Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Virtues Of Restraint

I suspect if teachers were to be completely completely honest, almost all would admit that at some point in their careers they felt like lashing out, either verbally or physically, at a student or two. That was certainly my experience a few times during my 30 years in the classroom, but two things stopped me from ever being physically aggressive: the likelihood that I would lose my job, and, more importantly, the knowledge that I occupied a position of authority that carried with it profound responsibilities; to abuse that authority would have been a violation of the trust placed in me and also a repudiation of my own moral code.

Unfortunately, some police do not seem to be troubled in the least by such considerations. Deluded into thinking that their word and version of events is virtually sacrosanct, countless allegations have arisen over the years of police beatings of civilians; in the majority of instances, absent of corroborating evidence, the offending officers' versions of events have carried the day.

With the advent of camera-equipped cellphones and the proliferation of public surveillance cameras, that dynamic has been slowly changing, each publicly-posted video eroding both police credibility and public confidence in the job they are entrusted with. Two of a myriad of examples include the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto and the recent killing of Sammy Yatim.

In the print edition of today's Star (I'll provide the link when the online column becomes available), Rosie Dimanno excoriates disgraced Barrie cop Jason Neville, recently sentenced to a one-year jail term for the unprovoked beating of Jason Stern outside of a Barrie mall on November 20, 2010. A public surveillance video (shown below) captures both the senselessness and the brutality of the beating inflicted by Nevill on what appears to be a totally passive and compliant Stern.

It also makes clear how extensively he perjured himself in his claims that Stern kneed him in the groin and was 'extensively intoxicated'.

What was at the root of this senseless attack? An ornament atop the mall's Christmas tree, accidentally broken by a friend of Stern.

I'll leave you with the video and a few choice word from Rosie's column to describe the guilty cop:

Thug. Liar. Bully. Disgrace. Felon.

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