Pickton Sightings in Downtown Eastside

Copwatcher Says| This isn’t exactly about police brutality but the article does show how useless the police are at alerting or protecting people pre-emptively. And how the community of the DTES does a MUCH better job looking out for and protecting each other then the VPD ever will, considering they’re as much a predator of the DTES as Pickton.

VANCOUVER — By all accounts, David Pickton was the dominant brother. He was not blind to everything that went on at the family pig farm, where he lived with his younger sibling, Willie.

David was boss. He would tell Willie when to go to bed, a police investigator was once told. It was David, police alleged, who said that he knew where bodies had been buried. “I know it’s over for Willie,” one officer recalled him saying, when the Port Coquitlam farm was finally searched in 2002. The remains of dozens of women were found scattered about the property. Willie was held responsible, no one else.

David was never charged in connection with his brother’s long killing spree, nor was he called to testify at Willie’s ensuing serial murder trial. To the chagrin of the victims’ families, he is not scheduled to appear at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, underway in Vancouver. He hasn’t set foot in the hearing room. But according to reports, Mr. Pickton has been spotted of late in the Downtown Eastside, the same downtrodden neighbourhood where his brother’s murder victims worked in the sex trade.

Since November, notices warning of David Pickton’s presence have been posted in local shelters and drop-in centres. More notices appeared in the neighbourhood this week.

“He’s been in the area and he’s been talking to women,” said the director of a large social housing agency that operates in the Downtown Eastside.

“We’re not aware that he’s caused any trouble, but our staff is supporting women who want to speak to police about him. The women are scared,” added the director, who spoke to the National Post on the condition her name not be published.

Asked if local officers were aware of the concerns about David Pickton, Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Jana McGuinness emailed this response: “Last fall posters and information were being disseminated by people in the Downtown Eastside about a specific individual. Our investigation at the time did not support the issuing of a public warning.” Constable McGuinness added that she has not been made aware of any recent Pickton sightings.

In 1992, Mr. Pickton was convicted of sexual assault, fined $1,000, given 30 days probation, and ordered to have no contact with the assault victim. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

In 2009, with Willie behind bars, Mr. Pickton and his sister, Linda Wright, sued the RCMP for damages allegedly caused by police investigations conducted on family-owned properties. “The RCMP disturbed, disrupted, killed and destroyed various plants, trees, groundcovers and other vegetation and the fish in the pond,” reads the lawsuit, filed in B.C. Supreme Court. The matter has not been resolved.

Mr. Pickton is frequently discussed at the Missing Women inquiry. Police witnesses have described how he ran a notorious after-hours drinking establishment near the farm, called Piggy’s Palace. It was frequented by motorcycle gang members and their associates, and was occasionally rented out for private events, the inquiry has heard.

Cameron Ward, lawyer for the families of 25 missing and murdered women, has asked inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal to add Mr. Pickton to his witness list. “A proper inquiry must include testimony from this central character,” noted Mr. Ward.

The commission has a mandate to examine how police forces conducted their investigations into cases of women reported missing from the Downtown Eastside, and to determine why B.C.’s criminal justice branch decided to stay charges of attempted murder and unlawful confinement against Willie Pickton in 1998.

David “was well known to police, and was considered a person of interest during the missing women investigations,” Mr. Ward noted in his submission. “He co-owned the Picktons’ properties [including the farm] …which were known by the police to be hives of illegal activity, including cockfighting, illicit alcohol and drug use, prostitution and petty theft… Women’s remains were found on land that David Pickton occupied with his brother …. Did off-duty police officers, politicians or other high-profile members of the community attend events at the infamous Piggy’s Palace?”

Mr. Oppal has yet to rule on the request; however, a senior commission counsel has told the National Post it will be denied.

The inquiry resumes Monday.

National Post

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