Top News

Public can be tough to work with


The number of online viral videos purporting to show police officers overstepping their authority have been escalating over the past year, especially in the United States where the results have been emotional and violent.

These incidents probably aren’t unique to our neighbours to the south, but it was a YouTube clip that recently came to light here in the north that’s thrown a new side effect into the mix of cameras and cops.
This time, though, it was the Toronto Police Service itself that contributed to the virality of the video.
Apparently filmed earlier this summer during a popular jazz festival in downtown Toronto, the footage shows two young men trying to get past a police roadblock, obviously set up as part of normal crowd-control measures while people were making their way home after an event.
From the outset, it’s clear the two cameramen are expecting — almost hoping — for a case of police abuse. What they ended up filming, however, was a group of police officers who calmly deal with the ridiculous antics of the pair and send them on their way without anyone getting shot or beaten.
Toronto police officials eventually saw the video online and shared it on their own site as an example of police officers doing their jobs.
With so many highly publicized shootings, and the rioting and protests that followed, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these are a few instances among hundreds of thousands of interactions that take place between the police and the public.
A death or serious injury, and the ensuing outcry about police mistreatment receive all the coverage. It’s of course the routine activities that go unnoticed, whether it’s a traffic stop on a Newfoundland highway or crowd control in downtown Toronto.
The events we’ve seen or heard about this past year were brutal and tragic, yes, and they do happen. But that doesn’t mean they always happen because someone turns on a video camera.
In a way, we should be thanking these misguided videographers in Toronto who tried to bait the police into a confrontation. Their antics and inane attempts to provoke these officers reminded us the police are often the least of our concerns.

These incidents probably aren’t unique to our neighbours to the south, but it was a YouTube clip that recently came to light here in the north that’s thrown a new side effect into the mix of cameras and cops.
This time, though, it was the Toronto Police Service itself that contributed to the virality of the video.
Apparently filmed earlier this summer during a popular jazz festival in downtown Toronto, the footage shows two young men trying to get past a police roadblock, obviously set up as part of normal crowd-control measures while people were making their way home after an event.
From the outset, it’s clear the two cameramen are expecting — almost hoping — for a case of police abuse. What they ended up filming, however, was a group of police officers who calmly deal with the ridiculous antics of the pair and send them on their way without anyone getting shot or beaten.
Toronto police officials eventually saw the video online and shared it on their own site as an example of police officers doing their jobs.
With so many highly publicized shootings, and the rioting and protests that followed, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these are a few instances among hundreds of thousands of interactions that take place between the police and the public.
A death or serious injury, and the ensuing outcry about police mistreatment receive all the coverage. It’s of course the routine activities that go unnoticed, whether it’s a traffic stop on a Newfoundland highway or crowd control in downtown Toronto.
The events we’ve seen or heard about this past year were brutal and tragic, yes, and they do happen. But that doesn’t mean they always happen because someone turns on a video camera.
In a way, we should be thanking these misguided videographers in Toronto who tried to bait the police into a confrontation. Their antics and inane attempts to provoke these officers reminded us the police are often the least of our concerns.

Recent Stories