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G20 update: police chief Bill Blair opens mouth, inserts foot

Earlier this week, Toronto’s chief of police Bill Blair was on CBC’s Metro Morning with Matt Galloway when he made an odd accusation: that the Special Investigation Unit had relied on “false” and “tampered” evidence showing the police tackling and arresting Adam Nobody. Blair went on to call Nobody a “violent, armed offender” and said the video of his arrest should never have been used as evidence against police. It turns out that people listen to statements like that, even if they’re made on the CBC. Yesterday, the head of the SIU announced he’s reopening the investigation.

So says the Toronto Star:

“In my view, the assertions by Chief Blair and the contents of the affidavit sworn by Mr. Bridge [the creator of the video] satisfy the criteria of being materially new information with respect to the Nobody incident,” said SIU director Ian Scott.

“Accordingly, I am reopening this investigation. I will be asking Chief Blair to provide the SIU with any further relevant information he has with respect to this incident and more specifically any forensic evidence in his possession regarding the allegation of tampering with the video tape. The SIU will also be requesting an interview with Mr. Bridge.”

We don’t know if Blair plays poker on his off nights, but we believe his bluff has just been called. What makes this so funny is that the SIU had already given up on laying any charges in these cases—Blair could have let this whole issue die if he’d kept quiet for a bit. Now, because he felt the need to call a citizen a liar and a violent offender on the airwaves, Blair has a big put-up-or-shut-up problem to deal with.

When the chief of police has lost even the Toronto Sun editorial board, it’s probably time for a strategic retreat and, perhaps, an apology.

SIU reopens investigation into G20 arrest [Toronto Star]

• Metro Morning: November 29 2010 [CBC Radio] • Chief Blair climbs on a flimsy limb: Editorial [Toronto Sun] • SIU reopens probe into G20 arrest [National Post]

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