Thursday, November 25, 2010

To Serve & Protect The Elites

This might become the iconic photo of today's Canada. If you look at the photo in the National Post article, you will note an unidentified police officer, protected by  other similar-minded and -clad bicycle-patrol officers, giving the boot to demonstrators in Toronto during the G20 summit.  No charges will be levied against any of the officers, an article in the National Post says:

The province’s Special Investigations Unit will not lay any criminal charges after probing the cases of six men who alleged police injured them during the June G20 summit in Toronto, despite evidence at least some of them were in fact assaulted by police.

In each investigation — details of which were made public Thursday — SIU director Ian Scott concluded there were no reasonable grounds to lay charges against any identified officer.

All of the complainants were injured on June 26 at various downtown locations.
It's unfortunate that the police in this case have closed ranks, despite, as the article says, "evidence at least some [protesters] were in fact assaulted by police."  Assault is assault, the law says, it being no respector of persons or position. It's especially more grievous when done in a position of authority, while wearing a uniform.

Yet, silence prevails. Doing so lessens the dignity of the majority of police officers in Canada, who do their duty protecting the public with diligence, professionalism and courtesy. But, of course, a few bad apples can ruin the bunch, and with it the reputation of Canadian police officers, both nationally and internationally.

This is especially disturbing given the wonderful work that the police in Canada have been doing with immigrant and ethnic communities the last few years—an effort made all the more difficult since many are fearful of police and authority, having left nations with totalitarian regimes. Images are powerful, and this one is no exception.

The photo and the article might give the impression that the police are there primarily to serve the State and its elites. That would be a blow to democracy. Sadly, for many now, the photo might now give new meaning to the motto: To Serve & To Protect.