Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Victims' Voices
Victims' Voices is a non-profit, independent newsletter
Dedicated to victims' rights
Copyright: Phyllis Carter, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September, 15, 2000
Victims' Voices, P.O. Box 312, Succ. NDG, Montreal, Que., H4A 3P6
February, 2001
The Police Ethics Commissioner is an Honourable Man.
He holds an office that is highly esteemed and his achievements are worthy of respect. He surrounds himself with people who are very well educated and whose signatures are followed by letters of title and honour, no doubt richly deserved.
I, Phyllis Carter, am an ordinary citizen with a limited education and the only letters I sign after my signature are OSL - The Order of St. Luke - as I am a member of that widely respected international Christian healing ministry. I have some knowledge of  law and investigative procedures which I have acquired through years of  study, observation and working experience. No certificates, no degrees, no titles.
So it is with humility that I propose to reveal my own thinking about how I would have proceeded - and would proceed - in the case of the crime that was committed against me.
Those of  you who have followed Victims' Voices for the past few months since its inception will be familiar with my case, which has become Case Number 5 in the Victims' Voices series.
On October 7, 1996, I was attacked in my home. I called 911 for help to escape the violence. One of the two police officers who responded to my distress call  just turned over all my belongings to my assailant. No investigation. No legal procedure. No court procedure. The officer forced me to leave everything behind and he "helped" me through the door without so much as a coat. I was strongly warned never to enter the house again. Since then, I have been fighting for the recovery of my belongings.
From the start, I told the police who had attacked me and who had robbed me. I provided the police with photos, receipts, insurance documents and a detailed description of every item that was stolen. In the summer of 2000, the police finally undertook a brief investigation. My assailant refused the police access to the rooms where I had been forced to leave my life's possessions.  And the thief and her accomplice - boyfriend - refused a lie detector test. And Quebec's Police Ethics Commissioner says the case is closed. And there it stands.                                                                                          
Now, I have declared that the Police Ethics Commissioner is an honourable man, and in a free society, who would question the ethics of an Ethics Commissioner ? Certainly not I.  But, just as an exercise - to purge myself of some of the frustration I feel about the many errors and injustices committed in this case - I suggest that this is how I would have handled - and would handle - this case if  I were one of the persons in authority.
As the Police Officer who answered the 911 distress call, I would not have told the victim in the presence of her assailant that she has no right to take any of her belongings from her home - giving the assailant carte blanche. I would have invited the victim to the police station where I would have taken her statement, filed a report and initiated an investigation immediately. I would have helped the victim to find shelter.
As a Police Officer at the Mariette station where the victim went again and again to beg that a report be filed and an investigation be undertaken, starting at the site of the crime, I would have put in a request immediately for the 911 tape, and I would have taken the report myself and initiated an investigation. I would not have told the victim to be patient because her assailant has promised to return everything if she waits.

As the Police Ethics Commissioner, upon first notice of this case in 1998, I would have  identified and interviewed the two officers who responded to the distress call. I  would have demanded to know why they didn't file a report. I would have questioned the officers of the Mariette station whose names the victim had provided. I would have demanded to know why these officers had repeatedly refused to take a report even when the weeping victim brought all her jewellery boxes into the station that night in mid-March, 1997 - that night when the thief had finally returned those boxes and cases to the victim. Empty.
I would ask the victim and all the officers and the accused to voluntarily submit to polygraph tests. And if anyone refused to accept that challenge, I would ask a lot more questions, using my office and experience and authority to check and double check everything - including the backgrounds of all those involved. I would ask why, in 2001, the victim still does not have a copy of any police report. I would dig and follow every lead - relentlessly - until the victim's property is returned.  No case given into my hands would ever be closed until  justice was done.  Or I would not sleep at night.
But then, I am just an ordinary citizen relying on my own common sense. I do not hold any office or title. I am just an ordinary woman trying to understand why our police - whom  I have respected all my life - have been so very helpful to the thief and her accomplices.
And the Police Ethics Commissioner is, after all, the highest authority in such matters, and  I would be the first to say that the Police Ethics Commissioner is an honourable man.
Victims' Voices coming soon to the World Wide Web  
Phyllis Carter                                                                                     


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