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Fire the thugs

Even I, who have a bit of a jaundiced eye when it comes to the behaviour of Ottawa’s police force as a whole, am surprised by how much police brutality has come to light since the Stacy Bonds incident. I can’t even keep up with it all here on the blog. I skipped the last few because I don’t want my blog to be overwhelmed with accounts of police brutality. I haven’t got a vendetta against the Ottawa Police Service or anything like that; I just want them to fire their thugs.

There’s only so much one can say about police brutality. Details may change from one incident to the next – the individual cops involved, the type of victim, the location (ie on the street as opposed to in the cell block) – but the commentary remains the same: Police brutality is a despicable and cowardly act of bullying because of the power imbalance between the victim and his or her assailants, and it is completely unacceptable in a civilized society. I do not subscribe to the “bad apple” theory, and I would guess that as more and more allegations (and videos) come to light, more and more people are agreeing with me.

Today’s incident involves a young man, Mark Krupa, driving his teenaged brother home after having dinner at their mom’s house. A car pulled up alongside him at a red light, and its driver started yelling at him about speeding, along with snarky comments about his car. As it turned out, the driver was a cop in an unmarked car. He didn’t show a badge and Krupa didn’t believe he was a cop, so he kept driving. He was subsequently pulled over by by an officer in a marked car, who was joined by the original plainclothes officer in the unmarked car.

Krupa was ordered out of his car, handcuffed, and beat up to the tune of a black eye, abrasions, contusions, lacerations to his face and head and sprains to his shoulders and legs. He was later visited in the hospital by the police, who laid charges of stunt driving and failing to stop for a police officer. Both charges have since been withdrawn.

Mr. Krupa has no criminal record and no previous dealings with the Ottawa Police. I mention this only because if they beat the crap out of ordinary, law-abiding citizens for traffic infractions, I shudder to think what they do to criminals.

Mr. Krupa filed an official complaint. The Ottawa Police Service investigated and exonerated themselves, as usual. He then took the complaint higher, to Ontario’s civilian police commission. They disagreed with the Ottawa findings, and ruled that Const. Kevin Jacobs be charged under the Police Services Act for unlawful and excessive use of authority.

It’ll be interesting to see if he’s found guilty, and, if so, what penalties will be applied. I say fire the thug. It’s a no-brainer.

13 comments to Fire the thugs

  • Eileen

    I’m 100% with you on this. It’s horrifying the number of cases of police brutality that have come to light recently. This Const. Kevin Jacobs was in trouble just a short time ago when a court ruled that he broke police search rules by going into an Ottawa home without a search warrant. Several other officers are also repeat offenders.

    I’m completely cynical about OPP investigations into their own officers’ behaviour. They are always cleared.

    All these incidents happened under Vern White’s watch; he tolerated them. I was very unhappy that his term as police chief has been extended until 2015. Even worse, he is a strong contender for the job of RCMP Commissioner. As if the Mounties are not in enough trouble!

    • Well, you know Eileen, it kind of reminds me of one time I was at a lunch buffet at an Indian restaurant and I saw a big fat cockroach scuttle across the buffet table. I didn’t mention it to my companions, since I didn’t want to spoil their appetites too. But I did write a letter to the establishment and they phoned me back and were extremely apologetic. They told me that there was a cockroach problem along that whole street, and all the restaurants got together and coordinated to get sprayed for bugs all at the same time. The problem was that all the cockroaches were now in chaos, fleeing their comfortable hidden places, and forced out into the open to look for new hiding places. “The problem appears to be much worse before it gets better,” he said. And that made sense.

      I guess what I’m wondering is whether the abusive cops are being similarly disrupted, so the problem is more visible now. There’s a lot more light being shone in their direction now, and they’re used to doing their dirty work in secret.

  • I hope you will keep writing about this subject because the police in Ottawa are out of control, and this needs to stop. I think Eileen’s comment above expresses everything else that I could say on this subject, and as always, she writes it better than I could (Hi Mom!).

    • I will keep writing about it Finola, because I agree, it needs to stop.

      I thought Eileen was your mom, but I wasn’t sure! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Just note that while the criminal charges were dropped, he did get a ticket for speeding. So it’s not like the plainclothes officer was stopping him for no reason. If the original charge was for street racing, then he may have been speeding by 50 km/h or more, which would get me pretty angry too. The officer’s reaction, however, is completely unacceptable.

    - RG>

    • It doesn’t matter what the victim did or didn’t do. Cops sometimes have to deal with people who make them angry; it’s part of the job. If he can’t control his anger without beating people up, he is unfit for the job and should be fired.

  • Nat

    What the fuck is going on at the OPS? I wonder if it’s not time for heads to roll… just this time not the criminals.

  • I have also been thinking about the police brutality situation. I wonder how much of it is because they are being more open about it? We have always had the cops who have an attitude but before recently, maybe it was just hushed up more. I prefer to think that is what is at work here, and not that there are more bad situations. Vern White came on board with an open and frank attitude and has maintained it so far. I would like to see some statistics before we condemn him with the others.

    What bothers me about individual police officers with attitude is that they are not protecting people. The whole point of security and policing (and even the military) is to protect people – from themselves, from each other, from the state. Police officers with a pre-existing mind-set that policing is about protecting, are the officers we want to have the job.

    I do subscribe to the bad apple theory. The bad apples who make themselves feel bigger by beating on others, are the ones we want to fire. The bad apples are easy to spot too. They are the ones who escalate the situation, when they should be defusing it. Sure, buddy can piss you off and be technically breaking the law, but a good cop will defuse the tension and disperse the scofflaws, not wade in there with truncheon flying. Unfortunately, bad apples also tend to be natural leaders of the less aggressive and so the other apples find themselves going along with the brutality, because “that’s what people do”. If the police can dig out those really bad apples and provide solid and rewarding leadership for everyone else, this thing can get fixed.

    • Julia, I’m inclined to think you’re right – the police brutality situation in Ottawa has probably been this bad for a very long time. The difference is that in the past, nobody believed the victims. If it was the cop’s word against the victim’s word, people always gave the benefit of the doubt to the cop. Most victims wouldn’t even report it, for fear of retaliation. If there was proof (I remember video footage of a handcuffed woman getting her head beat repeatedly against a cruiser by a cop in Chinatown many years ago) people assumed it was a bad apple, a rogue cop, a one-off.

      Now, in the face of so many incidents, and so much actual evidence, people are realizing we have a serious problem with police brutality in Ottawa.

  • Freddy

    Hey, remember our friend Officer Post? I saw him a while back, he’s off the streets and working as a homicide detective now.
    I’m not sure what I think about that, but I’m glad he’s not around anymore.

    • Oh that’s interesting, Freddy. Officer Post, the Bank Street Bully. That’s good that he’s off the streets at least. But I wonder what he does for kicks these days?

  • Great work. Thanks for tackling this issue. Police can be so unnecessarily intimidating.. the days of the friendly local sheriff who waves to the people are long past. The situation is so tense and change is a must! What can we do about it?