On Tuesday, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OACP) marched against poverty. How marching helps eliminate poverty I have no idea, although many socialists believe that “raising awareness” is as important as raising taxes. Anyway, some clever clogs snapped a pic of an overweight police sniper on a nearby rooftop, with his rifle hidden beneath a ledge. The image caused a frisson of fear amongst the faithful. The Toronto Sun reported the resulting web traffic with a suitably skeptical editorial eye . . .
With all of the social media chatter Wednesday about this sniper’s rifle photographed on a terrace at Toronto Police headquarters, you’d swear it had been fired at protesters.
This did not happen. In fact the gun, which in pictures is resting on the ground, was never supposed to be seen by the public. However, like it did during the G20 [Summit], citizen journalism has struck once again.
When the Sun’s jobbing journo contacted his copper pals about the sniper non-situation, the Canadian po-po resisted the urge to go all mealy-mouthed—until they did . . .
“Our main concern is public safety,” said Const. Tony Vella. “There were a number of officers called in to assist including the ETF and they brought in their equipment.”
Tactical rifles are part of that.
“You just never know what could occur and it’s better to be well-equipped instead of under-equipped,” Vella said. “We received information that there would be a lot more people attending and that there could be violence associated with it.”
Do they have a formula for that? If X number of people attend a rally with Y amount of possible violence, then deploy the Weight Watchers Crowd Watcher Sniper Guy. Does that calculation include the possibility of violence by or against the cops? Inquiring minds want to know.
‘Cause the OACP are certainly no friends of the The Man. Check this little diddy from the blurb promoting their rally commemorating the International Day of Action Against Police Brutality.
Despite the trillions of dollars stolen, embezzled and extorted by banks and finance companies that led to this recession, the police are not in the habit of kicking down doors on Bay St. But they are kicking down doors, ticketing, arresting, beating and killing people in poor communities . . .
The police are guilty. Homeless people and people with mental health issues are routinely harassed, beaten and sometimes killed by police in this city. Non-status women seeking a safe haven from abuse are dragged out of shelters by Immigration enforcement officers on tips from two regular sources: the police, and the very abusers these women are attempting to escape. Racialized communities are targeted daily by police.
Sun scribe Joe Warrington has sympathy for the protestors, who shall overcome. Someday.
“Certainly a sniper rifle that could tear people apart is concerning but it also will not intimidate us,” said [the OCAP’s John] Clarke. “They will do what they do and we will still do what we do.”
There was a time when I would likely have dismissed Clarke and deferred to police but post-G20, neither organization can boast pristine hands.
Some of OCAP’s actions in the past have been disturbing but those were equalled in my view by police during the G20 in the many cases of unnecessary brutality and civil rights violations.
While I still have great regard for cops on the street and in the divisions, I don’t have as much confidence in the command as we await these slow moving reports on how they handled things during the G20. The jury is out on their competence and decision-making acumen.