer, his knee crushing Brian McDougall's neck until he was handcuffed and hauled to a police cruiser car. 

He, too, was driven to the police station where he was put in a locked room and the handcuffs were removed---after 45 minutes.

Nobody comforted him or worried about his trauma at seeing his son's last moments alive
He wasn't given the option of coming back another day to give a statement. He was locked up for hours, then questioned right then and there, and hours later a videotaped statement was taken.  

His son was pronounced dead less than 90 minutes after being shot, but that information was withheld from his father until  Brian McDougall had been in custody for six-and-a-half hours. 

Robert Bell, now retired, then a sergeant and  head of the homicide unit, was in charge of the investigation of the shooting.   He was questioned about the treatment given to Brian McDougall and other witnesses. 

"Had they asked to leave, certainly, they would be (allowed). They’re not under arrest," Bell said.

A gargantuan falsehood.  

The idea that someone in a locked interview room could somehow just say he was leaving and might be back is so preposterous that it destroys any credibility that Bell might have.  Which is damning, since it was Bell who determined the shooting of Craig McDougall was justified.

 If he's prepared to lie about something so obviously false, what else is he prepared to lie about?

Almost two weeks into the inquest and we know so little, other than how far police will go to twist the truth.   The family of Craig McDougall hired a private detective, Bob Norton, a former RCMP inspector, to do his own report into the shooting. 

 Here, scalped from an APTN story of May 5, 2015, are excerpts of Norton's investigation:

- McDougall lived at 788 Simcoe St. with his dad Brian McDougall.

- Brian returned home from a local bar at about 2:30 a.m.

- People were having a few beers and about 45 minutes later an argument breaks outs forcing Brian to tell everyone to leave.

- He also tells Craig to leave and not come home until he’s sober.

- Craig is then seen in the lane behind the residence upset and arguing with people. One witness recalled Craig saying he wanted to kill himself.

- Shortly after three females leave the back lane and Craig follows them onto Notre Dame Avenue. They allege he assaults them, pulling one of the females to the ground. Witnesses said he was yelling and screaming but didn’t know why.

- The girls flag down a truck and the driver calls 911.

- Craig returns home, shirtless, talking on his cellphone. He was calling his girlfriend.

- The three females tell police Craig assaulted them and give officers his home address. 

- While on the phone with his girlfriend police then show up at the house at about 5 a.m. and the girlfriend hears a female officer say “drop the knife”. Then she hears a male officer yell “drop the damn knife”. 
- She then hears four gunshots followed by a voice saying “man down, man down.”

- Craig’s brother Johnny McDougall is at the house too and remembered seeing six officers outside and recalled hearing an officer say “He’s got a weapon. Put that knife down.”

- Johnny saw two officers with their guns drawn. It’s dark out with the scene lit only by a street light across the street.

- He said Craig took a few steps towards police then they started shooting and he fell on his back. He said police were on the sidewalk and Craig was in the yard. Between them was a four-foot fence.

- Police then handcuffed Brian, who was trying to get to his son. They also handcuff Johnny and a woman. 
- An ambulance doesn’t arrive within the 20 minutes following the shots and until police took Brian, Johnny and the woman away for questioning.

A total of five witnesses told Norton they never saw Craig with a knife in the period leading up to the shooting.

It’s not known where Craig would have gotten the knife because he never entered the house and it was too big to fit in a pocket.

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