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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meaningful police reform? Yeah, good luck with that

Incidents like this latest horrifying chapter in Ottawa just underline the sad truth that's been self-evident all along: there is no effective institutional way of holding bastards like this accountable. These sadistic, cowardly lying pieces of shit do this for the same reason that dogs lick their balls: Because They Can.

It really doesn't matter whether they're tasering some poor guy to death at the airport, beating the shit out of peaceful citizens exercising their fundamental rights, ripping a guy's artificial leg off and then laughing while they tell him to hop, or brutalizing and humiliating a woman for simply standing up for herself. What's becoming increasingly and painfully clear is that the police, both individually and as an institution, are becoming more of a threat to public safety than the “bad guys” they're purportedly protecting us from.

Ever since the G20, I've been arguing that it's futile to expect meaningful institutional response, and incidents like this just reinforce that futility. Honestly, does anyone seriously think these Ottawa assholes are going to face anything more than a slap on the wrist? Roy Preston, anyone?

Break the cop unions? Problematic for a number of reasons, not the least their legal war chests. Also difficult to reconcile with a progressive commitment to the right to organize. Although Boris is certainly on to something in naming the “attitudes of impunity.”

As for the notion of good cops having the guts to denounce the bad cops in their midst, yeah, well, sounds good in theory, but I wouldn't hold my breath. We're not just talking about the “blue wall” between cops and civilians – we're talking about a dysfunctional and toxic occupational culture which makes being able to count on your fellow officers for “backup” paramount over everything else. And I mean everything else. Moreover, by “good cops,” are we talking about the ones who look the other way and clam up while assholes like these go wilding? Not really much of a difference there, I think.

No, we're talking about an ingrained culture that's been setting in and putrefying for decades, if not centuries. Anyone perceived as an enemy – Alan Heisey, Susan Eng, Kerry Diotte – gets targeted and slimed. And anyone who wants to function and rise within that culture has to buy into its intrinsic values, no matter how sociopathic or dysfunctional.

Gratifying though it is to see the National Putz calling for these worthless subhumans to be fired (no criminal charges? no jail?), it's not as if that's going to fix that culture.

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