‘What the public doesn’t hear’ week 4

The latest instalment of an ongoing examination of publicly-recorded police activity and media reporting from the WPS.

Monday

– No briefing held. After a crazy busy weekend for crime-fighters and criminals alike, police release two reports electronically [by email’s statement]. They are: the seizure of a handgun and other weapons from a car four days prior and an assault/attempt robbery in Fort Rouge early Monday. Later in the day they released on a baby who fell through a window screen, but survived.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from the weekend – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • Female, robbery with weapon, aggravated assault, carry conceal, possess dangerous purpose
  • Female, fail bail [pending on theft under $5,000]
  • Female, fail bail x2
  • Male, fail attend court [pend. on fail probation, fail bail and 2 breaches in June]
  • Male, fail recog x6
  • Male, 3 x aggravated assault, 2 x take auto no consent, 2x bail breach
  • Male, 3 x aggravated assault, 2 x take auto no consent
  • Male, 2 x aggravated assault
  • Male, assault weapon x2, house break and enter with intent to commit an offence, 2x gun offences
  • Male, breach bail, operate impaired causing bodily harm, drive disqualified
  • Female, fail attend x2, pend. on possession of criminal property from 2008
  • Male, assault with a weapon, weapons offences x3, fail release from police custody
  • Male, drug-trafficking, drug possession x2 and possession of prop. obtained by crime over $5,000
  • Male, assault cause bodily harm
  • Male, assault cause bodily harm
  • Male, gun offences x9, careless storage and carry concealed [WPS released on this]
  • Male, possess weapon dangerous purpose
  • Male, fail conditional sentence order x3
  • Male, aggravated assault
  • Male, aggravated assault
  • Male, house break and enter with intent, possess gun for dangerous purpose, weapons offence and fail bail
  • Male, house break and enter with intent, possess gun for dangerous purpose, weapons offence and fail bail
  • Male, house break and enter with intent, possess gun for dangerous purpose, weapons offence and fail bail [all three co-accused]
  • Female, theft under x2, fail probation x2
  • Male, fail police release conditions
  • Male, fail bail
  • Male, theft under, possession of property obtained under $5,000, fail probation x2
  • Female, fail bail, pending on fail probation from 1994!
  • Male, aggravated assault
  • Male, fail bail
  • Male second degree murder [police released on this over weekend]
  • Male, uttering threats
  • Male, robbery with fake gun, fail probation
  • Male, assault cause bodily harm
  • Male, assault cause bodily harm
  • Male, fail bail x2
  • Female, fail conditional sentence x3, theft under x2
  • Female, fail probation [pending on a bail breach]
  • Male, robbery x3, possess weapon dangerous x2
  • Female, fail attend x2
  • Male, breach of court-imposed weapons ban, fail attnd court, possess weapon dangerous
  • Male [sex offender] fail stay away from parks, playgrounds or other places kids might be, fail no-contact order, fail abstain from drugs/alcohol
  • Male, aggravated assault x2, drug possession, fail probation
  • Male, fail bail x6 [pending on mischief, utter threats x2, assault x2 and assault with a weapon x2]

I should point out that there were a handful of RCMP events outside the city on the docket worth noting, as you’ll never hear about them from them.

Thompson, MB – a woman charged with drunk and disqualified driving, but pending on a prior drunk driving charge laid just a few months ago.

Fisher Branch, MB – a woman is charged with aggravated assault, impaired driving causing bodily harm, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and fail probation.

Tuesday

No briefing held. Of the information released electronically, it was a stabbing that police were seeking information about.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Monday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • M, fail youth sent, fail bail, obstruct PO
  • M, drive disqualified, fail bail, fail prior police release, HTA x2
  • M, fail police release x3
  • FM, fail PO x2
  • FM, theft under $5,000
  • M, obstruct police
  • M, possession for trafficking x4, drug possession, obtain crim. property under $5,000, 4 x gun offences, fail prior police release
  • FM, fail PO, fail attend x2
  • M, possession purpose trafficking, possess crim. property under $5,000, fail attend court
  • M, fail bail [pending on assault, overcome resistance by choking]
  • M, sexual assault, robbery with violence, fail bail, fail youth sentence

Wednesday

No briefing. On the E-docket from WPS was a carjacking arrest, and two break and enter arrests. One involved a woman accused of a string of break ins that they had never discussed prior to the announcement she had been charged.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Tuesday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • M, bail breach x2
  • M, fail youth sentence x3, possession weapon dangerous
  • M, fail bail
  • M, bail breach x4 [pending on 2x car arsons, break, enter and theft and drunk-driving]
  • M, fail conditional sentence x2, HTA, mischief, fail PO, drink driving
  • FM, Possess pup. trafficking, criminal property under $5K, fail bail [pend. on trafficking, possess prop over $5K, possess prohibited device or weapon]
  • M, assault weapon x2
  • M, possess pup. trafficking , drug possession, criminal property under $5K
  • M, assault, overcome resistance by choking [pending on Assault weapon and restraining order breach]
  • M, breach non-communication order x2, fail bail, obstruct justice

Thursday

No briefing, but a news release e-issued about more charges in the Lathlin homicide [including a very rare ‘aiding and abetting-related charge for a woman who harboured one of the suspects, ‘allegedly.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Wednesday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • M, HTA, robbery with weapon, possess dangerous purpose, drive dangerous, flight from PO, fail PO [police released on this on Wednesday]
  • M, robbery, fail bail [pending on breaches, theft over $5K, sex assault and robbery]
  • M, fail bail, fail attend court [pend. on assault with weapon, theft under $5K and 3x bail breaches]
  • FM, fail bail, fail attend court
  • M, robbery
  • M, fail conditional sentence
  • FM, theft under $5K x2 [pending on theft under $5K]
  • FM, accessory to murder after the fact [police released on this]
  • FM, breach [pend. on breach]
  • M, fail release from police custody x5
  • M, obstruction, fail bail, ID fraud
  • M, theft under $5K [pending on theft under $5K]
  • M, flight from police, possess stolen car worth more than $5K, assault weapon x2, drive dangerous, theft under $5K
  • M, possess pup trafficking, mischief, theft under $5K, fail prior release from police
  • M, fail bail x2
  • M, aggravated assault, fail PO x3
  • M, [Manitoba Warriors associate] assault weapon x2
  • M, aggravated assault, attempt to take auto without owner’s consent

Friday

Media briefing held on the blotter was an update to a massive MPI fraud investigation, a comment on a homicide in the West End.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Thursday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • FM, fail PO, fail bail
  • M, drug possession, mischief, fail bail
  • M, fail attend court, fail bail x2 [pend. on assault PO, assault, fail prior police release]
  • FM, possess stolen car over $5K, fail police release x2, housebreak enter and theft, break enter and theft, theft under x3
  • M, fail conditional sentence
  • M, fail bail x3
  • M, possess criminal property under $5K x2, drug trafficking x3, criminal property under $5K, and HTA
  • M, fail bail x4, drug possession
  • M, mischief, uttering threats
  • M, aggravated assault, fail PO
  • M, fail bail x3
  • FM, aggravated assault
  • FM, fail PO
  • M, fail attend court [pending on sex assault x2]
  • M, mischief x12 [from March], fail PO [pend. on fail PO x2]
  • M, assault cause bodily harm, fail PO

—-

To be frank, this wasn’t the best week for the WPS and their public reporting mechanisms. Only one briefing out of five days and it was very busy, crime-wise.

On Monday, a man wanted on a 10-year-old warrant was picked up at the airport at 9:45 p.m. His story is very interesting, and shows that you can run from the law, but not forever. There was no comment on this. Would have been good PR for the department if spun the right way.

On Wednesday, there was a serious assault by gang members in the West End, and bullets flew in a park. Those bullets entered a woman’s nearby apartment. There was no comment on this.

Above, you’ll also notice a number of serious assaults that took place that went unreported.

Also, there was key arrest in a long-ongoing child-pornography case that I’ll discuss in a forthcoming post.

Early Thursday, there was a homicide in the West End that nothing was said about until 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Not a word. I understand it was a complex investigation [dead guy apparently killed by man acting in self-defence after “victim” broke into his home; lots of information to sift through to get to the truth] but to say nothing despite repeated requests for the most basic information just leaves massive gaps that the media HAS NO CHOICE but to fill in with unofficial information.

Let’s put it this way. Based on what the cops had to say about the homicide, the WFP’s Friday story about “a street fight with deadly consequences” was off the mark. Not wrong, but not right.

Other media saying the “victim” was ‘beaten to death’ was off the mark. Mea culpa.

The gaps piss off the investigators who blame the media for being irresponsible and basing their reports on speculation and rumour. It frustrates the media because 9 times out of 10, they hate having to do it.

[As a side note, the vacuum of information also helps foster a sense of mystery about what may have happened (which in the end is likely pretty dull), which feeds the speculation.]

But, the deadline doesn’t disappear. A reporter can’t just come back to the office and say, ‘I’ve got nothing, sorry. It will have to wait.’

A couple of times a year, the WPS holds a media course for officers who are interested in the PIO job. The officers in question shadow a reporter for the day to get a feel of what they’re after and how the beast is fed everyday.

I’ve done it, and I can honestly say for both parties, it’s an eye-opening experience.

Typically, I give the officer a basic run-down of the courthouse information system as part of our day together and they’re astonished at what you can find out given a little time and patience.

They get a look at a newsroom and the freneticism in which it operates and they come to realize the media aren’t just sitting around dreaming up ways to make the department, politicians, CFS and others look bad.

They may even come to see that for some folks, journalism is a calling that’s taken pretty damn seriously. Kind of like law-enforcement would be for many, if not the vast majority of police officers.

As a part of the course, there’s a bull session where both sides sit down at some point and discuss how to better the relationship between the two sides.

Inevitably, there’s a discussion where the police agree that having a senior officer at a scene be empowered to give out basic details of why they’re there is a good thing, because 9 times out of 10, the media will bugger off and let them do their work if this simple information sharing happens.

Except on very rare occasions, it does not happen and I cannot fathom why. We accept that we’re not gonna get state secrets or the ‘inside track’ on a story. But in an age of virtually instant communication, it’s hard to imagine why it’s not happening.

But the WPS doesn’t seem to see, or is ignoring the fact that by doing this one simple thing, the Winnipeg public sees their police department in control of what to many may seem like a scary or dangerous situation.

It’s proactive PR and it should be happening.

In complete fairness, the WPS has gotten better at calling out a PIO to scenes, even in off-hours.

Examples being: last weekend’s bizarre standoff in the West End that acting PIO Const. Robert Carver spent his whole day at.

The weekend prior, he was also in attendance at a different scene near the Maryland Street bridge, if memory serves.

Const. Jason Michalyshen has twice in the last two months come in after hours to be at the scenes of shootings.

We know officers have better things to do than chit-chat with reporters.

But our reality is that the public says they want us out there 24-7, just as they demand of their police.

And we’re all doing our part to try and give the public what its said it clearly wants.

Building a public information strategy into every police investigation at the start is one way to reduce the friction that exists today.

Just my opinion.

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