Two young men who were allegedly beaten and Tasered repeatedly when they were caught up in a drug raid in a Richmond Hill hotel room two years ago have launched a $7 million lawsuit against York Regional Police.[LINK] [via TNT]
Brandon Talon, then 23, whose battered face appeared on the front page of the Toronto Sun in the wake of the raid, and Jonathan Fontela, then 22, claim they have been left physically and mentally scarred since the wee hours of the morning of Sept. 6, 2008, when they claim they were “brutally” awakened by rifle butts, boot heels and jolt after jolt of electricity. ...
Suggestion: Bust down the door, flick on the lights, keep things calm, continuously announce "Police!" over and over and over again, 'cover' any and all persons found inside but don't be so stupid as to forget that the persons will still be half-asleep, remember that even an innocent might have their hands under the sheets or under their pillow (and it doesn't mean that they have a gun), and F.F.S. GIVE THEM A REASONABLE CHANCE TO COMPLY!
EVEN IF (!) the persons inside are actual criminals, they still have rights (otherwise nobody has rights). For example, being provided with a reasonable opportunity to comply before being set-upon by armed thugs. Busting down a door and IMMEDIATELY starting to inflict violence upon those persons found inside would be a crystal-clear violation of their rights.
Police leadership must set policy so that basic rights are not violated.
REMEMBER THIS OTHER EXAMPLE?: Vancouver Police "beat wrong man" [LINK]
Incidents where non-criminals are caught in the swirl of obviously-unnecessary state-sponsored violence provides clear examples, but EVEN ACTUAL CRIMINALS must be provided the opportunity to be lawfully arrested without being subjected to a good beating and an electo-torture session at the hands of the police.
If this lawsuit is proven in court, then I'd love to see the court add-on some punitive damages that will force change.
There should be no argument about this issue!! Anyone can be caught up in a police error where they bust down the wrong door. Such errors should result in a broken door, PERIOD. The occupants should not be set-upon in a mindless session of state-sponsored violence, leaving them shattered physically and mentally.
I'm a perfectly average Canadian. Incidents such as these disgust me. I'm outraged.
But I'm also a sensitive enough observer to discern that cases like this reveal that it's highly likely that suspects' right are probably being systematically violated during this sort of arrests-with-violence. And that is totally unacceptable.