Saturday, January 15, 2011
Well, who could have foreseen it? Especially during budget season.
Obviously it's going to be a matter of competing narratives over the next little while.
In one corner, the Blue PR machine is going full-tilt boogie over the tragic death of the heroic Sergeant Russell, with all the emotionally loaded imagery and language, and a storyline carefully calculated for maximum drama and maximum face time. This is going to be on every front page and lead every newscast until further notice.
In the other corner, more and more ugly details continue to emerge regarding the brutal, sadistic, incompetent, and criminal behaviour of more and more cops during the G20. (Again, tips of the chapeau to Dr. Dawg, LFR and thwap. And to the Star – god knows they're not always on the ball, but they're kicking big-league tuchus on this.)
Late to the party, I know, but again – another opportunity to emphasize the point about the futility of waiting for meaningful institutional response. As Jymn points out, it's not as if there's going to be anything close to genuine accountability. Anybody who's waiting for the SIU or the Ombudsman or the Ministry of the Attorney-General or the Police Services Board to do anything should bring a good book.
Nope. Best strategy for progressive activists, I'd submit, is to crank up the opposing narrative. The more buzz there is about asshole cops ripping off artificial limbs, threatening women prisoners with gang rape, and now breaking a guy's arm, twisting it behind his back and laughing about it, the more people will question the wisdom of giving the cops a blank cheque politically, financially and institutionally.
No illusions, comrades. From Bill Blair on down, the police culture's going to be milking this for all it's worth. We don't have their megaphones, their PR budget and their direct line to every assignment editor in the country, so we'll need to work that much harder.
(Of course, we'll need to grow thick skins, lest we be accused of insensitivity. I'm booking extra time with my therapist.)