[MC] Canada - gestapo like police (fwd)

Leslie Schentag (wy497@victoria.tc.ca)
Sun, 8 Nov 1998 10:47:35 -0800 (PST)

And people wonder why the poor and homeless fear and hold no respect for
law enforcement. I personally have run into the detectives at 52nd
Division in Toronto. The interrogation techniques they use make the
Gestapo look like boy scouts. I had a friend of mine forced at gunpoint
into Lake Ontario, to stand neck deep in the middle of the winter in a bid
to get him to "confess".
 Have any of you been involved in a code-5 take-down.? In plain english
been arrested a an Emergency Response Team. I had another friend of mine
tackled off of his mountain bike while riding it down Granville St. in
Vancouver, because he appeared to be a suspect in an armed robbery. He was
handcuffed and detained. Once they had determined that he was not the
person they were looking for they released him and suggested he go home
even though it was early in the evening.
 We ARE living in a police state..

  "When Freedom Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Be Free"
    Webmaster:<L1><a href=3D"http://gremlinresearch.ourfamily.com">Gremlin
    Webmaster:<L1><a href=3D"http://bcpoverty.freeservers.com">B.C. Poverty
Issues</a>    =20

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 09:00:04 -0500
From: Lynne Moss-Sharman <lsharman@microage-tb.com>
To: mindcontrol-l@sonic.net
Subject: [MC] Canada - gestapo like police

Police Strip Searches (Toronto)
Military - female complainant called "looney tunes" (Kingston)

Strip-search abuses: The evidence grows
More Canadians relate stories of questionable police conduct
Saturday, November 7, 1998
     KIRK MAKIN  Justice Reporter  Globe & Mail

Toronto -- Forced from her Calgary home one Sunday evening, shackled, and
ordered to strip naked at a downtown police detachment, Bernadette Atkin
wept the night away in a police=20
cell.  The following morning, Ms. Atkin recalled a justice of the peace
wagging his finger in her direction and saying: "I'm sure you just had the
worst experience of your life."

"I said 'Yes,' " recalled Ms. Atkin, secretary to the president of the
University of Calgary Faculty Association. "I was crying and crying all
night. I was petrified. It was like being erased from the face of the
earth. "I had never even heard of a strip-search, let alone gone through
one," she said. "The act itself was awful. They told me to bend over. I
refused, and they said I could either make this easy for myself or
difficult, and they would have to bring in reinforcements. The shame I went
through will leave a scar forever."
The story has a depressingly familiar ring. Evidence is mounting that an
alarming number of people taken into police custody have been stripped of
their clothes and their dignity for questionable reasons. They range from
an English lawyer who was dragged into Toronto's 52 Division, a 42-year-old
grandmother and a beautician, to laundromat owner Andr=E9 Fiset, who came
forward yesterday to say he was beaten, stripped and searched by two
out-of-control police officers.

"There has been quite a hornet's nest stirred up over this issue," remarked
Constable Darrin Little, a Metro Toronto Police spokesman. "It has
generated a lot of controversy." How widespread is the practice? Could it
happen to anybody? Constable Little said there are no statistics pertaining
to strip-searches because police treat them as indistinguishable from any
other kind of physical search. "A search is a search is a search," he said.
Police in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary say there are specific criteria
for a strip-search. They relate almost exclusively to suspicion that
someone under arrest may be concealing drugs, a weapon, or other evidence.
It would make no sense to conduct them indiscriminately, Constable Little
reasoned, since police would then run the risk of having the courts
severely restrict the circumstances under which they can be conducted.
However, a steady flow of accounts from traumatized citizens -- touched off
by the recent ordeal of John Hanson, the English lawyer who was
strip-searched at a Toronto police station following a false arrest --
suggest they are common and sometimes capricious.

A 36-year-old Toronto woman recalled yesterday that she recently heard a
shockingly candid response from an officer at Metro Toronto Police's 12
Division when she called to complain about her boyfriend being
strip-searched. The woman, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid
repercussions, made a tape-recording of the conversation. In response to a
question as to whether strip-searches are done after every arrest, the
officer can be heard replying: "About 99.9 per cent of the time, yes."Asked
why this is necessary, the officer said: "For the safety of the person and
the officers."

The woman added that her boyfriend was not told what he was being
charged with until well after the strip-search, and that he had no
opportunity to make a phone call. She said that when the Crown made
disclosure of its case against him, he was shocked to see assertions by the
police that all his rights had been fully observed.
His allegation was echoed by Mr. Fiset, a Toronto man who since 1989
has rented an apartment over the downtown laundromat he operates. He
said yesterday that he found outright fabrications in the police account of
an ordeal he suffered at Metro Police 52 Division earlier this year. Mr.
Fiset, 42, was arrested for assaulting a police officer after a fracus that
began when he arrived home to find bailiffs bolting the door on behalf of
his landlord. An emotional scene ensued, and Mr. Fiset yelled for
bystanders to call
the police. However, the police immediately sided against Mr. Fiset and
tried to take him away. Mr. Fiset resisted, wedging himself in the door
frame. He said he was thrown to the sidewalk, handcuffed so tightly he
shrieked in pain, and thrown in a police cruiser, where he fainted. He said
he was slammed into corridor walls and kicked in the buttocks. "Finally, I
was brought inside a small room," he said. "The two officers forced my face
onto the table and began to increase the pressure, while squeezing my face
harder and harder into the table. They mocked my screams and constantly
called me an idiot." =20

In a previously unpublicized decision, a judge of the Ontario Court's
Provincial Division went a long way toward vindicating Mr. Fiset. Judge
Patrick Sheppard said he found Mr. Fiset "perfectly capable of being
believed," and noted that he emerged from cross-examination without his
word having been shaken.

The bailiffs were acting illegally, Judge Sheppard concluded in his
judgment, and the arresting officers ought to have realized it. Instead, he
said they jumped to conclusions and "needlessly escalated" the situation.
Judge Sheppard also found that medical records from Wellesley Hospital made
later that night showed that Mr. Fiset had "abrasions and mechanical
injuries" consistent with an assault. In acquitting him, Judge Sheppard
also expressed concern about the "dramatically substandard" quality of the
sound and pictures on the videotape recorded at the police station.

"I was absolutely horrified," Mr. Fiset said yesterday. "I remember
screaming for help. But there is nobody there who is going to come to your
rescue. You actually wonder if you are going to get out of there alive."

He said that despite claims from the police that he refused their offer to
call a lawyer, the police videotape shows him twice asking to do so. "I'm
really fearful of the police now," he said. "I have gained first-hand
experience of the unfortunate ability of police to participate in assault
and battery, torture, false arrest, unlawful imprisonment, malicious
prosecution and theft."

Constable Little said the police are not at liberty to respond to
allegations in individual cases. Every victim of a strip-search seems to
make the same point. They say they were treated as if they had already been
convicted of a crime. An Ontario woman who requested anonymity this week
recalled bringing her daughter to Toronto a couple of years ago and naively
purchasing some subway tickets from an individual outside a station. They
turned out
to be counterfeit. "I was arrested and strip-searched," she said. "When I
protested, I was told an officer would hold me down and remove my clothes
if I didn't do it myself." She said the charges were ultimately dropped.

"I'm sure that if this happened to me, it is happening to others on a daily
basis," she said. "I will never return to Toronto again. The police were
abusive, foul-mouthed, ignorant and conducted themselves like the Gestapo."

In Ms. Atkin's case, her alleged offence was violating a restraining order
obtained by her ex-husband. She said yesterday that the violation involved
her trying to obtain her ex-husband's new phone number so their son could
reach him. Once in the world of the police, she said, she was treated as
less than a human being. Kept without food or drink for 13 hours, for
example, she  was transported at 3 a.m. to another prison in a van
containing 15 male
suspects."You feel like a criminal," Ms. Atkin said. "And there were a lot
of other people with me being treated the same way for very trivial
offences like having unpaid fines."

Sergeant Peter Davison, a spokesman for the Calgary Police Service,
said he was unaware of Ms. Atkin's case. He said strip-searches are not
done in minor arrests, such as for traffic warrants or municipal bylaw
infractions. Sgt. Davison added that strip-searches are invariably done in
a room with no video equipment. Searches of body cavities are very rare, he
added, and are conducted by a medical doctor in a hospital setting. In many
cases involving drugs or potentially violent suspects, few seriously
dispute the need for police to conduct a thorough strip-search.

In fact, problems with drug-smuggling and false documents are so
prevalent at Vancouver International Airport that all suspects are
strip-searched upon arrest. But in relation to strip-searches in trivial or
non-drug offences, many criminal lawyers speculate officers are motivated
by a desire to punish the suspect.
They say the police officer may be angry that the suspect was loud or
unco-operative, or may have a deep-seated belief that the suspect is guilty
and will not end up being properly punished by the courts.

Stripping away basic rights =20
Why have police strip-searches become so routine?
Globe and Mail  Editorial
Saturday, November 7, 1998

Police in Canada have broad powers of arrest. And when making arrests, they
obviously need to be able to search the people in their custody, to ensure
that they are not carrying weapons. But strip-searches? Should police have
the power to humiliate and probe people whenever and  however they feel
like it?

The answer is obviously no. Police forces appear to feel otherwise, if
three incidents that came to light over the past few days in Toronto are
any indication:

British lawyer John Hanson, vacationing in Canada, was roughed up,
hauled off the street and subjected to strip-search and rectal examination.
He was released a few hours later. A middle-aged grandmother was
strip-searched by several officers, some
of them men. Charges against her were thrown out partly because male
officers should not have been present at her examination.
Toronto hair-salon operator Paulette Clark-Domize was taken into
custody and strip-searched after a dispute over a restaurant bill.
Police may sometimes need to use strip-searches: They may, for
example, have strong grounds to believe someone is carrying drugs or
concealing a weapon. But they shouldn't be able to use strip-searches
routinely and at their discretion. Police should no more be infringing the
privacy of the body whenever they feel like it than they should be entering
offices and homes without a warrant.
And yet perfunctory bodily invasions are now a matter of course for
police. This past summer, the Ontario Court of Appeal threw out a
drunk-driving case against a man who was taken to a Durham Regional
Police station and strip-searched in a semi-public room. Did police believe
he was carrying a weapon? No. Did they think he was dangerous? Hardly. They
allowed him to make an unsupervised phone call to his lawyer after the
search. Were they planning to hold him in a cell? No. He was never even put
him in jail, and was released as soon as he took a breath-analysis test,
because the alleged offence was minor and he promised to appear in court.
The court called this "an unreasonable search," "a violation of the public'=
trust in its police forces," "at odds with common decency," "outrageous"
and a "flagrant" breach of the law. All this puts the law in a very strange
position: As matters stand, police
must clear a number of substantial hurdles -- such as obtaining a search
warrant -- before they rifle through your filing cabinets. But they can ask
you to drop your drawers on the flimsiest pretext.=20

Your property has more rights than your body; your papers enjoy more
privacy than your person. It sounds like bad Marxist science fiction -- but
it's Canadian law.

It's time the law was changed. Strip-searches, like entry into a dwelling,
should occur only when police can show that it is appropriate and
necessary, not merely convenient. The law recognizes the right of Canadians
to be secure in their papers, their personal effects and their dwellings
against uncalled-for state intrusions. It is time their bodies were given
the same rights.

           <=3D we're not machines you know =3D>
      +++ we're not going to fall over in rows +++
              Dr. King - On The Beach - 1959=09=20

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