Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I have no doubt there were plenty of regular police officers who were angered and shamed by the fact that vandals were allowed to rampage for an hour and a half through Toronto on Saturday. I had an earful from one such officer last night, the partner of a close friend of mine. She was furious with me (I assume over what I've suggested about agents provocateurs), and talked about the abuse that police faced: bottles, bricks and even feces thrown, insults hurled, being spat upon etc. This is disgusting, unacceptable behaviour, and clearly intended to be provocative. Ultimately, it was. I know this officer is a fine person, calm under stress, honest to a fault -- an officer of the peace in the true meaning of the words. I have never heard her so angry, our friendship seems to be toast and I'm sorry about that. There are good cops and bad cops, just as there are good protesters and violent protesters. Good people deserve our praise and the violent, on either side deserve our condemnation.
I also spoke to a retired police officer/consultant from Michigan. I wanted to know if there could have been a mobile squad that could detach as needed to pursue these vandals. He said it was absolutely standard operating procedure to have a quick response team in place. I'm going to assume things were planned well enough that there was such a force, and that it simply wasn't deployed. Not only was this a tactical failure, but it's turning into a public relations failure as well.
"The bosses of this police force and other police forces decided to play public relations, and instead of doing their jobs, they let the city burn," said Naomi Klein on Monday.
Yep, show the public just what kind of violent elements there are, and maybe that will justify the massive expense. And in making that decision, a volatile situation was made more so. It was immediately after the vandalism that things got ugly. Decent cops were humiliated and angered, innocent people were rounded up and stripped of their rights.
And now Bill Blair admits police never had those far-reaching powers, that he was making it all up, re-writing the law on the fly. The problem is, police believed they did have those powers, forcing people to submit to searches, to provide ID or be arrested, preventing journalists from covering arrests, not just within the 5 meters of the security fence, but all over the city. Since there never was such a law in place, all of those actions were illegal. Police were lied to by their own chief.
Don't blame the victims, blame the hidden agenda of our leaders: Harper, for overspending and over-militarizing the city, McGuinty for his secrecy, Blair for his lies, and whoever else was involved in planning and running this debacle.
We need an independent inquiry, and we need it now.
UPDATE: Facebook group demanding inquiry is here.
Thanks to Galloping Beaver for the video link.
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