Police are presumed to be more reliable witnesses than those facing criminal charges and their witnesses. That’s what police state.
At the G20, officers wearing riot helmets removed their name tags. Officers arrested citizens for wearing scarves which “could be used as disguises,” so police state.
The police union head in Toronto is ‘Big’ Mike McCormack. Here you will find a page containing the following quotes:
McCormack is no stranger to controversy and has, along with his brother, William Jr., been enmeshed in a series of legal woes.
He was charged in 2004 under the Police Act for corruption and discreditable conduct for his alleged involvement with a drug-addicted, used-car salesman with purported links to organized crime. All charges were later dropped.
Last March, another charge for discreditable conduct was dropped. The charge stemmed from allegations he secretly taped conversations with the late Toronto Star reporter, John Duncanson, after the latter was arrested.
On Sept. 25, he was found guilty of insubordination for inappropriately accessing a police database.
This man is running the police union.
In the same page you will find this comment on his brother:
McCormack’s brother, meanwhile, is accused of shaking down club owners in the entertainment district, and was charged criminally in 2004 with corruption. His trial is pending.
What really happened, since the Star article was written, was, as I recall, the charges were dropped because the grinding gears of our law enforcement system had taken too long to get to court. I think it had been seven years or so.
That’s an insight into the leaders of what I call our police state. But there’s more.
In the Samy Yatim case, Officer Forcillo shot a teenager three times. One shot was fatal, one was paralyzing. Then the officer shot six more times, missing once. Then the dying youth was tasered. Forcillo’s partner had drawn her gun, but had re-holstered it. Here you will find these words from Officer Fleckeisen:
She had her gun out as well — “at the low ready” — but soon holstered her weapon, court heard.
“I reholster my firearm for the purpose of calling a Taser on scene because that is our only other recourse,” she said, denying a suggestion that she put her weapon away because she didn’t find the situation dangerous.
Back to the G20 and the removed name tags. Here you will find these words:
TORONTO – A Toronto Police officer who assaulted a G20 protester with a weapon was sentenced to 45 days in jail Monday.
Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani lowered his head as it became clear Justice Louise Botham would not opt for the absolute discharge his lawyer Harry Black had passionately advocated for during the morning hearing. Nor would probation or a fine do.
“Police officers also need to understand that any use of force on citizens will be scrutinized,” Botham said. “When they act criminally in using that force, meaningful sanctions will be imposed. Any sentence, therefore, must send a message to the police that they are not above the law.”
Despite the sentence, the officer will not spend any time in jail while he appeals his conviction.
Well, you might say, at least one officer paid for breaking the law, in this case, an assault that was, fortuitously, captured on video. (I note that Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star put a picture on the front page, when the police were unable to provide identification.) But before you settle back and say all is well, have a look at this page, where you will read these words:
The sole Toronto Police officer convicted for using excessive force at the G20 summit has been docked five days’ pay at a police disciplinary tribunal, after the retired judge who heard his case ruled Toronto police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani “has already paid too large a price for his misdeed.” and these words: “In my view, a penalty of forfeiture of five days’ pay is the appropriate penalty.”
When the police are immune to prosecution for misdeeds, you are either in, or headed for, a police state.
Apparently a police officer who draws his weapon frequently is monitored. Here you will find me harping back to Officer Forcillo:
Constable James Forcillo’s unusual reliance on his firearm brought him to the attention of a Toronto Police early warning system the year before he fatally shot Sammy Yatim on a downtown streetcar.
Forcillo testified that he pulled his weapon about 12 times in three-and-a-half years on the job.
Some of those he used his gun to control, one source said, were people “you’d never draw your firearm on.”
Finally, let’s have a look at personal freedom. I will go after ‘carding’ first. Here you will find these words:
Ask the Torontonians most affected by it to define “carding” and they’ll tell you it’s a new name for a decades-old problem: random police checks that target young African-Canadian men.
The practice was once called “intervention” and before that “street checks.” The police now label it community “engagement.” The name everyone else tends to use—carding—is a reference to the contact cards police have been using for about 10 years to collect information about those who are stopped and questioned.
In fact, the police commission in Toronto has requested that carding be stopped, the police chief has said he’ll study it, and the Mayor (who is on the police board) is allowing it to continue.
A final observation on freedom. This actually happened to a friend of mine. AWH was a brilliant contributor to an online Internet company. He had a Mazda protegé, not new, but in excellent repair. He found a shortcut to work that went through a residential area. He drove below the speed limit, stopped fully for all of the numerous signs, observed the law at all times.
Nevertheless he was stopped by a police officer in a cop car who demanded to know why he was in the area. (This turns out to already be an illegal questioning, as there was no reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.) AWH is non-confrontational and explained he was driving to work.
Eventually the cop made AWH understand that, if he drove through this area again, he’d be charged with a violation: perhaps failing to stop for a sign.
AWH is white, average build, non-threatening. Most cops are quite large. AWH was intimidated enough to change his route to work.
Now for the dumb questions:
Was AWH in effect denied a fundamental freedom of movement?
Was that police officer in effect keeping a rich area free of ‘less desirables?’
Can a police officer remove a name tag, don a helmet, assault an innocent demonstrator, and lose only five days’ pay?
(The argument that the officer’s life fell apart is irrelevant. Assaulted people’s lives also fall apart. Sammy Yatim’s life is over.)
Is the leadership of the Toronto Police Union interesting?
Do the police (and in some cases the prosecutorial machinery) protect the police?
Are we in a police state? If not, how close are we?
If you see any errors in fact above, post here and I’ll fix them. I think I’ve pretty much researched carefully, and you can easily check the sources above.