Politics and its Discontents: Another Perspective: A Guest Post By Pamela MacNeil

I received two very thoughtful reactions to my post the other day on the decision of the Gay Pride organizers to accede to the demand by Black Lives Matter to exclude the Toronto Police from future participation in the festivities. It is not a decision I agree with, as I outlined in the post. Both ...

Politics and its Discontents: Black Lives Matter, But Bullying Is Still Bullying

Just back last evening from our Cuban sojourn, it will take a little while to get my blogging and political legs back up to speed, given that I was peacefully unconnected for a week. However, an item in today’s paper caught my attention that I feel moved to comment on. Anyone who reads my blog ...

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 Yatim as house arrest. The officer’s acquittal on a charge of second-degree murder ...

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 the senseless beating of people. All of them ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Shameful Exploitation

At the risk of overgeneralizing, it is easy to see why a reactionary institution like the police live in a Manichean, bifurcated world, where the law of the jungle demands, “You are either for us, or you are against us.” Even though such a world view depicts a lamentably shallow mentality, the frontline people who ...

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 way they did. And with new and disturbing allegations of police ...

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 a year as the SIU carries out its investigation. However, the loss of ...

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 Forcillo said at his trial, being held in front of a ...

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 an officer ...

Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Respond To Toronto Police Thuggery

Whether justice will ever be achieved in the terrible death of Rodrigo Gonsalez or the vicious beating of Santokh Bola remains an open question. However, given some compelling video evidence, there seems little doubt in the minds of Toronto Star readers that something is seriously amiss within the Toronto Police Force. Here are some of ...

Politics and its Discontents: UPDATE: A Police Or An Occupation Force?

Last night, the CBC reported on the case of Rodrigo Gonzalez, the subject of yesterday’s post and the latest to die at the hands of Toronto Police. while the report perhaps sheds no further light on what occurred, it at least graphically brings to the public’s attention something everyone should be very, very disturbed by: ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Police Or An Occupation Force?

While I realize there is an element of hyperbole in the title of this post, I cannot help but think that for many vulnerable people, the Toronto Police might be viewed more as oppressors rather than as protectors. Yesterday I posted about the beating at their hands of Santokh Bola, a 21-year-old intellectually challenged man ...

Politics and its Discontents: “There’s always a context in which these things take place.”

So says Toronto police spokesman and perennial apologist Mark Pugash about the beating administered by the police to Santokh Bola, a victim of what the authorities admit was a ‘mistaken arrest.’ Sure looks to me like just another case of police brutality, something the Toronto constabulary is becoming notorious for: Bola’s lawyer, Michael Smitiuch, told ...

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 ...

Politics and its Discontents: Another Indictment Of Police Leadership

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am a regular critic of the police. While recognizing the at-times difficult job they have and the very real potential of becoming jaded because of the criminal element with which they must deal, I have never had any sympathy, understanding or tolerance for the abuse of ...

Politics and its Discontents: Police Torturers And Their Enablers

It is heartening to know that the Hamilton police are discharging their duties responsibly, as attested to by a video that went viral this week. However, to believe that all is well in policeland would be but a comforting illusion. Yesterday, Kev reported on the ‘excesses’ of some Toronto police whose actions, described by the ...

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 ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Long Road To Justice

Although long, the road to criminal justice for Adam Nobody has finally ended; the police officer who viciously assaulted him during the infamous Toronto 2010 G20 weekend, Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani, was found guilty of using excessive force. Of the myriad who violated the rights of over 1100 people that weekend, he is the only officer ...

Politics and its Discontents: The Problem With The Police Starts At The Top

Leadership is a word that evokes many associations; strength, vision, determination and resolve are a few of the positive ones. Selfishness, careerism, expediency and cowardice are but a few of many negative associations. In my own working life, I had perhaps three administrators I looked up to, the ones who put the good of education ...

Politics and its Discontents: Sammy Yatim: A Guest Commentary

I received the following as a response to one of my blog posts on Sammy Yatim, the young man gunned down a week ago by the Toronto Police. Anon’s comments and insights are more powerful than anything I could have written: Sammy…I’ve wanted die…Only I was to scared to do it myself.I pushed everyone around ...

Politics and its Discontents: Sammy Yatim: A Petition From Change.Org

A petition has been established at Change.org. seeking justice for Sammy Yatim. At last count it was closing in on 27,000 signatures. Here is how it reads: In the early hours of Saturday, July 27, 2013, Sammy Yatim was shot dead by a Toronto Police officer as the 18-year old man stood alone in a ...

Politics and its Discontents: Sammy Yatim Killing: The Spin Cycle Has Begun

There is no question that the police and their supporters are desperate to ‘change the channel’ from the murder of Sammy Yatim to the terrible pressures police officers face. As I noted in a blog posting last evening, that organ of the right, The Globe and Mail, started the process with an editorial that can ...

Politics and its Discontents: Sammy Yatim Killing: Once More, The Globe And Mail Is Out Of Step

Thanks to a tweet from Dr.Dawg, I became aware of an odious, but ultimately not very surprising editorial from The Globe and Mail on the shooting of Sammy Yatim. I have written numerous times of how I view the paper as the organ of the establishment and the status quo, as well as why I ...

Politics and its Discontents: New Footage Of Sammy Yatim’s Killing

The first shots are fired at about the 55 second mark on the video. They continue after he has fallen, his body jerking with each bullet. Sure looks like an execution to me, given that he clearly posed no threat to anyone, something the video also makes clear: Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: Standing Up To Police Abuse Of Authority

I remember a story my son told me of being in a coffee shop in Toronto during the notorious 2010 G20 Summit, about which I have written extensively on this blog. Two police officers came into the shop, one of them noticing my son had his smartphone out. He said to him, “You’d better not ...