||Listen, it's not like I have a hardon for cops. I recognize the need for police forces to keep law and order in our society and restore it when it is compromised. Otherwise we'd have anarchy.
BUT....the police take their marching orders from bureaucrats and politicians. They enforce the laws made by these people in the name of society at large. If for some reason, the politicians go off the rails, and enact undemocratic, unfair, discriminatory laws or in some cases draconian laws embodying racism, stifling political desent, and ultimately genocide, it will be the police on the front line enforcing the laws. Why? Because it is their duty to obey their superiors, just like the army, regardless of the morality involved.
Why do I mention this? Because it is the very dark side of police work that exists in many countries of the world. To believe that it couldn't happen here in passive Canada is naive. Look no further than the APEC scandal, a government sanctioned, police enforced suppression of the right of free speech.
Who can forget the Police Riot on August 7th, 1971. I know I don't because it was my birthday and I was enjoying a beer in the Dominion Hotel bar at the time. This was a classic case of irresponsible politicians, Mayor Tom Campbell and his alderpersons, stirring up hatred and divisions in our society by declaring war on the youth counter culture. And who carried out these policies? Why the police of course; bashing passive pot smokers over the head with night sticks, beating tourists, real estate developers, a pregnant woman and just about anyone else unlucky enough to be in Gastown that day.
What about the starlight tour of Stanley Park where the cops beat up some hapless low level Granville Street dealers? What about the three off duty drunk racist cops who went on a rampage beating newspaper delivery man, Phil Khan?
Cops are human, and make mistakes. This is understood. The problem comes in when the mistake is denied, charges are not laid or are stayed, of if made, the court throws out the case, or in the very unlikely event of a cop being convicted, the penalty is invariabley a slap on the wrist.
The thin blue line has its code of silence: Never rat out another brother officer, regardless of what he does. And what does this do? Why it encourages perjury on the part of officers covering up for their colleagues when writing reports and testifying in court.
I had a funny one once in traffic court. The motorcycle cop busted me for going through a yellow light.. When I got to court the cop testified it was a red light I went through. I argued that it was yellow. Guess who the judge believed? As I was leaving the courtroom the cop told me I should have asked to read his notes, they would have said it was a yellow light. Two lessons learned; cops perjure themselves and always ask to see their report because it is your right to do so.
When have you ever heard a cop who fucked up say, "I fucked up." When has a cop ever received the charge, conviction and sentence that any average citizen would get for the same crime.
Look at the Braidwood Inquiry, where at first the cops wouldn't testify, then they did. Their stories were inconsistant, their excuses for using excessive force outright lies. The RCMP brass stonewalled, denied, and lied as well. And what is the result? Nothing. Cops skate free after giving Robert Dziekanski a free trip to heaven.
In addition to being liars, these cops are cowards. When four beefy, well trained men can't tackle a suspect like any defensive BC. Lion back, something is wrong. When these cops say they felt in danger of their lives by a stapler they should be sent to Afghanistan where the bad guys actually fight back. Then we'd see if the four officers actually have 8 balls between them. They had night sticks, pepper spray, their fists, their Tasers and their guns. Any one of the first three options would have solved the problem without loss of life. But why? Because they knew there would be no charges against them...and they were right.
Their bosses, the RCMP brass also stonewalled, lied and tried to cover up the whole thing. And the damn inquiry has no mandate to charge the cops or their masters. So what else is new?
Many years ago I met a retired senior RCMP officer who told me 10% of cops signed up because the really believe they can make a difference by protecting and serving the public. He said that another 10% are bums, dangerous men who have no business being cops and to watch our for them and 80% who just want a job just like any other public employee with a pension and benefits. I tend to think the first and second groups would be more like 40% for the former and 20% for the latter with 40% being glorified postal workers.
What cops, and particular the brass don't seem to get is, that if they turn in their bad apples, they will gain the public trust; if they bust the bad ones in a timely manner, make sure they are charged with the same charges any citizen would get for the same malfeasance, the public would believe that cops were to be trusted and truly are the good guys. Every time a cop is charged, the police spokesman spins the story in favour of the cop, the brass intone the usual, "we are investigating this internally," the charges are dropped or reduced and in court the cop skates free or gets a slap on the wrist.
That said, I have great respect for Vancouver Police Chief Chu. For the first time that I am aware, a senior cop apologized and admitted to police abuse of 52 people in the Downtown Eastside. He also apologized for the abuse of Province reporter Jason Payne and the confiscation of his camera.
So despite the police code of silence, which is not unlike the Mafia code of omertà, cops should know they serve the people first and be willing to hold their brothers to the behavior they are sworn to uphold. Internal affairs officers should be respected, not reviled by their fellow members.
Cops should be held to a higher standard as they have the sworn duty to uphold the law not a get-out-of-jail-free card if they break it. Maybe they should suffer double the punishment a normal citizen would. Cops carry guns and have the right to restrict a person's freedom. This is a tremendous power and should be used properly.
The Canadian people have lost all respect for our police, not to mention our judges and laws in regards to a host of criminal issues.
Misconduct among City Police forces is way more common that we hear about and in the RCMP it is systemic and they know it.
Public confidence needs to be restored and the way to do that is through vetting potential recruits with psychological testing. What kind of person wants to be a cop? Macho, dominating, bullshit bullies should be shown the door. And basic honesty is a must.
When police commit crimes they should be charged, tried and sentenced like any other citizen and not given the preferential treatment and attendant excuses for their behavior.
Finally, there needs to be civilian oversight. Ex-cop ombudsmen don't cut it. Investigations by other cops, inside the department or from other police department doesn't cut it. Police should answer to a board composed of average citizens. Throw in a cop, a lawyer and maybe a judge to get their sides of it. But common sense and the rule of service to the public must be the absolute goal.
Just my opinion,