In a special letter to today’s Vancouver Sun entitled “Top Robert Pickton cop in his own words,” retired RCMP inspector Don Adam attempts to respond to the mountain of criticisms over the RCMP-Vancouver Police Missing Women Task Force’s handling of the investigation into this convicted serial killer.
As head of the so-called ‘Pickton investigation,’ Adam indicates he is well aware how it has been “described in the media… [as] either merely botched, or … possibly the worst investigation in Canadian history.”
And yet, despite Adam’s efforts to “answer to and be responsible for the actions of our Task Force,” there is, as far as I can tell, a near-total omission in his piece regarding what is arguably a key commonality among Pickton’s victims: their Aboriginality.
A series of word searches within Adam’s text revealed but one direct reference to Aboriginal people:
“He also told her he liked native women.”
To put the quote in context: “[Pickton A man] also told [a sex trade worker] he liked native women.”
That’s it. That’s the extent of any discussion by Adam of how the victims’ shared identity (and their related socio-economic status) could have played a role in all that’s happened.
I do not have the exact figures before me as to the exact proportion of Aboriginal women among Pickton’s known victims, but one source reports his “first six victims were Aboriginal.”
At the risk of second-guessing Mr. Adam and his team or completely misunderstanding the nature of police work, based on what he wrote to the Sun, I do feel cause to wonder what it might say that such a common characteristic tying together the profiles of many of Pickton’s victims — i.e., their Aboriginality — failed to register all that highly on his team’s radar back then or, apparently, even now in retrospect.
I would like to hear from people about what they think, especially whether I am being fair or misplaced in my observations here. It’s admittedly an immediate gut reaction, but, as I say, I couldn’t help be struck by the near-absence of this aspect.
UPDATE: As a reader (“SandyFrance”) rightly points out in the comments below, the man who said he “liked native women” was not Robert Pickton. Despite this egregious error on my part, the fact remains that many of Pickton’s victims were Aboriginal (First Nations, Metis and/or Inuit). Nowhere in Adam’s letter is this fact mentioned. While it does not necessarily take anything away from my original point, I nonetheless regret the error.
[ Image via Missing and Murdered Women ]