Toronto police enjoying a very special TGIF this week
More than anyone else in this city, the Toronto police (or at least their media people) are probably ready for this week to come to a rapid close. Things started badly enough, with the first of Rosie DiManno’s columns and the Ontario ombudsman’s report coming out Tuesday. The week continued to get worse with speculation over whether police Chief Bill Blair would lose his job (unlikely), and Blair had to respond by addressing the press from a conference in Victoria, B.C. Yesterday morning, Blair told CBC’s Matt Galloway that the police force had finally identified 14 police officers involved in the beating of Adam Nobody.
The PR drubbing for the cops got worse again yesterday, as Andre Marin reiterated the findings of his report, taking issue with the cops’ defenders, who claim that the G20 fence rule wasn’t that big a deal because, hey, only two people were arrested:
In the end, when measuring the impact of Regulation 233/10 on civil liberties, it is far too simple to count the number of people arrested. What also has to be counted is the number of people stopped under its authority … Arrests are, of course, the most extreme intrusion that Regulation 233/10 offered. But counting arrests is a glib sound-bite, not a serious response to the impact this legislation had on Ontario’s citizens.
As at least one Queen’s Park watcher has noted, a press release in which Andre Marin bashes soundbites is one worth saving for a rainy day. That said, this has been a pretty bad week—and an even worse two weeks—for the Toronto police, during which the agreed-upon story of the G20 changed dramatically from “police may have over-reacted” to “largest civil rights violation in Canadian history,” thanks to many, but with a special shout-out to DiManno, whose columns seem to have really lit a fire.
• 14 officers at G20 altercation identified [Globe and Mail]
• DiManno: More needed than ‘glib’ answer on G20 [Toronto Star]
• No ‘blue wall’ blocking investigators [Toronto Sun]
• Ontario Ombudsman statement on G20 arrests and detentions [Ontario Ombudsman]