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(en) Canada, Toronto, Law and Order: June 15 verdict & Shut up Fantino!

From "mick" <mick@nefac.net>
Date Thu, 13 Feb 2003 15:00:14 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

On Wednesday February 12th, 2003, a verdict was handed down by Judge
August in the case of a Young Offender facing an assault police charge
laid on June 15th, 2000.  The Y.O. was convicted of assaulting Police
Officer Charles Stern, notorious for his brutal conduct as a beat cop in
51 Division.

The defendant's uncompromising testimony and Judge August's reasoning for
conviction is what really makes this case stand out.  The Y.O. admitted on
the stand that she had gone to Queen's Park with a good idea of the
possible confrontation that lay ahead, knowing that the police can and do
go to extreme lengths to beat back dissent and resistance to the
government that writes their cheques. She testified of her willingness to
put her body on the line in the fight against vicious Tory policy.  The
Judge heard about the brutalization that the Y.O. faced at the hands of
the police, as well as her resolve and determination to fight back in the
face of this.  The defendant laid bare many of the actions she took on
June 15th, but maintained that she did not assault Officer Stern as the
demonstration was breaking up - the allegation made by the prosecution.
Witnesses also supported her testimony with their firsthand knowledge of
the defendant's actions and whereabouts on that day.

And while the initial allegation laid stemmed from the 'fractured' arm
suffered by Stern, this was later ammended to an abrasion. More
importantly, the Crown's only evidence was Stern's testimony, which the
cop himself admitted could not be confirmed by video footage.

As the Judge read his reasoning for conviction, it was apparent that his
decision was based more on his feelings towards the demonstrators as a
whole, towards the strength of the protest, towards the insistence of
people to fight back, than on the specifics of the Crown's allegations.
He dismissed the evidence of the defense and of the witnesses, because
they were demonstrators.  He claimed that anyone who would engage in
violent protest was not credible.  The judge did not seem to even consider
the very different sides of the same event.  After reading out a long list
of actions that the demonstrators took on June 15th, Judge August
condemned all 'violent'protestors unequivocably - those not wearing blue

This trial showed compellingly that when it comes to justice, the
courtroom is bankrupt.


7PM Tuesday February 25
Lord Dufferin Public School
350 Parliament St. (between Dundas and Gerrard)

On February 25, Julian Fantino will be bringing his pro-cop law-and-order
rhetoric into yet another community that feels the brunt of police
presence on their streets.  Fantino is looking to take the message
delivered by beat cops through the end of their batons, and dull the
reality of the role that the force is playing in pushing poor people out
of Toronto's downtown East End.  OCAP is planning to be there as well.
Below is the text from a poster being put up within 51 Division bounds:

Julian Fantino, Chief of the Toronto Police, is feeling the heat lately.
No one doubts anymore that cops use racial profiling, that they beat up
the homeless at random, and that the force is full of corrupt cops.  It's
not new to people who face this abuse every day, but right now it's rising
to the surface.  And Fantino's sweating.  In a plea to try and redeem
himself and his force, Fantino's been having "Town Hall Meetings" all
across town.

At Jane and Finch, a 15-year-old girl told Fantino about the racist cops
in her neighbourhood who treat her and her friends like dogs.  Fantino
told her that she was full of it.  In Rexdale, something similar happened.
Fantino was shouted down by people from the neighbourhood, and many walked

On February 25th, he's coming here - to 51 Division - to lie about what's
going on in this neighbourhood.  We've got to keep the heat on.  A rich
cop who doesn't even live in this city should not be allowed to spew his
trash to save face.  This community's voice needs to be louder than
Fantino's, and it needs to be louder than the Business and Resident
Associations in this neighbourhood, who want to put more ironfisted cops
on these streets to run poor people out.  Come to the meeting at Lord
Dufferin on Feb 25th and make sure Fantino knows that if things don't
start changing, he'd better find a new job.

For more information, contact us.

		   Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
	517 College Street, Suite 234  Toronto, Ontario  M5G 4A2
	     416-925-6939   ocap@tao.ca   www.ocap.ca

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