On Monday, April 29, 2013, the WPS Street Crime Unit announced sweeping arrests after a short-term investigation into the illicit narcotic trafficking activities of the Mad Cow Street Gang.
The investigation netted a total of twelve (12) arrests, a number that included ten (10) alleged gang members who were collared on a variety of drug related offences. Approximately half of the suspects arrested were Young Offenders.
It didn’t take long for the soft Canadian Justice Catch n’ Release Program to have an impact on the investigation.
The first lucky gangster to secure his “get out of jail free card” was a seventeen (17) year old offender who was free on, not one, but two (2) Probation Orders at the time he was accused of participating in two (2) dial-a-dealer drug transactions. Both incidents involved the alleged sale of crack cocaine to undercover Police Officers. The first transaction occurred on April 3 at Beverly Street & St Matthews Ave and the second transaction occurred on April 13 outside of a restaurant near the Portage Place Mall.
Probation Orders aside, the Young Offender has prior convictions for Robbery, Assault with a Weapon and Robbery with a Firearm. All serious crime that netted the gangster previous jail time. A Probation report completed on the Youth indicated he was considered to be a “high risk to reoffend” given his “pro-criminal attitude” and peer associations.
The Crown argued to keep the offender in jail pending the outcome of the charges.
A story in the Winnipeg Sun by crime reporter James Turner quotes the Crown as stating; “There’s a reason why the police have come down with this project; (it’s) because Mad Cowz are selling drugs in the inner city, they’re known to be violent and now this is what (he’s) got himself involved in. I think he needs to stay in custody.”
Turner reports Defence Counsel Iain MacNair argued the fact the teen hasn’t been involved in a serious offence in two years and recently completed a stint on bail with no breaches.
Remarkably, Judge Sid Lerner restored the gangsters freedom. In doing so, he stated; “This is a close one but I’m prepared to give him an opportunity to demonstrate he can comply with conditions of bail. Just by the skin of your teeth are you getting out.” The release comes with a significant number of bail conditions that include an absolute curfew and non-association with any Mad Cow gang associates or members.
Only Judge Lerner can answer the question why a hard-core gangster’s right to liberty supersedes the need to safeguard public safety. In making his decision, Judge Lerner defaulted to an offender driven sympathetic approach that completely ignores the hard realities of an overburdened Police Force and a dangerous and volatile situation that currently exists on the streets of Winnipeg. These are significant issues that merited both analytical and critical thinking.
The WPS is an overburdened Law Enforcement Agency with limited resources to monitor offenders who are released on various Court Orders. The release of non-deserving Young Offenders only adds to that burden. Is it realistic to expect the Police Service can provide the 24 / 7 supervision an offender such as this requires.
The Mad Cow street gang is currently embroiled in a “turf war” in the West End with members of the Manitoba Warriors. The brazen killing of Nigel Dixon is believed to be a result of this turf war and the continuing struggle to retain cocaine trafficking market share. The Young Offender before Judge Lerner is alleged to be a participant in illicit gang related cocaine trafficking activities. I wonder if it occurred to Judge Lerner just how much danger this kind of illegal activity presents to the youth in question. This youth is participating in an extremely dangerous life style and is in desperate need of an intervention. His arrest removed him from that danger, his release put him right back in it.
Judge Lerner also inextricably ignored the fact the Youth had a serious criminal record and he was already on Probation at the time of the alleged offences. He also apparently disregarded a prior Probation report that described the youth as a “high risk to re-offend given his pro-criminal attitudes and peer associations.”
Not only does the release of this youth place the public at risk, it also places an unnecessary burden on Law Enforcement and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of the alleged offender.
I just don’t get it.
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Winnipeg Sun James Turner – Cops Called Mad Cowz