Wednesday, February 25, 2009


What impeccable timing by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Police Association. Just as an inquiry is underway into the killing of Robert Dziekansky, shocked five times with a Taser, jumped on and left to die in handcuffs by four RCMP officers, these two national police groups have announced that they want every cop in the country to be armed with the things.

Defending this suggestion was the bare-knuckled authoritarian Julian Fantino, Chief of the Ontario Provincial Police, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Charles Momy, head of the Canadian Police Association. When he was just the President of the Ottawa Police Association, Momy distinguished himself by threatening to sue a man who had been brutalized by two Ottawa Police officers and had the temerity to complain too publicly about it. Both leaders, it is safe to say, have a less than perfect commitment to principles of democracy and accountability.

Fantino claimed that there are "150 studies" that show Tasers are perfectly safe. But, like Sarah Palin and her news sources, he couldn't name even one.

It's salutary for Canadians to obtain these fascinating if repellent glimpses into the minds of some police officers and the people who lead them. I suspect, as the Braidwood Inquiry progresses, that we shall be afforded many more. The question is, however, what are we going to do about these "serve and protect" folks when there are no effective means of forcing public accountability on a regular basis, laughably inefficient internal controls, and differential treatment by the judicial system?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, indeed. A good question, as always--and no answer in sight.

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