And then there's this cop I flagged last summer. At the time, we didn't know his name, but it seemed to me that the best way to hold guys like this accountable (and we've all seen the pointlessness of waiting for meaningful institutional response) was to keep posting video just like this. In so doing, we can:
- assert control over the narrative
- keep the spotlight on incidents and guys like this
- let people see him for what he is, and
- hold him up for the public scorn he deserves.
Well, looky here now: seems the guy's been identified. (The folks at the Star may break their own arms patting themselves on the back, but hey – credit where it's due, etc.) And his reaction's pretty telling, too: boo hoo hoo, people are upset with me for violating their rights, acting like a fascist prick and turning Canada into a banana-republic dictatorship. Good thing I'm not a sensitive guy. Perhaps Officer Bubbles might be getting some company.
So while we can express sadness over the tragic death of Sergeant Ryan Russell, we don't have to buy into the narrative that the police culture is hanging on it – you know, Toronto's finest, the thin blue line protecting us from the hordes of thugs, sacrifice, heroism, putting their lives on the line, yada yada yada. Nor are we under any obligation to forget the abuse, brutality and lawlessness that characterized police behaviour during the G20. Sgt. Russell's death, sad though it is, doesn't change the fact that cops were:
- pepper-spraying and tear-gassing peaceful citizens
- shooting people with rubber bullets
- kettling hundreds of innocent people in the rain
- arresting TTC employees, in uniform, for going to work
- trampling people with horses
- kicking the crap out of people for no reason
- breaking arms, legs and fingers
- tearing off artificial limbs and laughing about it
- kicking handcuffed prisoners in the face
- threatening female prisoners with gang rape
- taunting gay and lesbian prisoners with homophobic slurs, and of course ...
- enabling all of this with their Blue Wall of silence.
So ... knock yourselves out, officers. Please feel free to swarm the downtown core and snarl traffic with your militaristic tribal bonding rituals (hey, are they getting paid for this? Is this on my dime? Where's all that Respect for Taxpayers now, Mayor Ford?) any time you like. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that we're in the middle of budget season and that your contract is coming up soon. Only a dreadful cynic would see this as a timely show of force.
Oh, one more little observation: even if you want to buy into the U.S.-style fetishization of the military that makes up Stevie H's whacking material, you have to give John Lorinc props for this little gem:
The Canadian Forces don’t take over downtown Ottawa every time a man or woman in uniform dies in combat.
Seriously. Don't they need permits or something?