9.24.2011

racism and police brutality put london, ontario in the spotlight

Way to go, London, Ontario. Two days ago, most people outside Canada didn't know there was another London. Now everyone has heard of the one in Ontario, first from an ugly, racist incident during a hockey game, and then from an equally ugly - but far more typical - police tasering.

Students in London, Ontario, are angry, with good reason. They've had a painful lesson in what "serve and protect" too often means: abuse of power. With no verbal warning, a London police officer broke up a fight between two teens with a taser shot to the ear. The incident was captured on cell phone video.


CBC:
Chris Tremblay, a youth who says he witnessed the incident, told CBC News he saw the fight and was surprised by the police response.

"He didn't even yell, 'Stop' and then he just Tasered the kid — like, just came up and Tasered him in the ear, and the kid was not all right," Tremblay said. "He was lying on the ground. He was not all right." . . .

Police said the teen was taken to hospital for injuries suffered in the fight, but not from the jolt of the stun gun. However, the boy's mother said he was treated for Taser-related injuries. . . .

Provincial guidelines state that a Taser should not be used in sensitive areas, including the head. . . .

The Special Investigations Unit, which probes police action that results in injury, sexual assault or death, has said the incident does not meet its criteria for an investigation. Instead London police will look into the matter internally.

Angry students, meanwhile, have said they are considering holding a demonstration against police on Monday, saying officers are supposed to serve and protect, not hurt citizens.
I suppose we should consider the kid lucky. After all, the police didn't kill him. Nothing to see here. I'm sure an internal investigation by the publicly funded organized crime syndicate police department will sort the whole thing out.

Meanwhile, international sports media is still buzzing over an earlier incident in London, Ontario, when a fan threw a banana at black NHL player Wayne Simmonds during a pre-season exhibition game.

Naturally the incident was widely condemned by the NHL. The mayor of London, Joe Fontana, apologized to Simmonds and his team, and called it a "a stupid and mindless act by a single individual".

Stupid, yes. Mindless? Not so much. It's safe to assume bananas aren't sold at the concession stands in London's John Labatt Centre. Some fan had tickets to a game, and knowing that Simmonds (who is Canadian) would be on the ice, brought a banana with him, just for this purpose. I won't pretend to understand the mindset at work here, but malice aforethought abounds.

12 comments:

Northern Girl said...

How awful! This just makes me so angry.

Certainly an internal police review will find the officer acted appropriately.

laura k said...

Certainly an internal police review will find the officer acted appropriately.

Indeed.

Skinny Dipper said...

It could have been worse. That teen could have been blowing bubbles. He might have been tasered twice if possible.

Seriously, a public taser review needs to be conducted in Canada. It should be considered a lethal weapon. That means if the police use a taser, the police are meant to kill. It should not be used for non-compliance such as a sit-in protest where police demand that protesters move (or perhaps skip the demand altogether).

Skinny Dipper said...

If getting hit by a Taser is not serious injury, perhaps the SIU members should volunteer to get a jolt.

As for the police officer using the Taser to break up a fight, it had stopped once the police officer approached the participants. It should not have mattered had the teen who was tasered had used a chair as a weapon. He was not using that chair at the time the officer tasered him.

In Norway, alleged killer Anders Breivik had stopped shooting just before the police had arrived. Should the Norwegian police have shot or tasered Mr. Breivik after he had stopped firing his weapon(s)?

laura k said...

If getting hit by a Taser is not serious injury, perhaps the SIU members should volunteer to get a jolt.

Most police training includes being tasered. However, where is the shock administered and for how long? A tiny, half-second shock on the arm or butt, protected by clothing? That's very different than sustained tasering on bare skin and/or in sensitive areas.

In Norway, alleged killer Anders Breivik had stopped shooting just before the police had arrived. Should the Norwegian police have shot or tasered Mr. Breivik after he had stopped firing his weapon(s)?

Many people (not me) would answer yes to this question. Vigilante justice, on the spot. But the teenagers in London were not committing mass murder. They were just fighting. Fighting is easily stopped without the use of weaponry.

James said...

Well, the ol' home town is sticking true to form, I guess.

Back when Lori was in high school, some of her classmates were involved in Klan-style cross burnings. When I was at UWO, some of the same kids made a practice of showing up at the Jewish community centre on Kristallnacht to sing Deutchland Uber Alles, and a local group (not associated with the university) had David Duke as a guest at a Revival meeting. So, more of the same.

Stephanie said...

Sad but true...

1. Not only the incidents that took place this week

but also

2. the history that James recalls.

You may recall (I believe there was a discussion here) that a regular mayoral candidate is a proud white supremacist.

laura k said...

You may recall (I believe there was a discussion here) that a regular mayoral candidate is a proud white supremacist.

We talked about it here in relation to Mississauga. (And we bus ad fight!) So the same guy runs in London as well?

Gee, all the people I know from London, Ontario are lefties, rabble rousers, iconoclasts, geeks, bums... :)

laura k said...

* won the

Stephanie said...

The London candidate is not the same as the Mississauga candidate but ours is just as embolden. He does not shy away from public displays of hatred.

Stephanie said...

Gee, all the people I know from London, Ontario are lefties, rabble rousers, iconoclasts, geeks, bums...

Hey, sounds like you are talking about my friends. :)

Sometimes I worry that we are all isolating ourselves inside a comfortable lefty bubble while the ugliest part of this city continues to grow fat and grotesque. After all, it was a group of so-called citizens that brought Anne Coulter to the city. The last federal election was particularly difficult. I think the bubble was burst. :(

James said...

Gee, all the people I know from London, Ontario are lefties, rabble rousers, iconoclasts, geeks, bums... :)

London is really three completely different cities superimposed on each other: a conservative blue-collar factory town, a liberal university town, and a millionaire enclave up north.

It's the first of those that gave us people like Julian Fantino, and the second that produced all those leftie rabble-rousers.