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Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

2 Articles Tagged with “police”

  1. Part of the system

    Being part of a racist system doesn't make you racist. Refusing to acknowledge and stand up against system racism is what makes you racist.

    Last week the OIPRD released its findings of an investigation into the Thunder Bay police. The report, at over 200 pages, is the culmination of two years of investigation. It unequivocally states that systemic racism exists within the Thunder Bay Police Service. Also last week, a second report from a separate investigation, this one done by Senator Murray Sinclair at the behest of the OCPC, came out. It too found racism—this time from the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, which oversees the police. As a result of the report, the OCPC appointed an interim administrator to oversee the board until its members have undergone training and taken other required steps.

    Both reports also made very specific recommendations for how to address the systemic racism.

    None of this is news, really, for those of us in Thunder Bay who haven’t buried our heads in the sand, but now there are hundreds of pages of documentation backing up what is pretty common knowledge here: the police are racist, and it’s killing Indigenous people.

    Reaction though, of course, has ranged largely from lukewarm to ludicrous in the denial and shifting of accountability. Police Chief Sylvie Hauth (who took on the…

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  2. On police cameras, Ferguson, and justice

    Chatter about police wearing cameras while on duty has been picking up over the past year. The recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has only amplified such calls. Really, as more and more ordinary citizens undertake lifelogging seriously, police wearing cameras will be inevitable. For an example from some recent and near-future fiction, look no further than Halting State, by Charles Stross. But it’s a mistake to think that police wearing cameras is a magic bullet that will prevent further tragedies like Ferguson.

    In theory, police cameras are supposed to make officers more accountable. Cameras tantalize us with the promise of a mythical objectivity of evidence untainted by the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. They would dispel any ambiguity over what, precisely, happened when Darren Wilson confronted Michael Brown. At the moment, all we can do is try to piece things together from the autopsy reports. (Hint: Wilson shot Brown, who didn’t have a gun, at least six times. In what crazy universe does that seem justified?) Ah, but if Wilson had been wearing a camera, then the story would be different. Supposedly we would know (and therefore, our fallacious logic follows, understand) what happened between…

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