Vancouver, CA -- Sergeant Mark Horsley of the Vancouver police department was assigned to an undercover operation to catch the lowliest and most cowardly of thieves. Horsley would grow some facial hair, and ride out into the most crime-ridden part of the city in an attempt to get robbed -- in a wheelchair.
According to the VPD, there have been a string of wheelchair robberies in the last 19 months, all in the city's Downtown Eastside.
Playing the role of an injured and vulnerable old man in a wheelchair, Horsley took to the streets in an attempt rid the city of criminals.
It should be noted that the actions of Horsley are honorable, designed to catch actual criminals, and have a positive effect on the community in general. This is quite contrary to policing which is designed to bolster revenue by catching people without their seatbelts on, or attempts to bust folks for partaking in substances arbitrarily deemed 'illegal' by the state.
These actions were an effort to deter real crime. Horsley selflessly put himself into harm's way as he could have legitimately been hurt during this five-day sting operation.
“My boss tied a pork chop around my neck and threw me into a shark tank,” Horsley said.
However, what happened once Horsley got into position was entirely unexpected. The VPD's plan to catch the vile scum who'd rob an old man in a wheelchair backfired.
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According to the Ottawa Citizen,
In five days of undercover work from his wheelchair, with loot hanging from a fanny pack for all to see and perhaps snatch, and after more than 300 “contacts” with people, Horsley made not a single arrest. People wanted to give him things, instead.
Passers-by insisted on dropping coins into his lap. “I did not panhandle,” he said. Two men bought him pizza. Others just stopped and chatted, passed the time, exchanged pleasantries. All anyone took was his photograph.
Once, a guy came along and crouched over Horsley. He reached in, as if making for the fanny pack. Horsley tensed. Here it was, at last: Heinous crime in progress, bust coming up. The man’s fingers touched the fanny pack. Then the prospective perp zippered it shut. He asked Horsley to please be more careful with his things, for goodness sake.
Horsley explained that he even recognized actual criminals, whom he had busted in the past, approach him to make sure he was okay.
This demonstrated there really is “honor” among certain thieves, he said. Robbing the disabled is “below their ethical standards,” he told the OC. “The community will not stand for this.”
Faith in humanity restored.
Imagine for a moment that the billions of dollars spent locking individuals in cages for possessing a plant was put to use in the community. Imagine if police officers directed their energy into campaigns like this one instead of hopping into MRAPs and kicking in doors to fight the state's immoral war on drugs.
Imagine what a better place this world would be if police would focus their efforts on fighting crimes with actual victims, instead of creating crimes that turn good people into victims.