Thursday, October 21, 2010


A Gentle Answer Turneth Away Wrath

The Officer Bubbles case continues as an embarrassment to cops everywhere. And the case of the surgeon charged with speeding because he was rushing to operate on a patient given only a 50% chance of survival has just been settled, sort of,
And cops wonder why many people don't like them and their neighbours treat them differently. Because too many of them act more foe than friend in any encounter. And the public, who pays their damn hefty salaries, want safety and security but not at any price.
I wrote about the speeding surgeon on Jan. 15 in a column titled Cops And Docs And The Law. I have no intention of again reciting my anger at the lack of common sense shown by the radar trap officer intent on giving him a $300 ticket even though he was rushing to operate on a critically ill patient.
Now the prosecutor has dropped the charge 10 months later, which is a good thing because nothing makes the law-and-order establishment look stupider than a lack of common sense that borders on the criminal. The bad thing is the doc has had 10 months of hassle.
It's actually simple. Cop pulls speeding doc over. Doc uses the emergency excuse. Cop asks for doctor to provide evidence of such an emergency, such as a letter from the hospital administrator. If the letter doesn't arrive within a reasonable time, the doc is given the speeding ticket plus a public mischief charge, and the offence is reported to the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Sorry, it isn't rocket science to figure out a compromise solution, even though the cop spokesman for the Toronto force talked about how the cops would continue to enforce the Highway Traffic Act and did not apologize for the radar cop not using the discretion which is within the power of all police.
About this point, hothead cops, who love to be petty dictators, will level the usual charge against critics that I am anti-cop. Actually I have received eight journalism awards from the Toronto police association, have served on an advisory committee at headquarters and have had several chiefs and one OPP commissioner as friends.
But as was plain from the attitude of many at the presentation dinners, the police really want the commentators on their activities to be all or nothing. Either you're with us or against us and you can forget all about that objective crap.
And now to Office Bubbles, the constable stupid enough during the G20 Summit in June to threaten a young female protester for blowing bubbles. It's a petty incident that is now infamous throughout the world. Imagine some cop bristling with gear, surrounded by armoured colleagues, telling a girl that if one of those soap bubbles touches him, he will charge her with assault.
Naturally Office Bubbles is being ridiculed in every possible way on every possible form of communication. And instead of taking his lumps over how dumb he is in PR, he's rattling the legal action sword. He should fall on that sword instead. Can't his colleagues and senior cops get through to him that they are mortified that he is a poster boy for over-reaction that stands out even in the over-reaction that was everywhere during the G20 security.
The Officer Bubbles nickname will follow him to his grave unless he smartens up.

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