Senior VPD officers told city not to hold Stanley Cup gathering downtown
The John Furlong–Doug Keefe report into the Stanley Cup riot is, at times, full of mind-numbing details.
But there are two sentences buried within an appendix that deserve greater amplification.
Senior VPD officers voiced concerns about the risks to public safety linked to a large, open venue with capacity for tens of thousands of hockey fans in a central location. Senior police planners advised city officials to situate any Live Site outside the downtown core and away from the Granville Entertainment District (GED)."
Those two sentences were on page 14 of a technical report (Appendix K for anyone interested in finding it) by Ottawa Police Service Deputy Chief Charles Bordeleau and Inspector Mark Ford.
As we all know, the city chose to place the Live site downtown, which resulted in about 155,000 people showing up to watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final on big screens. A riot ensued on June 15, causing an estimated $1.9 million in property damage.
The main-report authors, Furlong and Keefe, wrote on page 64 that the city had three principles that drove the decision-making process:
• People are going to congregate downtown on important occasions regardless;
• Therefore the sensible thing to do is provide them with a well-managed event; and
• That in the absence of an organizer the city should take responsibility.
"It is likely anyone opposing a Live Site would have been considered a worrywart and killjoy," Furlong and Keefe wrote.
The Furlong and Keefe report, unlike the technical review, did not explicitly state that senior police planners advised city officials to locate any Live site outside of the downtown core.
Instead, Furlong and Keefe wrote: "The VPD went along with the decision but asked for fences so the sites could be screened to keep out alcohol; they also wanted to require free tickets."
Did Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu advise the city not to put the Live site downtown? Or did this recommendation come from officers lower down in the chain of command?
And did city officials or the politicians simply reject the chief's recommendation? Or did the chief hear the recommendation from the officers and not bring this to the attention of the city?
Together, Keefe and Furlong collected more than $200,000 in compensation from the taxpayers. But their report didn't answer these central questions.
They owe the public an explanation for why they refused to do this. After all, it was ultimately the public who covered the cost of their extremely generous pay packages.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.