Peter Sedge is your average Canadian. He pays his taxes, he owns his own small business that employs other Canadians. And he owns firearms. Legally. That last word is very important.
The Toronto Police Services doesn't like law-abiding firearm owners. Let me rephrase that. The Toronto Police Services [allegedly] doesn't like law-abiding firearm owners. I must say allegedly, since I cannot prove that they are biased against law-abiding firearm owners.
I can, however, comment about their actions when it comes to how they dealt with a single law-abiding firearm owner after midnight one May night in 2008.
It was atrocious.
A little back-story is in order to properly set this stage.
First, Peter Sedge is, as I said at the outset, a law-abiding firearm owner. He has a firearms license issued by the Canadian government and he has registration certificates for his firearms. He did everything he was supposed to do when owning firearms legally in this country.
The police, on the other hand, violated his rights, abused both him and his property, and seized his entire firearm collection that May night in 2008, and why?
All because they couldn't be bothered to check their much-vaunted Gun Registry and see if he had a firearms license.
Wait! If they do that, check the gun registry I mean, they miss out on that great photo op and press release where they heap praise upon themselves for their "great work" in getting all these evil guns off the street.
The only problem with that press release is it's a complete and total lie. A fairy tale cops tell the public to make everyone believe something is being done about crime when it's not.
The firearms were never ON the street in the first place.
They were owned by a legal firearm owner.
But hey... can't let something as mundane as the facts get in the way of an awesome photo op, can we?
Remember the days where police had integrity? Where police actually tried helping people instead of persecuting them for their perfectly legal hobbies?
I do, and I long for those days.
This story does have a relatively happy ending. Relatively.
After 10 months of having 14 firearm charges hanging over his head, the Crown prosecutors finally came to their senses and dropped all charges against Peter Sedge.
Why it took these morons 10 months to figure it out is beyond me, but hey, I guess we should all be grateful they finally... finally did the right thing.
Naturally the Toronto Police Services maintains that they did nothing at all wrong.
“Our position is that the officers acted in a reasonable fashion, in good faith and in compliance with their duties,” said Toronto police spokes-critter Mark Pugash.
Of course it is, Mr. Pugash. Of course it is.
Maybe if you repeat it enough, even the rest of us might believe it, but don't hold your breath.
Compliance with their duties, in any REAL-world sense, would have started with finding out if the firearm owner was in lawful possession of the firearms. A simple check of their asinine gun registry would have answered that question.
Clearly, if they actually bothered to even check if Peter Sedge had a firearms license, they didn't give a damn.
If there was any concern over how the firearms were stored, there are a myriad of ways to deal with that situation without resorting to SWAT teams, the Guns and Gangs task force and midnight raids where you drag a guy into the street in his boxer shorts.
Like... hey, here's a wacky idea... how about phoning the guy and asking him if you can come over and take a look through his collection?
The Firearms Act clearly states the Chief Firearms Officer has the authority to do exactly that.
Christopher... Don't be ridiculous! There ain't no press release and photo op in that!
The only people who are terrified of police kicking down their doors in the middle of the night aren't the ones who should be terrified of those kinds of things... you know, violent gang members and the like... just innocent, law-abiding firearm owners who are in compliance with the law.
Piratically every law-abiding firearm owner I know can rattle off names of law-abiding Canadians who have been terrorized by police forces intent on "showing us who's boss" when they should be doing their jobs.
Allen Carlos, David and Amanda Lind, John Rew, Brian Ward, Jonathan Login, John St. Amour... the list just goes on and on and on... decent Canadians whose lives were torn apart by police so caught up in their belief that a civilian who owned firearms MUST be breaking the law that they couldn't be bothered to deal with these people in a calm and rational manner.
No, SWAT teams, body cavity searches in broad daylight on the street, male cops strip-searching female "suspects" on the side of the highway, or even a legitimate businessman operating a lawful business isn't exempt from the over-zealous thuggery police think is okay when someone legally owns firearms.
Peter Sedge is suing the man who called the police in the first place, Brandon Tataryn, for his inflammatory rhetoric that helped goad the Toronto Police Services into their anti-gun frenzy, the Toronto Police Services Board, Mark Tataryn (Brandon's father), his former landlords and specifically the 19 Toronto Police Services constables who executed the raid on his home.
I hope he wins and that the Toronto Police Services finally learn the lesson they should have been living by all along.... that Canadians lawfully and peacefully own firearms, and we are no threat to anyone.
There is a Charter of Rights and Freedoms in this country, but if it is to be judged by the actions of the Toronto Police Services in the Peter Sedge case, it's not worth the paper it's printed on.
But that's why so many cases in Greater Toronto are getting tossed out of court, isn't it? Judges are fed up with police lying, violating the rights of Canadian citizens and then covering it up.
It's time the rest of the country got fed up with it, too.
Note: The Toronto Police Services members identified in the TPS statement of defense are: Terrence Wray, Dennis Doyle, Stephen Gibbons, Stephen McGran, Jeffrey MacDuff, Michael Ramsay, Jason McIntyre, Lesley Zimmer, Bryan Smith, Neil Thornton, Paul Scudds, Roderick MacLean, Ron Clifford, Darryl Linquist, Michael Press and Oliver Febbo