Posts Tagged ‘police brutality’

Gord Hill’s Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book surrounding the Toronto 2010 G20 Summit reveals how the rebels are tarnishing the city and corporate buildings. They are dressed in black and wearing masks to hide their identity while they are being reckless. The issue with this comic is that it shows an us vs. them (police vs. the public). “We as police must fuck them, before they fuck us. The law and the system have tightened around us. We have no choice but to use these tactics of dishonesty” (Goldschmidt & Anonymous, 2008, p.113). The Toronto G20 protest was to be for things like better educational materials and a rally for gender justice, queer, and disability rights. Furthermore, the government spent billions of dollars for guards, police services, riot squad, and military troops. A whole mass of money was spent and paid to the police to ensure the protest was handled properly. Although, there were many complications such as innocent people being arrested, use of excessive force, misconduct, and use of profound language by the police. For instance, “police attacks on ‘non-violent’ protesters resulted in one death – Ian Tomlinson – a local resident beaten by police” (Hill, 2012, p.83).

The first day of resistance began June 21st. It was a hot day, many people showed up to rally and the police did their best to block off the rally. On June 24th, the first day of action, thousands of people showed up to participate in the march to move close to the G20 but were stopped by the police. The comic here shows police deviance and misconduct. On June 25th the author shows the police using unspeakable language towards people that would offend a reasonable person. For instance, in one of the drawings the authors shows police saying “wake up assholes! Show me your hands! Now!” (Hill, 2012, p.87). Police officers are always using these types of words toward the public. The number one complaint against the police is the use of their abusive language. It is mostly used by bent police officers that are sliding into corruption. Moreover, the comic reveals how the police eventually lost control and began to fall apart. Police vehicles were heavily damaged with police officers inside and some were eventually set on fire. The public is being held accountable the things that took placing during the G20 but in fact the police imposing the laws around the G20 had a role in how it turned out.

Overall, the Toronto G20 is one of the worst manifestations to occur in recent history. The G20 poses serious questions on police misconduct. The comic is very interesting and shows how the protesters were being denied their right of public speech and right to protest. Making the police look like the bad guys due to their misconduct and the use of excessive force.

References Cited

Goldschmidt, J., & Anonymous. (2008). The necessity of dishonesty: police deviance, ‘making     the case’, and the public good. Police & Society18(2), 113-135.

Hill, G. (2012). The anti-capitalist resistance comic book. British Columbia: Arsenal Pulp Press.

InfoWarriorsUnite. (Producer) (2010). Video of police assault on Ian Tomlinson, who died at the   london g20 protest [Web].                                                                                                 Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DJNzkIRg_E

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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

As many know, or will come to know of in the future, there have been several protests throughout the globe such as the one in Oakland, California in the United States of America. What started off as a peaceful protest over the last two months, has more recently erupted into violent confrontations with the police. As we can see in the amateur videos below, the police in Oakland have begun to evict the protestors even though there have been campgrounds setup for the protestors to peacefully exercise their constitutional rights. Hundreds of protestors at the Occupy Oakland movement have been arrested, and countless have been shot at with rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. One of the documented cases on video is of a Marine veteran, Scott Olsen, who was shot in the head by a tear gas canister at extremely close range. Also, as he was on the floor, an officer threw a flashbang near him; he was hospitalized due to his injuries and was in serious but stable conditions at the time of the incident. It was later revealed that he had suffered a skull fracture and swelling of the brain due to the impact of the projectile. I strongly feel that the police had no authority to forcefully evict the protestors in the manner that they did; especially since the protestors were for the most part complying with their orders, and had their protest contained to the designated areas. What’s your say on this matter?

Several videos by protestors who are taking part in the Occupy Wall Street movement, have been recording what goes on daily. A video post on YouTube by the use known as bYarlboro is about Lawrence O’Donnell, a news broadcaster for MSNBC, on his show called “The Last Word”. This video shows the NYPD being overly aggressive, and arresting protestors for simply standing around.

Based on the discussion given by O’Donnell, that the Police Department will ignore what has happened and just push it aside brings forward the notion of police deviance from an organizational level.

The 1997 APEC summit was known as the biggest and most-expensive private meeting in Canadian history. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) (Link) is a forum for 21 countries that want to advocate free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia Pacific area. APEC was created in 1989 responding to the expanding interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic allied groups like the European Union in other parts of the world. APEC works to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to make a sense of community and show interests among Asia-Pacific countries. Members account for approximately 40% of the world’s population, 54% of the world’s gross domestic product, and 44% of world trade.(Wikipedia, Link)

There was lots of tension in Vancouver that was being built at this time. Politicians from around the world were all meeting at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference. This meeting was held on the grounds of University of British Columbia, where many students were carrying protest signs, angry that the issue of human rights wasn’t on the APEC meeting. The RCMP was trying to clear the area but chaos arose.  The protesters tore down a fence and pepper spray was shot into the crowds. (CBC Achieve, Link)

Protesters and members of the UBC community alleged that they were targets of police harassment before and during the event. It was end of the year in 1997 the world media eyes were on Vancouver to cover the APEC summit. Basically all the news that was on headlines was not much to do with APEC but rather towards police response to the crowds and protesters. The least that could be said was that the police response was out of the ordinary and shocking. “A crowd of students was pepper-sprayed, along with a CBC cameraman. The dramatic video footage of the incident that appeared on the evening news”(Pue, 2000) and everyone saw. The use of pepper spray to attack non-violent protesters is unusual and brings the ministry of justice into disrepute. All over the web there is a picture of the “pepper spray sergeant” using a huge canister of pepper spray and going all-out on the non violent crowd.

Many law professors that wrote to Prime Minister Chrétien to report that a number of serious constitutional violations that had taken place on UBC campus during this ‘incident’. Later, an unapologetic Prime Minister Chrétien brushes away the pepper spray incident, saying “For me, pepper, I put it on my plate”.(Link) This really makes no sense especially when according to Peu: there was a protester held by police extremely long period of time for just displaying a sign that said “Free Speech”. Furthermore, this initiated many legal proceedings with this case and more. “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian government were named as defendants in these cases, and a public inquiry was launched. A central issue was whether the Prime Minister’s officials gave orders of a political nature to the police that resulted in law-abiding citizens being assaulted and arrested.”(Pue, 2000)

Peu goes on to say APEC raise serious questions about constitutional principle, the role of police in a democratic society, public accountability, and the effects of globalization on rights and politics. So how much power do the politicians really have?  Some of the authors, such as Gerald Morin, chair of the first RCMP Public Complaints Commission, and CBC journalist Terry Milewski, had a direct connection with the APEC situation that occurred. This was more than just a case of abuse of power and authority over a non-violent crowd by the use of pepper spray. There must have been some special orders and political influence given to the police.

When a Search was conducted on Google –“Vancouver 1997 APEC Summit”, the first page consisted of one link from Wikipedia and many news articles of the 1997 APEC Summit. However, the best information came from the UBC Achieves. The news articles from the search only talk about the pepper spray incident. On Wikipedia it is more formal in the sense that it talks about solely about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and does wonders for explaining what it is and its history, purpose and goals, criticism, and expansion. The UBC Achieves had information about everything. Surprisingly there was no government websites talking about the incident or the inquiry.

 

Sources:

Peu, W. P. (2000). The apec affair In Pepper in Our Eyes Toronto: UTP Distribution.

www.ubcpress.ca

Pecho, J. P. (2008). Apec inquiry collection (various collectors) . Retrieved from

http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/u_arch/apec_coll.html

Milewski, T. M. (Producer). (2005). Protest and pepper spray at apec conference. [Print Photo].

Retrieved from http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/civil_unrest/clips/2016/

Asia-pacific economic cooperation (2011). [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia-Pacific_Economic_Cooperation