Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The blue-wall two-step: 18 investigators, 361 complaints: Not a single G20 cop charged

TORONTO - One year after being allegedly punched in the face by a Toronto Police officer at the G20, journalist Jesse Freeston has not heard a thing.

Not from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), not from Toronto Police professional standards, not from anybody.

“Nah, never heard anything from them,” said Jesse of The Real News Network. “When I tried to follow up with the (OIPRD) person in charge of my case, her e-mail was no longer working.”

He was trying to film what turned out to be the equally as unnecessary arrest of a deaf man when he was cold-cocked in the kisser.

But at least he has get-to-the-bottom-of-things Gerry McNeilly — the head of OIPRD — who said “the review will investigate common issues arising from complaints against police during the G20 Summit” and that he ensures “these issues are investigated thoroughly and in a way that is accountable, transparent, efficient and fair to both the public and the police.”

I played along and asked about Freeston.

“The OIPRD does not comment on specific cases, nor do we release information about individual public complaints,” said spokesperson Rosemary Parker. “This information is confidential so we neither confirm nor deny whether a specific complaint was filed or not. The only time any information about a case will be released is if a case goes to a hearing, then the decision is posted on the OIPRD website.”

On how many charges stemming from the G20 she wrote “we don’t discuss individual complaints. When investigations are completed, complainants receive a report about their own complaint. Decisions are not made public unless they go to a Police Services Act hearing.”

I have come to recognize the Blue Wall two-step.

Meanwhile, I can’t find anything on their site but Parker said “the OIPRD received 361 complaints regarding the G20” and that OIPRD “budget for 2010-2011 was about $8.3 million” which encompasses “nine full-time investigators” and “nine” additional “contracted “investigators.”

Like the Special Investigations Unit, many of the investigators are former police officers.

Parker said “our office is working hard to complete investigations and produce a report that will make meaningful recommendations regarding policing large events. We expect to have the report out soon.”

Meanwhile, with or without their report, 88,000 people have already watched the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7OA920pbv8, where Freeston was clearly being struck and had his microphone taken. The video is like a modern review without spending $8.3 million of taxpayers’ money.

It also shows there should be no identification issues since this officer didn’t take his name badge off. M. Martinez is what is on it.

Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash is looking to see if there was any internal discipline or investigation under way.

He didn’t know of the case in a new video called “Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair: The Truth,” posted on www.TorontoG20Exposed.ca. You can see Blair dealing directly with RNN’s senior editor Paul Jay.

“I am very aware of the incident and we were video-taping it as well,” says the chief. “We videotaped all aspects of that, one of the things the media missed yesterday (Friday) there was a large cadre of Black Bloc dressed people in the centre of that crowd, as it approached along College St., they began to throw things at my officers; it was necessary for my people to put their helmets on and it was also necessary for us to go into that crowd and arrest some of the people that were attacking them. Now all of that was videoed. Now if your reporter wishes to make a complaint of any kind against the police, there is a proper format to do that. I urge you to contact us in writing and have him do that ... or he can call the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.”

Jesse did exactly that. And Jay said Monday “we sent a formal letter to Blair and his communications person, asking for their tapes that would prove Black Bloc started things that day. No reply ... Not a word.”

The chief has been mistaken about a number of facts about the G20, but if that tape is out there, we will post it. Maybe they also sent it over to their pals at OIRPD where they have had 361 complaints, have 18 investigators, $8.3-million spent and not one known police act charge so far!

As you can see, their system of police investigating police is really working well.

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