Dr. Dawg

Ottawa police brutality: carte blanche from OIPRD

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It sure didn’t take long for the spanking new, much-touted Office of the Independent Police Review Director to prove itself a hollow shell, did it?

The excellent piece of reportage by the Ottawa Citizen’s Gary Dimmock linked to above has already been extensively reviewed by Ottawa blogger Zoom, with an interesting angle added over at DAMMIT JANET! by deBeauxOs. But it’s worthwhile reviewing the facts and drawing the depressing conclusions that we must.

The fact is that a fifteen-year-old is a child, or not much more than a child. In Canada, you can’t beat a child and get away with it—unless you’re a brute with a badge, like Constable Thomas McFadden.

The unarmed kid was up to some trifling horseplay in a school yard when he was set upon by McFadden, and hit so hard and so often in the head that the constable broke his hand. Medical evidence also indicates that the cop actually bit the kid on the shoulder as well—had he run out of donuts?

OIPRD concluded that the youngster has been struck in the face at least three times, and kneed by another officer.

This was all done in front of witnesses, who say the boy wasn’t resisting. The officers were in plain clothes, no badges in sight.

One witness reports:

“Both men ran after him and tackled him to the ground … They were hitting (him) on the face, head and neck. They were asking him to put out his hands; however, when he tried to bring them forward the men would hit him more.

“(The boy) was trying to get his hands out when asked and he was trying to cover his face to get them to stop hitting him. The men kept asking (the boy) to put out his hands. (The boy) told them, ‘I’m trying, so stop hitting me,’ according to the witness statement in the investigation report obtained by the Citizen.

“Once (the boy’s) hands were cuffed, one of the officers put his knee on (the boy’s) neck and hit him one more time. I remember one of the officers asking (the boy) ‘How old are you? 13 or 14?’”

When the kid’s mother went to the police station to complain about the behaviour of the manly McFadden, the cops knew what to do almost by instinct—they charged the boy with assault on a police officer.

The investigators who “cleared” the brave McFadden didn’t bother interviewing the doctor who had treated the youngster. The latter noted the bite mark on the boy’s shoulder, a detail affirmed later by a forensic pathologist who examined photographs during the OIPRD “investigation.”

A female officer faked up some notes in which she claimed that she hadn’t seen the boy hit, and that McFadden’s badge was clearly visible. Her original notes had contained no such details.

Unbelievably, however, the moral imbeciles at OIPRD concluded in their report that McFadden would have been entitled to use pepper-spray and a baton on the unarmed youngster as well, had the spirit moved him.

So much for civilian review, which even some of us sceptics thought would be an improvement on police investigating themselves.

The OIPRD people have shown themselves to be nothing more than a functioning cog in the system, there not to protect citizens, but to rationalize the brutality of those who are supposed to “serve and protect.” Like the Crown Attorney’s office, no doubt pressing ahead with the bogus assault charge to torture the kid even further, OIPRD is a cover, a blind, a standing alibi for the worst excesses of our girls and boys in blue.

This event tells us that not even our children are safe from these hooligans. The Ottawa police are literally out of control. Not a single component of the system is there to protect and defend the rights of individual citizens when they are casually violated by police officers.

If what McFadden did to this boy meets “accepted standards” for the use of force, as OIPRD claims, perhaps the same standards might be applied to those who physically defend themselves against unwarranted and unjustified police thuggery. But somehow I don’t believe the system is that even-handed.

The Stacy Bonds case told us that something was very wrong with the Ottawa police and their allies in the Crown Attorney’s office. This new outrage tells us, not that our institutions continue to fail us, but that they are actually constructed to keep the citizenry cowed and fearful.

What is to be done? Comments, as always, are welcome.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on May 25, 2011 5:53 AM.

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