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Newpaper editor in small town BC gets lawfully pulled over by RCMP, officer ensures editor is sober, editor is upset and patronizing has hissy fit and rights a full blown editorial slagging RCMP. RCMP respond, and basically say the video does not support his version, and with his permission they are more than willing to release it to the public, so everyone can see the full account of what happened.
A very public fight has erupted between an Osoyoos man and a RCMP officer who pulled him over for a roadside check.
The incident reportedly happened last Friday when Keith Lacey was pulled over by a cop, who he names as Cpl. Ryan McLeod.
Lacey, who is the editor of the Osoyoos Times, says he was unfairly subjected to a roadside check after leaving a local restaurant/pub and claims he was “treated like a criminal” by the officer.
Lacey published an editorial in the newspaper on Wednesday about the incident.
The RCMP, however, stand by the officer’s decision to conduct the check and even go so far to say there is a video of the incident and they are willing to release it to the public.
"I was seeking the editor's support to release the video and, should I receive it, I would be pleased to release it. My intent is not to publicly embarrass anyone but to simply defend the actions of a very professional RCMP member who was being unfairly slandered and to ensure that Osoyoos residents were accurately informed,” said Supt. Ray Bernoties with the B.C. RCMP Communications in a statement released to media.
"Frankly, the video is quite uneventful. It shows a calm, respectful and professional RCMP member doing a very typical vehicle stop. It was the incredible disparity between that and the way which the editor described it that was concerning,” Bernoties said.
The RCMP released a full statement on their website Thursday night regarding the incident.
Read the original editorial published in the Osoyoos Times on Wednesday below and the response from the B.C. RCMP:
SELF-RIGHTEOUS COPS WHO TREAT INNOCENT TAXPAYERS LIKE CRIMINALS IS UNACCEPTABLE
Posted on 08 February 2012 by Keith Lacey
For 20 minutes this past Friday night, I was treated like a criminal and presumed guilty until proven innocent, which is not how the law is supposed to work in this country, especially when you have done absolutely nothing wrong.
But, according to Cpl. Ryan S. McLeod of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he had every right to pull me over, treat me with basically zero respect and humiliate me in front of my girlfriend, who was so upset she got physically sick and was in tears hours later, just because he believes he has the power to do whatever he likes.
After a long week at work, me and my girlfriend headed to a local restaurant/pub to grab a meal with some friends and share a few stories and have a couple of laughs.
After consuming a meal, we made the decision to grab a bottle of wine at the adjacent liquor store to spend a nice, quiet evening at home.
However, seconds after pulling out of the liquor store parking lot, Cpl. McLeod flashed his cherry tops and pulled me over.
When I asked him very politely what the problem seemed to be, he told me he had pulled me over because my license plate was dirty, which remains as a very lame excuse as he proceeded instantly to asking me about whether I had consumed any alcohol.
I responded very politely, once again, and told him I had gone out after work for a meal with my girlfriend and some friends and he had no right to pull me over when I had done nothing wrong.
When I suggested to him I was not displaying any signs of impairment, I did not weave or speed and was wearing my seatbelt and he had no right to be interrogating me like this, he made it very clear he was going to make me undergo the humiliation of having to undergo a roadside breath test.
He had no reasonable or probable grounds to be doing any of this, but yet he persisted to show just how much power he had.
Of course, you don’t have any choice but to oblige or else face some very dire consequences whenever a police officer asks you do anything in this country (that’s another story for another day), so I politely stepped outside my truck, listened to his instructions and blew into the screening device.
When the readings registered, I could honestly tell Cpl. McLeod was disappointed as the readings were, how do I say this, pretty much close to zero.
He never said sorry, never apologized, informed me I was “Ok to drive” and more or less appeared ready to waltz back to his vehicle and carry on his merry way and harass somebody else I’m thinking.
But now I was upset and I made it very clear to him for a third time that pulling me over for having a dirty license plate was a very lame excuse because his police cruiser was 20 feet from my truck and I could read the plate no problem at all.
What Cpl. McLeod wouldn’t admit was the truth. What really happened was he sat in his vehicle outside a licensed establishment - which he kept calling a bar and I insisted was a restaurant - and then watched me and my girlfriend head inside to buy a bottle of wine, so he instantly presumed I must have been drinking.
After the traumatizing experience of having to go through a breath test for doing absolutely nothing wrong and registering a reading so low it was laughable, I had had enough of his ridiculous treatment and told him I wanted his badge number, name and business card.
At this point, Cpl. McLeod commented to me about “not giving him attitude” because I dared speak back to him about his unfair treatment.
There was a lot of attitude shown our encounter up until that point and none of it came from me. I’ve been a journalist for 27 years and my integrity as a writer and reporter of the truth has never been questioned and I’m not going to let some stranger with a badge, gun and attitude take that away from me.
I’m 50 years old, was polite and co-operative, showed no signs at all of any impairment, yet this experienced officer couldn’t help himself and had to humiliate and embarrass me just because he can.
When I left the Bonnyville Nouvelle newspaper to come to Osoyoos, Sgt. Luis Gandolfi, RCMP detachment commander, phoned to say thanks for all my hard work and wish me good luck. When I worked in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario for 20 years, police chief Alex McCauley became a good friend.
I have no issues with police, but I have great issue with Cpl. McLeod’s treatment and what happened to me Friday night.
When I later informed him I was the editor of the local newspaper and was going to write about our little episode, he finally shut up and showed me some respect. And one final time, I told him he had no right to pull me over.
While he was a lot quieter and less cocky, he kept repeating his mantra he was a police officer and he could basically pull me over whenever he likes for whatever reason he justifies.
I found out this past weekend from other friends I’ve already made in Osoyoos this kind of incident happens on a regular basis in this community and it’s not the first time this particular officer has been involved.
I know I speak for a lot of frustrated citizens out there when I say enough is enough. Sitting in the parking lot of a licensed establishment and pulling people over for whatever lame reason you come up with, is not what citizens want or expect from the police.
This is a free country, not a police state.
If someone is speeding, driving erratically or blows through a red light, of course they can expect to be pulled over by the police. If a RIDE spotcheck is set up, they have proven to be an effective and excellent way of catching drunk drivers.
No one condones drunk driving either, but that’s not the point. I wouldn’t be writing or expecting any sympathy if I was caught drunk driving. But I didn’t know going for a meal and having a pint on a Friday night was against any law in this country.
Cpl. McLeod can justify his actions any way he likes, but I’m not buying what he’s selling and I know most people out there won’t be either.
This is another example of a cop who abused his position of authority.
It’s incidents like this and officers like this, who are loaded with arrogance and self-rightousness, who give all the good officers out there, who are in the majority, a truly bad name.
Sitting in a parking lot outside a restaurant that serves liquor on a Friday night, then lying about the reason you’re pulling someone over and humiliating him in front of his girlfriend isn’t what I want my taxpayer dollars being spent on.
I suggest to Cpl. McLeod you get out there and catch the bad guys. I’m not one of them.
And if you’re not cut out for treating people with dignity and respect, even though you have all this so-called power you’re so easy to abuse, perhaps you find another profession.
When I told my girlfriend I’m sick and tired of police officers who feel they are free to do whatever they please whenever they want without consequence and I was going to write about this incident and let the people of Osoyoos know what’s going on, she was worried this officer “might make my life a living hell.”
I told her, “don’t worry honey, I’m not a criminal and I don’t break the law” and I refuse to live my life being worried about a person hired to serve and protect, who feeds his huge ego bothering and harassing innocent taxpayers who pay his salary.
I also told her if I ever run into Cpl McLeod again and he pulls this kind of crap on me again, I’ll treat him with the same respect he showed me last Friday night. Zero.
And if he ever attempts to intimidate or harass me ever again when I’ve done nothing wrong, I’ll be sure to let his boss and all the good people of Osoyoos know all about it.
RESPONSE FROM B.C. RCMP:
Dear Osoyoos Times Editor,
I read your article wherein you discuss that, after having consumed beer at a local pub, you were stopped by a police officer and humiliated by having to comply with the officers lawful request to do a roadside test to ensure you were not impaired. You go on to say he harassed and intimidated you and "abused his position of authority". Your allegations are very serious and certainly cast the officer, who you name nine times in your article, and the RCMP in a very negative light.
As the Editor of a local newspaper, your readers must feel it important to know that when you report something in your paper, it is factual. I imagine your credibility and that of the Osoyoos Times relies heavily on that.
Well sir, I'm very pleased to report that there is a video of this incident. The video was taken from the police car and includes audio of the entire interaction between you and the police officer. I have just watched the video and observed a very calm and professional member of the RCMP doing his job. The RCMP has proudly served the people of Osoyoos for a very long time and I fear your one sided article could adversely, and incorrectly, impact their view of their local RCMP. Thus, I suggest that we post this video on-line so the good people of Osoyoos and others can make their own determination of what occurred. This is the type of transparency British Columbians expect from the RCMP.
Alternatively, I would be willing to drive to Osoyoos, at my own expense and on my own time, to show the people of Osoyoos this video. Perhaps we could capitalize on this opportunity by publicly discussing the important issue of impaired driving. As a new resident in Osoyoos, you may be interested to know that the RCMP has conducted extensive community consultation and traffic safety, including impaired driving, has been raised as a serious concern. I think the residents would be pleased to learn that their police are working hard to ensure that no lives are lost due to impaired driving. The residents of Osoyoos will also learn that this particular police officer carries a photo in his duty bag of a young girl who was killed by an impaired driver. This police officer, who you so freely defame using your position, also has extensive training and experience with impaired driving investigations. He has, no doubt, saved many lives by taking drunk drivers off the road using the exact same lawful means as the night he stopped you.
Perhaps, before slandering an Osoyoos resident and member of the local RCMP, you'll do some research just as the member suggested to you during the stop. In this case, it may have included reading the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Ladouceur (1990).
Admittedly, I am not a regular reader of the Osoyoos Times but if I was I would be troubled by the seeming motivation of an article written by the new Editor of my local paper. Allow me to quote you from the video sir. I am the editor of the newspaper and you will see the powers that I have.
If there was one positive to your negative article, it was a reminder to me of the many baseless and malicious allegations our members must constantly face while carrying out their duties. Fortunately, in this case, the video removes any doubt that the police officer's actions were professional and respectful.
I look forward to a retraction or correction and to, potentially, facilitating the public's viewing of this video.
Supt Ray Bernoties
Officer in Charge
BC RCMP Communication
Read it on Global News: Global Calgary | B.C. RCMP blast Osoyoos newspaper editorial