“The [legal] system’s not broken; the system was built this way.” Of course it was! Just like it was built to piss on the poor, women, the environment and the Rule of Law itself
“Hey look Ma!! Racists won!!” Ontario Law Society’s Statement of Principles (SOP) abolished by dinosaurs. “Shows how corrupt our legal (definitely not justice!) system is. May all White supremacists rot in hell.” … “It is from this circus of clowns we choose our judges, and it shows in our injustice system.”
Oh Racist Fascist Canada! Too late, again. Democracy is dead.
When Indigenous Assert Rights, Canada Sends Militarized Police
Oh Racist Colonial Canada: As vile under Trudeau as Harper! Police prepared to shoot Wet’suwet’en land defenders; Documents show Commanders argued “lethal overwatch is req’d” – a term for deploying snipers – like in Elsipotog in 2013. RCMP commanders also instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want.”
Many Canadians, notably in the legal & judicial industry, politicians, RCMP/police, claim there’s no systemic racism here. My lawyers, Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless, abruptly quit my lawsuit, harming the public interest, my lawsuit and me, to enable racism in the legal profession. They gave me no warning (Wanless could easily have warned me about shit going on at the firm and sent me my files he has. He did not even though he benefitted most from my lawsuit).
Boris cartoon in Montreal Gazette, June 2, 2020
Ex-Conservative minister Stockwell Day resigns from Telus board, **law firm** after racism denial on CBC by Nick Eagland, June 3, 2020, The Province
Day said systemic racism was not an issue in Canada and compared people’s experiences of racism here to him being mocked for wearing glasses as a child. …
corvak, destroyer of [email protected] Replying [email protected] and @IAMTHESHEED, June 2, 2020
I drive past the Africville museum every day to and from work. Doug Ford doesn’t know shit about canadian history.
Avnish [email protected] May 31, 2020
Ask yourself: why is it OK for Indigenous and Black Edmontonians to be stopped and questioned by the police for no real reason, aside from how they look?
Ex PM Steve Harper’s protect-private-oil & gas-profit harassment and intimidation anti-terrorist squad invaded my private property — without cause, without evidence, without any arrest or fingerprinting, no charges, no evidence, no due process, not one hint of me having maybe broken the law and no hint of me being a danger to anyone. All I had done was live frac’d for years with life-threatening, explosive drinking water thanks to Encana (Ovintiv) breaking the law; research the harms of frac’ing and share my findings/experiences publicly; and filed a lawsuit against Encana, Alberta gov’t and AER.
Instead of AER enforcing their rules and investigating Encana breaking the law, they made shit up to rule I was a criminal. They did this also without cause, without evidence, without any arrest or fingerprinting, no charges, no evidence, no due process, not one hint of me having maybe broken the law and no hint of me being a danger to anyone.
I cannot imagine what I would have had to endure if I was Black or Asian or Indigeneous with this lawsuit. It’s bad enough that I am a woman in misogynistic Alberta speaking out against the polluting law-violating heavily-worshipped oil patch. I expect Encana ‘n Harper’s police boys would have shot me dead on my deck and claimed they found cocaine in the baking soda box in my kitchen or a nail file in the bathroom, made shit up like AER and Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella did.
Remembering 27 Black, Indigenous, and racialized people killed by Canadian police by Desmond Cole, April 17, 2020, That’s a True Story
Last week Canadian police officers shot and killed two indigenous people, Jason Collins and Eishia Hudson, and one Black person, D’Andre Campbell. While Canadian media is quick to identify patterns of racial violence in the United States, there has been no such coverage for Campbell, Hudson, and Collins, three people killed by police in three days.
White supremacy and state violence in Canada persists, and coverage of the current COVID-19 health crisis, which is said to impact us all, obscures the specific ongoing crises of Black and Indigenous health, safety, and survival.
In perhaps the most high-profile police killing in Canadian history, Toronto police officer James Forcillo shot and killed 18 year old Sammy Yatim, a Syrian-born immigrant, in July of 2013. Since Yatim’s murder, at least 26 people who were Black, Indigenous, or belonged to another racialized group have been killed by Canadian police, or have died in their custody. Our fight against police brutality needs to be informed by those whom police have taken from us—we need to know their names and honour their lives.
This memorial is inspired by the “Fact Sheet on Police Violence against the African Community in Canada“, a project by labour organizer and educator Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya, who last updated his work in 2013. In keeping Nangwaya’s work, I describe all people of African descent as “Afrikan”, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.
I identify people from specific First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities by their specific nations in all cases where such information is available; otherwise I cite the person as “Indigenous”. Each name contains a link to a news story with more information.
This memorial can never be complete, nor can it do justice to the memories of those taken from us by police. Still, we honour and remember those taken from us by racism and state violence.
We offer love to their families, friends, and communities.
We also fight, as James Wilt has written recently in response to police violence in Winnipeg, “to ensure such killings never happens again, by abolishing the police and replacing it with truly life-sustaining services that build a better world for all.”
Jason Collins, 36, an Indigenous man, was shot and killed in Winnipeg by unnamed Winnipeg police officers on April 9, 2020. Police responded to a domestic violence call, and claim they left the house after arriving to help de-escalate the situation. Police shot Collins 40 minutes after they arrived at his home, after saying he walked out the front door and threatened them.
Eishia Husdon, a 16-year-old indigenous girl, was shot and killed in Winnipeg, Manitoba by unnamed Winnipeg Police officers on April 8, 2020. Police said they were responding to a robbery of a liquor store by several teenagers, whom they pursued in a car before opening fire. Eishia’s father William Hudson was a close friend of Jason Collins, the 36 year old man shot dead by Winnipeg police only 12 hours after they killed his teenage daughter.
D’Andre Campbell, 26, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Brampton, Ontario by an unnamed Peel Regional police officer on April 7, 2020. Campbell, who lived with mental health issues, called police for help. Police entered Campbell’s his home, and family members say two police each used a taser on him, then one officer shot him with a handgun while he was on the ground.
Randy Cochrane, 30, of Fisher River Cree Nation, died in Winnipeg in the custody of unnamed Winnipeg police officers on July 14, 2019. Doctors say Cochrane died of a heart attack. Witnesses say they saw Cochrane running through residential backyards while shouting for help while being chased by police. His family says he died in handcuffs.
Sean Thompson, 30, of Little Saskatchewan First Nation and Pinaymootang First Nation, died in the custody of unnamed Winnipeg police officers on June 26, 2019. Police say he went into medical distress after being arrested. Thompson’s family say police did not notify them of his death for 30 hours. When they were finally able to see his body, the family saw numerous injuries to his wrists and knees.
Machuar Madut, 43, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from South Sudan, was shot and killed in his Winnipeg, Manitoba apartment building by an unnamed Winnipeg police officer on February 23, 2019. Madut’s family said he lived with mental health issues, and had recently learned he would be evicted. Police said they had no option but to shoot Madut after confronting him with a hammer in his hand.
Greg Ritchie, 30, of Saugeen First Nation, was shot and killed in Ottawa, Ontario by Ottawa police officers Thanh Tran and Daniel Vincelette on January 31, 2019. His family said Ritchie, who lived with mental health issues, was on his way to a local pharmacy to pick up his medication when police shot him. Police say Ritchie was carrying a stick with a rock attached to it. One officer shot Ritchie twice with a taser. Both officers then fired a total of nine times at Ritchie, hitting him three times.
Chad Williams, a 26 year old Indigenous man, was shot and killed in Winnipeg, Manitoba by a unnamed Winnipeg police officers on January 11, 2019. Police chased Williams after saying he fit the description of a man wanted for domestic assault. Police said Williams had a hatchet in one hand, and repeatedly shot him with a taser. Police then shot Williams six times with their handguns.
Jaskamal Singh Lail, 25, an Indo-Canadian man, was shot and killed in Calgary by an unnamed Calgary Police officer on August 31, 2018. His family said he lived with schizophrenia, and struggled for years to find support within the health care system. On the night they took his life, police saw Lail driving in circles in his vehicle. Although they believed Lail was in mental health crisis, police left him alone. Hours later they were called to Lail’s residence a noise complaint, where they confronted the young man, shot him with a plastic bullet, then continued shooting with live rounds.
Nicholas Gibbs, 23, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by an unnamed Montréal police officer on August 21, 2018. Gibbs’ family said he lived with mental health issues. Police shot Gibbs five times, including once in the back, after claiming they approached him to break up a fight between Gibbs and another man.
Olando Brown, an Afrikan man, 32, died in Barrie, Ontario the custody of unnamed Barrie Police officers on June 22, 2018. Police had arrested Brown during a traffic stop and shot him four times with a Taser. Police claim that Brown died after trying to swallow drugs that were in his possession after his arrest. Police covered the camera inside the room where they were searching Brown. SIU investigators were not able to see what happened to Brown in those moments, and accepted the police’s version of events.
Josephine Pelletier, 33, of the Cree Nation and Salteaux First Nation, was shot and killed in Calgary by an unnamed Calgary Police officer on May 17, 2018. Pelletier’s formal education ended at age 12, and she spent the vast majority of her teenage and adult years in jails and prisons, and never received proper support for addictions. Police confronted Pelletier and her teenage son inside a basement apartment, shot the boy with rubber bullets, then shot and killed Pelletier with live ammunition.
Brydon Whitstone, 22, of Onion Lake Cree Nation was shot and killed by RCMP officer Jerry Abbott in North Battleford, Saskatchewan on October 21, 2017. Police claimed they believed Whitstone was reaching for a weapon when they shot him in a stolen car that evening, but the investigation found that Whitstone was not armed. Police aid they began chasing Whitstone and a friend in their vehicle after receiving a report of someone shooting at people from a car. Police later acknowledged this report was not related to Whitstone.
Pierre Coriolan, 58, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from Haiti, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by Montreal police officer Jimmy-Carl Michon on June 27, 2017. Coriolan was living with mental health issues and had just learned he would be evicted. Coriolan was sitting in his apartment when police arrived and confronted him. Police hot Coriolan with a taser and rubber bullets after claiming he was armed with a knife and a screwdriver.
Abdirahman Abdi, 37, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from Somalia, was fatally assaulted in Ottawa, Ontario by Ottawa police officers officers Daniel Montsion and Dave Weir in front of his apartment building on July 24, 2016. Abdi, who lived with his family in the apartment, was living with mental health issues. Weir described Abdi as an imminent threat to his own safety, even though he chased Abdi for 250 meters from a coffee shop to his front door. Montsion arrived and repeatedly punched Abdi in the head with a pair of reinforced gloves that are not authorized for police use.
Bony Jean-Pierre, 46, an Afrikan man, was shot in Montréal, Québec by Montréal Police officer Christian Gilbert on March 31, 2016. Jean-Pierre was running from police during a raid, and attempted to climb out a second floor window. Gilbert saw Jean-Pierre climbing out the window and shot him in the head rubber bullet. Jean Pierre fell from the window, and died of his injuries in hospital several days later.
Kwasi Skene-Peters, 21, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Toronto by two unnamed Toronto police officers on July 25, 2015. Although police were surveilling Skene-Peter for hours and claimed he had a handgun stashed in his car, they allowed him to walk through a parking lot to his car before approaching him and fatally shooting him.
Andrew Loku, 45, an Afrikan man who immigrated to Canada from South Sudan, was shot and killed in the hallway of his apartment building in Toronto, Ontario by Toronto police officer Andrew Doyle on July 5, 2015. Loku lived with mental health issues in a unit leased to him by the Canadian Mental Health Association. Police were called to the apartment after Loku had an argument with a neighbour. Loku was in the hallway with his friend Robin Hicks a police officer entered with her drawn. Another officer arrived and shot Loku twice within seconds of seeing him with a hammer in one hand.
Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, 39, an Afrikan man, was killed in Peterborough, Ontario by a Peterborough Police officer and an Ontario Provincial Police officer, on June 11, 2015. Hassan, a refugee from Somalia who came to Canada in 1993, lived with schizophrenia. Hassan had been held in immigration detention for three years, and had become progressively more ill. On the night of his death, police entered his room in a Peterborough hospital and restrained him by pinning him to his bed and using a towel to cover his mouth.
René Gallant, 45, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by Montréal Police officer Daniel Touchette on May 31, 2015. Police responded to a call regarding domestic violence and shot Gallant in the presence of his partner.
*no photo available*
Marc Ekamba-Boekwa, 22, and Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Mississauga, Ontario, during a confrontation with Peel Regional Police officers Jennifer White, Adam Paiment, and Branden Dary on March 20, 2015. Police shot at Ekamba-Boekwa 18 times, hitting him with eleven bullets. Police also arrested his mother, Boketsu Boekwa, who lives with metal health issues, and charged her with several crimes, including conspiracy to kill police officers and other charges.
*no photo available*
Phuong Na (Tony) Du, 51, who immigrated to Canada from Vietnam, was shot and killed by an unnamed Vancouver Police Department officer on November 22, 2014. Du’s family said he was living with schizophrenia and taking medication for his illness. Police confronted Du in the street and shot him multiple times within 25 seconds of their arrival on the scene.
Jermaine Carby, 33, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Brampton, Ontario by Peel Regional Police officer Ryan Reid on September 24, 2014. Carby was living with mental health issues, including depression, and had been in hospital seeking treatment just days before Reid killed him. Police claimed Carby brandished a knife and threatened police officers during a traffic stop, but SIU investigators didn’t recover a knife on the scene. Hours after the killing, a Peel Regional police officer gave SIU investigators a paper bag containing a knife—the officer claimed he had removed it from the scene after Carby was killed.
Nicholas Thorne-Belance, 5, an Afikan boy, was struck in Longueuil, Québec by Sûrete du Québec officer Patrick Ouellet on February 13, 2014. Ouellet was driving 134 km/h on a 50km/hr residential street zone when he struck a vehicle carrying Thorne-Belance in the backseat. Thorne-Belance died in hospital days later. His sister was also injured in the crash. Police initially cleared Ouellet of any wrongdoing, and he was only charged after public demonstrations led to an independent investigation. Ouellet was convicted of dangerous driving and causing Thorne-Belance’s death—he was sentenced to eight months in jail.
Alain Magloire, 41, and Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Montréal, Québec by an unnamed Montréal Police officer on February 3, 2014. Magloire was homeless at the time and was living with mental illness. Magloire went to hospital more than once in the months leading up to his death, and asked for help from a social worker or psychologist. His family members say he should have been offered treatment.
Ian Pryce, 30, an Afrikan man, was shot and killed in Toronto by Toronto police officers Robert Monteiro and Thomas Mackenzie on November 13, 2013. Pryce lived with schizophrenia. Police say they were executing a warrant for Pryce’s arrest, and shot him after confronting him with a pellet gun in his hands.
Sammy Yatim, 18, who immigrated to Canada from Syria four year earlier, was shot and killed in Toronto, Ontario by Toronto Police constable James Forcillo on July 27, 2013. Yatim was alone on a streetcar when Forcillo approached shot him eight times. Before the police arrived, Yatim, who was in distress and holding a knife, had told the streetcar driver he wanted to speak with his father.
Policing in the US is not about enforcing law. It’s about enforcing white supremacy by Paul Butler, June 1, 2020, The Guardian
Police treatment of two CNN reporters at a George Floyd protest shows the US has opposite systems of justice – one for white people, one for people of color
On Friday the CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was arrested on live television as he covered protests of police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jimenez identifies as African American and Hispanic, and when the cops confronted him, he did just what minority parents tell their kids to do. Jimenez cooperated; he was respectful, deferential even. He said: “We can move back to where you like … We are getting out of your way … Wherever you want us, we will go.”
It didn’t matter; the police officers put handcuffs on him and led him away, and then came back to arrest his crew. Jimenez narrated his arrest as they led him away. His voice is steady. His eyes, though. Jimenez is masked so his eyes are the only clue to what he’s feeling. His eyes are perplexed and terrified. I get it. When a black or brown person goes into police custody, you never know what is going to happen. You just know that when you leave police custody, if you are lucky enough to leave, you will be diminished. That is the point.
What’s most interesting is not that Jimenez and his colleagues were released shortly thereafter without any charges filed (or even being told why they had been taken into custody). That’s what class will buy a black man in America. You don’t get it quite as bad as your lower-income brethren. Jeff Zucker, the CNN president, talked to Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, and the crew was quickly released. With an apology from the governor, not the cops. Cops rarely apologize, especially to black men.
But what’s most interesting is what happened to Josh Campbell, a white CNN journalist who was in the same area as Jimenez and not arrested. Campbell said his experience was the “opposite” of Jimenez’s. The cops asked him “politely to move here and there”. “A couple times I’ve moved closer than they would, like, they asked politely to move back. They didn’t pull out the handcuffs.”
It’s a cliche that the US has two systems of justice, separate and unequal, but I prefer the word Campbell used. The US has “opposite” systems of justice – one for white people and another for racial minorities, especially African Americans, Latinx and Native American people.
White progressives love to focus on class subordination (I see you, Bernie Sanders!) but there is something sticky about race. Jimenez’s professional status and calm demeanor did not stop the police from treating him like a regular black dude – the subject of their vast authority to detain and humiliate. They didn’t have an actual reason and they didn’t need one. Jimenez’s dark skin was the offense.
This is how powerful a drug white privilege is.
Are you paying attention AER, Cory Wanless, Murray Klippenstein and Stop SOP?
Here we have the cops policing a rally protesting police brutality against a black man. Even in that context, when the whole world is watching figuratively, and CNN’s audience is watching literally, the cops can’t help themselves. They go all brutal lite. They play “who’s the man” even when the black man, like Jimenez, goes out of his way to show he already knows who the man is. “You are, officer, Sir.” What the cops round up are the usual suspects and the usual suspects are always black and brown.
People ask why would the police treat another human being like this, and the answer must be because they can
The whole world has seen the sordid violent recording where George Floyd narrates, over 10 minutes, his own demise. Actually, there is not 10 minutes of narration because Floyd goes limp and silent after several minutes, but that does not cause former officer Chauvin to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck. The officers had received a radio run to go to a local store, where Floyd had allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd is across the street from the store, chilling in his car with a couple of friends, when the officers approach like they are apprehending violent offenders. They order Floyd and his friends out of the car, put Floyd in handcuffs, order him to lie face down on the ground, and pin him down with their knees and hands. Floyd complains he can’t breathe. A cop responds: “Well, get up and get in the car.”
I guess that is what you call police humor.
People ask why would the police treat another human being like this, and the answer must be because they can. There are rarely consequences.
US police officers kill about 1,000 people a year (compared with the UK, where in 10 years, law enforcement took a total of 23 lives) and there are rarely consequences. Since 2005, when roughly 15,000 people have been killed by US law enforcement officers, fewer than 150 have been charged with murder.
True, the officers in George Floyd’s case lost their jobs, and now face or will face criminal prosecution. This is only because of the video evidence and the high-profile protests. The reality is that, statistically, even these officers are likely to escape conviction. Of the 150 officers charged with homicide in the line of duty, the majority have been found not guilty or had charges dropped.
For the moment, we who believe in justice are supposed to be satisfied that one cop, four days after the fact, has been taken into custody, when there are multiple videos of that officer with his knee on the victim’s back as the man complains he can’t breathe.
As a black man, and as a former prosecutor, I had no idea it was so difficult to get arrested. US cops arrest about 12,000,000 people a year, but not usually each other. For the rest of us – I mean the rest of us black and brown people – we usually get arrested and charged the same day the cops decide we are guilty. The talk our parents give us about how to act around armed agents of the state is designed not so much to prevent arrests as to preserve life. It worked for Omar Jimenez.
But not for George Floyd. On the ground, dying, George Floyd pleads for his life, respectful as a person can be when he is asking for mercy from the people who are literally crushing the life out of him. He says “please”, “officer”, and calls out to his dead mother.
But the police do not remove their knees and feet and hands from Mr Floyd’s body. They don’t even stop restraining him when his body is limp and silent.
One simple reform would be to not allow the cops to make arrests for any non-violent crime
What’s to be done? Tinkering with the system makes a difference here and there but it is not enough. If a white woman was thought to have tried to use a fake $20 bill, it’s impossible to imagine the police storming her vehicle, ordering her and her friends out, placing her in handcuffs and ultimately her winding up dead. But as long as cops have that kind of power, people of color will bear the brunt. So one simple reform would be to not allow the cops to make arrests for any non-violent crime. Heavens! Can’t do that! White supremacists would go bonkers, notably lawyers, trump, harper, kkkenney and their assault rifle huggin’ klans, etc. It’s a power they can’t be trusted with, because they will abuse it.
In the end, this is not about law enforcement. It’s about enforcing white supremacy.
There’s no tinkering with that, what with white supremacy being the foundation on which the country was built. The consistent big question in the quest for racial justice has been how much white supremacy is central to the identity of the US. This is what Barack Obama and Ta-Nehisi Coates argued about. If we had something approaching equal justice, would we still even be the United States? In order to accomplish that we’d have to change the constitution, which authorizes much of the police violence that communities of color complain about, and the politics which exploits white anxiety about black and brown men.
What does it mean for people of color to live in a country where, for them to have a fair shot, law and government have to be transformed? It means that we should expect more cases like Omar Jimenez and George Floyd, regardless of whether Trump or Biden wins in November.
The real problem, ultimately, is not bad apple cops, even though these four officers are rotten to the core. The real problem is demonstrated in what a bystander told the officers as they restrained him to death. “He’s human, bro.” But Floyd was not human to these officers. Enforcing the dehumanization of people of color has become, in the United States, what you call police work.
• Paul Butler is the Albert Brick professor in law at Georgetown University. A former federal prosecutor, he is the author of Chokehold: Policing Black Men
Ida Bae [email protected] Replying [email protected]:
This is called violently repressing dissent.
Linda [email protected] May 31, 2020:
Put another way: they couldn’t have shot out my eye if they weren’t shooting at all. And the people they’re shooting at are folk protesting decades of violent white supremacy.
We know this cause not a month ago a bunch of MAGA folks also protested and nobody got shot
Michael de Adder cartoon, June 1, 2020:
An excellent listen:
Photojournalist, Linda Tarado, blinded after police shoot rubber bullet at her during protests by Rachel Sadler, May 31, 2020, newshub.co.nz
A US-based photojournalist covering the protests in Minneapolis has been left permanently blind in one eye after police shot a rubber bullet at her face.
Linda Tirado, who was wearing protective goggles at the time, needed surgery after her eyeball burst when she was shot on Friday (local time).
But it luckily wasn’t her “photography eye” that was damaged so it isn’t “career-ending”.
“I can still see flowers and sunsets, just maybe I won’t be able to tell how far away they are,” she wrote on Twitter.
“So I’m gonna keep reporting from Minneapolis until we figure out how to get me and my car home cause I can’t drive anymore.”
Tirado returned to capture the riots just hours after being discharged from hospital.
“I’ve been back at work for five hours now. My job is to witness and they only got my left eye. My right one is good to go.”
She says some people used her injury as an argument the protests should stop, which she strongly disagreed with.
“It comes to my attention that some folks are using my injury to argue that people should stop protesting. F**k that, stay in the streets double for me, cause I can’t. It was police who shot me, not protesters.
“It was protesters who got me to the hospital, who gave me medical supplies and acted as my eyes when I couldn’t see past the blood and swelling. I am not your establishment’s argument. And I am happy to tell you so directly.” She isn’t the first journalist to be caught up in the riots. CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and three crew members were arrested live on television, and police gave no reason for his arrest. …
Protesting is not complaining, it is not sending out negative messages. ‘Pro’ means ‘for,’ ‘in favour of.’ ‘Test’ means, ‘to speak,’ as in testify and testimony. ‘Protest’ means ‘to speak for’ and is a positive endeavor.
Police Erupt in Violence Nationwide by Matthew Dessem, May 31, 2020, Slate.com
With nightmare clips.
Remember, No One Is Coming to Save Us, Eventually doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait for a cure for racism by Roxane Gay, May 30, 2020, The New York Times
… And even during a pandemic, racism is as pernicious as ever. Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting the black community, but we can hardly take the time to sit with that horror as we are reminded, every single day, that there is no context in which black lives matter.
Breonna Taylor was killed in her Louisville, Ky., home by police officers looking for a man who did not even live in her building. She was 26 years old. When demonstrations erupted, seven people were shot.
Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in South Georgia when he was chased down by two armed white men who suspected him of robbery and claimed they were trying perform a citizen’s arrest. One shot and killed Mr. Arbery while a third person videotaped the encounter. No charges were filed until the video was leaked and public outrage demanded action. Mr. Arbery was 25 years old.
In Minneapolis, George Floyd was held to the ground by a police officer kneeling on his neck during an arrest. He begged for the officer to stop torturing him. Like Eric Garner, he said he couldn’t breathe. Three other police officers watched and did not intervene. Mr. Floyd was 46 years old. …
Christian Cooper, an avid birder, was in Central Park’s Ramble when he asked a white woman, Amy Cooper, to comply with the law and leash her dog. He began filming, which only enraged Ms. Cooper further. She pulled out her phone and said she was going to call the police to tell them an African-American man was threatening her.
She called the police. She knew what she was doing. She weaponized her whiteness and fragility like so many white women before her. She began to sound more and more hysterical, even though she had to have known she was potentially sentencing a black man to death for expecting her to follow rules she did not think applied to her. It is a stroke of luck that Mr. Cooper did not become another unbearable statistic.
An unfortunate percentage of my cultural criticism over the past 11 or 12 years has focused on the senseless loss of black life. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Tamir Rice. Jordan Davis. Atatiana Jefferson. The Charleston Nine.
These names are the worst kind of refrain, an inescapable burden. These names are hashtags, elegies, battle cries. Still nothing changes. Racism is litigated over and over again when another video depicting another atrocity comes to light. Black people share the truth of their lives, and white people treat those truths as intellectual exercises.
… Eventually, doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait, despite the futility of hope, for a cure for racism. We will live with the knowledge that a hashtag is not a vaccine for white supremacy. We live with the knowledge that, still, no one is coming to save us. The rest of the world yearns to get back to normal. For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.
Court process for man accused of killing 2 Métis hunters invokes Gerald Stanley case by Kathleen Martens, May 27, 2020, ATPN
“Sansom and his uncle were said to be exercising their treaty rights.”
(Eleanore Sunchild (left) holds a photo of Colten Boushie with his family in Ottawa. APTN file)
A non-Indigenous man charged with killing two Métis hunters in Alberta has elected to be tried by judge and jury – a strategy that some say led to an all-white jury and an acquittal in a case many see as similar in neighbouring Saskatchewan.
On May 21, court heard Anthony Bilodeau, who has pleaded not guilty, wants a judge and jury to hear his trial on two counts of second-degree murder.
Bilodeau, 31 of Glendon, Alta., is accused of fatally shooting 39-year-old Jacob Sansom of Nobleford and 57-year-old Morris Cardinal of Bonnyville on March 27.
Police said the victims were killed during a confrontation on a rural road north of Glendon.
Sansom and his uncle were said to be exercising their treaty rights by hunting on Crown land for food for their families.
The case drew immediate comparisons to the 2016 fatal shooting of Colten Boushie, a teenager from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, by non-Indigenous farmer Gerald Stanley – and the role some say race played in the not-guilty verdict.
“People are saying it’s a case of a non-Indigenous man killing two Indigenous hunters,” said Eleanore Sunchild, a lawyer and friend of the Boushie family in Saskatoon.
“We’re not sure what the reason is (for the shooting) but it definitely could turn into another (Gerald) Stanley matter – and that’s troubling.”
The Stanley acquittal sparked a national debate on racism and calls to reform the justice system, which is viewed by many Indigenous people as a tool of colonial oppression.
Sunchild travelled with the Boushie family to Ottawa where they lobbied federal politicians to make changes.
“They want to make sure that Indigenous people are treated equally within the justice system,” Sunchild said of the family’s quest, “and families of Indigenous victims are treated with the same response and compassion (as everyone else).”
She said the Trudeau government responded by eliminating the use of what are called peremptory challenges by passing Bill C-75 in 2019. A peremptory challenge allows a lawyer to dismiss potential jurors from a trial without giving a reason.
“Hopefully, it leads to a representative jury in the community where an accused is tried,” Sunchild said in an interview Tuesday.
She said the Boushie family also wanted the RCMP to improve the way it operates – something she said they appear to be doing in their handling of the Bilodeau case – but they need to go further.
“If our people are being targeted on their own traditional territory they need to know and RCMP need to warn them,” she said.
The RCMP quickly quashed the idea the Bilodeau case was racially motivated – claiming there was no evidence – despite comments and concerns from Indigenous peoples that the area is a hotbed for tension over race and hunting rights.
Métis and First Nations have the treaty right to hunt on traditional lands, a situation that frequently leads to conflict with non-Indigenous people.
It’s a subject explored in a much-lauded documentary about Boushie’s death that won a Canadian Screen Award earlier this week, said Sunchild.
“It tells about the story of treaty and how they were agreements for the use of land, but it also guaranteed our safety and our freedom to walk unmolested in our own treaty territories.”
Sunchild said nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up won the 2020 Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary on Monday night.
“It’s so hard to watch but so, so important,” she said of the film by director Tasha Hubbard.
“It talks about the treaty history and how that was turned against us to implement the reserve system, the pass system, and the Indian residential school system. And how the (colonial) system in Canada has repeatedly upheld injustices such as the killing of Colten Boushie,” Sunchild added.
“All Canadians need to see it.”
Bilodeau, meanwhile, is expected back in Alberta court in June to set a date for a preliminary hearing.
How the Supreme Court Lets Cops Get Away With Murder, The courts protected police abuses for years before George Floyd’s death. It’s time to rethink “qualified immunity.” by the New York Times Editorial Board, May 29, 2020
A Minneapolis police officer, who was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until the life left his body, has been fired, arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. That is a step toward justice. Those who take a life should face a jury of their peers. But the rarity of the arrest, the fact that police officers who brutalize or even kill other people while wearing a badge so seldom end up facing any consequences is an ugly reminder of how unjust America’s legal system can be.
There is a common refrain from street protesters in the wake of death after death after death after death of men of color at the hands of the police: “No justice, no peace.” In the absence of justice, there has been no peace.
Demonstrations in nearly a dozen cities, some of which turned violent, erupted in response to the killing of Mr. Floyd. At least seven people were shot in Louisville. Windows were broken in the state capitol of Ohio. And a police station was set ablaze in Minneapolis, where National Guard troops will again patrol the streets on Friday. The president tweeted early Friday that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which frames the problem backward. It is not a defense of torching a Target to note that police abuse of civilians often leads to protests that can spiral out of control, particularly when met with force.
Police officers don’t face justice more often for a variety of reasons — from powerful police unions to the blue wall of silence to cowardly prosecutors to reluctant juries.
But it is the Supreme Court that has enabled a culture of violence and abuse by eviscerating a vital civil rights law to provide police officers what, in practice, is nearly limitless immunity from prosecution for actions taken while on the job. The badge has become a get-out-of-jail-free card in far too many instances.
In 1967, the same year the police chief of Miami coined the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” to threaten civil rights demonstrators, the Supreme Court first articulated a notion of “qualified immunity.” In the case of police violence against a group of civil rights demonstrators in Mississippi, the court decided that police officers should not face legal liability for enforcing the law “in good faith and with probable cause.”
That’s a high standard to meet. But what makes these cases nearly impossible for plaintiffs to win is the court’s requirement that any violation of rights be “clearly established” — that is, another court must have previously encountered a case with the same context and facts, and found there that the officer was not immune.
This is a judge-made rule; the civil rights law itself says nothing about a “clearly established” requirement. Yet in practice it has meant that police officers prevail virtually every time, because it’s very hard to find cases that are the same in all respects. It also creates a Catch-22 for plaintiffs, who are required to hunt down precedents in courts that have stopped generating those precedents, because the plaintiffs always lose. As one conservative judge put it in a U.S. district court in Texas, “Heads defendants win, tails plaintiffs lose.”
In the five decades since the doctrine’s invention, qualified immunity has expanded in practice to excuse all manner of police misconduct, from assault to homicide.
As the legal bar for victims to challenge police misconduct has been raised higher and higher by the Supreme Court, the lower courts have followed.
A major investigation by Reuters earlier this year found that “since 2005, the courts have shown an increasing tendency to grant immunity in excessive force cases — rulings that the district courts below them must follow. The trend has accelerated in recent years.” What was intended to prevent frivolous lawsuits against agents of the government, the investigation concluded, “has become a highly effective shield in thousands of lawsuits seeking to hold cops accountable when they are accused of using excessive force.”
The vast majority of police officers are decent, honest men and women who do some of society’s most dangerous work. They should be forgiven good-faith mistakes or errors in judgment. But in case after case, well documented now by body cameras and bystanders, too many bad cops go unpunished for policing their fellow citizens in ways that often leave them abused or dead. No official tally of deaths at the hands of police officers is maintained in the United States, a reality that defies common sense in our hypercataloged society, but estimates from journalists and advocacy groups put the number of Americans killed by the police north of 1,000 per year. Black Americans are killed by the police at a much higher rate than white Americans.
When citizens dare to protest police violence, say by kneeling at a sporting event, they are branded “anti-police” and un-American. With a shrinking recourse in the courts and a fierce headwind of social resistance to reforming the way the nation is policed, is it any wonder that many enraged Americans take to the streets — in the midst of a global pandemic, no less — to demand that their country change?
As the militarization of police tactics and technology has accelerated in the past two decades, pleas from liberals and conservatives to narrow the doctrine of qualified immunity, and to make it easier to hold police and other officials accountable for obvious civil rights violations, have grown to a crescendo. The Supreme Court is considering more than a dozen cases to hear next term that could do just that. One case involves a police officer in Georgia who, while pursuing a suspect, held a group of young children at gunpoint, fired two bullets at the family dog, missed and hit a 10-year-old boy in the arm. Another involves officers who used tear gas grenades to enter a home when they’d been given a key to the front door.
There are few things that Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Clarence Thomas agree on, at least when it comes to the letter of the law. Both have expressed deep concern over the court’s drift toward greater and greater qualified immunity for police officers. (“By sanctioning a ‘shoot first, think later’ approach to policing, the Court renders the protections of the Fourth Amendment hollow,” Justice Sotomayor once wrote.) With the next George Floyd just a bad cop away, one hopes the other justices will be moved to ratchet back qualified immunity to circumstances in which it is truly warranted. When bad cops escape justice and trust between the police and the community shatters, it isn’t just civilians who suffer the consequences, it’s the good cops, too.
Hope always comes after evil has done its work.
We cannot keep living on hope, though. (Box of Pandora)
Our ✟ “Pointergeist” Edition is out!
“When Donald Trump held up that Bible, I knew it would become the defining moment of the day.. The Exorcist popped into my head. Trump does that to me.”
Cartoon by @deAdder for http://Counterpoint.com.
Living frac’d and being abused by Encana/Ovinitv, gov’ts, AER, police, judges and my own lawyers, while trying to access justice in Canada’s elitist lying judicial industry taught me a lot, including that hope is evil. It’s used by the powerful, including lawyers, to keep the masses busy hoping going nowhere.
Refer also to:
The Intimidation of Ernst: Members of Harper Government’s RCMP Anti-terrorist Squad Intimidate and Harass Ernst after her Legal Papers were Served on Encana, the EUB (now AER) and Alberta Environment I asked the squad if they were planning on invading, bullying and investigating the law violators: AER, Alberta gov’t and Encana (now Ovintiv). Silence was their response.
Just how corrupt is Alberta Justice? Infuriating! Sickening! Welcome to Alberta’s “Rule of Law.” The Fifth Estate: The autopsy (part 1): What if justice got it wrong?
Baking soda? Frac! Dirty lawyers (become dirtier judges?), dirty prosecutors and dirty RCMP abound. A disgusting horrifying read. I know from experience how terrible it is to be stabbed in the back by one’s own lawyers. Rotten lawyers know law societies serve their own, just like AER serves polluters that pay AER’s way.
Industry’s and misogyny’s loyal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Terrorists?): “Screw the Rule of Law”
Gillian Hnatiw, Canadian lawyer, female: “Fundamentally, the law is about power – who has it, who gets it, and how they are allowed to wield it. … Yet evidence of misogyny remains all around us. Lest anyone forget, there is a self-confessed sexual predator in the White House. … In Canada, we’re not faring a whole lot better…. All of our political leaders are men.”
OH RACIST CANADA: RCMP in Wet’suwet’en Nation call their rifles “Reconciliation Sticks.” BC tells victims of violent corporate heavily armed sniper invasion and arrests to sit and chat with their abusers! That’s more abuse! Karla Tait, Unist’ot’en Member: “Had the province intervened to confirm the reports’ [COASTAL GASLINK’S] shortcomings, they could have prevented the [RCMP’s] injunction enforcement, sparing us the violent removal from our lands and sparing the country the subsequent economic pressures of solidarity actions.”
Pissing on Reconciliation, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney calls First Nations “Fringe Groups” and spews rule of law while he remains under investigation for breaking it. Law Prof Heidi Matthews: “‘Rule of law’ is a conservative talking point.”
J Hill: “Who would have thought that the once proud RCMP would have become corporate contract killers?”
Did Harper and the oil and gas industry order RCMP/CSIS/Snipers to attack innocent mothers and grandmothers?
200 RCMP? Snipers descend on Mi’kmaq-led camp, children and Elders on site, Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada
Legal scholar Joshua Sealy-Harrington “totally eviscerates” Murray Klippenstein’s arguments. It revolts me that my public interest lawsuit is being destroyed by Klippenstein pissing on Law Society Rule 2.09 to enable racism. After abruptly quitting my lawsuit more than 500 days ago, he *still* has not sent me my case files. What tune would Klippenstein sing if all the bias/prejudice was directed at Mennonite lawyers?
“[Joshua Sealy-Harrington] deconstructing Jordan Peterson’s latest, also dropping knowledge on intersectionality and hierarchy.” … “Brilliant how @joshuasealy eviscerates him. Can we now all finally recognize what a hack @jordenpeterson is please?” … “Not retweeting the original shite article by charlatan of an academic because it’s racist garbage and click bait anyhow.”
Stolen lands, Strong Hearts: Never mind sexual assault/rape education for Canadian judges, they need to learn Indigenous Law & Rights too (and how to be honest). But, is it possible to “train” misogyny and racism out of people, especially privileged (mostly white) people (mostly men) like lawyers & judges?
Law Society of Ontario a Pedophile Ring? Racism, misogyny *and* enabling sexual abuse of children? Ottawa lawyer, John David Coon, in custody for sex crimes against four-year old daughter of one of his clients. Law Society documents reveal they gave Coon licence to practise law despite knowing of his prior criminal conviction for sexually assaulting another child.
How prevalent is racism (and misogyny) among Canadian lawyers & judges?
2019 06 08: Who orders a new hearing for a Supreme Court of Canada ruling where 9 justices knowingly published a lie and sent it to the media? Who “slaps” Justice Rosalie Abella for knowingly lying in her ruling and belittling the applicant?
“The [legal] system’s not broken; the system was built this way.” Of course it was! Just like it was built to piss on the poor, women, the environment and the Rule of Law itself
Terrorism by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) against Land & Water Protectors in 2013 in New Brunswick, in 2020 in BC, and at Ernst’s home in Alberta in 2009. “The people who filed the complaint in 2013 have yet to see the report…a seven-year delay in justice is unacceptable.” Ridiculous delays, including by our courts, are common in No Rule of Law Canada
Image of then PM of Canada Steve Harper by Montreal Simon