Publisher's Commentary

"Carding" a red flag at many levels

Many senior police managers fall into a state of shock when reporters come knocking with a negative story. They hunker down in their bunkers and wave patriotic flags to keep their detractors at bay. But the Toronto Police, perpetually in the eye of the storm, have been the exception over the past year.

The latest example is the fiasco over the long-standing procedure of Toronto officers submitting a "Persons Investigated Card" on the people they encounter.

The media have created much hubbub over this, accusing police of keeping "secret" files on citizens and using the cards as a form of racial profiling against blacks. The police commission, which has little understanding of police work and apparently even less interest in learning more, continue to hound senior staff about this "issue."

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Blue Line Magazine June / July 2015 Subscribe

Out of Africa

The Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from Liberian special forces, began attacks in March, 1991 in an attempt to overthrow the government. The country was thrown into a brutal 11-year civil war. Child soldiers were common, some recruited by force but others participating willingly because of fear, a desire to belong or a desperate need for basic food and shelter.

Some 50,000 thousand people were killed and 100,000 wounded before the war was declared officially over in January 2002. Countless more suffered greatly from the extreme poverty and rampant abuse, including amputations, torture, rape and sexual slavery.

The Sierra Leone government, in partnership with the UN, set up a special court later in 2002. It was tasked with trying those who bore "the greatest responsibility for the commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian law, as well as crimes under relevant Sierra Leonean law."


CASE LAW: Police Overstepped Authority During G20 Summit

Ontario's highest court has declared that police violated a would be protestor's rights by stopping him and requiring he submit to a search before proceeding.

In Figueiras v. Toronto (Police Services Board), 2015 ONCA 208, the applicant, carrying a backpack, and some friends went downtown to demonstrate in support of animal rights during the second day of the 2010 G20 Summit. Protests had become violent the previous day.

A group of several police officers stopped Figueiras and his friends as they walked about one city block north of a security fence set up to enclose the summit site. The officers told them that if they wanted to cross the street and go any further, they would have to submit to a search of their bags.


Blue Line News Week July 03, 2015 Subscribe

Public safety minister, RCMP clash over banned rifle

Jun 30 2015 OTTAWA - The federal public safety minister's office has asked the Mounties to review their decision to classify a rifle as prohibited after it roused the ire of gun enthusiasts.

This is not the first time the government has taken issue with the way the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has classified a gun and the latest spat reflects its push to obtain greater control over such decisions.

The conflict started when the RCMP classified a Mossberg-brand rifle, the Blaze, as non-restricted, but ruled the Blaze-47 was prohibited.

Gun enthusiasts were perplexed. They say both .22-calibre rifles are virtually identical, except the Blaze is fitted with a black-plastic stock, whereas the Blaze-47 has a wood-coloured stock.