a weekly blog for all interested in professional communications issues

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why would cops knowingly assault Stacy on camera?

By now we all have been appalled by the video of Ottawa police assaulting Stacy Bonds at the station – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Police Chief Vern White, everybody. This is universal condemnation.

This one short video seems to have had more impact on public officials than the hundreds of hours of police video we have seen from the G20 Summit.

Yet there is one troubling question. Why would five officers, who would have known they were on video monitor, rough up a 125-pound woman like that without the slightest sign of inhibition? What would make them think that was acceptable behavior inside a police station?

The Ottawa police chief sounds like a sincere man and we can probably take him at his word that he will get to the bottom of what happened. And he probably does believe that only a minority of police are excessively violent.

But there appears to be widespread problem with police culture in Ottawa and elsewhere.

We all have heard unsubstantiated stories of police brutality without any tangible evidence. The brutal behaviour of the Ottawa police would suggest at least some of them might be true.

Now that there are cameras everywhere from store monitors to cell phone cameras, we may be finding out some ugly truths about Canadian law enforcement.

Indeed there may be a serious disconnect between police and the society they are supposed to serve.

Perhaps this is just part of wider decline in public morality by our officials everywhere, which might explain the mindlessly cruel treatment of military veterans by the federal government, or the recent behaviour of a Toronto prosecutor who caused a mistrial by making faces at the jury.

Whatever the answer, the Ottawa police chief could make a good start in restoring public confidence in his police force by embracing the gracious remarks of Bonds in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen over the weekend.

“People do need to know that police do abuse their power, and people need to speak out. But there are a lot of great cops out there, too, and people need to know that.”

These are the words of a wise woman.

1 comment:

  1. "The Ottawa police chief sounds like a sincere man and we can probably take him at his word that he will get to the bottom of what happened." You are kidding. We have chidlren commit suicide rather then put up with bullying in our schools. We have three Toronto police officers convicteded of murder. We no longer have grand jurries allowed to investigate schools , jails or police officers.
    It is time we returned to some form of accountability. The Police Chief is not a third party investigation. Let the Ombudsman into these institutions or kiss accountability good bye. http://www.scribd.com/full/43531596?access_key=key-qa7d02ulav02602wsgq