Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Enough With The Police Bashing: Part Two

Okay, I said I would have more to say and I will say it now. This rant will be a bit shorter since I have calmed down a bit. I am not trying to be an apologist for the actions of the police totally, I am just trying to give a different perspective of what they may have been feeling.

I have already talked about their lack of response on Saturday. A few pieces of information I was given on Sunday may help as well. I was talking to an EMS supervisor on Sunday morning and he told me that there were a few officers that had issues over the course of the previous day. Believe it or not a few police officers went down due to heat exhaustion and dehydration. I know Saturday wasn't that hot out in comparison to some summer days we had. The officers though were dressed in dark colours, were wearing heavy gear, and no matter how often they were supplied with water it just wasn't enough. To top it off they were at times running for blocks in their gear trying to keep up with different protest groups that were trying to breech the security zone. Standard military axiom, "Hurry up and wait", was in full effect over the course of the day.

Another thing was that on Saturday in the beginning they had to give the protesters the benefit of the doubt that they would be peaceful and act accordingly. Of course by Sunday all bets were off. The demonstrators had shown that they would be willing to use violence to get their point across so the police acted accordingly. On my way home Sunday morning I saw police searching young looking people with backpacks on Yonge street. I was a little worried about being stopped, but I guess I didn't fit many profiles. Also I was headed north instead of south. Not saying that I didn't have my share of difficulties earlier. I was approached by several RCMP officers after I was finished my shift and had to produce I.D. and explain why I was hanging around with a camera. As well when I finally left the security zone I had to do the same song and dance with the police controlling the gate. My fault though. I had my camera bag, a shoulder bag, a camera around my neck, and was wearing a old army shirt. I did fit a profile in a sense. My biggest worry was that my compact flash card would be confiscated with all the interesting pictures I had taken the previous day.

Now the police were getting rather short tempered with all the people downtown video taping and taking pictures of what was going on. Not to mention all the other idiots that came out to rubber neck and play "tourist" to all the mayhem. I say some of the video and pictures of the final stand off in the rain at Queen and Spadina where the police had corraled a group of protesters and wouldn't let them go anywhere. I think that was the smart thing to do. No use of equipment to restrain them, just let the weather do the job for them in making the demonstrators compliant. Unfortunately there were a few innocent bystanders in the group, but that was their own fault. You don't put yourself in a situation that could become violent if you can help it. Of course I am rather peaceful and don't like getting into fights. I have been in far too many for my liking and I like my skin intact. Not to say that if I had the chance I would have tried to document some of the craziness that went on. I would have made like a herd of turtles though when things started getting crazy.

Now did the police go a little overboard on Sunday with some journalists and citizens? Undoubtedly. Did they have reason to go overboard. Definitely. You see they were in a lose/lose situation. When they did nothing, they were criticized for it. When they did do something they were criticized for it. You also have to understand that the demonstrators were running around with video cameras and regular cameras, speaking of which a lot of the gear I saw them with was pretty high end. Their goal was to provoke the police into using force to prove their "police state" message and meme. Of course the police were doing the same thing. I guess you could say they were getting a little twitchy with all the cameras recording their actions no matter where they went. Anyway. I think I have said enough for the time being. Take care out there and no matter what be polite and calm when dealing with police officers. If it helps learn to talk fast and clearly.

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