I really don't get it.
Calgary's Chief Constable, Jack Beaton, has acted like a petulant schoolboy right from square one in his dogged pursuit of those behind the websites critical of his administration. And even in his hollow victory first announced in this space on Friday, when his pressure tactics finally caused webmistress Jann Vahey to capitulate and make a deal to get out from underneath the potential financial ruin a battle against City Hall might necessitate, he issued a press release saying he wasn't done yet. The witchhunt apparently, is far from over.
In the intervening days, a police constable, Taufiq Shah, has come forward and admitted that he delivered the offending criticisms published by Vahey and in doing so, painted a huge target on his back for a vindictive Chief.
Shah has filed previous complaints against a patrol Sergeant and the Chief for failing to appropriately investigate the matter. He has been on stress leave for far too long as a result. He doesn't want to be, but what choice does he have?
He was subject to racist taunts, called things like "terrorist" and "sand nigger." He even had a service weapon pointed directly at him by a superior officer, I'm told, in the parade room of the station. One hardly wonders why he might not feel entirely comfortable with strapping on a nine mil and going through a door hoping his sergeant has his back.
Shah has a Muslim name and he is brown skinned. But, in reality he is a Morman and travels annually to Utah, to Salt Lake, where the tabernacle of his religion sits. He is a family man, married to the fiercely defensive Rhonda. They have four kids. He worked in patrol and just wanted to do a good job protecting the citizens of his city and providing for his family.
Shah was pronounced fit for duty after being on disability. He tried to go back, but the Service insisted he see the department counselling service who immediately said he wasn't fit for a full return to duty. He was going to regular counselling to deal with the stresses and threats he felt.
Today, according to a police officer I spoke with, one day after he came out publicly, Shah went to his regular counselling session and was sent home.
This is how Jack Beaton defends the hard-working men and women who toil in the mean streets protecting the citizens? Which, I might add, would seem diametrically opposed to the stated "Core Values" of the service itself. But that is all just semantics I suppose.
The real battle now that Shah has clambored out of the closet of fear, comes from Beaton continuing to try and identify the other officers who also contributed to the information pool that Shah wove into the editorial content posted on the internet that drew Beaton's rage. And, so too, I suspect, the four officers who were interviewed by CBC's Rick Boguski in shadow and with their voices altered.
Beaton said he wasn't done in the wake of the Vahey settlement revelations. Shah stood up in front of the assembled media and said, "Enough."
But I fear nothing but full retribution, not "healing" will be enough for Beaton. For whatever his public personnae has been thus far in his reign, the good citizens of Calgary "don't know Jack."