Posts Tagged ‘G20’

CBC’s Fifth Estate documentary, in my opinion, was largely biased towards the perspectives of the innocent people that were victimized by police during the G20. It fails to show the actual story of the people who needed to be controlled and charged and the story behind the orders that the police were given.

Due to the fact that there were so many police officers on hand for this event; police authority was abused and there was a diffusion of responsibility. Police went as far as taking off their name tags without legitimate means to do so, thereby counteracting the new visibility of policing, which decreases accountability.  The police didn’t care to distinguish between the peace protestors and actual rioters and used excessive force in situations that was not required. “Excessive force… involve[s] the misuse of authority and cover[s] a wide range of forms of unjustified force” (Dean, Bell & Lauchs, p. 208). For example, why would a man with a disability be seen as harmful and need to be aggressively handled? The police officers didn’t seem to exercise any of their own judgement.

Police did not acknowledge the peace protestors and innocent people in the streets, thereby emphasizing the title of the documentary “Should’ve stayed at Home.”  This perpetuates the blame on the public and negates their constitutional rights and freedoms. Furthermore, it justifies the police officers course of action during the G20 event.

Public order policing is a branch of policing that is in need of much development. The documentary continuously made this obvious with the depictions of several innocent people that were victim to police brutality. Many of the issues arising come from the approach police take to deal with situations of crowd and riot control. In my opinion the biggest issue that needs to be addressed is that of police discretion. The police need to be held accountable for their actions and should be reprimanded for acts such as taking off their name tags making them anonymous. To be better prepared, I think supervision and direction should be greatly increased when dealing with police control, especially public order policing.

The documentary made no reference to The Public Works Protection Act, a law passed last minute that was not made public. This law gave the police the power to search anyone who was present at the riot. As discussed in ‘Journal of Prisoners on Prisons’, “a combination of secrecy and misinformation led to widespread confusion about the scope of expanded police powers of search and seizure under a hastily-past amendment to the WWII-era Public Works Protections Act” (p. 8). In my opinion, the documentary failed to capture a realistic view of how and why the policing events during the G20 transpired.

Dean, G., P. Bell, and M. Lauchs (2010). Conceptual framework for managing knowledge of police deviance. Policing

                  and Society, 20(2), pp. 204-222.

Larsen, M., and J. Piché (2011). “A Week in June 2010”, Journal of Prisoners on Prisons 20(2), pp. 2-14.

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The G-20 summit meetings took place on June 26-27 2010, in Toronto, Canada. The summit had powerful leaders discussing Global Bank Taxes and  promoting Open Markets. This event made history, tainting the reputation of the Toronto Police. CBC’s Fifth Estate produced a documentary entitled “You Should Have Stayed Home” and it reveals how the people were treated by police that weekend and share their stories with CBC. After watching this documentary I was utterly appalled. I had to take breaks because it made my blood boil due to the fact that it is so infuriating, especially when I found out that; out of all those pigs that policed the G20, only a few of them got charged.

The footage showed ordinary citizens on the streets at the Toronto G20 Summit marching peacefully until the police closed in and shut them down. Many of these citizens went downtown just to see what was going on out of mere curiosity. Only to find themselves forcibly dragged away by police and locked up for hours without timely access to lawyers or medical treatment. This kind of behaviour going on in a third world country with a corrupt government makes sense, but here in Canada? It’s just shocking! There was police brutality; where the police used an excessive amount of force, they illegally arrested peaceful protesters. There was also a lack of accountability since a lot of these officers took their badges off . For what reason? Only to get away with their criminal behaviour. Furthermore, These officers violated Section 8 (unreasonable search and seizure), Section 9 (Arbitrary Detention or Imprisonment), and Section 10 (unlawful imprisonment) of the Canadian Charter of Rights.

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Thankfully people at the event  recorded  videos  and  took pictures on their cell phones and minicams. If  not for technology that enables every day citizen to capture videos and images, the pigs would have gotten away with their criminal behaviour. If you watch the video and search this event up on Youtube you would notice that the police only really arrested and harassed the girls and small light guys (who were not committing any crimes). The goal of these protests is to show these world leaders that we are watching and we do care. If the police detained and arrested people who were harming others or vandalizing,  I believe it would have been justifiable but that wasn’t the case. In my opinion CBC called their documentary ‘You Should Have Stayed Home’, to make the people think, make them think about their democratic rights, their powers. The fact that they did not stay home; exposed how corrupt police can be and this incident really opened eyes. Ultimately at the end it makes one decide, will I stay at home and let this unacceptable behaviour continue or go out there and take proactive measures.

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SOURCES:

http://news.aol.ca/2010/06/26/g20-protest-turns-violent-in-toronto/

http://www.g20justice.com/prosecute.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2010/06/25/g20-new-powers.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1012959–exclusive-toronto-police-swear-off-g20-kettling-tactic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-20_major_economies
http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/youshouldhavestayedathome/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/07/10/noname_officers_investigated.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6THfDGy1hN4

There are several variables that influence how the police – and specifically the RCMP – view complaints.  The major contributors are the dichotomy followed by police culture, the origins of the RCMP, their reputation and how the police deal with ‘rats’ internally.  The changes in a post-9/11 environment indicate a high-policing atmosphere.  In a perfect imagining the oversight and the compliant mechanisms are meant to be staffed by external police bodies.  Staffed by civilians who make recommendations to better policing practices and accountability for the agency.  But due to constraints of power and the fact that many such bodies are staffed by retired police officers this ideal is slow to realize.

There is distinct dichotomy between the public and the police.  The Us vs. Them argument has been used to explain the isolation and the divide felt between the public and the police.  The argument states that those outside of your social group are unable to relate to what your social group faces and/or experiences.  Some factors that may help with this are irregular hours, sometimes impossible demands, high stress and extremely dangerous situation.  This is reflective of Barker and Carter’s definition of police corruption, which is the “latent result of society’s attempt to execute unenforceable ‘victimless’ crime laws”  (46).  This has helped the police to foster negative mind set towards the oversight commissions and are intentionally subverted by the police; through intimidation, non-compliance, bias and questioning their message.  When a complaint is issued, the investigation that follows puts undue pressure towards the complainant by placing them on trial and “reprehensible tactics to discourage citizens from filing complaints against.” [Barker and Carter 378].  The complaints form of the RCMP is more interested in the complainant then the event.  This is reflective of the dichotomy argument.  Non-compliance is shown as an unwillingness to comply with summons from these committees and by not heeding or implementing their recommendations.  One consequence of the committees is their lack of power [Goldsmith and Lewis], although a few can make recommendations but the police agencies do not have to heed their advice.  Bias was evident in how the police did not give these committees credence because they were not on ‘the job’.  Also they have been frequently criticized for disregarding the interests of the complaints.  The police often question the message of the committees.  They claim that the community want someone to blame, scape-goats and fulfills the communities need for vengeance.  It is important to mention the Nolan principals which emphasizes trustworthiness and accountability but this example is applied across the pond in the UK [Punch 2009].

Critics have many theories as to the cause of police deviance.  One cause may be because of police [sub]culture, especially when use in concert with the dichotomy.  Police [sub]culture is known to be stable over geography and time.  Meaning that it is found elsewhere in the world at varying periods in time.  As a result of the dichotomy the police fully socialize only within their group.  Leaving them unable to socialize with those outside their group or even to be able to empathize with them.  As a result, when socializing with outsiders causes suspicion, by the nature of the this provides positive feedback on said suspicions.  This also feeds into the blue wall of silence that further helps to isolate peace officers from society, in that when they feel that society or others from outside their societal group have have unfairly judged them they effectively close ranks.  Presenting an unformed front both externally and internally.  Other peace officers sympathize and empathize with those involved.  Through this isolation many officers begin to feel and treat the non-police identity [encapsulating those who are not part of the police force].  This is shown in how they refer to using a highly masculine and sometimes racist vernacular that permeate and is pertuated by the police culture.  The police canteen culture also feeds into this.  John Van Maanen describes how those who do not yield the instructions from the police are viewed with hostility and labeled as an Asshole.

It appears that the commissions, inquires and other complaint mechanisms are like the police, reactive to crime.  As Punch states, the deviance is built into the system.  Even with complete clean out of deviant characters the deviance will still be learned by other recruit.  This means that there is some mechanism within the organization of policing that allows for this to grow.  The oversight and inquires are rendered null by their lack of power and by the police under the blue wall of silence protecting their officers from prosecutions.  This may be to protect their reputation or public image.  But as Barker and Carter quote from the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice: these oversight committees are symptomatic of a larger problem of the lack of public confidence.  Punch states that police are presented “with an inherent dilemma in relation to performing their task and enforcing the law in a context of rules, resources and laws that restrict them in some way” [2].

Sperico came forward to address the issue of his compatriots in “grass-eating” and  “meat-eating”.  This type of terminology came up at the Knapp Commission.  Grass-eating refers to a sporadic deviance, that does not actively engage in deviant behavior.  These opportunities can be receiving free or oppertunties  discounted food stuffs based on their occupation of an officer.  Where as meat-eaters were constantly involved within the criminal elements.  The types of deviance elaborated on in this commission where, the padding of evidence to either convict a desired suspect and/or to increase their sentence.  Because he went outside his ‘brothers in blue’ he was viewed as a traitor, one that could expose the deviant structure and place them all in jail.  This was particularly worrisome because police officers do not survive long in jail.  This is because of retaliation for other inmates and dominance/territorial disputes.  Also like any social code, there are rules to follow.  He broke the rules, an example had to be made to be shown to others who wanted to tell.  Sperico was left with no back-up when raiding a drug-dealer which resulted in a gun-shot wound to the face.  This incident is relevant because without confidence in the police who will follow their orders?  Who will come to them with problems or sensitive information?  As explored in the paragraph before, reputation is everything.  Without it the police are powerless.  With no merit in their symbols of their authority [squad car, uniform, issued commands, etc.] no one would heed their commands.

There seems to be a troubling occurrence that has been since the 9/11 occurrences.  Information sharing, joint operations across the nation, the Anti-Terrorism Act and high policing are just a few significant occurrences.  Information sharing although not outright adverse, in some practices it becomes draconian.  Maher Arar, for example, spent almost a year being tortured in Syria because of information provided to the US from the RCMP.  This type of sharing is manipulation of the system.  Project A-O is where Canada kept a list of names of whom they viewed where a security risk.  Surveillance was intensified around them.  For joint operations, there is the G20 which was the largest collaboration of security personnel.  It is difficult to ensure accountability because of so many participants.  Was it the RCMP, who were managing the security, when the Ontario Provincial Police actually did the commission of the crime?  After the US enacted the Patriate Act post-9/11 Canada mirrored it with the Anti-Terrorism Act with made terrorism criminal and within the realm of the police.  This act was mainly to placate the US and grant the RCMP more security powers, which where lost when CSIS was created.  The US is a major trading partner of Canada [Diab 2008].  High-policing is a form of policing [though not necessarily conducted by the police] in which the agenda of the government is carried out and the letter of the law is blurred.  For instance, Security Certificate.  This certificate allows the government to detain a ‘suspect’ without arrest or trial and ultimately deport them.  If the ‘suspect’ held refugee status, they could be deported back to their fled country where their lives would cease [Larsen, October 27, 2011, personal communication].

Essentially the accountability structure did not expand as the police powers did.  And any outside views is seen with distain and hostility with movements made hid evidence and particpation of other agencies or people within their own forces.  The RCMP has essentially operated as it has been since 1919.  Recovering their security responsibilities through the Anti-Terrorism Act.

References

Barker, Thomas and David Carter. (1996).  Police Deviance (3rd Ed.).  Anderson Publishing Co.: Cincinnati, Ohio.

Diab, Robert. (2008).  Guantanamo North: Terrorism and the Administration of Justice in Canada.  Fernwood Publishing: Black Point, Nova Scotia.

Goldsmith, Andrew and Colleen Lewis (Eds.)  (2000).  Civilian Oversight of Policing: Governance, Demovracy and Human Rights.  Hart Publishing: Oxford and Portland, Oregon.

Kappeler, Victor, Sluder, Richard and Geoffrey Alpert.  (1998).  Forces of Deviance: Understanding the Dark Side of Policing  (2nd Ed.).  Waveland Press, Inc.: Long Grove, Illinois.

Maanen, John Van.  (1978).  The Asshole.  Retrieved from  http://jthomasniu.org/class/Stuff/PDF/vanmanah.pdf. (Oct. 29, 2011).

Murphy, C. and McKenna, P.  (2007).  Rethinking police goverance, culture and management.  Ottawa: Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP, Public Safety Canada.

Payton, Laura and Alison Crawfor. (2011).  7 Issues facing the next RCMP Commissioner.  CBC news.  Retrevied from http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/10/27/pol-list-rcmp-issues-comissioner.html. (Oct 27, 2011).

Perrott, Stephen and E. Kelloway. (2011). Scandals, sagging morale and role ambiguity in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: the end of a Canadian institution as we know it?.  Police Practice and Research, 12:2, 120-135.

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

The public order policing of the Toronto G20 2010 Summit involved massive civilian arrests, excessive use of force, and the alleged use of  Agent provocateurs in the protest against the meeting. Click here for more on agent provocateurs. The participants in the formal Toronto G20 2010 meeting were mainly heads of government. The summit, which  focused on global finance and economics, took place in Toronto, Ontario during June 26 to 27 2010. Six leaders of invited nations and eight intergovernmental organizations participated in the summit. . Many people who had been staging peaceful protests against Toronto G20 2010 summit,  were arrested. During the summit, a group of anarchists broke away from the non-violent protests around the Toronto conference center and began to smash windows of banks and chain stores. They also set fire to police cars. The anarchists had covered their faces and used litter bins, poles and bricks to smash windows of stores and banks. There was footage of anarchists looting and threatening photographers.

There was lot of controversy against the police tactics that were used against the anarchists. For example, in a broadcast live in Toronto, it was televised that an officer in riot gear striking an unarmed protester several times during the standoff between protesters and the police. Steve Paikin, who presents TV Ontario’s  current show Agenda, saw an assault on another journalist. Steve Paikin quoted, “As I was escorted away from the demonstration, I saw two officers hold a journalist. A third punched him in the stomach. The man  collapsed. Then the third officer drove his elbow into the mans back.”

A Washington, D.C. woman was thrown to the grown and dragged three meters by uniformed officers into an unmarked minivan. She was forced to lie on her stomach in the van and an police officer sat on top of her during the drive to the police station. G20 Toronto Summit 2010 Protest

Over 1100 protesters were arrested during the G20 protest in Toronto 2010.  This represents a largest mass of arrests in Canadian history. Many of the protesters rights were violated: s.10 (b) right to access to legal counsel without delay, s. 12 the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment or treatment: they were deprived of food and water, and without access to proper sanitation.

Many of the police officers deliberately removed their name tags and badge numbers. This is against police regulations, its been said that it was authorized by superiors, to avoid police accountability for their behavior at the protest.

There was one police officer who had allegedly assaulted a demonstrator, and was charged with assault with a weapon. The police officer was caught on video and punching the protester. The Chief of Police claims that the video was tampered with and the police officer was arresting a violent armed offender. There were several videos that were sent to the police, observing  other officers using excessive use of force to apprehend the protesters. But nothing was ever done about it, the investigation was quickly dismissed.

As I searched the Google for G20 Toronto public policing 2010, lot of newspaper articles, you-tube videos, and Wikipedia had shown up on their first page. In addition, these are the articles that I have used for my blog. A long article on Wikipedia explained the situation of the G20 Toronto 2010 Summit, what it is about, the history behind it, preparations, criticisms, and protests. Another article on Wikipedia was solely focused on the protests against the G20 Summit. It briefly explained the situation before the protests happened, the main protests that happened on June 26-27th 2010, and the aftermath.

I believe the picture that emerges from the first hit of pages is that it shows the protests views against police brutality. It doesn’t explain the both sides of the story. I think the first pages is completely biased and completely criticizing the police without them explaining their side. When someone is going to look at the first pages, they will believe that the police initiated the riot. However, the police does have to take accountability for their actions and step up to public’s eye, and admit they were wrong. The media is a huge influence on the public’s opinion and the journalists usually take things out of context. I believe that the police did go out of control, but I believe the media is biased and misinterprets situations that police have to deal with. Media doesn’t look through the police officers eyes, how they can be frustrated with the criminal justice system when criminals get off because of their rights, and how the police don’t follow proper procedures. I feel that the police is always the ones that are being blamed in every situation.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_provocateur

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anarchist

http://www.thestar.com/news/torontog20summit/article/902236–toronto-journalist-witnessed-police-brutality-at-toronto-g20

http://news.aol.ca/2010/06/26/g20-protest-turns-violent-in-toronto/

http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20101222/g20-police-charge-101222/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_G-20_Toronto_summit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_G-20_Toronto_summit_protests

Police Agent Provocateurs

Posted: October 1, 2011 by dhaliwal15 in Agent Provocateurs
Tags: , , ,

A Police Agent Provocateur is a particular type of undercover police infiltrator. However, this undercover agent does not necessarily have to be a Police officer; the agent could be any public civilian who is hired by the Police Department for a special assignment, depending on the circumstances. The role of a police agent provocateur is to basically provoke a group or crowd of people into committing crimes against the state. Provocateurs’ main job is to essentially entice and entrap a large group of people who may be easily influenced into committing harsh and irrational acts of violence, which are subsequently responded to by the state. In Canada, there have been  several big accusations made against Police agent provocateurs, especially in massive protest which occurred in Canada’s largest Metropolitan area.

In Montebello, Quebec, the Sûreté du Québec, which is the Provincial police force of Quebec was accused of using police agent provocateurs in a wrongful manner. Many people gathered to protest meetings of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America on August 20 2007. The protest was intended to be a peaceful one, however three individuals who had their faces covered, and wore similar boots to those of the police officers dressed in riot gear, were essentially asked to leave the protest; due to them trying to turn the protest violent.

The G20 Summit riots on June 26 2010 occurred in Canada’s largest metropolitan area Toronto, Ontario. Many conspiracies have begun to arise of the Toronto Police Department  using officers as provocateurs, in order to provoke the protesters to become violent. Similar to the Montebello incident, many rioters were seen wearing similar boots as Toronto Police officers that day. Rioters wearing similar shoes as officers were caught on pictures destroying local stores, and even going as far as to jumping on top of police cars.

Police agents who provoke peaceful crowds into to turning violent should be held accountable for their actions. Officers who participate in the activities of property damage should be held responsible, similar to the members of the public who may be charged with an offence. The police are there to keep peace within and control any situations from arising. However, the more undercover officers provoke a crowd it is not only a danger towards the general public, but also it can cause a huge amount of property damage and put many officers lives at risk; with such a violent crowd. The police make the public look like a bunch of anarchists. However, many undercover officers influence acts of anarchy to be pursued by certain individuals.

After searching for “Police Agent Provocateurs” on Google, many different kinds of websites appeared on the first page of results there were about 5,560,000 hits.  Surprisingly, the Wikipedia page does contain of a decent amount of Canadian content, compared to other countries. Also, the Wikipedia page introduces the incident which took place in Montebello, Quebec. Furthermore, several multimedia websites such as You Tube appeared with videos of undercover officers provoking rioters, and escalating the violence.  Several newspaper articles appeared, such as The Star. In addition, some newspapers from the United Kingdom appeared such as: The Guardian which discussed the G20 protests in London also resulted in a similar situation as Toronto, and The Independent. A non-profit organization known as the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG) based out of Quebec, displayed several pictures of rioters and police officers wearing the exact same boots.  The Articles are fairly recent dating back to 2007.