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Monday, February 28, 2011

G20, police wilding, and the Dawgmeister's Nazi-vision post

So I finished watching the fifth estate documentary about the G20 (kindly posted by Dr. Dawg), and now that the initial rush of rage has subsided, let's talk Godwin for a minute.

I'm fastening on Liar-in-Chief Bill Blair's reaction when he's shown video evidence of cops clearly using excessive force for no apparent reason. After a montage of unprovoked beatings, rubber bullets, pepper spray used on people just sitting on the ground, etc., just shy of the 37-minute mark, Blair allows that “ ... that matter clearly has to be investigated. It's not clear to me from the video that you've just shown me what the justification would be for that use of force ... ”

OK, Bill? Fuck off already with the obfuscation and mealy-mouthed bullshit. The explanation is obvious: "your officers" got an excuse to do what they really want to do to any citizen who doesn't kiss cop ass with enough enthusiasm. And with all respect to some of the commenters over on the Dawg's post, I'm not so sure the brutality and sadism were entirely politically motivated. What we saw at the G20 was just as much a case of swaggering bullies giving vent to their inner scumbags. It was the dogs-licking-their-balls approach to policing – they do it because they can.

Should we just cut to the chase and conclude that every cop on the Toronto police force is either a brutal sadistic pig or an ineffectual, Good-German-type enabler? What – am I drawing too broad a conclusion? Anyone know any cops who've come out from behind the Blue Wall and outed their knuckle-dragging colleagues?

(BTW: See here as well.)

(Update: Revising the argument slightly in response to a comment from the Dawg. See below.)


  1. Your reaction (and believe me, I understand and share your anger) amply demonstrates why a full and public inquiry is essential. Without it, our resentments, suspicions, and distrust will only fester and grow.

    If politicians were truly concerned about the people, they would act immediately.

  2. Blair really is a piece of work, eh? As if he had had no inkling whatsoever before being shown the CBC video that anything was wrong. The man is either mendacious to the bone or the incompetent's incompetent. Maybe both, come to think of it.

    I'll go for the political element, though. The powers that be had them hold off when real, containable vandalism was occurring. The same powers that be let them off their leashes the next day, and have been covering for them ever since.

    It's a mistake, I think, to put this all down to over-exuberant thugs on a tear. One doesn't have to be a conspiracy nut to see connections between different levels of state actors, from the top political leadership to the cops who do the enforcing.

    If the G20 wasn't an experiment, it certainly looked that way at times. New technology, new techniques (kettling), horrific violence against ordinary non-violent citizens and political cover at all levels--all random? I'm sceptical.

  3. Yeah, well. As I said, the guy's actually making Fantino look good.

    Perhaps I misspoke myself. I didn't mean to suggest that the brutality was wholly without political dimension, or that there was no element of direction from the civil authorities (just which authorities were involved is a whole 'nother question).

    I am suggesting, though, that the sheer wanton exuberance of the abuse has more of a basis in the authoritarian cop lizard brain than in any particular political directive from Harpoon, McGoofy or whomever.

  4. Both the content and the way it was presented were toned down. I already knew about lots more stuff that took place last June and thereafter (see http://www.anothervoice.ca/G20Toronto.html and the many pages of news articles accompanying that page). There were lots of omissions such as the CCLA investigations, the ombudsman's report, the multitude of obvious police lies (it's their policy?), and the experience of journalists during the protests. The narrative remained the subservient, hierarchy-serving tale of violence committed by protesters followed by police actions in response thereto. The narrator helped keep the whole show muted from what the people actually experienced by her way of talking and facial expression. I noticed that there were no interview with activist 'leaders' though I did notice one clip showing an organizer yelling at the cops as if that had no cause so thus was like 'verbal violence' (such as loud chanting in a march?) that could justify police response. I think the show did wake some folks up. Where's Fantino?

  5. I do actually know an Alberta officer who went with his team to Toronto for the G20 (remember there were cops from all over Canada there) he was very disturbed by some of the things he saw and was particularly caustic about the Quebec officers there (perhaps not surprising after Montebello) and said he went to great effort to keep his team away from some of the worst clusterfucks like the kettling incident and the internment camp facility.

    There's no doubt in my mind that some people become cops to get license for the power tripping thuggery they already manifest and some get coarsened by what is many ways a truly awful job. There are good cops though, who make tough calculations every day about what they can and cannot do while continuing to protect and serve.