Sunday, July 14, 2013

Killer Promotion

There is a huge difference between the American Justice system and the Canadian one, particularly in Québec, which has a large part of its law book inspired by the French. And there are tons of differences between the George Zimmerman killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe killing Fredy Villanueva in Montréal nearly five years ago (and whose case has yet to result in a ruling).

But there are also tons of similarities: both were unarmed teenagers from visible minorities, murdered by people who were under the impression that they were unpunishable representatives of The Law.

I don't know what the future holds for Zimmerman, though I'm fairly confident that if he is tried in a civil case, he will receive tons of donations from right-wing bigots, racists and Fox News viewers; I do know, however, that Lapointe will now be a member of Montréal's SWAT team, where he'll have more leeway into firing his weapon.

We're talking about a man who took all of 57 seconds to exit his vehicle, wrestle a kid (Dany Villanueva, Fredy's younger brother) to the ground to handcuff him, tell him to stop squirming, shoot three bullets into the deceased and two more in two other teens. All while his partner, Stéphanie Pilotte, never once felt the need to pull out her gun. Can you say ''trigger-happy''?

The article appeared in this morning's Montréal Gazette, and while it mostly goes into listing facts and does its best to not take sides, two passages struck me as journalist Sue Montgomery subtly denouncing the prevailing situation in these cases:
“This squad is called on more often to use their guns because they’re involved in high-risk interventions,” said Alain Arsenault, whose client was injured by one of Lapointe’s bullets. “I think it was a bad decision on the part of police force management (to give Lapointe the job).”
Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafrenière said that Lapointe applied for the highly sought-after job, and got it after undergoing rigorous tests. (...)
“He has never been found guilty of anything, so it would be hard for us to keep him in an office or something like that,” he said. “And we’re not going to say don’t take that officer on the SWAT team because some people might think it doesn’t look good.”
The spokesman's quote is particularly revealing in this first passage, because it brings light to the fact that cops get investigated by other cops who almost always clear them of any wrongdoing, and even in the rare cases where they are taken to court, they get off Scott free. And then they have the audacity to brag about their so-called ''clean'' records...

Then there's this:
SWAT, or technical response officers, intervene in special police operations such as hostage-takings, bomb defusings or disappearances under water, which require them to have diving skills. Montreal’s SWAT team was present during the student demonstrations last year.
Reading between the lines, it comes down to this: if discontent people get together to mass-protest - like in the mass-strikes part of the student movement last Spring - there will be more (actual) killers present to stop you than last year, and now they've perfected their kettle technique, so there'll be no escape...

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