The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

December 16, 2008

Losers

Bank Street Bully

I arrived at the corner of Bank and MacLaren this afternoon as three police officers were trying to put an unconscious, handcuffed woman into the back of a van. She looked like a rag doll.

Then they changed their minds and laid her out on the sidewalk and sent for an ambulance. The female officer slid a piece of cardboard under her, so at least she wasn’t lying in the puddle.

I asked some other bystanders if they knew what had happened. Two men, who said they had witnessed the whole thing, told me that she had been walking down the street smoking a cigarette. A cruiser drove past, stopped, and an officer got out and approached her. She ran. The police caught her. She resisted. She was a tiny little thing, they said, but she put up a helluva fight. It took three officers to bring her down.

“And the big cop, he slammed her face-down into the sidewalk just like she was a huge man,” said one of the men.

Then, he said, they cuffed her and went to put her in the van. She was part-way in when suddenly she just collapsed. Unconscious. She was bleeding from the head. That’s roughly when I came along.

A woman said when she walked by, the young woman was unconscious, her face was grey, she was bleeding from her head, and her abdomen was rising and falling very rapidly, as if she were gasping for air. She thought maybe the police had tasered her.

I snapped another picture. The cops noticed this time. One of them strode directly over to me.

“You can’t take pictures of this,” he said. His tone was aggressive.

I slid my camera back into its case.

“Okay,” I replied.

“Erase it,” he ordered me.

“What?”

“I said ‘Erase it’!” he said, “I work undercover and I don’t want my picture anywhere.”

I really didn’t want to erase my picture. Not unless I had to. Besides, if he’s so concerned about keeping his undercover identity secret, he shouldn’t walk around in a police uniform.

“Do I have to?” I asked.

“I told you, I don’t want my picture anywhere.”

“Is it the law?” I asked.

“I asked you nicely,” he said, but he didn’t say it very nicely. It sounded threatening to me.

“Is it the law?” I repeated.

“I asked you nicely,” he said menacingly as he stared down at me, “Are you refusing?”

I looked at him. Maybe if we were in a dark alley with no witnesses, I would have deleted it. But here? In broad daylight, surrounded by witnesses, with a tiny, bleeding, unconscious, handcuffed woman lying on the street? He was probably in enough trouble already.

“Yes,” I said, “I’m refusing.”

“Real nice,” he said in disgust, “Thanks a lot.”

And he turned around and started to walk back to the knot of officers and the unconscious handcuffed woman.

“It’s still Canada,” said a young man in the crowd.

The cop wheeled around.

“You say something?” he demanded of the young man.

“Yeah,” he replied, “I said ‘It’s still Canada.’”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” demanded the cop.

“It means,” said the young man, “that we have rights here. She can take a picture of anything she wants and she doesn’t have to delete it just because you say so.”

“Oh yeah?” demanded the cop, “I told her I work undercover and I don’t want my picture anywhere, but she doesn’t care what happens to me.”

“Maybe she cares about what happens to that person lying unconscious on the sidewalk,” suggested the young man.

“You a lawyer?” demanded the cop, “Cause if you’re not a lawyer then mind your own business.”

Then, inexplicably, the cop said, “You own property? Eh? You own property? Cause I own property. That means I pay police tax. If you don’t own property, you don’t pay police tax!”

Then he wheeled around and stomped back to his cluster of officers and the unconscious woman who was being tended to by the paramedics.

The little crowd that had gathered, we all looked at each other and shook our heads. What does property tax have to do with anything? Quite apart from being wrong about only property owners paying property taxes, was he suggesting that only property-owners have the right to an opinion? That the police are only accountable to a certain class of citizen?

“What an ignorant bully,” said one woman.

“He gets his attitude from that holster,” said a man.

I hope the young woman is okay. She didn’t look good at all. I wonder if there’s any way to find out without identifying myself.

The bad city hall managers hire bad cops starting with the bad police chief now too.. as simple as that. Police surveillance scandal: Montreal  Montreal’s public safety commission will study the issue of police spying on journalists.The future of the city’s police chief will also be determined by the commission. Montreal’s police brotherhood called on Philippe Pichet to resign as head of the city’s police force after it was revealed that the cellphones of at least four journalists including La Presse columnist Patrick Lagacé were being monitored by police, who were listening in to calls and tracking their location.  Néron, a justice reporter at 98.5 FM since 2013, told the Montreal Gazette she had been tipped off months ago that her phone might be tapped by police. After she produced a column in June criticizing SPVM management for “muzzling” longtime police communications director Ian Lafrenière by transferring him to a new job, sources contacted her to warn her her phone might be tapped.  Nearly three-quarters of Quebecers, or 72 per cent, believed it was unacceptable to monitor the cellphone of a journalist to obtain information about their sources. The poll also found 74 per cent of Quebecers believed there should be an independent inquiry into police methods with respect to journalists.  The leaders of the city’s major newsrooms called the spying an attack on the freedom of the press. The head of the Montreal police union said police Chief Philippe Pichet should be fired for allowing his officers to spy on journalists, calling the decision to track the cellphones of La Presse columnist Patrick Lagacé and at least three other reporters “unforgivable.” He has lost all credibility and legitimacy.” They published an open letter calling on Pichet to reveal which other journalists have been or are being spied on by police. ”  The police surveillance of Lagacé “constitutes a serious infringement of constitutional guarantees.”    The SPVM is the second largest police service in Quebec and the fifth largest municipal force in North America, so we need a strong leader.” The courts have already established the principle that surveillance operations on journalists should be as rare as those on lawyers and judges, and can only be justified in cases involving serious crimes, when all other methods have been exhausted. With the Quebec premier saying journalistic freedom is a fundamental right, the provincial government is tightening the rules that allow police to obtain warrants to conduct surveillance of reporters. Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux has ordered inspections of Quebec’s main police forces including Montreal’s and the Sûreté du Québec to verify their investigation practices. Pichet’s future is also chiefly the responsibility of Montreal and its executive committee. Mayor Denis Coderre’s reaction to Monday’s revelation that Montreal police, with the approval of Quebec court judges, electronically monitored a journalist was unacceptable.  Government responses to police spying on Montreal journalist fall short If Quebec is serious about preserving democracy and freedom of press, it will set up an impartial investigative body to shed light on the Lagacé and Nguyen affairs, independent of the province’s police forces and the government. It will also hold decision-makers in these cases accountable. Any public official — politician, prosecutor, judge or cop — who authorized or carried out the surveillance of journalists, or even remained silent as it was happening, is not deserving of the public’s confidence. We’re spied on more often than you think, journalists groups say. “This is just one case, but I guarantee there are dozens of others,”

The bad city hall managers hire bad cops Canada wide still too  

see also https://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/hidden-municpal-police-taxes/

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