Whether justice will ever be achieved in the terrible death of Rodrigo Gonsalez
or the vicious beating of Santokh Bola
remains an open question. However, given some compelling video evidence, there seems little doubt in the minds of Toronto Star readers
that something is seriously amiss within the Toronto Police Force. Here are some of their views:Man sues Toronto police for $5M over violent arrest, Nov. 19
I recently had the opportunity to watch a number of officers violently and repeatedly assault Santokh Bola, an unarmed man who was posing no risk to the public, or the officers in question.
Toronto Police Service spokesman Mark Pugash later admitted that the individual in question was wrongfully arrested, and that he was discharged from custody without charges. It later became apparent that the young man, who was begging for his parents throughout the assault, was intellectually disabled.
The officers made no attempt to question the individual, ascertain his identity, level of awareness of the situation or threat to the officers and community. The TPS’s recent behaviour in relation to the disabled, mentally ill and other vulnerable individuals is shocking and disgusting.
These officers are disgusting, and a culture that legitimizes police brutality while further marginalizing the minority community and mentally ill is disgusting. Police officers do not have a right to assault citizens. Their job is to protect these vulnerable people from attack, not be their aggressors.
As a physician and care-giver for vulnerable people, especially intellectually disabled individuals, I find the conduct of the officers in question to be shameful. Police officers are not above the law. Please stop behaving as if you are.Dr. Colin Blair Meyer-Macaulay, Pediatrics, B.C. Children’s Hospital, University of British Columbia
Mark Pugash says that “the context of the arrest is important.” Indeed it is. I was assuming that Mr. Pugash was referring to the fact that Santokh Bola, the man who was assaulted by the police, is (surprise surprise) a person of colour.
But no, as usual Mr. Pugash was busy making excuses for police violence, this time with the oh-so-familiar “his description matched that of a suspect.” From this, we are left to infer that police violence is A-OK if the victim is a suspect.
You know, Mr. Pugash, we have a name for a state where the police are empowered to make summary judgment and mete out punishment on the fly: a police state. I’m pretty sure that Canada isn’t one.Scott Welch, Richmond Hill
To serve and protect? Why do we need so many mouthpieces cleaning up afterwards?
Recently a Brantford boy, come big-city-lawyer, filed a $5 million brutality suit against Toronto police. For innocent Santokh Bola, citizen video played like a Brown-shirt massacre. Wordsmiths usually clear officers criminally so why waste our taxes on SIU investigations? Money settles civil suits silently.
But silence deafens Brantford. Anyone recall the name of the cop who patrolled our kids and killed multiple times since 2006? Finally reopened last January, SIU investigations linger silently. How much must they feign blindness, those we trust to watch our watchers?Richard Chmura, Brantford
What the heck is going on with our police? The video does not lie. Three cops beat the crap out of someone — pounded in the poor guy’s head, kicked him, then punched him some more. And, from what I can see, he was not even resisting arrest.
This is what one expects from “mall cops,” not from those who are specially trained, and paid very well, to enforce our laws. “To serve and protect” we’re told.
The police say that one has to consider the “context” of the situation before jumping to conclusions. Seriously? In what context is it OK for the police to beat someone up? I thought they were trained to subdue someone, not beat them up. This was not the G20 after all.
The fact that they arrested, and beat up the wrong guy, is to them, a minor detail. And they just got their budget increase, for what, higher insurance premiums?Jeff Green, Toronto