Thursday, December 02, 2010

Gag reflex

With all the police violence at the G20 protests, this video finally seems to have triggered the media's gag reflex:

This is the video which Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said must have been tampered with to delete some supposedly awful thing done by Adam Nobody. So now the Special Investigations Unit is reopening its investigation.
The National Post editorial board writes:
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair ... suggests the few seconds of footage missing from the video of Mr. Nobody’s arrest “very likely … sheds light on why the man was arrested, and why force was used.”
OK. But he doesn’t know, and we can’t help noticing he doesn’t seem very interested in finding out. In any event, last we checked, freedom from police brutality is not a right Canadians waive while being arrested.
The Toronto Star editorial says:
The Nobody video shows a half-dozen officers arresting him; yet no one can identify the officer throwing the punches, and a bogus badge number was written on the arrest sheet.
This looks like police shielding themselves, before, during and after behaving badly. It’s worrisome. And indefensible.
Blair has even lost the Toronto Sun:
We are long-time supporters of Chief Blair . . . We have also said there shouldn’t be a full inquiry into policing at the G20.
But Blair looks like a scrambling man spinning stories. It makes us think he’s hiding something.
A police source told the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington, “The chief has lost the room.”
On this one, the chief has lost us.
And maybe we're all realizing now that the police violence at the G20 protests was more than just a few "bad apples" In today's testimony to the Public Safety Committee, Mike Leitold, a lawyer with the Law Union of Ontario, described the broader pattern of illegal searches and harassment of activists in advance of the G20:
“We received reports leading up to the demonstrations” of 29 instances involving visits by RCMP officers to the work places, schools or homes of protest organizers, he said.
In the week leading up to the G20, he said, the Law Union received dozens of reports of young people being surrounded by armed police while walking down the street in Toronto and forced to undergo searches “without reasonable grounds” by the officers.
Leitold said the police also repeatedly cited “fictitious” powers to justify questionable searches during the summit. An inquiry should find out who ordered what he described as a “blatant pattern of bad-faith searches” by police and “a pattern of proactive targeting of activists that began well in advance of Saturday, June 26.”
He also raised concerns about the use of “excessive force” by police during demonstrations at Queen’s Park and what he said was the breach of rights of those who were detained, including their inability in many cases to access a lawyer quickly or to be brought before a judge “in a timely manner.”
It’s vital to find out how this happened and who directed police conduct during the G20, Leitold said.
You know, I read a couple of stories about this type of thuggish police behaviour toward protesters prior to the Vancouver Olympics.
Maybe its more than a pattern, its a procedure.
Is Scary Cop Lady the new face of Canadian policing?

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