Posts Tagged ‘Police Brutality’

Pathological Pain

July 5, 2010

I’ve noticed and heard others describe a disturbingly common tendency to pathologically justify extreme violence toward protesters. A “they deserve whatever they get” mentality that in its extreme enjoys watching a police officer beating someone lying on the ground.

I have an over powering feeling that this pathological justification of violence comes from a place which says “I’ve had to work all my life and sit up straight and try to fit into what my family, my social group, my job and my society told me to be. How dare you inconvenience me, threaten me, by stepping outside those bounds.” It is a reaction to pain. To being in pain, while others dance.

I went through these feelings in my own way. I used to be very scientific, and I still have an immense respect for those who truly devote their lives to understanding and plumbing the depth and beauty of the physical universe. However, that way of being conflicted greatly with my awakening experiences of energetic reality, and not just in the purely rational sense. From somewhere within me a voice came, “How dare you follow these touchy-feely, airy-fairy senses when we’ve fought so hard just for the right to teach evolution. How dare you dance in colours and light and beauty while we trudge on and fight for simple facts. How dare you claim power and meaning and sight while we struggle for grants and tenure.”

There is a reason that just making a scene can be illegal in our society.

Sacred clowns, fools, jesters, and scapegoats. Societies need people to fill these roles, and when you step outside the bounds you just volunteered. You become the appropriate expression for what we feel as a society, but are not allowed to say. Protesters, queers, indigenous peoples, you just volunteered and what we have to say is “someone thought it was okay to threaten us to conform, so it’s alright to do it to you.”

Stories of the G20 Detainees: Do you need to be told that this is wrong?

July 4, 2010

Photo taken from the following CBC news story.

The experiences of the G20 detainees are starting to come out:

“Taylor says he was in a 12×20 foot cell, with about 40 men aged 16 to 78. Seven hours into custody, “a shout for water breaks into a little riot, all cells yelling water, shaking the cages, and kicking at the doors.” Nine hours in, he says, his cell got water.

He says they weren’t given toilet paper initially. Later, officers gave prisoners a few sheets, but going to the bathroom was difficult in handcuffs. His girlfriend, Kate, says the girls made human walls when using the bathroom and helped wipe each other” – From Tommy Taylor’s Story.

“He says he was taken to the detention centre, where he was left in plastic handcuffs for 10 hours. He was the first in the cell, by the end of the night there were 25. Bercarich says he received a cup of water after five hours and was given a stale cheese sandwich, that made him vomit. He asked for medical attention but was refused, he says. At one point, an officer upon finishing his apple, threw the core at the cell and people grabbed at it in hunger. He was released by midnight. “Before I left an officer said to me ‘We’ll be watching you all. If you show up ay another protest we will snatch you up.’ That’s still in my head. It’s intimidating,” said Bercarich. No charges were laid and he never got the opportunity to make a phone call.” From Geoffrey Bercarich’s Story

“Around 9 p.m., Berrigan was taken to the detention centre. She would be released 7 p.m. the next day. During that time, she was fed a cheese sandwich and around 5 a.m. she was offered a cup of water. Berrigan says she was fingerprinted, strip searched and placed in small 6×6 footcage with four other girls. She believes someone who had been peppersprayed was there before them, leaving some on the cage, because several of them began noticing burning sensations on their body and face. Later, upon request, she was taken to another cell. At 1:30 p.m., she was taken to court and charged with obstruction and unlawful demonstration.” – From Emily Berrigan’s Story

Find Out What Happened at the Toronto G20

July 1, 2010

Please find out what happened during the Toronto G20. It’s scary as hell.

The articles I’ve found most informative:

Straight Goods:
“Things Changed at Queen Street”
“Leaders Play, People Pay”

Mostly Water:
Journalists Illegally Detained and Searched en Mass
Bedlam Continues to Reign in Toronto

Montreal Gazette:
‘Secret’ law lets police arrest for failing to show ID near summit

The Globe and Mail:
Toronto police knew they had no extra arrest powers
Bill Blair admits there was no outside perimeter law – G20

The Cliff Notes version goes like this:

Downtown Toronto was selected as the location for the G20 when there are a number of more suitable locations and venues easily available. Toronto could be locked down enough to disrupt normal life, but not enough to prevent intentional violence. The security budget for this G20 was over 900 million dollars, which is outrageously large in comparison to similar security budgets for G20s held in the UK and US. A “secret law” was passed stating that anyone within a 5 metre distance of the security perimeter could be arrested if they did not present ID (It later came out that there was no law that gave the police that authority, but they did not inform the public of this). During the summit and protests two police squad cars were parked near Queen St. and Spadina and abandoned by the police with their windows rolled down. Later that day one of the cars was set on fire. Police and the fire dept. responded, surrounding the vehicle and putting out the fire. Hours later the second squad car was set on fire and allowed to grow into the tower of flames that has by his point become iconic. Curious on lookers were attracted to the smoke. Police in riot gear responded to the fire, but instead of simply surrounding the vehicle and waiting for the fire dept. they aggressively pushed all onlookers back and into an active intersection. In the evening an entire intersection full of protesters and those going about their daily lives was surrounded and held for several hours during a rain storm before being arrested and detained. Buses were brought in to give police shelter from the rain. Ultimately, over a 1000 people were arrested during the summit, many of them detained for hours or days in makeshift holding facilities. During these events the black bloc, as the black clad vandals have come to be known, seemed to move and act with impunity. The police primarily focused on confronting and detaining large groups of people, as opposed to actually stopping the small groups responsible for the ongoing vandalism.

The ultimate result of the events surrounding the G20 work in the favor of Canada’s present Conservative government. The images of burning police cars and vandalized stores will serve to paint political activism and anything else which confronts its rampant hyper-capitalism as criminal and unworthy of respect.

Peter Watts Beaten, Pepper-sprayed Before Leaving US, Charged with Assaulting a Federal Officer

December 13, 2009

Science fiction author and science commentator Peter Watts has had an altercation with US border officials while attempting to return to Canada from the US. He is being charged with assaulting a federal officer, which could result in two years jail time if he is convicted. The whole situation seems highly irregular and my bias and support are firmly behind Watts, who says he was assaulted without provocation after exiting his vehicle and repeatedly asking why he was being searched. Read his account on his blog here.

The National Post article can be found here.

The legal fees for Watts’ defense against the US Govt. could prove ruinous in his modest financial situation as well. Such is the life of a non-mainstream author who gives away much of his work. Many of his fans and friends have already donated to help with his impending legal fees. If you feel compelled to follow suit I encourage to you to do so at The Niblet Memorial Kibble Fund.