Friday, January 27, 2017
Screw the police after this week's abysmal behaviour
I've tried to be a moderate person in my writings here and elsewhere, trying to respect both progressive and conservative sides of the political divide, while staying true to my own liberal values. Perhaps some have thought that makes me wishy-washy or a little too compromising.
But lately, especially since the grotesque election of Donald Trump, which followed my choice to endorse Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders (not that that matters too much as I'm Canadian), I've been re-thinking my whole "centrist" schtick. I want to stop compromising with those on the conservative side who show zero or little respect for those of us on the left. It's time to stand up for what I believe in again. If that offends easily offended conservatives, too bad.
Previously, I criticized the decision by the vast majority of (mostly Caucasian) members at the recent Toronto Pride annual general meeting to put the issue of Black Lives Matters onto the agenda without notice and pass a resolution endorsing all of their demands made last year during the Pride parade.
I want to take that back. In discussions, it's been pretty clear that members did have the right to amend the agenda and overrule the chair of the meeting to do so. So the vote was valid.
Furthermore, I can no longer take the side of the cops. The incident captured in the widely seen video above was perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back for me. That comment from the ignorant and sadly representative male cop, threatening the videographer with AIDS from "spit" from the arrested person, was simply disgusting.
That cop reminded me of virtually every under-40 male police officer I've encountered in recent years in Toronto: bullying, drunk on his own power, happy to lie to get his way. And that's just been my personal experience as a relatively innocent looking white man (usually on a bicycle, which might explain the disdain with which I've always been treated by police in Toronto.)
But of course my experiences are nothing compared to my fellow queer people of colour community members, who've experienced harassment and intimidation from the police for years. A couple of decades ago, white LGBT folks consistently received the same kind of mistreatment. Even today, the police are still targeting gay folks where they suspect the heterosexual majority don't approve of their behaviour, like recently in an Etobicoke park.
Now the police and their supporters are outraged that Pride members would vote to ban police from future Prides? Screw them.
I don't believe for a moment that Toronto Police have seriously tried to change the culture of their force. If anything, the culture has become more brutal and bullying in recent years in terms of how cops treat ordinary members of the public. All the P.R. talk from Toronto Police about "teaching moments" and implementing sensitivity courses are simply bullshit.
In my opinion, the entire force, especially the under 40 male cops, seem to believe they are above the law like a bunch of storm troopers. It's time they face consequences for that.
We are living in a time in which the top cop in the U.S., James Comey, literally intervened in the recent presidential election at the last minute to try to sway the vote in favour of the grotesque conservative, Donald Trump, and Comey got away with it. The time to stand up to police power is now.
I support shutting the police out of Pride. Perhaps we could make the ban on police last for 5 or 10 years. After that, the community can decide if the police really have changed and can be welcomed back into Pride. If not, the ban should continue.
We'll call this the latest "teaching moment" for the police. Clearly, nothing else has worked to change them.
The LGBT community must put all of its members first, including its many people of colour.