The Toronto Police Association, which claims to represent 5,500 police officers and over 2,000 civilians, despises the thought that their members should be accountable to the public.
It's a position I find hard to swallow in the aftermath of the G20 summit, where almost a hundred Toronto Police Service members removed their nametags during the security crackdown. For avoiding public accountability for their actions during the G20, those 90+ Toronto Police Service members will get a one-day suspension without pay.
Small price to pay for getting away with violating someone's civil rights, I'd say.
There is only one reason that I can think of that a member of the Toronto Police Service (or ANY police service for that matter) would want their members to be anonymous and unaccountable to the public: They're doing something they shouldn't be. Like beating a man half to death for the "crime" of attending a public protest, as happened to Adam Nobody at the hands of Toronto Police Service members.
Despite video footage of Mr. Nobody's beating, because officers had removed their ID tags it was all but impossible to identify who was actually violating his rights. One TPS member has been charged and that trial is currently underway.
What remains to be seen is if he will be convicted of assault. He should be.
The Toronto Police Association trots out that same old excuse for unaccountability that they always do: "officer safety".
Thankfully the Toronto Police Services Board is against the union on this one.
The issue came before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which turned down the union's ridiculous request. That ruling was highlighted in their bulletin for January 2011.
If you want to read some interesting rhetoric, go browse through the stories posted on the Toronto Police Association's website.
I was particularly amused by Mike McCormack's outrage at Ontario Special Investigations Unit boss Ian Scott's recently published comment that:
"...police officers get all kinds of breaks in the (criminal justice) system."
McCormack's response was a predictable "That statement is absurd."
Perhaps he thinks it is completely okay for RCMP Constable Paul Koester to shoot Ian Bush in the back of the head, claim self-defense, and GET AWAY WITH IT.
No, what's absurd is that Mike McCormack believes that police should be able to act behind a curtain of anonymity, protected from public scrutiny to the degree that the public cannot even know who a police member is when the need to make a complaint when police actions are out of control.
Or maybe he sincerely believes the 90+ Toronto Police Services members who removed their nametags during the G20 protests were doing it "for their own protection", in which case he is severely deluded and needs a reality check.