HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Canada's Image On Civil Liberties, Rights Hurt By Reports Of Police Abuse, Corruption
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jan 2004
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2004 Watertown Daily Times
Section: A page 7


New York Times

["Each and every day in some courtroom in Toronto, some police officer
gives perjured testimony, in my opinion based on over a decade of
experience". Edward Sapiano - criminal lawyer]

TORONTO  - The harsh image of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers
raiding a newspaper reporter's home and confiscating her files on a
criminal warrant to investigate leaks last week roiled this country,
which is proud of it's heritage as a global proponent of human rights
and civil liberties.

But it was just the latest example of public discomfort over a series
of recent episodes around Canada in which police have been accused of
abusive practices or corruption.

Police officers have been accused of robbery of jewelry and drugs and
of rigging evidence to put suspects behind bars in Toronto, of dumping
intoxicated Canadian Indians on isolated snowy roads to freeze to
death in the prairies and of abusing drug addicts in Vancouver.

Most Canadian police officers still appear to be as polite as the
population at large. But the arrest two weeks ago of six Toronto
narcotics squad officers on a variety of brutality and corruption
charges, and newly released internal police documents indicating that
many more may be implicated, have socked many.

"Each and every day in some courtroom in Toronto, some police officer
gives perjured testimony, in my opinion based on over a decade of
experience," said Edward Sapiano, a criminal lawyer whose database of
accusations against Toronto officers spurred an official investigation
into a city narcotics squad.

Canada is policed by a web of local and provincial police forces and
the Mounted Police, a national agency with a long time international
reputation for efficiency. That has been bruised.

A much publicized, continuing official investigation into the 1990
death of Neil Stonechild, an Indian teenager who was found frozen on
the outskirts of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has found that Saskatoon
police have followed a practice of picking up drunken Indian men from
the street, transporting them away and abandoning them in the snow.
One of Stonechild's friends said he saw the teen shortly before his
death in a police car, handcuffed and screaming.
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