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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 Watson administered to Tonie Farrell, a 48-year-old Orillia ‘Good Samaritan’ whose only ‘crime’ was to try to help a woman who had been assaulted by three thugs.

The SIU (Special Investigations Unit) did its usual ‘stellar’ job. It found there were no reasonable grounds to (Read more…)

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, Weather, Sports Recommend this Post

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 Frasier told KDVR that he was recording as two uniformed officers tried to arrest David Flores, who had been identified by narcotics officers for possessing heroin. An arrest report said that a scuffle had started because Flores had stuffed a white sock in his mouth, (Read more…)

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 them. And on some level we probably recognize that they can be very dangerous if we insist too vehemently on our rights against their sometimes arrogant intrusions into our ‘space.’

Think of the rampant abuse of police authority during the G20 Toronto Summit. Think (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Lest We Forget

Brutality against women can come from those whose duty it is to protect and serve: A Winnipeg woman said this week that she had filed a complaint after an officer beat her in her own home as her 8-year-old son watched.

Lana Sinclair told CBC that Winnipeg police officers showed up on Halloween night to investigate reports of “yelling.” One officer spoke to her son, while another officer talked to her.

“He came up to me and poked me,” Sinclair recalled. “I was sitting on a chair in the kitchen and I jumped up and said you don’t need (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Protecting the Public Trust? – Intersectional Analysis of Police Behaviour

Two very interesting articles about police conduct came out this week, particularly interesting if you juxtapose them.

Ferguson and the cult of compliance

In cases that seem very different, separated by factors such as age, race, gender, sexuality, geography, class and ability, police explain away their actions by citing noncompliance. They do it because it works. They do it because according to their beliefs, any sign of noncompliance is an invitation to strike.

First, we have to recognize the common denominators in many of these incidents: that people who die at the hands of the police don’t obey commands and (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Toronto G20, 4 years later: 18 disturbing facts all Canadians should know

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger


Let us remember that while the US cops are often out of control that it can happen here in sweet old Canada, and has happened many times.

The G20 is a reminder that many would like to sweep under the rug and leave it there.

Sketchy Thoughts: Solidarity with Bobette!

At the last May Day protest, police repression was brutal and a lot of protesters were hurt. Bobette was specifically targeted by the SPVM because of her political activities; they physically attacked her and psychologically harassed her. You can read a summary of what happened to Bobette on May Day afterward. Due to her injuries, Bobette has since then been force to cancel her contracts as a circus artist, which deprives her of income.

Police Impunity Must Stop!

In order, for Bobette, to sue the SPVM for bodily harm as well as moral and material damages, she must raise 4000$ (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Protest Vancouver Police Brutality, 2014 Edition

How many times do you think you deserve to be kneed in the back while you’re already subdued by police on the sidewalk, face-down?

Vancouver Police gratuitous brutality from May 1, 2014.



Does it make any difference if you’re a minor? Or if you were documenting police actions at a May Day march?

Well, while many of us were on The Drive Thursday night doing some May Day things and rebooting Occupy Vancouver, others were downtown. And one person was being gratuitously beaten by a VPD member.

Various video links exist here, which also happens to (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: Photo Gallery: May Day 2014 in Toronto The theme of the 2014…

Photo Gallery: May Day 2014 in Toronto

The theme of the 2014 Toronto May Day (International Workers Day) event was Honour Communities: Fight Capitalism. The chilly evening rally started at Alan Gardens, transformed into a march west on Carlton/College, and concluded at Queen’s Park with a few more speeches.

Toronto’s May Day event didn’t get much media coverage, likely because it was overshadowed by two bigger local political stories:1) Toronto’s untrustworthy, unethical, incompetent, promise-breaking mayor Rob Ford having another public meltdown and then taking a leave of absence, and 2) the untrustworthy, unethical, incompetent, promise-breaking Ontario Liberals putting forward their (Read more…)

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 of the accused to a fair trial.

With that preamble and proviso out of the way, what I express in the following is simply my opinion, a perspective informed by news coverage of the accused and the aforementioned common sense and public sensibilities.

I have written (Read more…)

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 wary of those who are supposed to protect and serve the public.

Here is one such victim:

The above is Curtis Young, arrested in January of 2012 for alleged public intoxication obstructing justice and later assaulting and threatening police officers.

As reported in The Star (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Black boys deserve our tears: On White privilege & police brutality

Sometimes I cry when reading the news. I cry because so many horrendous things happen to people and I can’t possibly understand why this world is SUCH a horrible place.

There are countless stories about the negative stereotypes and police brutality that Black men must endure… but this really broke my heart: “I blame myself, I taught my son to respect cops, not to fear them…

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Could Gilberto Powell Have Been Your Son, Mister President?

Nearly every day I see stories in the media of people with disabilities being abused. (For example, the case of Ethan Saylor, the young man with Down Syndrome who was killed by police when he went to the cinema).   But I normally don’t blog about them because I am not a rights activist – I’m more of solution-based peacenik, albeit a very determined one. But today is different.  This morning, I received a message from a respected colleague, Eva Kittay.  Eva is a distinguished professor of moral philosophy at SUNY and she’s also the mother of a young woman (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: The Virtues Of Restraint

I suspect if teachers were to be completely completely honest, almost all would admit that at some point in their careers they felt like lashing out, either verbally or physically, at a student or two. That was certainly my experience a few times during my 30 years in the classroom, but two things stopped me from ever being physically aggressive: the likelihood that I would lose my job, and, more importantly, the knowledge that I occupied a position of authority that carried with it profound responsibilities; to abuse that authority would have been a violation of the trust placed in (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Do Police Have The ‘Right Stuff’?

Given the killing of people like Sammy Yatim and Steve Mesic and the taser takedown of Iole Pasquale, it would seem a legitimate question to ask, as Star readers offer their views:

SIU ruling on Tasered senior yet another shock, Oct. 11

Maybe Toronto Police Service just needs to hire tougher cops or send them for martial arts training.

I’m having a hard time imagining a confused, feeble 80-year-old woman rushing three physically fit officers with the speed and fury of a Ninja while flashing and twirling a bread knife and doing flying drop kicks. Maybe these guys should (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: I Guess This Is What Resisting Police Looks Like

No doubt, the SIU would have given this one another pass had it happened in Canada.

Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: For Those Who Don’t Know Their Place

What do you do when citizens believe that democratic rights should be more than an illusion? Call in the authorities to remind them of their true place in the foodchain.

On a related topic, The Star’s Rosie DiManno has an excoriating assessment of yet another free pass given by the SIU to the officers involved in the ‘high-risk’ takedown of 80-year-old Iole Pasquale, the dementia sufferer who was tasered, not once but twice, while meandering down the street in the middle of the night in late August holding a bread knife.

Says DiManno:

… as SIU head Ian Scott noted (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Police Surveillance

For those interested in the best way of ensuring police behave themselves, the following is a timely reminder of what our rights are when filming them:

For more information, check out Canadian Privacy Law Blog. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: The Power Of Pictures

‘Nuff said. Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Your Morning Jolt

Most people get their morning jolt from their breakfast cup(s) of coffee. As I wrote earlier this week, an 80-year-old woman, now identified as Iole Pasquale and suffering from dementia, got her jolts at 3:30 a.m. from two police taserings while walking along a road in Mississauga with a bread knife.

Described in the original report as frail, police sources say Pasquale was out of control and refused to follow police orders to put down the weapon before she was Tasered.

As a consequence of the tasering, she fell down and broke her hip. Any degree of independent living (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: So Many Stories, So Little Time

Most days that I post a blog entry, I choose my topic based on my reaction to news stories. Today, two disparate pieces seem particularly noteworthy, one that confirms what all but the profoundly naive know about government, the other about yet again another police incident that, thanks to the blanket of secrecy that encases our security forces, seems incomprehensible.

First, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, under the troubled ‘leadership’ of young Tim Hudak, confirms that that they are the party of business interests. As reported in The Toronto Star, Conservative MPP Randy Hillier, admittedly no fan of (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Police Brutality in Canada! Is This Democracy?

Richard Hughes Political Blogger

Make no mistake folks the genie is out of the bottle and fascism is staring us right in the face. Many people do not want to hear that or deal with that unwelcome reality but it is undeniably the reality of Canada today.

This video is brought to us from ‘Operation Maple‘ whose clearly stated goal is to take Canada back.

Do your best to take care of yourselves and your families. There is not much if any help available from any of our political party’s as they are all singing of the same (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: "Ah yeah, sure I know. It’s a free country. You know you…

“Ah yeah, sure I know. It’s a free country. You know you got the right. But I got a badge, what do you got?”

That line from West Side Story sums up the attitude of many – if not most – cops, especially in Toronto. They are confident that their police badge is essentially a licence to break the law, up to and including murder (at least while on duty).

Toronto cops have a long, dark history of killing and brutally beating people who didn’t deserve it. They almost always get away with it, and nothing really changes within (Read more…)

drive-by planet: A nation of laws