Friday, July 6, 2007

Supremes Get It Right, but the Mounties Sharpen their Knives

Two very significant developments on the Justice front today; both are unbelievable, but for very different reasons:

Supremes Get it Right on Police Search and Racial Profiling:
Setting up a roadblock and searching two men in a black Jaguar was a justifiable response to a "gun call" outside a Brampton strip club, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today in a case that helps define the limits of police powers. A 911 call reporting 10 "black guys" with guns outside the Million Dollar Saloon gave police reasonable grounds to believe a serious offence had been committed and there was risk of genuine bodily harm to the public, the court said in a 9-0 decision.

The ruling overturns a powerfully-worded judgment from the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2005 that acquitted Troy Farmer and Wendell Clayton, who were both found carrying loaded handguns after Farmer's Jaguar was stopped at the club's rear exit on Sept. 24, 1999. Ontario's appeal court was highly critical of Peel Region police, saying they case revealed the force had an "institutionally ingrained" disregard for individual liberties.

Writing for the Supreme Court majority today, Justice Rosalie Abella said requiring police to stop only those vehicles described "would impose an unrealistic burden" on officers.

Incredible – the Nine Santas coming down on the side of good old fashioned police work at the expense of gun-toting visible minorities. Sad commentary on western society though – what should have shocked us is that the lower court let two obviously guilty, gun-packing street punks walk. Oh well, score one for the good guys….

From Our Dead Man Walking File:
A career bureaucrat with longtime Conservative ties was named today as the first outsider to head the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the force’s 134-year history. Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced that William Elliott will become commissioner of Canada’s national police force on July 16. …Elliott, a lawyer who has never been a police officer, has been around government since 1988, either as a political staff member of the Conservative Party or in the civil service.

I’m a former copper, and let me tell you how this will end: death by a thousand cuts for Commissioner Elliott. Do the horsemen need their stables cleaned out? You bet. But quasi-military organizations need to be led from the very top, by someone the rank and file know will get their backs because they share a common background. If you’ve never been swarmed at a picket line, pelted with bottles at an arrest, had the sh*t kicked out of you by bandits, lost your own cool or nerve at some point and gotten away with it (or did the kangaroo court two-step), or woken up with the night sweats over that dead baby you delivered, then you cannot and will not ever command the hearts, minds, or respect of the men and women on the front lines.

He will be set up and hung out to dry on a thousand little things, by the people who invented all of the tricks the rest of us just watch on TV.

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