Canada Has Bad Cops Too

America is apparently not the only country that has its share of abusive, corrupt police officers — or the only one that doesn’t do anything to punish them when they’re caught. Here’s an officer in Durham threatening to plant drugs on a suspect and being incredibly abusive.


Jonathan Turley has some of the details:

On the video, the officer is shown saying “I hurt people . . . and then I make their cocaine fucking appear, . . . You see how I work. . . . See what I do.” He appears to be goading the man to try to get him to get physical in the confrontation in the home in Oshawa.

The video shows the officer yelling “Shut your fucking mouth and do something . . . do something please, do fucking something . . . take a swing, so I can. . . ” The officer is heard using the f-word over three dozen times. Two other officers are standing by as this abusive scene unfolds. There is no record of the officers coming forward to report the abusive conduct.

At one point, the officer tells the man that he may arrest him simply for his “attitude.” He tells the man to show more courtesy to him and the other officers: “You see me again, you’re fucking . . . ‘Yes sir, no sir, three bags full . . . whatever the fuck you want. . . . Can I do a back flip?’ . . . Whatever I say, right? . . . You give me attitude and I’m gonna fucking drag you uptown. I’m gonna say you assaulted me. I’m gonna say you threatened me.”

The officer was docked two days’ pay. That’s it. And here’s the response of the department:

The police department insists that the matter is closed with the return of the office to duty. Police spokesman Dave Selby stated “This issue was addressed and the officer was disciplined.” Selby said”[a]ny time an officer is depicted in this way in public, it’s a concern for the service. Inappropriate behaviour is taken very seriously.”

Oh, of course; the problem is here is that the officer was “depicted this way in public.” How about the problem is that he behaves this way at all, whether it’s on video or not? That cop should not only have been fired, he should have been prosecuted for threatening someone who, by the way, had done nothing wrong — there weren’t even any arrests in the case.

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  • Ulysses

    I wonder if that cop will find whoever did the video and arrests them for drug possession. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that happens.

  • Here are the details from a recent case in Edmonton.

    They forgot to have someone play ‘good cpo’.

  • Good COP.

  • This ought to lead to some probing questions by municipal or provincial legislators (whether Durham is Toronto municipal police or OPP I don’t know), and yes, as Ed notes, heads should (metaphorically) roll.

    The cop who was actually doing that shit should be fired.

    The cops who were standing around not reigning him in should be suspended for a couple of weeks.

  • gshelley

    I feel confident that there will be people saying that it was all the suspect’s own fault for not giving the police enough respect. I also feel fairly sure that the same people make up a sizable proportion of the paranoid “Obama is coming for our guns to set up a dictatorship” crowd

  • mithandir

    Here in Belgium we had a case recently where specialriot/antiterror cops beat a guy to death in a holding cell. It got pushed under the carpet for years until recently a tv documentary got hold of the camera footage and made a report on it. Now they’re suing the documentary makers (partly because now the public has seen the footage, the cops “can’t get a fair trial” anymore).

  • Draken

    And the department in question should be scrutinised for similar cases.

  • When you see things like this, do you wonder, “I wonder why cops don’t like being filmed?”

    I mean, if I were a cop and I knew that all I was doing was kissing babies, rescuing kittens, pulling vagabonds out of ditches and dusting them off, and ticketing the occasional speeder, I would be really happy if there were people videotaping me. I might commit some conspicuous act of heroism and be lauded as a good cop. I’m starting to wonder if there’s some merit to the argument, “you shouldn’t care about privacy, unless you have something to hide….” Of course, “privacy” and “public service” sort of contradict…

  • It got pushed under the carpet

    That’s how Ghengiz Khan killed a few people. Sounds like the Belgian police are traditionalists…

  • grumpyoldfart

    He will be strutting around the police station, playing the part of the guy who “took one for the team” and his boss will probably buy the first round of drinks in the pub at the end of the shift.

  • @composer99

    Durham Region has its own police force (i.e. not OPP or Toronto). The provincial government is ultimately responsible.

    As a resident of Durham, the response of the department is very concerning to me.

  • left0ver1under

    RCMP = Rampantly Corrupt and Malicious “Police”

    Abuses and corruption like that are unsurprising to Canadians.

    – “Sergeant Pepper” deliberately firing pepper spray at protesters AND reporter, the 1997 APEC summit

    – “Starlight tours” where the RCMP drive people tens of kilometres away from cities and force them to walk home. In -40C (-40F) temperatures. Without their jackets.

    – David Milgaard, Donald Marshall and Guy Paul Morin (among others) convicted of murders they did not commit after corrupt “police” falsified evidence and coerced testimony. They also allowed the actual murderer to walk free for years (and in one case, kill again).

    Among many other abuses.

  • John Hinkle

    I’m gonna say you assaulted me.

    This happened to a friend of mine recently in Chicago. He was crossing the street, against a “don’t walk” signal, with no traffic nearby, in the afternoon. A car zooms out of a nearby lot and stops short, and the guy says,”Hey, can’t you read? It says ‘don’t walk.'” The guy is in a plain car, wearing street clothes. My friend doesn’t know this guy from Adam, and not being one to take shit from people, flips him off. The guy continues to be confrontational, so my friend walks back to the car and says something like, “Perhaps I wasn’t clear,” and sticks his middle finger in the guy’s face. Guy replies,”You’re under arrest.” Friend starts walking away, the guy gets on his cell, and within seconds there’s 7 squad cars there. My friend gets arrested for a made-up charge: assaulting an officer. Guy claims my friend threatened to kill him (hence the quick arrival of the squad cars).

    There’s a possible good ending to this story. My friend works for a federal agency, and as a federal agent that means this cop could be in hot water. The cop has called 3 times offering to drop charges. My friend is considering suing, or having criminal charges pressed (false arrest and a half dozen other things).

  • Synfandel

    This ought to lead to some probing questions by municipal or provincial legislators (whether Durham is Toronto municipal police or OPP I don’t know),

    This happened in Durham Region, not in Durham. Durham is in Grey County, Ontario, between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Durham Region is 200 km away on the east side of Toronto. It’s the responsibility of the Durham Regional Police, not the Toronto Police and not the Ontario Provincial Police.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I wonder whether the courts would allow this to be admitted by the defense when this cop is testifying for the prosecution. I know I would doubt on his reliability after seeing it.

    Especially if the charges involve cocaine …

  • illdoittomorrow

    left0ver1under @ 12,

    “Starlight tours” where the RCMP drive people tens of kilometres away from cities and force them to walk home. In -40C (-40F) temperatures. Without their jackets.

    IIRC this tactic was/is especially popular in Saskatchewan, used against (surprise, suprise) insufficiently submissive First Nations men.

  • illdoittomorrow

    Speaking of photographing cops- I know Chris Clarke over at Pharyngula is very uneasy with it, but this is a fine job for Google Glass. All one would need is an app that allows video data to uploaded to a secure server in real time, with nothing saved to the phone, in case of theft/destruction confiscation (I think there’s an app or two for smartphones that does this).

  • Sally Stearns

    What gets lost in all this is now what about real drug dealers? I personally don’t believe drug dealing should be a crime, but as long as it is, drug dealers are not going to be the best class of people.

    The problem is, real drug dealers cannot be convicted now. A defence attorney plays this tape and boom: instant reasonable doubt. If your cops are planting drugs on people, you can’t convict criminals of anything.

    “Your honour, this person was found with the murder weapon in his possession!”

    Competent defence attorney: “Was he? Or was it planted on him like this officer admits to doing in this video tape and then was not fired?”

    Congratulations DRPS! A murderer is now off scot-free!

  • D. C. Sessions

    What gets lost in all this is now what about real drug dealers?

    They have their own arrangements with the cops. That’s why it’s so hard to make quota and so easy to get drugs to plant.

  • Ibis3, Synfandel:

    Thank you for the corrections.

  • This is very typical of the Duram Region Police. I recently talked to a former officer of that department that had quit because he would no longer be a party to this type of behavior. The Duram Region Police have a reputation for instigating assaults on police by pushing young men until they fight back. If you ride a motorcycle you are going to be hassled. If you drive in this area on a bike they will treat you as a club member whether you are or not.

  • martinc

    @15, @18:

    I had similar thoughts. Anyone arrested by this guy for possession is going to be able to claim it was planted. And show the court video of the cop himself saying he plants drugs. How is this cop ever going to be able to get a conviction of anyone? I can’t believe the authorities plan to keep him on, because his credibility as a witness is dead in the water. I can imagine the drug dealers of the area when getting arrested pleading to be arrested by this clown, so they’ll get off. On purely practical grounds, there is no way this guy can continue as an effective policeman, even in the supremely unlikely event that this case was an aberration and every other arrest in his career was accompanied by utter probilty.

    One more point: isn’t this video also going to throw into reasonable doubt any previous convictions made by this cop? I hear the faint rustling sound of appeals lawyers a-gathering.

  • Sally Stearns

    Here’s the first drug arrest since this video has gotten out:

    This Derek Smith was arrested for having crystal meth on his person, but how can we believe that’s what really happened? I believe Derek Smith made the arresting officer upset and got the drugs planted just so they could bring him up on charges. If I were on the jury, that’s what I’d have to rule.