To Serve and Protect – Yeah, Right

With all due apologies but absolutely no accusations to KayJai’s husband, I would like to state, as delicately and tactfully as I can, that I regard anyone who unswervingly and continuously believes in Absolutes of any sort, as stupid, gullible, closed-minded and deeply into denial.  Religion, particularly Christianity, in Canada produces people whose arguments to save face become laughably Byzantine.  When the book and movie, The DaVinci Code came out, there were those who just could not see the possibility that Bishop Aringarosa would commit a small sin to prevent the commission of many large sins and save the Catholic Church and its way of life.  He’s a priest, they wailed.  He wouldn’t do that.

If you point to a news article about a priest charged with sexual assault, the answer is, “It’s an anomaly”.  When you point to another report of a diddling priest, it’s just another anomaly.  A third report, a week later gets labelled as yet another anomaly.  How many anomalies are there in a trend?  No matter how Holy or well-intentioned, all people are human.  The Holiness or good intentions may help hold them above the level of the common man, but, To Err Is Human, and human they remain.  Not every man who becomes a priest, does so just to serve God, and not every (wo)man who enrolls to be a cop, does so with the altruistic intent to Serve and Protect.

In accordance with the above stated opinion, all subsequent absolute statements should be viewed as conditional.  Police don’t want Law and Order, they want peace and quiet.  Police officers have my admiration.  I don’t think that I could put up with the s**t that they have to, day after day.  However, there are lines that should not be crossed, and valid reasons for not crossing them.  Some guys become cops because they were schoolyard bullies and want to continue to enjoy the feel of pushing others around.  Some become so convinced that they, and their cause are (Holy) correct, that, like Dan Brown’s bishop, the only sin is to get caught.

Police forces are driven by testosterone and absolute faith in their rightness.  Watch any cop movie or TV show.  I know it’s illegal to – Hack this computer – Search this house – Hold this guy without charges, but, we’re the good guys, so, do it anyway.  In the movie An Innocent Man, Tom Selleck’s character went to jail to cover up the fact that two, inept drug detectives illegally and incorrectly entered the wrong address.  It happens in real life, out on the street.  Two Toronto police officers, out looking for a “suspicious person” named Raymond,(no description) tried to stop Joseph Williams, on his way home after work.  They demanded that he stop and produce identification.  He, none too politely told them to P**s-off and go harass someone else.  It is alleged that they then beat the snot out of him for not respecting them and their orders.  His facial injuries are not alleged.  They were photographically displayed in area newspapers.  Perhaps he allegedly fell down the same set of stairs, three or four times.

The police do not like it when citizens do their job for them.  A Chinese flower merchant in Toronto had been shoplifted by the same drug addict seven times.  The merchant had reported each theft and offered to identify the culprit.  He was told by the police that, since the theft was not occurring at that moment, there was nothing they could, or would do.  The thief came in an eighth time, in the morning, and returned for another snatch and grab later the same afternoon.  The merchant spotted him, and he and a male clerk grabbed the guy, tied him up and put him in the company van.  They then immediately called the police to come and get him.

The police came out….and arrested the merchant and his clerk.  If a crime is not happening, at the moment, a citizen’s arrest is not legal.  They were charged with assault and forcible confinement.  The clerk, like most retail workers, had a box cutter.  He didn’t use it or threaten to, but was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon.

A week later, all charges against the clerk were withdrawn, but the merchant endured another eight months of legal intimidation before a trial judge finally threw out his charges as well.  The druggie/shoplifter was brought in to testify against him.

An Indian restaurant owner reported that someone had broken into his car, parked in an alley behind the business, and his GPS unit had been stolen.  Tough luck, was the official police response.  He put up video surveillance equipment.  A week later he got film of a man who broke into the vehicle and took a digital camera and a laptop.  Two weeks later, he noticed someone attempting to get into the vehicle again, as it was happening.  He grabbed a broom and ran into the alley.  Anesthetized past caring about the broom, but disturbed that his midnight value sale had been interrupted, the miscreant forced the owner back into his restaurant, uttering threats against him, and his wife and children, who were upstairs.  The cook grabbed a bowl of his chicken curry powder and threw it in his face.

When the police arrived, they arrested (Are you ready for it?), the shop owner again.  The charges this time were assault and administering a noxious substance.  Apparently, protecting property, business and the life and safety of yourself and your family is not allowed to be performed by anyone but a policeman.  I’m just cynical enough to wonder what would have happened if these two had been white merchants in Rosemount.

The strange added fillip to these stories is a (Well, they can’t DEMAND) strong request by the police department for the newspapers to cease and desist from printing negative articles which show the force in a bad light.  The excuse is that these are ongoing investigations and the police aren’t allowed to comment, to give their side of the story.  I might feel a little sympathetic except, all information printed came from official sources.  An authorized police official gave copies of the police blotter, showing the shop-owners’ reports and complaints.  The Provincial Crown Attorney (State Assistant DA, for you Americans) revealed all charges, as well as hearing and trial dates, and another police liaison officer released copies of both of the surveillance videos.

I’d sooner have the police than not have them, but they’re not perfect.  I’d sooner have them honest and sympathetic to those they’re charged to protect, than hyped up on the steroid of power and doing what they THINK is right, or what pleases them and makes them look good.

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