Monday, September 23, 2013

Police Intimidation Tactics: The Knock At The Door And The Telephone Call

The other day I wrote a post based on Thomas Walkom's column detailing the intimidation tactics being utilized by the Ontario Province Police againt those in the Kincardine area opposed to their land being the site of a proposed nuclear waste dump. Many of those planning to make their opposition known at hearings into the matter received knocks on the door from the police asking if they were planning any demonstrations. No groups in favour of the site received such visits.

In today's edition of The Star, Thomas Walkom reports that the OPP is now exporting its tactics to the United States, but instead of the knock on the door they are using the jarring ring of the telephone:

Toledo, Ohio resident Michael Leonardi says he received a phone call at home from the OPP’s provincial liaison team asking about his scheduled appearance before the federal review panel looking into plans to bury low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste along Ontario’s Lake Huron shoreline.

In particular, police wanted to know if any protests were planned, he said.

“The officer was very nice,” Leonardi, a member of the Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy, told me Sunday. “He said there was some possibility that organizations like Greenpeace might demonstrate and that police didn’t want any fatalities.”

And yes, Leonardi insists that the word used was “fatalities.”

As Walkom notes, it is not unusual for the police to be proactive when large groups are planning demonstrations, working with them to coordinate traffic stoppages, etc. What appears to be unprecedented is their contact of people merely planning to attend a federal hearing to express their opposition.

Says American Michael Leonardi:

... he has testified at Ontario nuclear hearings before. But this is the first time he’s been vetted by police ahead of time.

“I was just kind of surprised,” he said. “The guy was nice enough on his own. But I couldn’t help but think the call was meant to deter me from testifying.”

But of course, that is surely a mistaken impression. Our police trying to interfere with our Charter Rights? That could never happen in this country. Of course not.

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