Originally posted on Warrior Publications on August 12
On June 3, 2014, a house was raided in East Vancouver under the pretext of an investigation into anti-pipelines graffiti. On June 12, the Vancouver police returned with a DNA warrant for one of the members of the household. As Warrior Publications reported at the time, the primary cop investigator for this case appears to be Detective Constable Bert Rainey (No. 1423). Rainey also appears to be one of the main “political cops” for the Vancouver Police Department (VPD).
Bert Rainey joined the Vancouver Police Department in 1988. In 1997-98, Rainey was identified as being a member of the VPD Bicycle Squad, as both trainer and coordinator. He participated in police crowd control operations against anti-APEC protests in 1997 as a member of the bicycle squad. In 2002, Rainey was identified as an Acting Sergeant in regards to a fraud investigation.
In February 2013, Rainey is identified as a Detective Constable during another fraud investigation. In this case, he and another cop had gone to arrest Gerald Berke. During the arrest, Berke was asked if he wanted a pair of pants before he was taken to jail for processing. Rainey grabbed the pants Berke identified and searched them, finding credit cards and three USB flash drives, which were seized as evidence. Rainey later viewed the information on the USBs, and this resulted in an “exclusion of evidence” when the defendant challenged the legality of the search and accessing of his USBs.
In May 2012, activists disrupted a Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver by throwing decayed herring into the conference room. The intense odour caused the evacuation of the room and the fire department brought in a Hazmat team to determine the cause. Cops later claimed that $50,000 damage was done to the room’s carpeting, which had to be replaced.
In March 2013, Rainey was quoted in a Vancouver Island newspaper (Parksville Qualicium Beach News) that featured an article about the action and included still photos taken from the hotel’s video surveillance cameras. According to Rainey, two potential suspects in the action were from the area.
On May 1, 2013, Rainey was involved in policing an anti-capitalist May Day rally in Vancouver, during which three participants were harassed and eventually issued jay-walking tickets. One of those ticketed would later be the primary target for the June 3, 2014 raid in East Vancouver.
Also during May 2013, Rainey was involved in policing actions against anti-gentrification protesters in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. These protests had begun in early winter and targeted new, expensive restaurants opening in the DTES. By the spring of 2013, one of the main targets for protests was the Pidgin restaurant. The protests caused an outcry from business owners and the VPD were quick to take action, issuing “warning letters” to those who regularly attended the “lawful” protests.
On May 3, 2013, a warrant was issue for Robyn Pickel related to an action in which the front doors of the Pidgin were locked with a bike lock. Rainey was one of the cops involved in hunting Robyn down and repeatedly visited and telephoned her parent’s house. Robyn was eventually arrested on May 14, 2013.
Rainey’s involvement in the June 3 “anti-graffiti” raid, even though he is not a member of the Anti-Graffiti Unit, underscores not only his role as an investigator of political groups and actions, but just as importantly that the raid wasn’t simply about a few graffiti tags.