The National Post is carrying a story about Yaowei Wu, a 44-year-old man whose face was left swollen and battered after he was arrested by Vancouver police in a case of mistaken identity.
Police were called to a Vancouver house at 2 a.m. by a woman who called 911 and reported that her husband had hit her and that she was concerned for her baby’s safety. But the police were unaware there were two suites in the dwelling and the complaint had come from Mr. Wu’s tenant, who lives in a separate suite.
The police, apparently, administered a severe unprovoked beating to the innocent Mr. Wu, who received bruises to his head, waist and knees and fractured bones around his left eye. I saw him on television last night and one of his eyes was swollen shut and other bruising was visible. The poor fellow was a mess.
The real story here is not that the police beat up someone—that happens frequently enough in Canada and is sometimes actually deserved—but the fact that the Vancouver police lied on Thursday when they claimed Mr. Wu had “resisted by striking out at the police and trying to slam the door, but the officers persisted in the belief that there may be a woman and child inside who could be in danger.” That was an outrageous lie, and yesterday police said in a statement that Mr. Wu did not resist the police officers.
What is it with our politicians, public officials and spokespersons for our public institutions? Whenever they have a public relations issue, their very first inclination seems to be: tell a lie. Its a knee-jerk reaction. When in doubt, lie. Lie first, apologize later, but only if necessary.
There is also a growing tendency for ordinary citizens to lie to police and other authorities without regard to consequences of which generally there are few.
There was a time when the majority considered their word to be their bond. Regrettably, this is another old-fashioned tradition that has gone by the wayside.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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