Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jan 2009
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2009 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Allison Jones, Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


A police force in eastern Ontario risks "tarring and feathering"
innocent people by placing signs outside homes where they have
executed drug search warrants, a civil liberties advocate said Thursday.

Cornwall police erected the new strategy's first sign -- emblazoned
with the words "Drug Search Warrant" -- Wednesday in front of a home
where three people were arrested and charged with drug possession.

It's a "dangerous situation" that brands people as drug dealers before
they've even appeared in court, Graeme Norton of the Canadian Civil
Liberties Association said.

"When people are arrested they are dealt with by the criminal justice
system," Norton said Thursday.

"That generally doesn't include putting a sign on their front lawn,
nor tarring and feathering them."

Cornwall police Chief Dan Parkinson sees nothing unfair about the
signs: "I've had questions today about privacy issues, civil liberty
issues -- I mean, I don't understand where that's coming from."

"We're not giving any names. We're not giving away people's telephone

The province's privacy commission has launched an investigation into
the initiative.

"On the face of it, it strikes me that it is an extraordinary step,"
Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian told the Cornwall

The signs increase police visibility and let people know what's
happening in their neighbourhood, Parkinson said. That a drug search
warrant was executed at a home is a fact, he said.
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