“No pipelines” graffiti leads police to raid home in East Vancouver
The Vancouver Police Department has raided an East Side home in connection with anti-pipeline graffiti.
However, the VPD denied a claim by one of the residents of the Parker Street home that the operation was an act of repression against anti-pipeline activists.
“My only response to that would be that we investigate criminal offences,” police spokesperson Const. Brian Montague told the Straight in a phone interview today (June 5).
Montague maintained: “Criminal offences have taken place, and we’re investigating those. And part of that is executing a search warrant to gather evidence to prove those offences.”
The police officer confirmed that five people were taken into custody.
Montague indicated that no charges have been laid as part of the ongoing investigation.
One of the residents of the house is Gord Hill, a First Nations activist who endorses direct action to defend aboriginal rights and the environment.
In a previous interview with the Straight, the Kwakwaka’wakw artist stressed the importance of a strong Native movement to stop oil and gas expansion.
“It’s the only one that really has the capability of engaging in more radical tactics or the willingness to engage in more radical tactics,” Hill said in that interview.
Using a borrowed mobile phone because police confiscated his and his housemates’ devices, Hill said that 16 police officers were involved in the June 3 raid.
“It’s a big intimidation tactic to try to silence the growing opposition to the oil and gas pipelines, and oil tankers,” Hill told the Straight today (June 5).
According to Hill, the operation served “multiple purposes”.
“It’s also like a big fishing expedition for them to come into our house, document our personal effects and activities, and then also to take our communications devices, and disrupt our public communications and organizing work,” Hill said.
Hill edits the Warrior Publications site, and he posted an account of the raid there.
Jun 5, 2014 at 3:15pm
Did someone ask Gord Hill why he isn't working? I can't imagine his "activism" pays the bills. I Wouldn't like to think that the very society he condemns mails him a cheque each month (but I know we do).
Jun 5, 2014 at 3:24pm
Who cares? Let's assume the worst: these are political graffiti vandals living on welfare. Is a raid with 16 officers with guns drawn, and grabbing every bit of electronics on site, an level response equal to the threat level? Is a spray paint can equal to a gun?
Sounds more like police state stuff to me. What you might expect to see in China, not in Canada.
Jun 5, 2014 at 3:36pm
@Bruce as a taxpayer I care. And so do most others (taxpayers that is).
I didn't see if there were 4 or 16 officers, and I didn't see if their guns were drawn. And neither did you.
Why anyone would spray paint graffiti over beautiful murals that real artists painted for the rest of us to enjoy is puzzling. It can only hurt whatever the purported cause is.
So yeah, I'd say it was an appropriate response, and any time societal burdens feel compelled to spray paint their garbage on public property and artwork I hope the police respond in a similar matter.
Wish I could have been there to cheer them on, alas I had to work to earn my own money.
Jun 5, 2014 at 3:38pm
Graffiti just makes anti-pipeline people look bad. I am very anti-pipeline and very anti-graffiti... especially when it's written over someone's artwork. That is very disrespectful and it looks ugly. I can't say if this was worthy of a police raid, however.
Jun 5, 2014 at 3:47pm
Leaving aside speculation on Mr. Hill's employment status, I agree that there are better ways of making a point than defacing someone else's art. Having said that, the police response does seem a bit over the top.
Jun 5, 2014 at 3:52pm
As usual, activists have a very narrow view of life and HATE everything else that doesn't conform with it. These guys are mental midgets and have probably done some real damage to the cause, although I'm still anti-pipeline despite them.
As for the police using this as an excuse to disrupt future acts, I would say yes, that is exactly what they are doing and these morons basically invited them in to do it with their phenomenal stupidity. Idiots!
Jun 5, 2014 at 3:55pm
I've have a policeman pull his gun because a drunk pointed at me and said something weird. On my way home from work, looking every inch a middle class working geek. Pardon me if I don't give them the benefit of the doubt.
And talking as if only "taxpayers" are Real People? Just a touch fascist. And I say that as Taxpayer.
Jun 5, 2014 at 4:13pm
Yeah, let's assume you're right about your beliefs regarding Hill. Let's examine that dynamic using an analogy of a much more extreme nature in order to really high-light the relationship between actors:
Did someone ask the French resistance during World War II why they didn't go out and manufacture or buy their own guns rather than using captured German weapons?
Hill is First Nations and likely sees this government and the police as an invading force. This invading force is also engaged in less than democratic activities where resource extraction and transport is concerned. These activities threaten the well-being of not just people but the environment. So, in what imagined world would they be obligated to meet any standard of social/political cooperation and participation that your comment implies is necessary in order to be legitimate?
Now, to be clear, I am not a fan of their graffiti tactics. I live in the area they've been decorating and it pisses me off to see private residences and small businesses saddled with extra costs to remove the spray paint. Worse, it's likely that most of the people and small businesses oppose the pipelines anyway - so why make them suffer with unnecessary costs? What's the point? It's just poor planning and bad judgement on the activists' part.
That being said, Jack, fuck your myopic, knee jerk, reactionary comment and fuck you for assuming the worst simply as a way to make yourself feel superior - or whatever reason it was you had for saying something so fucking stupid.
Jun 5, 2014 at 4:25pm
Sounds like you're a wee bit paranoid. I've had run-ins with the police growing up, and I was the cause of every one of them, and I deserved whatever I got. Then I grew up. How old is this Gord Hill character? He sounds like he's suffering from arrested development.
Never said taxpayers are the only "real people", but when it comes to defacing public art, the perpetrators and those that contribute nothing of value to society don't really have a voice at the table.
Jun 5, 2014 at 4:30pm
"Hill is First Nations and likely sees this government and the police as an invading force"
Who gives a fuck if he suffers from paranoid delusions? The government and the police aren't invading forces, so he's quite simply wrong. Why indulge his nonsense?
"it pisses me off to see private residences and small businesses saddled with extra costs to remove the spray paint. Worse, it's likely that most of the people and small businesses oppose the pipelines anyway - so why make them suffer with unnecessary costs? What's the point? It's just poor planning and bad judgement on the activists' part"
Exactly what I've been saying, thanks for reiterating.
"fuck your myopic, knee jerk, reactionary comment"
Sounds pretty much like your comment is a reactionary knee jerk to mine. I know you're aching to play the race card in an attempt to negate anything I've said, but frankly I couldn't care less if he's a native, a swede, or from China. Stupid destructive childish acts committed by adults deserve to be dealt with harshly. No sympathy from me or 99% of the people that make Vancouver home.