Which means that people sitting on the grass at the provincial legislature, who were under the impression that they were allowed to do so peaceably without threat of violence, suffered injuries as a result of stuff like this:
Hilariously/pathetically, the Special Investigations Unit just released a report that identifies not one culpable officer in this whole mess. I had expected, at the very least, at least a few "bad apple" scapegoats who could be offered up in lieu of having to admit that the problem was systemic - that the police were poorly trained/prepared, that their orders and actions were misguided on the whole, that they just plain did a bad job. (Because we'd never get that kind of admission.)
Instead, we got stuff like this, as described by the Toronto Star:
- "Officers declined to be interviewed for the SIU investigations, as is their right. That left the SIU in several cases unable to determine a specific officer at fault."
- "Because the officers all wore identical helmets and uniforms, it was impossible to identify which one is responsible for causing a fracture below Nobody’s right eye, said Scott. Two officers were identified as having something to do with the incident, but exercised their rights, declining an interview with the SIU."
- "'I did not think that it would be likely that police officers would come forward and identify themselves as having contributed to my injury,' [Norm Morcos, who suffered a fractured hand] said."
Now over on Facebook, someone defended the right of the police involved to remain silent, since "Everyone is allowed to remain silent. Basic right of all people."
But this is fucked up.
First of all, if this were a criminal investigation, the cops who refused to be interviewed with respect to the allegedly criminal conduct of their co-workers could be charged with obstruction or accessory - because you don't have the right to remain silent when you have evidence of someone else's crime. If I had witnessed one of my friends bash in someone's head, I would be subpoenaed and compelled to testify - why should the police be held to a lower standard?
Second, this isn't a criminal investigation, anyway - it's a job review. And its purpose is to discern whether the people who we entrust to with our physical security - and who are given tremendous power and privileges to do so - are doing their job or else behaving in ways that are antithetical to it. And they can't. Because the people accused of bashing a fallen protester in the face with a baton, of refusing to let a one-legged man retrieve his prosthesis and instead demanding that he hop, or of kicking a sitting man in the back of the head - or, for that matter, the people who watched it happen - don't have to talk if they don't want to. And the SIU has no other recourse - if they don't freely choose to speak, the case goes nowhere.
So this blows my mind: if these police officers (and it's obviously problematic to focus on a few particular officers when the whole culture of law enforcement should be implicated, but still...) can't assure us that they're fulfilling their responsibilities, much less assure us that they're not acting in a criminally irresponsible way when they've been accused of doing so, how is it that they're even allowed to keep their jobs?