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Monday, July 05, 2010

"Arrest orgy" is what it was 

Reading story after story after story after story after story about experiences during the G20 protests, one common thread strikes me -- they all include cruel, contemptuous, crude, or incompetent behaviour by the police.
At Macleans magazine, Adam Radwanski attributes police swagger to the lack of meaningful oversight:
. . . the message from governments to police, even before the saga over the provincial regulation, was that politicians preferred a no-questions-asked approach to security [and created in police] the sense that they had free rein to do as they saw fit, whatever part of downtown Toronto they happened to be in.
Boris at Galloping Beaver provides a deeper analysis. He calls it an "arrest orgy" and he thinks the growing backlash may eventually impact Canadian police the way Somaila affected Canada's armed forces:
With our police, where is a critical look at things such as the influence of new offensive technology such as Tasers, the universal provision of body armour, tactical clothing as work dress, and their cumulative effects on police self-perception and attitudes? Are their certain mindsets that have popularised and hardened within police departments? Does public outcry and investigation over their less than honorable actions actually serve to reinforce organizational insularity and promote further brutality? We saw them close ranks around Dziekanski foursome, and it seems as if the police may have used the G8/20 as a venue through which to hit back at "us" whom they may view as unappreciative and condescending.
...
Where the torture and murder of Shidane Arone may have been a catalyst of an overhaul of the armed forces, the death of Robert Dziekanski and the arrest orgy in Toronto may prove catalysts for an overhaul of Canadian policing. These events are symptoms of larger problems.
Today we finally found out that 16 people are still in jail a week after the G20 ended -- including a street medic who is apparently going to be charged with carrying a concealed weapon for carrying bandage shears.
And a woman from Peterborough has been charged with obstructing police and wearing a disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence -- she came to the protests dressed as a clown.

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