Sunday, May 10, 2009


I did a callback to a piece I did a couple months ago and it caught people's eye this time. Appearing and then disappearing in the wink of an eye and never noted in the media in English Canada, the fact that at least three of the undercover Quebec police officers at the SPP protests in Montebello were officially listed in internal police documents as 'provocateurs'.

Last month in Vancouver a newspaper photographer was assaulted and his camera seized at the scene of a shooting by a police officer.

Last year in Vancouver a Polish man was electrocuted to death by the RCMP, who then seized a witness's video camera and tried to withhold its contents while releasing statements that directly contradicted the video in their possession.

I submit that the brutality, deception, swarm attack tactical sense and aversion to oversight that ties these incidents together stems from the same malign influence from south of the border: The militarization of civilian police.

In the US police militarization stems from the drug war, more specifically from the turf war mentality of multiple branches of law enforcement all fighting for funding. Combined with draconian asset forfeiture laws, American police operate under a range of perverse incentives to engage in large scale legal robbery with violence.

Want to know what it's like to be on the receiving end of American military anti-insurgent tactics? Live in the American inner city and you have a decent chance of finding out.

From a tactical militarized perspective, viewing everyone but your brothers as potential enemies permits a range of responses that the traditional people's servant role of a civilian police force does not. Using a hand held cattle prod on the enemy is acceptable. Suppressing evidence of wrong doing, even destroying video and assaulting journalists is acceptable if the public is the enemy.

Using undercover police tasked to provoke violence to justify an overwhelming police response is acceptable - protesters are the enemy after all, get the basis established for bashing their heads now. Got to justify that tactical budget or we won't get anymore toys.

It seems to me that we're at a crisis point. A point where we decide once and for all what kind of society we will be living in. US style hyper aggressive military style policing or a police force that sees fellow citizens rather than potential targets. We have courts pushing back against this kind of behavior on the one hand, and police commissions finding that it's possible to shoot a prisoner in the back of the head in self defense on the other.

We can't hope for the courts to restrain this philosophy of policing, we need to make police reform, radical police reform nation wide at the federal, provincial and municipal level part of the political agenda.

1 comment:

djsmak2002 said...

"we need to make police reform, radical police reform nation wide at the federal, provincial and municipal level part of the political agenda."

I am afraid that is just wishful thinking, especially here in Ontario. Cops are gaining more and more powers here and its making a lot of people uncomfortable. With their dark, SWAT style uniforms to their us vs them mentality, the militarization of the police is is on a steady course.

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