[Fwd: (en) ARA PRESS RELEASE: KKKOP HARASSMENT]

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@arcos.org)
Thu, 16 Apr 1998 09:21:10 -0400


----------forwarded message----------

> ***POLICE HARASS ANTI-RACISTS AT BENEFIT CONCERT IN KINGSTON, ONTARIO***
>
> Two undercover Kingston police officers came to the Rock Against Racism
> show on Saturday April 11. They first arrived at 9:30pm, and refused to
> pay the $5.00 admission, stating that as police officers they should
> have free access.  After the person in charge of admission insisted, one
> police officer paid the fee while the other officer continued to refuse.
> They asked organizers about the name of the band that was currently
> playing, and stated that they would return later to "observe" the
> headline Montreal Oi! band: 'The Street Troopers'.  At no time did they
> show any identification, and organizers were left wondering if indeed
> they were police officers, or if they were Heritage Front sympathizers.
>
> The Street Troopers were featured in an interview on the front of the
> Kingston Whig Standard Entertainment section on Thursday April 9th, and
> the article prominently displayed a picture of the band and the artwork
> on their album cover.  The picture on the album cover is of a riot cop
> wearing a patch that reads: "TO SERVE AND PROTECT THE RICH".
>
> The two, as yet unidentified, undercover police officers returned at
> 12:00am and immediately searched an individual on the pretext that he
> might possess marijuana.  It should be noted that alcohol and drugs were
> not permitted at the concert and the organizers had their own security
> throughout the entire show in order to maintain a safe, friendly
> environment.  One officer was heard telling the youth: "Don't give me
> any shit!" and "I know you have something you little prick". The youth
> was a Montreal Francophone who spoke very little English, and the
> officer made no attempt to communicate with him in French.  The officer
> proceeded to frisk the unfortunate youth until satisfied. The officer
> had not identified himself or provided any identification to the youth,
> who afterwards told organizers he had not even realized the man was a
> cop.
>
> At the same time that the youth was being harassed, the other officer
> was asking organizers inside about the location of the Street Troopers.
> When informed that the concert was over and that the Street Troopers had
> already exited the venue, the officer said "Bullshit!" and rushed
> outside in an attempt to find them.
>
> The officers then approached one band member on the pretense of "showing
> him a picture" and led him around the block to their vehicle.  The other
> band members and the organizers, concerned for the safety of their
> friend, followed the officers to their vehicle and demanded to see their
> identification.  The officers stated that: "We don't have to show you
> anything". After the group insisted that it was their right, they agreed
> and presented their badges.
>
> The police had seen the band's picture in the Kingston Whig Standard
> interview, and had searched the mug shot book for any skinhead who
> looked vaguely like a band member and shared a common first name.  The
> officers asked the band members where the individual in the picture was
> hiding and why he was not present at the concert. The Street Troopers
> repeated that they did not know the person in the mug shot and that no
> one in the band resembled him.
>
> Unless the police regularly search for criminals on the entertainment
> page it seems that this band was singled out. Why? Was it because they
> are critical of the proliferation of racism and brutality within
> Canada's law enforcement agencies? Or was it because they are associated
> with Anti-Racist Action (a group known to be disliked by police for its
> aggressive opposition to Nazis)? Or was it just because they were the
> headline act at an anti-racism benefit concert?
>
> Only the Kingston police officers can tell you what their motive was.
> When it turned out that the mug shot was not the picture of a Street
> Trooper, the officer said: "I guess I lost a bet tonight."
>
> When police officers start betting amongst themselves whether or not
> they will succeed in arresting a supporter of an anti-racism benefit
> concert, then it is clearly a case of selective policing. The surly,
> hostile attitudes of the officers that night, combined with the searches
> and threats that youths received outside the venue, leads one to
> question whether the Kingston Police Force is currently engaged in a
> plan to dissuade anti- racists from meeting and promoting anti-racist,
> feminist and gay positive views.
>
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--
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Graeme Bacque
<http://web.arcos.org/gbacque>
(#2226799 on ICQ)
++Question and challenge *all* human 'authority'++
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