Monday, March 10, 2014
Hundreds of youth descended on Gastown. Many of these people were described as hippies by the media and they wandered around the area, playing music, smoking pot and generally expressing their displeasure. By 10 am, there was something like 2,000 in the area.
A crowd of this size doesn't go unnoticed. The senior officer in charge at the scene, Inspector Abercrombie, was given false information that windows had been broken so he decided to clear the scene. He ordered the crowd to disperse, an order that was ignored. That's when events started to heat up.
People who had nothing to do with the protest, came out of restaurants or shops and found themselves caught up in the fray. Some of the youths threw bottles, pieces of concrete and rocks at the officers. Abercrombie knew this was the beginning of a full-scale riot.
Someone has gone to the trouble of researching police reports and have made a reconstruction of events that followed the ignored order to clear the streets. Here is some of the events.
1. Officers on horses driving people into doorways and pinning them there while they lashed out at them with their sticks.
2. A young woman being dragged, screaming, by two officers who held her by the hair and one arm, about 100 yards over broken glass to a waiting wagon;
3. A police officer struck on the right leg, just below his knee, by a large chunk of cement. The crowd jeered as he staggered;
4. A young woman marching towards a group of officers shouting “You might as well take me too.” They took her. As they shoved her into the wagon, bent over so she was almost touching her toes, an officer shoved his riot stick into her seat, pushing her inside;
5. A young man cut down by a blow to his kidney area from a stick. As he slumped on the street a young woman knelt beside him crying;
6. Another youth held down on a parking lot and struck three times with a policeman’s stick. Still another boy loaded into an ambulance. He had a bloody bandage on his head;
7. A bottle flying out of the crowd and shattering between an officer’s legs. He sprinted into the crowd, raised his stick, but did not strike with it.
Canadian Human Rights website for the above information. On Wednesday, I will tell you more.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, Gastown, History, riot,Maple Tree Square, 1971, Abercrombie, horseback, On The Right Side, Multiple Sclerosis
Friday, March 7, 2014
On July 1, 1978, police went to an address on West 23rd Avenue. There, they found Novak, another 15-year-old named Fred Ramsay and 22-year-old Jim Yablonski (both those names have been changed) sleeping in the basement. The police arrested all three and took the young men to police headquarters in separate vehicles.
The detectives questioned Ramsay and Yablonski, who both made detailed statements. Novak's father was sent for and, after he arrived, the young Novak was questioned in his presence.
So the young man picked up a piece of wood, banged on the door and, when it was opened, threatened the old man if he didn't give him money.
Candy Bill ran into the front room, headed towards the phone. Novak grabbed the phone and ripped it off the wall while pushing his victim onto a chesterfield. When he once again demanded money, the old man went into the bedroom and gave him fifty dollars in small bills, which he had taken from his pants pocket. Novak was counting the bills when Dickinson came at him with a straight razor the older man had taken from the dresser. The two men struggled and Novak got the razor away from the old man. Then he grabbed Dickinson by the throat and demanded more money. The old man gave him the money under the mattress before Novak forced him into a chair and tied him up with a piece of electrical cord.
Novak left the house, walked to a group home on Cypress Street where he called for a taxi. He took the cab to his friend Ramsay's house and the two then rode the taxi to the Travelodge Hotel in Surrey Place. There, they stayed for two days. They lived well on the $600 and when it was gone, the two returned to Vancouver.
Novak saw nothing on the robbery in the papers or on the television and wondered why. He, Ramsay and Yablonski went to the house on West 5th and, when they found the door locked, broke the glass to get in. They found the dead body so the trio left. A few days later, he heard the police had discovered the victim.
Alex Novak was charged in Juvenile Court with being a delinquent for killing Dickinson. Although the Crown attempted to have the case raised to adult court, they were unsuccessful. Novak was kept in a detention camp until he reached adulthood three years later.
It was the fingerprints from an earlier crime that led the police to Novak. The fingerprinting of juveniles had been a contentious issue and, just a few weeks before this murder, a test-case had been placed before the courts so that the legality of the matter could be decided. The courts ruled the police had a right to fingerprint juveniles when they were charged with an offence which, had they been adults, would be classed as 'indictable offences'. If the court had ruled the other way, the fingerprints would have been destroyed and Novak would have gotten away with his crime.
Here's the weird part. The test-case that was placed before the court involved Alex Novak's prints taken at the time of his earlier arrest.
Thanks goes to Policebeat by Joe Swan for the information in this entry.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, Kitsilano, History, murder,burglary, 1978, constables, cottage, On The Right Side, Multiple Sclerosis
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The police also found a piece of wood on the bed by the body. It was three feet long and two inches thick. The two constables, realizing it was a homicide, left the scene and called for homicide detectives and crime scene experts.
Photographs were taken of the scene and the slow search for physical evidence on the premises began. You've seen those crime shows where the techs explore every nook and cranny of the crime scene haven't you? It is a tedious process.
Surfaces were dusted for fingerprints, which would later be compared with the fingerprints of the victim and known visitors. The remaining unidentified prints would be compared to the prints of known criminals in the hopes of finding a suspect.
Once the scene was thoroughly investigated, the victim's body was taken to the City Morgue for an autopsy.
The pathologist discovered the cause of death to be the result of both lungs being punctured by broken ribs - probably caused by a fall. After the detectives described the scene of the murder, they theorized that the victim had been tied to a chair and left there by his attacker. While trying to free himself, he had fallen to the floor and broken his ribs.
The victim was identified as George William Dickinson. Almost blind and deaf, he would have turned 90 years old in a few weeks.
A close friend of Bill's, an 82-year-old woman who lived on the block, informed the police she last saw the victim about three weeks ago. He had asked the lady to count some money for him since his eyesight was too bad for him to do it himself.
He had over six hundred dollars at the time, which he was saving to go on a trip to California. His niece, and only relative, lived there.
The woman advised Bill he shouldn't keep so much money in the house but he laughed and said he kept it under the mattress where it was safe. The police searched the house but the money wasn't found.
And don't forget. If you are on Facebook, at 4pm PST today, I am having a book launch for my latest release, On The Right Side, My Story of Survival and Success. Come join the event.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, Kitsilano, History, murder,Burrard, 1978, constables, cottage, On The Right Side, Multiple Sclerosis