You know me, I’m the guy who stood-up at the planning meeting for Occupy Vancouver and stuck-out like a sore thumb after saying “Aren’t the police members of the 99%?” I meant that then, as I mean it now- that said, the police who came to our encampment at Occupy Toronto today have shown that this part of our family is rather dysfunctional…
First, I must make a disclaimer here- the occupiers who were involved in this situation could have handled themselves better. It was a difficult situation, and a couple of them got caught in the emotion of the situation. That said, their reactions were not nearly on-par with the beatings they received by the police tonight.
That said, the police who were involved in this situation should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Rather than de-escalate the situation, they turned-up the volume to maximum and cranked-up the violence in a way I never could have imagined for such a situation. Do they not receive training for this sort of thing? Or, perhaps they slept through this part of the training?
In this first video you will see the officer in-question asking the Occupiers to stop filming him. The video is being filmed by the Occupier in the picture at the top of this article- as you will see, she turned the camera away from the officer, despite having the right to film in a public space. So, this part is good, though telling about what would happen shortly.
The next stage is where one of our Occupiers makes a mistake and begins to lose his control. Unfortunately, rather than properly assess the situation and de-escalate, they immediately jump at him and throw on handcuffs. If it weren’t for their overeagerness to arrest this occupier, the situation would probably not have gone much further.
But it did…
I’ll leave both of these videos without adding commentary. But I will say one thing loud & clear. The police screwed-up here, big time. Good policing means to de-escalate a situation, and they failed miserably in this situation. And, it seems a big part of it is due to one particular officer not wanting his work to be filmed.
The part of this situation that really disturbs me is that we had the permission of the property manager to be in this space. The only thing he asked of us was that the homeless occupiers don’t put up any tents. And they didn’t have any tents up this day. So, it needs to be investigated why the police decided they would come and try to evict the occupation this afternoon.
Regardless, what happened today didn’t have to have gone this way. I’m sure that the Occupiers involved will learn a lesson or two- let’s hope that the police do also. This is not the sort of thing that should be happening in Canada. And, the level of injuries faced by the Occupiers are not nearly equal to the threat they posed to the police.
Put simply, they acted in a brutish and unprofessional manner today…