Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Big Picture

Much has been written over the past few days over a recorded exchange between two well-known bloggers and a Toronto police officer. [You can see my various posts on related items here.] SMW has not said much on the subject - but alas cannot resist the urge to make a few comments. The response to the video of "the Badge" was rather surprising - not because people had various opinions of the situation, but the tone with which some of those opinions were expressed and the ensuing debate which seems to have overshadowed the original story.

What was the story? Well it has two parts.
1. Anarchists trash a section of downtown Toronto and face very little résistance from the police. (I already wrote my take on this and am not going to waste everyone's time repeating myself).
2. Later Kathy and BCF are on Bloor St (for those of you unfamiliar with Toronto this is the chi-chi part of town - for my UK readers it's sort of like Knightsbridge) and they see police have arrested a group of people. From the sidewalk across the street they film the happenings. Police ask them to "move along," the video shows what happens next.

The officer was being snarky, Kathy gave him a snarky response. Was she being rude? Was the officer being a complete jacka**? Should they have been there in the first place? Maybe I misunderstood the message but I never thought this video was about an officer being a d*ck, or about Kathy getting her feelings hurt. To me this video was about a police force that was (clearly) under orders not to tackle criminals and stop them while they were committing crimes, but who had no problem asking a couple who were not committing any crime to stop taking pictures on a public street, and then get into an argument with them over tax distribution. It's about a police force that could not get video evidence of criminals being criminals, but who insisted on asking people to stop filming, and assaulted a member of the press. This whole incident is about the big picture of security and police actions during the G20, not some verbal exchange between a blogger and a cop. It is about priorities.