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Politics and its Discontents: Measuring Democracy

One of the concerns that has motivated me throughout the years I have written this blog is public accountability. Far too often, whether examining politics at the federal, provincial or local level, it is evident that public accountability, when it oc… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Measuring Democracy

Politics and its Discontents: I’m Just A Poor Boy, Nobody Loves Me

That famous line from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody might have been the inspiration, and is certainly the subtext, for James Forcillo and his lawyer’s pleas that poor baby James be allowed to serve whatever sentence is passed down to the killer of Sammy Ya… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: I’m Just A Poor Boy, Nobody Loves Me

Politics and its Discontents: Not An Obsession

Looking at the sidebar that lists the tags on my blog posts, I see I have written well over 100 entries on the police, most of them dealing with their abuse of authority; some of those abuses include the murder of unarmed or barely armed people, others… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Not An Obsession

Politics and its Discontents: A Powerful Statement

And one that needs no words:Recommend this Post . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Powerful Statement

Politics and its Discontents: Policing: A Contrast In Methodologies

We’ve all seen the videos depicting the murder of Sammy Yatim at the hands of Toronto police officer James Forcillio. Although Forcillo has been held to partial account for his foul deed, most realize, I think, that things didn’t have to end the tragic… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Policing: A Contrast In Methodologies

Politics and its Discontents: Are The Toronto Police Re-Victimizing The Family Of Alex Wettlaufer?

I cannot imagine the ongoing pain that the family of Alex Wettlaufer is experiencing. Less than a month ago, 21-year-old Alex was killed by police under suspicious and troubling circumstances, details of which will be withheld from the public for up to… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Are The Toronto Police Re-Victimizing The Family Of Alex Wettlaufer?

Politics and its Discontents: Saying Goodbye To Alex For Up To One Year

.Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was a teacher for so many years; maybe it is because I have been a parent for even longer. But the fact is, I cannot get the killing of Alex Wettlaufer out of my mind. Unfortunately, however, although … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Saying Goodbye To Alex For Up To One Year

Politics and its Discontents: More On Alex Wettlaufer, Toronto’s Latest Young Person Killed By Police

If we are given to even modest introspection, it seems inevitable that the longer we live, the more we develop an increasing appreciation not only for the wonder of life but also its shortness and fragility. The older we get, the more we are witness to… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On Alex Wettlaufer, Toronto’s Latest Young Person Killed By Police

Politics and its Discontents: The Police – Reluctant Learners In Our Midst

In many ways it is regrettable that the police apparently are not Spiderman fans. If they were, perhaps they would understand an early and painful lesson learned by Peter Parker, his alter ego: With great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Police – Reluctant Learners In Our Midst

Politics and its Discontents: To Serve And Protect Who?

Were I so inclined, I could probably devote this blog solely to police misconduct, so extensive does it seem. Perhaps it is due to the Forcillo conviction for the attempted murder of the late Sammy Yatim that we are more sensitive to the issue, but eac… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: To Serve And Protect Who?

Politics and its Discontents: More On James Forcillo

H/t Toronto StarIn response to yesterday’s post, both the Salamander and the Mound of Sound offered some interesting commentary. The Salamander has experience in dealing with troubled and armed youth, as you will see, and The Mound has had careers both… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: More On James Forcillo

Politics and its Discontents: Not A Moment Of Humility Or Uncertainty

I have avoided writing about the semi-acquital of Sammy Yatim’s killer, Officer James Forcillo, partly because it sickens me when miscarriages of justice occur. Adding insult to injury is his lawyer’s attempt to get his conviction for attempted murder … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Not A Moment Of Humility Or Uncertainty

Politics and its Discontents: Those At The Top Just Aren’t Doing Their Jobs – Part 2

Continuing with the theme of my previous post, another institution whose leadership frequently fails the public that it is sworn to protect and serve is that of law enforcement. Stories abound of police abuse of their authority, and yet it seems increa… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Those At The Top Just Aren’t Doing Their Jobs – Part 2

Politics and its Discontents: Remembering Sammy Yatim

To listen to James Forcillo, the Toronto police officer who shot Sammy Yatim eight times as the knife-wielding teen stood inside an empty streetcar, he had no choice but to kill him:”If I had done nothing, he would have stabbed me,” Const. James Forcil… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Remembering Sammy Yatim

Politics and its Discontents: Fear And Loathing

I remember very vividly when I was a young fellow how much the police seemed to be a part of the community. When I was in high school, I had a weekend job in a restaurant that often saw me walking home about 2 a.m., and more times than not I would see … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Fear And Loathing

Politics and its Discontents: Sometimes, All We Can Do Is Bear Witness

What is the truth about Don Dunphy? I don’t know. But his story is surely worth sharing, given the terrible abuses of police authority that have been so much in the news these past several years. At the very least, a full and open investigation is warranted here:

Recommend this Post . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Sometimes, All We Can Do Is Bear Witness

Politics and its Discontents: Another Route To Justice

Those that follow such things will know that proving police brutality is very difficult. Absent video evidence, the police narrative usually is that the one claiming to have been brutalized was in fact the perpetrator, and charges of assault on police almost invariably result.

Such was the situation that Toni Farrell faced when . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Another Route To Justice

Politics and its Discontents: Holding Police to Account

Late last month I wrote a piece for The Paper News examining the nearly impenetrable ‘blue wall’ that is an ever-present barrier to justice and accountability whenever the police abuse their authority, violate the public’s rights, or otherwise brutalize them. One of the cases I wrote about was the disabling beating OPP Sgt. Russell . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Holding Police to Account

Politics and its Discontents: Perhaps The Police Should Stop Brutalizing People

… instead of blaming protesters for their ill-fortune.

Here is yet another incident that reminds us of the terrible abuse of power these ‘protectors’ of public safety seem quite comfortable with. The ‘crime’ these Louisiana police were reacting to? A young man attempting to video their heavy-handed tactics:

WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Perhaps The Police Should Stop Brutalizing People

Politics and its Discontents: And Speaking Of Police Brutality

The following video is difficult to watch, but the sad truth is that these kinds of outrages occur regularly, as a simple Internet search will show. A witness says that Denver police officers abused a pregnant woman and her boyfriend, and then tried to cover it up by deleting the video from his tablet.

Levi . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: And Speaking Of Police Brutality

Politics and its Discontents: Respect, Fear, and Loathing

If we are completely honest, many of us will admit to a deeply ambivalent relationship with the police. On the one had we look to them for protection against the less ordered elements of society, but on the other hand, in the deeeper recesses of our psyche, we also fear and, at times, loathe . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Respect, Fear, and Loathing

Politics and its Discontents: Wouldn’t A Taser Have Been More Appropriate?

I have often thought that had the video evidence not been so strong and graphic in the shooting of Sammy Yatim, the ‘official’ police story would have been that the disturbed 18-year-old had lunged at officers and thus had to be killed. What the video apparently showed, however, was what many would describe as the . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Wouldn’t A Taser Have Been More Appropriate?

Politics and its Discontents: Sammy Yatim’s Accused Killer Back On The Job

While the presumption of innocence is fundamental to our justice system, common sense and public sensibilities are always unspoken elements of the equation. This is clearly seen, for example, in jury selection, a good part of which is designed to ferret out and exclude from participation those with prejudgments that could affect the rights . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Sammy Yatim’s Accused Killer Back On The Job

Politics and its Discontents: The Toronto Police Are At It Again

This is what happens when you have a ‘blue wall’ culture, facilitated by a police chief who often seems more politician than top cop. Sure, it is unfair and inaccurate to portray all police as abusers of their authority, but when it happens again and again, with little consequence, people can be forgiven for being . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Toronto Police Are At It Again

Politics and its Discontents: Police Secrecy In Hamilton, Ontario

Outside of a handful of traffic tickets, I have had almost no direct contact with police in my lifetime. Yet, in my darker moments, I have always suspected that it would be fairly easy to run afoul of them, be it through an angry word or gesture that could, with an ill-trained or unbalanced . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Police Secrecy In Hamilton, Ontario