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Author Topic: Halifax protest against police racism and violence
unionist
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posted 29 July 2008 01:57 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Protesters complain about police conduct in N.S. fight

quote:
About two dozen people carried placards outside police headquarters in Halifax Tuesday over allegations that off-duty police officers made racial slurs and started a fight last month with two young black men in Digby, N.S.

The group also planned to submit a complaint with the police over the incident.

The two young men, Nathaniel Fells and William Drummond, say someone among a group of off-duty officers from the RCMP and the Halifax and New Glasgow police departments uttered the racial slur and then took a swing at Mr. Drummond.

Drummond says he knocked the officer out and was then zapped with a stun gun by an on-duty RCMP officer outside a bar on June 22.


In the workplaces represented by my union, a worker who committed racist provocations and violence would be fired and stay fired, besides the possibility of criminal charges.

When it's RCMP or police, I predict either a whitewash, or else paid suspension and community service.

Only when police and RCMP learn that they will be barred, forever, from police work for such behaviour, will the beginnings of positive change be possible. I'm not holding my breath. But it's great to see people getting into the street to protest such crimes.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 29 July 2008 02:36 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Several minutes of video from a street camera in downtown Digby, N.S., reveal some interesting things about the night two local black men claim they were harassed and taunted by some off-duty cops, says the father of one of the men.

William Drummond, 20, said he was zapped with a stun gun by Digby RCMP during the early hours of June 22 after someone in a group of men hurled a racial slur at him and his friend, Nathaniel Fells, 19, as they walked past a downtown bar.

Drummond said he didn't know that the group consisted of off-duty cops, who appeared to have been drinking.

Rev. Michael Alden Fells, a local clergyman and Nathaniel's father, said he viewed the incident this week with local RCMP officers as it appeared on film.

"You can clearly see . . . Nathaniel Fells and William Drummond walking down the street," he said Tuesday.

"There's a van parked on the street. All of a sudden both of them (Fells and Drummond), their heads jerk and turn around at the same time. Their bodies turn."

He said there was no audio, but he still felt you could tell "something was said from the van that was offensive."

Fells said the boys are seen saying something back to the van's occupants as at least five or six people are seen getting out of the van.

"They start backing the boys up maybe two (hundred), three hundred feet," said Fells.

"Finally one (van occupant) ... throws a punch. He misses William. William throws a punch back and he connects and that guy goes down," said Fells.

The group of men continue to advance on the two men, he said.

"Then you see the RCMP patrol car pull into the picture," said Fells.

The clergyman said Mounties get out and apparently tell the group of men to back up. Then three Mounties address William Drummond.

"He didn't throw any punches at them, he didn't push them. He didn't run through them," said Fells. "From there they taser him and he goes down."

Drummond was down for five or six minutes, not moving at all, said Fells.

Fells said three uniformed Mounties watch over an unconscious Drummond while a man from the van is seen chasing Nathaniel Fells around.

Police have acknowledged that Drummond was wrestled to the ground by local officers and was hit with a jolt from a stun gun.

Drummond has admitted that he struck - and knocked out - one of the off-duty officers during the fracas that followed, but he has said that he was only defending himself.

No charges have been laid, though Drummond and Fells were arrested and taken to the local police station.

Staff Sgt. Phil Barrett, who has led the local force since 2006, has described the incident as "a setback" for race relations, and has requested outside investigations by RCMP in Halifax and a neighbouring detachment.


Canadian Press

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 29 July 2008 03:39 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think it's useless going through administrative procedures to address this. I mean, sure, go through it.

But I think lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit is the only thing that's going to get through to them. Sue the police service involved, and sue the individual officers. Every single time.

Wouldn't it be great if some group similar to the ACLU were to be formed, except with the express purpose of suing crooked cops?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 31 August 2008 03:10 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The cop has since been charged with - get this - "causing a disturbance in a public place"!

Not assault causing bodily harm?

----

Related thread


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 31 August 2008 05:05 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
In the workplaces represented by my union, a worker who committed racist provocations and violence would be fired and stay fired, besides the possibility of criminal charges.
I find it difficult to believe that the employers you cite would, as a matter of policy, target any employee for dismissal for being in physical altercation on personal time where racist language was used.

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
scooter
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posted 01 September 2008 09:32 AM      Profile for scooter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Makwa:
I find it difficult to believe that the employers you cite would, as a matter of policy, target any employee for dismissal for being in physical altercation on personal time where racist language was used.

No kidding. Do they also do weekly drug tests and review the books you take out of the library?

From: High River | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 01 September 2008 09:38 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Makwa:
I find it difficult to believe that the employers you cite would, as a matter of policy, target any employee for dismissal for being in physical altercation on personal time where racist language was used.

First of all, I said "[b]IN THE WORKPLACES/b]" - not "outside" the workplaces - so with respect, please read a bit more carefully.

Second, if an off-duty act of a worker detrimentally affected the reputation of the employer or its ability to function properly, the worker would also be subject to discipline or dismissal. Example: a teacher convicted of assaulting children on their own time.

In the particular case of police, actions of the kind described are incompatible with their role, whether committed on or off duty. The point of my post, which you seem to have missed, is that ordinary workers are treated much more harshly in comparable situations than cops.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 01 September 2008 12:29 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
The point of my post, which you seem to have missed, is that ordinary workers are treated much more harshly in comparable situations than cops.
The 'in the workplace' qualifier is ambiguous at best, and we are not talking about an incident that happened 'in a workplace' so the relevance escapes me. I can't see at as a comparable situation, unless you consider that police are 'in the workplace' anywhere, anytime, which is a frightening thought in itself. If you are asserting that 'ordinary workers' are somehow regularly face discipline for racist actions performed outside the workplace, I would love to see some evidence of that. I agree that some professional colleges and associations may make judgements based on behavior of members which are outside of the normal performance of duties, but this again does not appear to apply to the majority of employers.

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 01 September 2008 12:46 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Makwa:
If you are asserting that 'ordinary workers' are somehow regularly face discipline for racist actions performed outside the workplace, I would love to see some evidence of that.

I told you, and I repeat, that workers who commit racist or violent acts outside the workplace, in a way that may affect the reputation of the employer or the reliability or functionality of the worker, frequently are the subject of discipline, and always - always - harsher than that meted out to cops.

Here are some published examples, rather than giving you anecdotal stories. What follows are "headnotes" of cases that were heard at arbitration:

quote:
DISCIPLINARY OFFENCES -- Off-duty conduct -- Harmful conduct -- Grievance concerned discharge for creation of disturbing, sometimes violent, hateful and racist blog -- Blog taken down and replaced by apology following complaint from co-worker -- Recipients included co-workers -- Employer specifically identified, with references to employment activities, incidents, events, and photographs -- Accessible to public -- Harm presumed -- Company dealing with racist vandalism and graffiti -- Discipline warranted (31pp.)
EV Logistics and Retail Wholesale Union, Loc. 580 (Re), 92 C.L.A.S. 323 (British Columbia, January 21, 2008)

DISCIPLINARY OFFENCES -- Off-duty conduct -- Harmful conduct -- Grievance concerned dismissal for conduct during lawful strike which included making inappropriate and threatening comments to co-worker's wife and security officer, as well as dishonesty during investigation -- Corporate zero-tolerance police towards harassment and intimidation -- Grievor engaged in course of conduct calculated to frighten wife of co-worker, undermine sense of personal security and engender fear for husband's safety at mine -- Improper coercion and intimidation not protected strike-related conduct -- Remarks in pub to security officer about CEO crossed line, but not by much as grievor was drunk and not making threats -- Despite ample time to prepare for investigation interview grievor lied about incidents on two occasions, conduct meriting discipline -- Serious misconduct engaging employer's interest and right to impose discipline (42pp.)
BHP Billiton Diamonds Inc. and P.S.A.C. (Sanderson) (Re), 90 C.L.A.S. 136 (Canada, June 28, 2007)

DISCIPLINARY OFFENCES -- Off-duty conduct -- Harmful conduct -- Employer operated district school board -- Grievor employed as bus driver -- Grievor discharged for breach of trust -- Grievor criminally charged and acquitted for sexual involvement with students -- Grievor long service employee with no prior discipline record -- Grievor employed in trust position -- Grievor's conduct violated trust -- Grievor's conduct detrimentally affected employer's reputation -- Grievor did not acknowledge wrongdoing -- Employment relationship irreparably damaged -- Employer had just cause for discipline -- Discharge not excessive -- Grievance denied (16pp.)
Newfoundland and Labrador School Boards Assn. (District 5) and N.A.P.E. (Re), 80 C.L.A.S. 452 (Newfoundland and Labrador, November 12, 2004)

DISCIPLINARY OFFENCES -- Off-duty conduct -- Harmful conduct -- Journalist terminated for gross misconduct -- Grievor responded to defamatory statements by a newsmaker against him by plotting personal harm -- Not isolated impulse but plan pursued to commit act of vengeance -- Intent to do physical harm demonstrated -- Misconduct confessed to and brought to halt by grievor before any possibility of harm actually occurring -- Malicious -- Extreme lack of judgment or maturity -- Discipline warranted. (13 pp.)
Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio-Canada and Canadian Media Guild (RE), 76 C.L.A.S. 251 (Canada, March 4, 2004)

DISCIPLINARY OFFENCES -- Off-duty conduct -- Harmful conduct -- Grievor subject to discipline even though she was off shift -- While grievor had permission to stay in pub to visit with friends, grievor was visibly identifiable as employee because she wore staff shirt -- Grievor continued to owe duty to employer to comport herself in way that would not adversely affect employer's commercial interests -- Employees must never lose their temper with customers -- Both grievor and customer at fault during altercation -- Seven-day suspension not excessive discipline for grievor striking customer in face -- Suspension indicates seriousness of misconduct while recognizing mitigating factors -- Grievance dismissed. (12 pp.)
Coast Capri Hotel and Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Employees and Bartenders Union, Local 40 (Re), 59 C.L.A.S. 444 (British Columbia, March 29, 2000)


There are many such available. If you want to read the full decisions, either go to a library that has Labour Arbitrations of Canada (a collection going back to 1948 - any university library will have one for sure), or PM me and I'll email you individual decisions.

The point is simple, Makwa. Police get away with murder, whether on or off duty. That applies to racism, sexism, violence, harassment, corruption... And working people don't. I would think the existence of that double standard in our society is fairly axiomatic.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 01 September 2008 12:57 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
The point is simple, Makwa. Police get away with murder, whether on or off duty. That applies to racism, sexism, violence, harassment, corruption... And working people don't. I would think the existence of that double standard in our society is fairly axiomatic.
Thank you for the information, very enlightening, although only the first dealt with racism directly. I would imagine that there are other such cases, although at first I found it incredible. I guess Canada is changing for the better, however incrementally.

I agree that police regularly get away with criminal behaviour on and off duty. I'm glad that some workplaces are willing to make a stand against employee racism, whether on or off site, and I hope the trend spreads. Perhaps eventually, it will also spread to our police forces.


From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 01 September 2008 01:05 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Makwa:
Thank you for the information, very enlightening, although only the first dealt with racism directly.

In all my comments, I was specific in treating racism and violence in combination - as does the thread title and the incident in the OP.

There is no doubt that if a worker made a racist comment or exhibited some non-violent racist attitude to someone off-duty, such an event alone would almost never result in discipline - primarily because it would never come to the employer's attention, and secondarily, because the employer is not the custodian of employee behaviour, unless and except it influences the workplace.

What happens with increasing frequency is complaints of off-duty harassment (whether sexual or other kinds) between employees which threatens to spill over to the workplace. Even though unions often end up having to represent the interests of both victim and aggressor, union representatives that I know will demand that a reluctant employer take action to stop the harassment.

Times have indeed changed, slowly, though we have far to go. An overtly racist or sexist or homophobic comment made on duty by one employee to another will result in severe discipline, where 30 years ago that would only have been the case if directed to a member of management.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 21 September 2008 03:53 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Makwa:
I find it difficult to believe that the employers you cite would, as a matter of policy, target any employee for dismissal for being in physical altercation on personal time where racist language was used.

But in this case, they used "company property" (tasers) in their off duty time for racist purposes.

Edit: Whoops, my mistake, the RCMP officer was the one who used the taser. But the reason was because he knew group of off-duty police officers from Halifax and the RCMP who were harrassing the men.

[ 21 September 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 21 September 2008 04:35 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle, my main point throughout this thread is that a police officer must be held to a far different standard than a factory or retail or service worker.

If a (unionized) factory worker is found guilty of criminal assault or theft or drug trafficking totally unrelated to their work or employer, they cannot be subject to industrial discipline. Likewise if they take out membership in a neo-Nazi organization in their private life.

In all these cases, a police officer should be subject to discipline or dismissal. I think that's obvious.

Yet, in real life, workers are suspended and fired for all kinds of offences which don't even seem to raise an eyebrow in the case of police.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 21 September 2008 09:38 AM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
If a (unionized) factory worker is found guilty of criminal assault or theft or drug trafficking totally unrelated to their work or employer, they cannot be subject to industrial discipline. Likewise if they take out membership in a neo-Nazi organization in their private life.
This appears to contradict your previous argument in which you stated:
quote:
workers who commit racist or violent acts outside the workplace, in a way that may affect the reputation of the employer or the reliability or functionality of the worker, frequently are the subject of discipline, and always - always - harsher than that meted out to cops.
In any case, this argument has little or nothing to do with African Canadian youth being harassed by off-duty and on-duty police acting in tandem, so I would prefer that the off-topic discussion not continue.

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 21 September 2008 09:47 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Makwa:
This appears to contradict your previous argument

No, please re-read both excerpts. The difference is between off-duty conduct that affects the employer or the worker's ability to function at work, and off-duty conduct that is completely separate from the interests of the employer and the functionality of the worker.

quote:
In any case, this argument has little or nothing to do with African Canadian youth being harassed by off-duty and on-duty police acting in tandem, so I would prefer that the off-topic discussion not continue.

I opened this thread with the clear purpose of stating that police - whether working or not - who commit acts of this kind should be forever barred from police work. I simply made the point (which is obvious to every worker I know) that police are routinely treated with kid gloves compared to most workers in terms of such offences. You chose to challenge and debate that, which is your right, so I responded with evidence.

If you think your intervention produced some "off-topic" discussion, then you are free to say something about the opening post and the original incident if you like. This is your 4th post on this thread, and you haven't yet commented on the incident which triggered it.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 21 September 2008 11:11 AM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by unionist:
If you think your intervention produced some "off-topic" discussion, then you are free to say something about the opening post and the original incident if you like. This is your 4th post on this thread, and you haven't yet commented on the incident which triggered it.
That's true. In commenting on the issue of workers and industrial discipline I contributed to the thread drift, and now I hope that it doesn't get even worse. What can I say about police harassment of black and FN folk? It happens all the time, everywhere. In this instance, perhaps the young men didn't realize they were dealing with off-duty cops, otherwise they might have realized the futility and risk of confronting them. Comparing the police forces' response to other industries seems pointless to me, as other industries are not charged with a monopoly on social force and seems a distraction to me. I would prefer to learn if there is any social action or further outcomes to this situation.

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 21 September 2008 11:38 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Update:

In brief:

A Halifax police officer has been charged with "causing a disturbance" - but he is still on full pay, assigned to a "desk job". He should be suspended without pay pending disposition of this matter.

The RCMP are now denying that any racist taunt was uttered. Why? Because some "independent witnesses" didn't hear it! Even though the targets of the racism heard it, the RCMP says they could find "no evidence" to that effect. Apparently the evidence of African Canadian victims of police racism is equivalent to "no evidence".

Finally - get this - William Edward Drummond, who was tasered by the RCMP and out cold for 5-6 minutes, has been charged with "resisting a police officer"!

Both are scheduled to appear in court tomorrow (Sept. 22). So, this is the even-handedness of Canadian justice.

quote:
Darlene Lawrence, a black member of a police anti-racism committee in Digby, said members of the black community ďarenít happy with these charges against Mr. Drummond.Ē

From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 21 September 2008 02:43 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the update (though I did scoop you by about 3 weeks).

It will be interesting to see what happens in court tomorrow.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 21 September 2008 03:34 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Thanks for the update (though I did scoop you by about 3 weeks).

Yikes! I broke my own cardinal rule (didn't scroll up). Shoulda called it a "downdate".


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
downtime
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posted 02 October 2008 10:26 PM      Profile for downtime   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An old friend of mine, Rocky Jones, was a community organizer out there on the east coast.
Is he still alve ? I'm sure Rocky wouldn't have had such a legallisic approach to the events that you folks have.

William Drummond is the kind of guy Rocky would have admired. The state will beat you most times you stand up to them, but on occasion it is neccessary, even if only to evoke pride in your people and a more united response next time.

Africville is not so far in the past and there is nothing that says police honkey-dom has disappeared. If the elite sanctions it, it will continue, whatever your legalese. What must happen is that it becomes too expensive, whether finacially or politically, to ignore.

[ 02 October 2008: Message edited by: downtime ]


From: central Manitoba | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 03 October 2008 06:37 AM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Downtime, you were asked not to post in this thread because I found your waving your family's ethnicity around as a banner to shield you from being called on how you promote your white privilege to be appalling. Now you compound your offensiveness with the following verbal excreta here:
quote:
Originally posted by downtime:
Do you really know anything about frst-nation culture or attitudes ? It's a crock. I was born out here and like many areas of the world it was invaded. It was about power and native people were decimated by it, includng Louis Riel, a "white" man. At one time it was inconceivable that a person could own the land, much less the air or water. Now many cheifs do own that, while many of their people starve.

And of course in Africa most of the slave trade was maintained by chiefs and Muslim traders.
Do you also take that responsability ?

I guess your challenge to not post to the anti-racist forum is based on your own questionable validity. Sooner or later, i'mcumngImcummnggg.


I am requesting the other moderators suspend your account for 24 hours to be followed by a review of your posting privilege. I wouldn't hold your breath.

From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged

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