Ontario SIU clears Toronto cops in Junior Alexander Manon’s death

It’s to be expected.  Seven Toronto City Police constables beat an 18-year-old man to death and are completely exonerated by Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, the so-called “police oversight agency” that investigates crimes by police.

What I found interesting in reading the press release on the Toronto City Police website was this:

The first officer said that Mr. Manon punched him a number of times and that he responded by punching Mr. Manon several times in the right side of the head and right chest area. Two of the civilian witnesses said that at least some of these blows involved striking Mr. Manon with a walkie-talkie. The second officer attempted to subdue Mr. Manon by wrapping his arms around his head and upper arm area. One of his arms may have been placed briefly around Mr. Manon's neck.

What we need to remember is this: The alleged “crime” they were trying to arrest Junior Manon for was violating the terms of his probation. He was driving a car when he should not have been.

The report puts it like this:

In terms of criminal liability, the subject officers had the lawful authority to stop Mr. Manon's vehicle on the basis of an expired validation tag pursuant to s. 216 of the Highway Traffic Act. They had the further lawful authority to arrest Mr. Manon for being in breach of the conditions of his probation.

I guess it all comes down to this for me.  It’s a matter of degree.  Is the amount of force used to
subdue a “subject” congruent with the alleged crime for which they are trying to arrest him?

Clearly, in my opinion, the answer to that question is a resounding NO!

Saying that Junior Manon got what he deserved is like saying Ian Bush deserved to be shot in the back of the head for having an open beer at a hockey game.  Ian Bush was the young man murdered in police custody after being arrested for having a beer at a hockey game in Houston, BC.

For anyone to say that it’s okay to choke a man and beat him in the head with a police walkie-talkie tells me pretty much all I need to know about their view of the world.

In the case of Ontario’s SIU chief, Ian Scott, his belief appears to be that yes, it’s tragic when someone dies at the hands of police brutality, but it’s not a crime.  Just…. unfortunate.

Quoting Director Scott again:

I am of the view that the force used to arrest him was not excessive in these circumstances.

Our police forces have long forgotten some basic policing principles, like Sir Robert Peel’s very first Principle of Policing:

1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and by severity of legal punishment.

Today‘s police seem to overlook a few key words… “as an alternative to”, and read Peel’s First Principle like this:

To prevent crime and disorder by their repression by military force…

It’s no wonder public confidence and trust in our police forces has plummeted to an all-time low, and just keeps dropping.

We’re subjects to be beaten into submission, or kicked in the face like in Kelowna recently, if the police feel like it, instead of being citizens with rights that must be respected.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

 

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