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Bank Street Bully – final update

Officer Post: The Bank Street Bully

Officer Post: The Bank Street Bully

I called the Ottawa Police the other day to request a status update on the investigation into the Bank Street Bully incident in December.

The investigating officer told me, in essence, that the investigation by the Professional Standards Section has gone nowhere and will be closed soon. The unconscious young woman in handcuffs, who was at the centre of this incident, is “of no fixed address” and they don’t know where to find her in order to interview her. None of the other witnesses came forward.

Officer Post admits to having ‘asked’ me to delete my photographs, but beyond that we apparently differ as to how the conversation unfolded. The bottom line is that it came down to his word against mine, and it’s just not enough. The report will remain on his file (for two years, I think) and could be used against him if he’s involved in a similar incident during that time. But apart from that, it looks like it’s over.

I was also told that Staff Sergeant Denis Cléroux, the officer who left the comment on my blog announcing the investigation by the Professional Standards Section, will be leaving a follow-up comment once the written report has been completed and submitted to him.

I’m disappointed but not surprised that it’s ending this way. I never expected the investigation to result in any concrete changes, or any official sanctioning of Officer Post.

I’ve heard from several sources that Officer Post has been in trouble before, and that he’s known for breaking the law and violating people’s rights while carrying out his duties. I heard that he was demoted a few years ago for something along these lines. But he’s still walking around this city wearing a uniform and carrying a gun and wielding all the power those things automatically confer upon him.

I have nothing against the police. Quite the opposite. I expect them to be decent human beings. That’s why I was, and still am, so appalled by Officer Post’s behaviour. I hold cops to a higher standard.

Some of the characteristics that I think preclude people from being good cops include arrogance, power issues, bully tendencies, poor judgement, a quick temper, superficial thinking skills, a TV-crime-show understanding of crime, an inability to see shades of grey, and feelings of superiority towards people who are different from them (ie colour, gender, sexual orientation, income, social status, etc.).

Some of the qualities I think cops need, in order to be good cops, include sound judgement, a sense of fairness, good problem-solving and communication skills, an understanding of social issues, intelligence, manners, and basic human decency.

In my opinion, every single cop in this city should have to meet this standard. After all, these are the people we’re permitting, for example, to knock a tiny young woman unconscious if they deem it necessary. Isn’t it reasonable to say we’ll only give that kind of power to decent human beings with good judgement?

Or am I just being naive?

(See also: Bank Street Bully, and Bank Street Bully Update)

21 comments to Bank Street Bully – final update

  • You’re being naive, unfortunately. I was raised to view police officers as my friends and protectors. A roadside pick-up when I was 15 and subsequent rape by the officer cured me of that notion.

  • Convivialiddell

    It is being naive. But is that so wrong? It’s being hopeful, and I’d like to hold onto my hope for as long as I can. There’s still a small part of my heart that believes that our officers will meet my standards for decency, and I cherish that small, hopeful, naive part of me.

  • Carmen

    Again, you are so right Zoom! And there are amazing people in the police forces, compassionate, undersanding, patient, open-minded. My heart goes out to them. Their work is not easy, and sometimes outright dangerous. My cousin’s husband was in the police force. He is now retired. His biggest pride was that he never had to draw his gun. And he worked on the streets. However, that said, there are rotten apples everywhere and when in the police force, they leave even more of a mark. I am greatly disappointed that this has concluded this way. It gives cops like this man more power. He knows he can get away with it. There isn’t a Zoom at every street corner. We as citizens must be more diligent at protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

  • carole

    Like you Zoom, I am disappointed but not surprised. A few years ago I was hit by a semi, who ran a red light at the corner of Percy and Catherine. Lucky for me, several witnesses came forward to assure me that I was not at fault and that indeed the trucker had run the red light. Well, by the time the police arrived I was with the paramedics and the cop got the truckers version first.
    When he finally came to see me he never once asked: are you ok? Which in my mind should have been his first question regardless of who was at fault. He automatically believed the truckers version and assumed I was at fault, without even getting my version. I was appalled and disgusted by his arrogance and lack of empathy. Thank god for those witnesses. I did file an official complaint which like yours didn’t do much. Your bully actually looks very much like the officer I dealt with. Good for you for pursuing what you felt was the right thing to do.
    Regardless of the outcome it does bring some attention to the unacceptable behaviour. Yay Zoom!

  • XUP

    I think too much intelligence and sensitivity can be a real hindrance to a uniformed officer. I’m not saying that to be facetious. They need to be able to follow orders without second guessing the order. Their training is very specific. There is a precise protocol to follow for any given situation so thinking outside the box is not encouraged and could be dangerous. In addition, it takes a certain amount of arrogance and power-seeking to be attracted to the police services as a career. You’re going to be carrying a gun and a big stick and wearing kick-ass boots – most liberal, socially conscious people would not be comfortable with that. A cop can’t afford to feel sorry for someone committing a crime no matter how sad his life is. The cop is only one cog in the big wheel that includes social workers, judicial system, jails, prisons, parole and probation, rehab, etc., etc. They’re there to capture, subdue, apprehend and process the “offender”. It’s a pretty thankless job. They risk their life every day catching bad guys that end up back on the streets the next day. They get spit on, assaulted, they have drunks barfing in their cars; they get reamed in the press, verbally abused, insulted, etc., etc., and not paid very well. They see a lot of crap; a lot of horrible stuff. So, yes, it would take a very special kind of person to be able to do this every day and maintain a balanced outlook, good judgment, understanding, manners. I don’t think that happens very often. I think the culture – the nature of the job, the requirements of the job necessitate a thick skin, brusqueness, a suspicious nature, a lack of compassion. I don’t think a cop could survive being the type of person you and some of your commenters are looking for in a cop. It’s certainly not right for anyone to be knocking people unconscious or tasering them to death and they should be held accountable for this. And I believe they usually are. Maybe not always in a public lynching kind of way, but internally where they don’t want rogue cops any more than anyone else.

  • Yes to holding cops to these standards. And thank you – even if this has gone nowhere, you have done a very good thing. You opened lots of eyes with these posts. More of us need to actually take action when we see injustice unfolding and we all need to hold the people who are meant to protect us to a higher standard of accountability. Especially when someone who is unable to speak up for herself is being abused.

  • Ocean, that’s AWFUL. I don’t even know what to say.

    Conviv, I’m not saying I believe all cops are this way, only that they should be. Like you, I’m not ready to give up my ideals just because reality doesn’t bear me out.

    Thanks Carmen. The ‘rotten apples’ approach is interesting. I would go so far as to say a good police force would get rid of its rotten apples as soon as it discovers them.

    Carole, I like to think that even though there were no official sanctions, perhaps there were more subtle ramifications for the officer involved, which might make him a little more circumspect the next time he feels like being an asshole. (In your case, as well as in mine.)

    XUP, I see what you’re saying, but I disagree. Yes, they do have unpleasant and dangerous aspects of their jobs, but the vast majority of police work – at least in Ottawa – does not involve danger or the need to be able to act instantly without thinking. I think they spend a lot more time in situations where they have to communicate, think, and make decisions.

    When I was a criminology student, the police were actively recruiting criminology grads, and as far as I know they still are. If they didn’t want cops to have critical thinking skills and a sociological understanding of crime, they wouldn’t be recruiting criminology grads.

    Laurie, thanks – I’d be very happy if these posts accomplished that much.

  • Oma

    The best cop I ever ran into saw me as a person and had not lost one scrap of his own humanity. He helped me deal with a problem for which there appeared to be no official solution. I want more of those cops on the force.

  • XUP

    I’m sure they want their culture to change as much as we want it to change – which is why they’re recruiting grads. And it would be interesting to find out what Ottawa cops spend the majority of their time doing. I mostly knew cops in Toronto from when I worked with CSC so I might very well have a skewed sense of the sort of stuff the average cop has to deal with.

  • Don

    Disappointed but not surprised. That says it all. And it is the reason so many people are giving up on believing in justice and fairness. I used to have such a high opinion of police (and courts)…but either I am becoming more aware of reality, or, their standards are sliding. I am happy you posted this ZOOM, along with the followup (the followup alone means you are more relevant than most papers who just go for the headline). It seems more and more that freelance citizens, through video, pictures and blogs, are the people who are watching the people in power and helping to keep some truth alive.

  • It just goes to show him important it is to be able to photograph and videotape police officers.

    Without such evidence, they can easily talk their way out of almost any accusation of abuse. Even with such evidence, it is very hard to make them accountable.

    More on this:

  • Its disgusting how much you hear about cops and excessive use of force. She might have been putting up a fight but slamming her face into the sidewalk is a bit much.

    Police are in positions of power and need to behave like they deserve those roles. If we can’t trust them to show good judgement in tense situations, who can we trust?

  • Following up some more on XUP’s comments about the characteristics a cop needs in order to do his or her job effectively…

    It wasn’t that long ago that many people thought women shouldn’t be police officers because they weren’t strong enough or tough enough and they were too sensitive and compassionate and it wasn’t fair to the male officers to stick them with a “weaker” partner. But, as it turned out, women tend to make pretty good cops precisely because their strengths are different from the traditionally male strengths. Women tend to rely more on their communication skills and sensitivity to defuse potentially explosive situations. They defuse rather than overpower. (Sure, you can accomplish the same thing by knocking someone senseless…but if you can take a little extra time to finesse the situation, that seems like the better option to me).

  • deb

    An RCMP officer stops at a ranch up in Iron
    Mountain, B.C. and talks with the old ranch

    He tells the rancher, ‘I need to inspect your ranch for
    illegal grown drugs.’

    The old rancher says, ‘Okay, but don’t
    go in that field over there.’

    The RCMP officer verbally
    explodes saying, ‘Mister, I have the authority
    of the Federal
    Government with me.’ Reaching into his rear pant
    and removing his badge. The officer proudly displays it to
    the farmer.

    ‘See this badge? This badge means I am
    allowed to go wherever I wish..on
    any land. No questions asked or
    answered given. Have I made myself clear?
    Do you

    The old rancher nods politely and goes about his

    Later, the old rancher hears loud screams and spies
    the RCMP officer running
    for his life and close behind is the
    rancher’s bull.

    With every step the bull is gaining ground on
    the officer.

    The officer is clearly

    The old rancher immediately throws down his tools,
    runs to the fence and
    yells at the top of his

    ‘Your badge! Show him your fucking

  • quorum queen

    I would like to know who your sources are and maybe you should walk in their shoes for awhile. Try it and see if you like it

  • Love the joke, Deb.

    Quroum queen – I’m not sure what you’re getting at. You want me to walk awhile in my sources’ shoes?

  • Just this morning I heard a program on CBC about cops in Vancouver confiscating cameras from citizens at crime scenes. It discussed the right to take photos. You can listen to it on their website here:

  • Thanks for preserving. Thanks for posting. Shared on my facebook and twitter.

  • The good cops are the ones who remember that their purpose is “To Serve and Protect” – the bad cops think their purpose is “catching bad guys.”

  • quorum queen

    Bad wording-walk a mile in the police shoes and see what they have to put up with. I am not excusing any officer who goes rogue but they have to put up with so much crap on a regular basis. I would also like to know how your sources have such info. That is what I meant. Believe me, with respect to the responsibilities of being out there on a daily basis, it is no piece of cake. I have a brother who does it , working on bringing down the gangs and believe me, they are a piece of work.

  • Lo

    like an occupation, there are good and bad apples BUT those that teach, police etc -those types of positions really need to be a calling to be successful-a career and not a job. I KNOW there is corruption out there and it scares me (about as much as being really ill and having to rely on our health care system) but it would be good to show the other side too-to appease your other fans ie a friend of mine is a cop and I know she is a good person and a good cop just like others know people that aren’t ‘good’ people and therefore aren’t good cops. Just like when you call a service provider, you are at the mercy of whether you get a ‘good’ customer service rep or a ‘bad’ one. Unfair and ridiculou? YES! Reality? Unfortunately, yes…. One thing my friend who is a cop shared with me is the stress and pressure of the job and how everyday when they head out to serve and protect, they know that many of their clients just want to spit on them or shoot at them (depending on your neighbourhood:) All this rambling being said, it’s a tough call….and cops have prejudices just like everyone else and they use them in their jobs when they shouldn’t……..but they are also prejudiced against at times…….