Archive for November, 2011

Police Perjury and Testilying

Posted: November 30, 2011 by sharkmg in Police Perjury

Police perjury and testilying seems to be a growing problem within the criminal justice system. The term perjury as we know it is lying or making false statements while under oath. However, police perjury can also be used with the term “testilying” which was first reported in the Mollen Commission, used by police officers in New York (Cunningham, 1999). The term testilying is still not quite clear, but the officers may have used the term to convince themselves what they are doing is morally right, and lying in court is not exactly lying, it may not be telling the whole truth, therefore serving as a middle ground. Some officers try to cover their deceptive means and covering them can make them lie in court, and this is where testilying comes in. Officers are found to use deceptive means in many stages of an investigative process such as in the investigation, interrogation, and testimonial stage of a criminal investigation.

The question that arises is what exactly are the motives behind officers using deceptive means and if their use is necessary. There is a wide range of justifications and rationalizations in which officers and their fellow officer’s provide for unlawful stops, search arrests, planting of evidence, false report writing, and perjury testimonies (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). Officers do benefit from deviance in both a personal and professional way (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). They express a firm belief that their extra legal methods are a necessary deterrent to criminal behaviour and even desired by those segments of society most victimized by criminal behaviour (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). A study conducted by Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008) provides some answers after interviewing 10 randomly selected officers from a large urban police department as to what motives they may have in using deceptive means. This article discusses areas of an investigation process in which officers’ lie, reasons provided by officers in their interviews for using deception, the perceived necessity of making the case and if there are sanctions for using deceptive means.

Police investigations can be long and difficult, and with hard and fast rules limiting police conduct may challenge common sense, and the absence of these rules can invite arbitrary and abusive conduct (http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/cje/html/sample1.html). When investigating a crime, some police officers may fabricate evidence so that they can confront the suspect with false evidence of his or her guilt. The form of fabricated evidence usually involves officers informing the suspect of an accomplice identifying them, stating there is existing physical evidence such as fingerprints or DNA to confirm guilt. Another common way to get one to admit guilt of a crime is taking a polygraph test regardless of the results even though those are generally considered unreliable and invalid (Skolnick &, Leo, 1992). Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008) conducted a study using in depth interviews with 10 non-randomly selected police officers from a large urban police department to give answers as to why officers lie. The officers were all from various ranks and assignments in the departmental setting and the confidentiality obligations prevented the authors from releasing their age, gender, race, assignment, and length of service in the force. Some officers have been found to stop people without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. A minority of the officers found that it is unacceptable for an officer to stop a subject without a reasonable suspicion, and believe that in doing so is simply wrong because it is both illegal and does not conform to the policies and regulations of their department (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). However, there were some officers who felt that it is necessary to stop individuals without any reasonable suspicion because it has to be done for the public good. One cop stated that he was preventing crime and getting drugs and guns off of the street by following his instincts and just stopping the people who he thought were dirty, and for no other reason, while he treats them with respect he also violates their rights (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). If people are to complain against officers for doing such things the complaints often are ineffective and found to be unsubstantiated even when legitimate because complainants are usually poor, and have a criminal background (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008).

Another form of deception some officers take part in is planting evidence. Although many believe that it is not necessary to plant evidence in a criminal investigation because if it’s not there it’s not there (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008) found that officers believed that it is unnecessary to plant evidence because if the individual is a known active criminal, they will most likely certainly continue in their criminal way and eventually be caught. The resources of the criminal justice system are better spent on actual legitimate cases with valid evidence against offenders who actually commit real crimes. The police try to legitimize their means of deception for many reasons. Police use placebos as a means to serve in the best interest of the person duped by them such as telling lies that will not hurt them but help comfort them because they cannot help the situation otherwise, serving as a self-evident morality to them (Klockars, 1984). For police placebos to work it has to be served with some deception and the credibility of the liar, and that the lie is preserved (Klockars, 1984). More common placebos used include officers saying a loved one died a quick and painless death to their family when they know it was not like that, and in burglary cases insuring the family it was kids and not professionals, all so that it serves in the person’s best interest that are being lied to by an officer (Klockars, 1984).

Police deception also occurs at the stage of interrogation. In the past police brutality was a part of interrogation, and although it seems uncivilized to most Americans it was not long ago the American police used physical violence to get confessions out of suspects (Skolnick &, Leo, 1992). The use of force seeks to get physical control of a suspect and it can risk failure as soon as an individual tires, weakens or becomes inattentive (Klockars, 1984). Since the introduction of “Miranda” in the 1960’s, it has now become part of the American criminal justice system. The case of Miranda v. Arizona holds that an arrested person must be informed of his or her rights to remain silent, must be warned that any statement he or she does make maybe used as evidence and must be told that he or she as the right to the presence of an attorney (http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/cje/html/sample1.html). The use of deception at the interrogation stage, although there are Miranda warnings in the US and Canadian Charter of Rights in Canada have to be given to a suspect in custody, the police however question suspects in a non-custodial setting which is defined more the suspects state of mind more than the location of questioning, and this is the most overlooked and deceptive strategy that they employ (Skolnick &, Leo, 1992). By interviewing in a non-custodial setting telling the suspect that he can leave at any time and having him acknowledge that he is answering their questions involuntary police can transform what is an interrogation into a non-custodial interview (Skolnick &, Leo, 1992).

A more common form of police deception is writing false reports. In the interview conducted by Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008), the officers explained that they know very well which stories work in a probable hearing and which will not. Several officers admitted that local judges have become suspicious of the number of dropped cases, and the officers believe it is preferable to avoid using a drop case and instead use a more creative approach in writing their false reports (Goldschmid and Anonymous, 2008). Some officers stated that supervisors tell officers that a case is a ‘loser’ case the way it is written or that the officer despite the accuracy of the report had described the wrongdoing in a way that maybe subjecting himself, the department, and perhaps other officers to civil liability (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). And officers feel that in order to protect oneself from civil liability it is necessary to secure probable cause and avoid looking bad. In order to sum it up officers stated that the truth never exists, its it the truth of what really happened, what others say happened, and the story police state in their reports, but one will never find the entire truth (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008).

Police officers rarely admit to perjury however evidence is the acceptability of perjury as a means to the end of a conviction (http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/cje/html/sample1.html). If officers are writing false reports when the cases go to court it can come back to hurt them if they cannot get the facts of the crime right. Most officers in the interview mentioned that they would not risk lying about a big case because they believe that a big case has its own merit and will be judged fairly despite its flaws (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). Some officers felt that lying about the facts of a case would likely catch up with them in court at a later time and having to take the stand and stating those facts are accurate is committing perjury. And also once the facts do catch up with the officer, it is likely to cause embarrassment and it discredits the reputation of the officer involved (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). Often to cover up perjury, officers start to get others involved in their lies. And if officers start taking part in criminal activity and get others involved they are most likely to lie on the stand and commit perjury so that they can protect one another because of loyalty to one another. One officer who had zero tolerance for police deception, mentioned in his interview that if we are to lie in our reports and in court, we are only forcing our opinions and values on the court by not allowing them to see the truth they are entitled to see (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008).

Police officers are people who are to serve and protect, but it makes some wonder why do they feel that they have to lie to get the job done when their job is to get to the truth. Each officer in the interview had their own reasons as to why they need to be dishonest in order to make a case. The officers identified some forces which move them towards the direction of engaging in dishonesty and those include avoiding restrictive laws and court decisions which includes the Miranda requirements, wanting to present a good case to the prosecutor, establishing a solid work record with good statistics for advancement or transfer to specialized unit, and wanting to establish a good name and reputation within the department and with fellow officers, thus gaining a sense of accomplishment and ego fulfillment (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). All of the forces that may motivate police dishonesty have been either for their self-fulfillment, denial of responsibility, and appealing to a higher authority. It was found that officers consider their work to be their ‘signature’ a reflection of their effectiveness as law enforcement officers and their concern is losing a case in court, or ‘looking stupid’ because of the deficiencies or weaknesses in the case (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). In the interview conducted by Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008) he talked to one officer who felt that he would rather have his credibility challenged than his intelligence. Some of them believe that being dishonest is not only a short term benefit of making the case against an offender but instead its gaining a long term deterrent effect on crime. These officers believe that if criminals are deterred by their understanding that the police are willing to play dirty and fix the case if necessary, and if criminals knew that police played by the rules it would only invite crime.

Another motive in police dishonesty may involve peer pressure. For any officer it is their choice whether to participate in honest or dishonest acts. Some officers believe that ego and a person’s own sense of justice are the greatest contributing factors. In the study conducted by Goldschmid Anonymous (2008), one officer talked about her experience and explained how she felt she was being marginalized for not bowing to the pressure others, and she felt others did not trust or and will not come to her aid if necessary because she would not take part in dishonest acts Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008). Some may wonder as to how officers feel about being dishonest. It is found that they have already rationalized the act, and therefore they feel no discomfort in engaging in dishonesty. It is almost second nature for some officers and just their way of doing business, because they feel in control of the situation Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008). There may be some fear in lying when there comes a time for a court testimony. Some officers can feel discomfort which arises from the fear that between the time of the report and time of the testimony, and evidence or witnesses which might emerge that refute the false report Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008). New officers may not know the system well enough to know how to get away with lying and would be reluctant to do so. One officer stated that it gets easier to be dishonest because officers become confident in being dishonest and their integrity is rarely challenged Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008). The most common fear that dishonest officers may have is that the truth may come out during some time of the criminal investigation process and that the officer may suffer some punitive sanctions in the future such as suspension, termination, civil liability, or potentially criminal charges.

For those officers who are dishonest should have some face some sanctions. However it is difficult to find out if officers are dishonest in their reports or testimonies, and if they ever do face some form of sanction for their dishonesty. Some believe that verbal reprimand or verbal counselling by a supervisor and re-writing of a report would be a reasonable sanction Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008). Officers felt that being dishonest in a courtroom testimony is serious and those who take part in that should be fired from their job, while others feel that getting caught while doing is and facing the embarrassment, damage to officer’s credibility and loss of the case is a good enough punishment for being dishonest. Any officer who does commit perjury while on the stand should face charges. An officer’s job being part of the criminal justice system is to tell the truth, and if they are going to lie, then they should face the same charges as one would face if they committed perjury.

If the criminal justice system had police officers that told the truth and were honest in all their acts, one may think what the criminal justice system would look like. In the interviews conducted by Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008) there were numerous reasons provided by the officers whom they felt were negative consequences from absolute honesty from officers. Some of the negative consequences there would be a severe increase in reported crime, low conviction rates, more trials fewer plea bargains, and unsatisfied victims feeling no justice was served (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). Other reasons included confident criminals would prevail in an ineffective criminal justice system, increase in police frustration, loss of deterrent effect of police, and lawyers maybe out of work because of weak cases and lawyers would no longer be needed (Goldschmidt and Anonymous, 2008). For officers to be honest and be truthful when doing their work it would require them to be patient and work harder to build good cases which some may not want to do. Officers need to put their personal gains aside and become creative in their policing tactics which involves complying with the law not going against it.

Police deception is a topic that is not openly discussed or easy to obtain information on. Police officers use deceptive means in many areas of an investigative process. The questions that arise is why officers would want to lie when their job is to serve and protect and tell the truth. The interviews conducted by Goldschmidt and Anonymous (2008) provide some insight as to what motives officers may have in wanting to use deceptive means. It was found that officers had a few primary motives in using deception and those were their negative perception of the operation criminal justice system, the organizational pressures from the management and the public for productivity, personal satisfaction from presenting an identity of a productive and effective officer, and sub cultural forces such as peer pressure. The officers had their own views of what deceptive practices they thought were ok to take part in and which they would not do. Each officer has their own choice if whether they will lie and be deceptive. Although its one’s own choice, peer pressure may be something that may get officers to take part in lies or unlawful practices that they would not otherwise do. The problem with police deception is that there are no strict sanctions for police deception or perjury. When officers do not get punished or get caught they know that they can get away with lying and will continue to do so. The questions that arise are what sanctions are appropriate to take action on against officers who do not follow policies. Police officers are seen as those whom are suppose to uphold high level of integrity and when they are seen as taking part in unlawful practices, police departments may have a hard time with punishment because of department and officer reputation with the public eye watching. It is not only officers that but other officials of the system that need to work with the police so that there is trust in the system and that it works and can deter crime rather than taking means into their own hands to serve justice with deceptive means.

References

Cunningham, L. (1999). Taking on Testifying: The Prosecutor’s Response to In-Court Police

Deception. Criminal Justice Ethics, 18(1), 26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Goldschmid, J.  and Anonymous (2008). The necessity of dishonesty: police deviance, ‘making the case’, and the
public good. Policing & Society, 18(2), 113-135. doi:10.1080/10439460802008637
Klockars, C. B. (1984). Blue Lies and Police Placebos: The Moralities of Police Lying.
American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 27, No. 4.
Skolnick, J. H., & Leo, R. A. (1992). The ethics of deceptive interrogation. Criminal Justice
Ethics, 11(1), 3. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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Police organization both on the Canadian and United States end faced plenty of public shame because of the deportation and torture of Maher Arar. Maher Arar was deported to Syria to be tortured in which United States officials tried receive answer to his allege ties to al-Qaeda. What these officials concluded was Maher had no ties to the terrorist group and he received a large compensation for the time he was tortured. But to this day he is still under the United States watch list (Lobel, 2008). This situation have made people in Canada worried in which it may happen to them (rapley, 2007). It has led many to judge the authorities because of this devious act. Faith in the way the  police carry themselves is diminishing, because police deviance and corruption has been a growing concern with much more videos and pictures of police brutality (Click on this link to see a list of videos of police brutality) being showed through the media and social networks.

This topic is related to police deviance and accountability through what Maurice Punch (2009) stated called noble cause corruption. Noble Cause corruption is defined as concept of officers’ acting illegally, not for personal gain, but to fulfill moral obligations, stands as a testimony to the difficulties encountered by those entrusted with the public’s safety (Harrison, 1999). Canadian authorities and United States authorities acted on false information that stated Maher Arar was a suspected terrorist (Lobel, 2008), and these authorities were protecting their citizens from a possible threat. Aside from taking care of the well being of their countries, these authorities have come under fire as to why the Maher Arar situation was handled the way it did. Authorities cut corners in the investigation which led them to be able to detain a Canadian citizen in Maher Arar. The United States authorities did not deport Arar back to Canada, instead deport him to Syria where they practice torture. Also United States and the Syrian authorities worked together to allow Maher Arar to be tortured for one year (Lobel, 2008). Maher Arar was denied access to speak to a lawyer. And he was not allowed to be seen by a lawyer for the time he was in Syria. While in the United States Arar was denied the right speak to a lawyer as well.

Process corruption also would be regarded to the Arar case about police deviance. Process corruption and noble cause corruption can linked together in police deviance (Punch, 2009). In article Witch Hunts: From Salem To Guantanamo Bay process of  investigation, detention, and incarceration of Maher Arar was corrupt. It was reported that Maher Arar was constantly denied to speak to anyone from Canada. Many time he ask to speak to his family member and lawyers but was not allowed to at the expense of the United States authorities. Same thing happened to him while incarcerated in Syria. Upon his release Maher Arar was denied a public inquiry from the Canadian Government. The process of this case was also corrupt because under international agreement, it was stated that the Canadian authorities should have been informed of Maher Arar being detained because he is Canadian citizen (Rapley, 2007). United states failed to inform the Canadian authorities of Maher arar being detained. The United States officials did not have sufficient evidence to go and detain and deport Maher Arar (Lobel, 2009).

With the added attention to national security and war on terror, around the same time Maher Arar was first pulled aside have the officials on both side acting base d on a term noted in Police corruption: Deviance, Accountability, and reform in policing by Maurice Punch (2009) as being seen as “high policing”. The term high policing are noted in this text as absorbent policing it controlled by intelligence gathering. Intelligence gathering is one of the principles of high policing. With the information that was shared among both US and Canadian officials, it was poorly reviewed and therefore  erroneous as they decided on deporting Maher Arar to Syria (Larsen, 2006).

There are a stack of books that invesigated The Arar Affair, and these books are The O’Conner Commission. The inquiry that Maher Arar reluctantly wanted; it showcased many problems of high policing and police deviance in this case and cleared Maher Arar from any wrong doings that occured. The highlights of this inquiry noted that Maher Arar was in no way connected to any terrorist groups which he was first accused of. In Addition to this inquiry Arar and his attorney were both mislead and mistreated because they were mislead and lied to during the detainment and deportation.  A complaint to the former US Attorney General John Ashcroft stated that Arar due process rights  was violated under the fifth amendment due to him being deported, imprisoned, and tortured (Lobel, 2008) and that both the US Government and Syrian work together as a team during their investigations.

Since Arar was never charged with his allege ties to terrorism, he demanded answer as to why he was detain and deported. After being released on October 5 2003 Maher Arar demanded that a public inquiry be issued. Public inquiry in Canada is formal process to be instituted by the government, it requires one or more commissioner and it entails the right to subpoenas witnesses (Rapley, 2007). But the Canadian government denied his request for one. After going back and forth with the government Arar was able to obtain an inquiry, but only on the RCMP, and it was stated that the inquiry was not public (Rapley, 2007). His persistence to prove his innocence, he eventually received a inquiry (O’Conner Commission) only into the RCMP in what led people to believe the government had to much to hide in this case.

The Maher Arar case showcase a transformation of the all ready existent policy called rendition, which was a criminal law technique now transformed into a preventative tactic after 9/11 (Lobel, 2008). During the Bush administration, kidnapping was a method used to extradite fugitives that were accused of a crime. Rendition was illegal under the international law but it was used to being terrorist or suspects of terrorism to the United States or other countries. The bush administration remade rendition so that an individual can be brought to trail to gather information about future terrorist plan, through a means of coercive interrogation. Maher Arar was an example of this exact tactic.

References

Rapley, R. (2007). Witch Hunts: From Salem to Guantanamo Bay. Montreal: Mcgill-Queen’s University Press

Lobel, Jules. Review of Litiation, Symposium2008, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p479-500, 22p

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin; Aug99, Vol. 68 Issue 8, p1, 7p, 2 Black and White Photographs, 1 Diagram

Punch, Maurice. (2009). Police Corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing. Portland, Oregon: Willan Publishing.

http://nswg-news.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_archive.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7438508.stm

http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=1a86a2e3-8acb-4791-b603-85afb52c6c87

Today, police armed with pepper spray, batons, and chemical paintball weapons attempted to arrest nonviolent student demonstrators staging an occupation on the grounds of UC Davis. The casual use of force shown here is quite revealing.

In response, students – again, nonviolent – confront the police with calls of ‘shame!’ and begin to push them back, off the UC Davis quad. At one point, they inform the police that they will be given a moment of peace in order to gather their weapons and leave. Eventually, this happens.

This film is an important example of the power of organized civil disobedience and the role of new forms of visibility in policing of police. Note the multitude of cameras.

Commentary from BoingBoing:

At UC Davis today, students inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement sat down on the grass in an open area of the school campus. In the video above, you can see a police officer walk past a group of these young people who are seated quietly on the ground in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. He walks down the line, and sprays them all with pepper spray, at close range. It’s as if he’s exterminating a row of sleeping bugs with bug spray

In the comment thread following the BoingBoing post, a common – but important – discussion is unfolding. Some participants, while expressing dismay at the police actions here, say that the police should be excused because they are ‘just doing their jobs’, and therefore cannot be blamed. Other participants claim that indeed they can and should be blamed – and held accountable – for these actions, and that ‘duty’ is not an excuse.

To my students: I encourage you to weigh in on this discussion, and to comment on this video more generally. You can post comments to this entry.

The Freezing cold air of Saskatoon

Posted: November 19, 2011 by gossal91 in Starlight Tours

Starlight tours is a term used to describe a police practice whereby police officers pick up individuals – usually first nation citizens – in urban settings, drive them to remote rural areas, and drop them off, regardless of freezing temperatures. This practice has taken place in and around Saskatoon. The police allegedly do this because they are frustrated with the First Nations men who constantly are under the influence and instead of booking them they find it easier to just drop them off in a secluded area without shelter or any regard for how cold the temperature is. So far, there have been 76 reported cases of First Nations men being dropped off and two deaths because of the Starlight tours according to http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/aboriginals/starlighttours.html . Starlight tours are an example of police corruption because, the police are abusing their power by using disciplinary matters which is dropping off the native men in the cold to “discipline” them.

Lawrence Wagner was last seen by people in downtown running on the streets causing a disturbance to the citizens in downtown as he was doped up on cocaine. Later that night, a man saw Lawrence Wegner getting into an argument with a police officer and was put into the police car and drove away. That was the last time Lawrence was seen alive and was found dead on the outskirts of Saskatoon. Another death that resulted from the Starlight tours was seventeen year-old Neil Stonechild who disappeared from his family about three or four blocks away from his mothers home. Three days later, he was found frozen to death about eight kilometres from where he was seen in downtown Saskatoon just by his mothers house. No one noticed that he had gashes on his wrist and plenty of scrapes on his face and the fact that he was missing a shoe. The police did not follow through with this investigation and police stated that “He had died from a misadventure” because he was out drunk walking. Neil was known to police and the fact that his mother wanted answers the police ignored Neil’s mother because she was Native. Sixteen year-old Jason Roy was a witness to the brutal beating that Neil Stonehouse took from the alleged police officers. After Neil’s death, the Native community gossiped and rumours speculated that the Saskatoon police officers were dropping off Native men in cold, deserted areas of Saskatoon and left to die. After January 2000, with two more native men found frozen to death, the Native community finally realized that the starlight tours were becoming more believable. The two Native men whose deaths caused speculations was Lloyd Dustyhorn, age 53 who was found frozen to death in Saskatoon. The other Native man was Rodney Naistus, age 25, who was also found frozen to death without a shirt on in the southwest industrial area of Saskatoon. Oddly enough Lawerene Wegner was also found frozen to death in the same exact area as Rodney Naistus in the southwest industrial region of Saskatoon. These deaths brought a lot of attention to the Saskatoon police department and the Native community wanted answers to these tragic deaths.

A huge breakthrough into the Starlight tours case was when Darrell Night who was a Native man who survived and was a victim of the starlight tours. The night that Darrell was picked up by the officers was -20 C which is extremely cold. He was wearing a jean jacket but was not wearing any gloves or even a hat. On Feb.4, 2000 Darrell Night alleges that the police officers through him out of the police car and left him in the cold for dead. Night identified the two police officers as Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen who were both veteran officers who left Night in the freezing cold. Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen were both suspended with pay for admitting to dropping off Night on the outer areas of Saskatoon. On March 10,2000, Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen were charged of forcible confinement and the assault of Darrell Night and on Sept 20th, 2001, they were both found guilty. After a lengthy investigation by the RCMP into the Darrell Night case, on March 13, 2003 Dan Hatchen and Ken Munson were sentenced to eight months at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre. The sentencing of Munson and Hatchen brought some justice and peace to the aboriginal community but it was still not enough justice that the aboriginals wanted. The Stonechild case was not brought to justice and the police officers who left Stonechild in the cold were not found by investigators. Keith Jarvis, who was in charge of the investigation, concluded that he got no support or co-operation from Stonechild’s family and friends.  On November 12, 2004, Saskatoon police chief Russ Sabo terminates two officers, Larry Hartwig and Bradley Sager, the officers still say that they had no contact with Neil Stonechild. On November 12, 2005, Neil Stonechild’s family sues the Saskatoon police and other officers involved including Bradely Sager and Larry Hartwig.

Starlight Tours are closely linked with systemic racisim in the sense that the police have differentiated treatment of a racialized group which is the aboriginals. Having said that, because the aborignals are a different race, they are treated differently by the police and are seen differently as well. In systemic racism the police officers are using racial profiling when dealing with an aboriginal man. For example: if an aborginal man is walking down the street, a police officer is more likely to stop and search the aboriginal man because of his racial background. Starlight tours also reflects on Punch’s theory of the “Dirty Harry” phenomenon where police use an aggressive or unruly approach when targeting native men. The police will use “tough guy” actions like, dumping off an aboriginal man in a secluded, rural area of Saskatoon to “teach” the native man a lesson. Those actions are connected to the “Dirty Harry”  typology of police attitudes. As to the government report of Neil Stonechild, the Commission of Inquiry heard testimonies from 64 witnesses over 43 days. The Commission finally brought a final report to the table containing its findings and recommendations to the Minister of Justice and also to the Attorney General.

Since February 3, 2000, which was the last reported death from the Starlight tours which was Lawrenece Wegner there has not been any other reports of Native men being dropped off outside in the cold. But that still does not mean that the tours have stopped, it only means that that was the last reported tour. I wouldn’t doubt the fact that tours still might be going on unreported. Other than that there hasn’t been any significant improvement in the Starlight tours for the simple reason that, aboriginals are not treated with respect from other Canadians and are seen as “lower class” people which is wrong since Canada is supposed to be the most multicultural and accepting country of all nationalities.

Refrences:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2007/03/27/hatchen-munson.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/aboriginals/starlighttours.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/stonechild/timeline.html

http://www.thebukowskiagency.com/Starlight%20Tour.htm

Goldsmith’s Article

Posted: November 18, 2011 by jeffield in Policing's New Visibility
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As stated by Goldsmith in his 2010 article, Policing’s New Visibility, recent expansion in the availability of video cameras has created an environment in which the public has a much better visibility of the police and their actions, particularly misconduct. Such is the case with Kelowna RCMP Constable Geoff Mantler, who participated in the arrest of Buddy Tavares in January, kicking the man in the head as he was getting on the ground and complying with the police.

The video was captured on a cell phone, and uploaded onto the social video site YouTube, two technologies which Goldsmith believes are radically changing police visibility. Mantler is clearly shown arresting the man at gunpoint, and kicking him in the face while he is on his knees. The following video has nearly 80 000 views on YouTube.

There were many witnesses, and coupled with the video, the Abbotsford police investigation led to him being charged with assault causing bodily harm. The victim, Buddy Tavares, was licensed to carry the long gun for which he was arrested, and was employed by the local golf course to shoot geese. Having suffered brain damage before, the kick to the head, which can be seen in the video to cause bleeding, caused so much damage that Tavares couldn’t continue working. The constable’s trial revolved around whether he was reasonable in delivering so much force, and he has already been accused of several other alleged misuses of force. This case demonstrates the power of video, as the constable has never been charged before because of a lack of evidence; video recording in the hands of the public leads to greater police visibility and accountability.

Policing’s new Visibility

Posted: November 18, 2011 by krobel2001 in Policing's New Visibility
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An incident took place inside the RCMP detachment in Lac Biche, Alberta, about 200 kilometres north of Edmontn on September 13, 2001. The officers had just begun their morning shift when the assault occured around 7:15a.m. Andrew Clyburn, 33, had been arrested hours earlier after being involved in a bar fight believed he was being released when he was led down the jail corridor by Constable Desmond Sandboe, a nine year verteran with the RCMP.  A video recorded Contable Sandboe lunging at his victim and smashing his head against a wall and then pummmeling him repeatedly.  The video is silent so it is unknown whether Clyburn said anything to Constable Sandboe before the incident. The video also shows two men standing and watching as the RCMP officer was beating Clyburn.http://edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20101126/edm_rcmp_101126/20101126/?hub=EdmontonHome

Constable Sandboe was initally charged with assault causing bodily harm but crown could not prove the injuries were from the constable as Clyburn could have sustained the wound in a bar fight the night before. Constable Sandboe pled guilty to aggravated assault, was suspended without pay and the RCMP was undertaking a code of conduct investigation, as reported by Tony Blais in the Edmonton Sun .

Ian Tomlinson was violently shoved by a police officer during the G20 in London protest on April 2009.
The footage was taken by a business man Christopher La Jaunie with his own compact digital camera. If it was not for this video, Tomlinson’s death would have been swept under the rug. The family would not have known that Ian Tomlinson was stuck by a baton and shoved by a police officer, Simon Harwood.

It was only after the release of this video when Tomlinson’s death was investigated as a criminal inquiry.

The video shot by Chritopher La Jaunie released by the Guardian