SIU charges Toronto officer in Adam Nobody beating, as poll shows confidence in police slipping

SIU charges Toronto officer in Adam Nobody beating, as poll shows confidence in police slipping

In a YouTube video, Nobody is shown being tackled by police during a G20 protest at Queen’s Park (Image: SIU handout) 

Breaking news today as the SIU—the body looking into police behaviour during the G20—announces it has finally, after the second attempt, managed to find an example of lawbreaking among the cops. Constable Babak Andalib-Goortani is being charged with assault with a weapon and will appear in court January 24, 2011. This is all a result of the now-infamous assault on Adam Nobody, whose case is one of the more obviously questionable ones to come out of that weekend.

Apparently, something about the random nature of police violence has turned Canadians against their boys in blue. According to an EKOS poll commissioned by the CBC, confidence in law enforcement remains high nationwide, but it’s slipping in places with recent scandals about police and the use of force.

In Toronto, 28 per cent of respondents said their trust has decreased.  In Ottawa, despite a smaller sample size of only 86 people surveyed, there were some differences showing higher levels of distrust.

“It really struck a chord in Ottawa — the abuses of the young makeup artist that was detained and really mishandled badly in terms of how things worked when she got to the jail,” said Frank Graves.

He was referring to the case of Stacey Bonds, who is suing police for $1.2 million after her violent detention and strip-search was captured on jailhouse video.

The sample sizes for individual cities are pretty small, so it would be dangerous to draw clear lessons from this poll. But let’s anyway: it sure seems likely that when confronted with video evidence of police exceeding their powers and dishing out violence that doesn’t appear justified, many (though not most) are less inclined to cut the police some slack.

Maybe the news of Andalib-Goortani’s charge will start to lift Toronto’s opinion of the police, or at least their capacity for controlling themselves. It’s hardly a clean slate for the cops, and we’d love to see somebody other than a ground-level policeman get seriously investigated for the G20 mess, but it’s a start.

SIU: Toronto Police Service Police Officer Charged [Marketwire]
• Public faith in local police still high: EKOS [CBC News]