Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mounties didn't get their man, but it still cost us $444,000.00

Remember Leo Crockwell? Who in Newfoundland could forget? Not this soon, anyway.

For those who don't know who he is, ol' Leo is a gentleman who barricaded himself inside a house in Bay Bulls, NL in December. The standoff with the RCMP went on for just over a week. It all started when his family called the cops because he had assaulted a family member, his sister I believe.

He holed up inside his mother's house in Bay Bulls with a constant RCMP presence trying to extricate him. The situation just spiralled out of control, day after day after day.

He wouldn't respond to the police phone calls, nor would he use the phone sent in to him via a bomb squad robot. The layout of the house was such that the use of tear gas cannisters was not practical. They were 4 or 5 days in before the RCMP finally cut the power. Don't these guys watch Law & Order? That should have happened on Day One. I'm surprised they didn't send in pizza and beer for him.

Everyone and their dog had opinions on ol' Leo's antics. Some thought he was a hard-done-by local hero. Others thought he was an attention-seeking nutjob. Still others thought he was either crazy like a fox, a common criminal who deserved everything he was gonna get, or the stupidest arse going. Take your pick.

The opinions on the RCMP's response to this whole thing were just as varied, for sure. Some thought the only consideration was that the whole thing ended with no one being hurt, regardless of the time or money it was costing. Others thought it was a massive overreaction and that he should have just been ignored, and picked up off the street at another time. For God's sake, they brought in SWAT team members from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island!!!!!!! The way the whole thing ended was such a  colossal SNAFU that the RCMP, despite their best spin-doctoring, ended up looking like enormously incompetent fools.

The RCMP are calling this a - quote - "minor mistake". They tried to flush the man out of the house... I mean... their PURPOSE AND INTENT was to literally flush the man out of the house with fire hoses. THEY WANTED HIM TO COME OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!! Yet, they didn't bother to have anyone stationed AROUND THE HOUSE!! Their tactic worked, he did leave the house. AND WALKED AWAY!!!! This is what the RCMP calls "a minor mistake".

Even Kevin Tobin, the cartoonist for The Telegram, got in on the act with his brilliantly funny sketch of an RCMP officer with a bullhorn yelling, "Come on out, Leo, we've got the front of your house surrounded!!" I wish I could find a link to it, but I can't.

But seriously, let's look at it for a moment - did no one really get hurt? I think Leo's mother might argue the fact. Her house, which was where he was holed up, was subjected to 15 hours of continual assault by fire hoses trying to get him to come out, long after he had already escaped. The house is still uninhabitable. I think she was hurt by that, very much. I've heard rumors that the house is going to be repaired. Repaired? It's been purt near floating for over 2 months now. I think it needs to be condemned.

The RCMP barricaded off the commercial area of Bay Bulls, requiring a supermarket, a gas station and other stores and businesses to be shut for a whole week. People had to go to the next community to pick up their mail. I think the business owners of Bay Bulls were definitely hurt, not to mention the inconvenience to the residents of the community.

But, the bleeding heart liberals reassure us that the main thing is, nobody got hurt. Hmmm. Interesting. I guess that in their eyes, 'hurt' is only allowed to mean 'shot dead'. In that light, yes, nobody got hurt. is reporting that Leo's antics and the RCMP's Keystone Kops response are now costing taxpayers $444,000.00 PLUS any costs associated with the repair / replacement of the house. OUCH!!! As a taxpayer, I think I just got hurt.

And the ironically, hysterically, ridiculously, knee-slappingly funny part is that the man escaped as soon as the fire hoses were turned on, managed to get about 25km away where someone saw him, reported him to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), who sent one constable in a cruiser out to Petty Harbour to arrest him, 15 hours after his escape.

I'd love to know how much this response cost the RNC - about a quarter tank of gas, I'm estimating.

This was not Dudley Do-Right's finest hour.


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