Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever.
Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop
Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer.
In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up.
Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead.
"A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be."
There you have it. A policeman, not even on duty, knocked out a "suspect" and the violence by an officer of the law isn't even being investigated by the "police watchdog." It touches all the bases. Police, violence, cover-up.
But a different story emerges when you go deeper into the facts. The 22-year veteran policeman spotted a liquor store robbery. Off duty, he called for backup and followed the thieves. They spotted him and attacked him, a common tactic by criminals to scare off witnesses. One thief hit him with a tire iron and another clubbed him with a liquor bottle, resulting in a concussion. The policeman fought back, striking the attacker with the bottle with his police baton, scaring two others off and holding the disabled thief for police answering his call for assistance.
Guess what. The thief caught redhanded complained the officer was too rough on him. The CBC took the thief's side.
They then cherry-picked a university professor to attack the police and police oversight.
From the CBC story:
"Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, an assistant professor of criminology at the University of Winnipeg, says being knocked unconscious should unquestionably be considered a serious injury...We know from testimonies of people who have been victims of police assaults that they happen far more often than they are investigated by the IIU or other independent bodies," she said."
Oh for the good old days when the public had to swallow the news as presented by the media gatekeepers. Unfortunately for CBC, times have changed and, as the saying goes, Google is your friend.
Here's what we culled from various on-line sites:
Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land holds a PhD in Sociology from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. She studies the politics of imprisonment, policing, and settler colonialism through their local expressions in Winnipeg and Manitoba.
I’m motivated by the desire to understand and resist settler colonialism, and the (related) expansion of policing and prisons in Canada and around the world.
She says that “one of my areas of interest is thinking about alternatives to the criminal justice system, so I consider myself to be an abolitionist.”
She notes that “I am teaching a seminar for the first time this term on colonialism in criminal justice, which focuses on understanding how the criminal justice system has been central to the ongoing settler-colonial project.”
Nov 7, 2019 · For Dr. Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, member of the Critical Race Network and an assistant professor for the Department of Criminal Justice at the ...
As active members of our academic community, the Critical Race Network @ UW insists that our priority, as an institution of higher learning on Treaty One territory, should be to critically challenge and unequivocally resist white supremacy. Contrary to what far-right supporters and many liberals would have us believe, anti-racist attempts to interrupt and suffocate white nationalist speech and organizing are not incompatible with academic freedom and freedom of speech. Quite to the contrary, standing against fascists and white nationalists, on or around campus, is an effective way to protect these freedoms for those who are targeted every day by racial violence, harassment, discrimination, and intimidation. It is oxymoronic to assume that “freedom” requires breathing room to allow fascism and racism to be constantly rekindled; racist movements must be deprived of the oxygen they need to turn a spark into a blaze.
Born out of European settler colonialism, Canada was founded as a white supremacist state. This legacy endures in light of the continued dispossession and destruction of Indigenous lands by the state, its myriad institutions, and corporate interests. It is also reflected in the disproportionate exposure of BIPOC --- BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour)---to state violence, surveillance, policing, incarceration, and criminalization. More broadly, white supremacy sustains the current and systemic social, political, legal, and economic advantages enjoyed by white Canadians when compared to BIPOC communities.
Dr. Dobchuk-Land is passionate about dismantling colonial, hetero-patriarchic norms...
We confess we had to look that one up.
Heteropatriarchy (etymologically from hetero[sexuality] and patriarchy) is a socio-political system in which the male gender and the heterosexuality have primacy over other genders and over other sexual orientation
In summation, far from being a dispassionate academic with some expertise in the field, Dobchuk-Land is an anti-police, anti-white-male activist who belongs to a group that claims the right to "to interrupt and suffocate" speech that is deemed unacceptable .
Or, a perfect source for CBC's narrative journalism.
The tax-payer supported Winnipeg Free Press might have even surpassed the CBC in twisting facts to support a pre-determined narrative. The newspaper devoted two full pages to a total non-story.
The front page was reserved for a blaring headline promoting the story by Katie May and Ryan Thorpe.
"Developing a case for TRANSPARENCY" it screamed.
"Civil lawsuits, LERA complaints. An IIU investigation. A pattern of misconduct accusations against one Winnipeg officer makes the argument for greater public exposure when it comes to improper police behaviour."
But when reading the actual story you must conclude that there's no 'there' there.
In a nutshell, the Free Press reporters couldn't find any dirt on the officer, the same one from the CBC story, so, they conclude, there must be a cover-up.
The worst they could offer is that he has been sued eight times in his 22 years on the Winnipeg police force. Unfortunately for them, they published summaries of the lawsuits to reinforce the smear. Except that the tactic backfires totally.
Of the 8 lawsuits, four have been discontinued. One was filed 17 years ago and another six years ago and both have languished since. A seventh launched 7 years ago has shown no life after a statement of defence was filed five years ago. And the last, from 2012, has a court date set for later this month. It involves an application for a search warrant.
The president of the Winnipeg Police Association summed it up perfectly. He told the WFP that the newspaper's reporting implies that "the existence of civil litigation is a sign of guilt."
Reporters May and Thorpe saved their piece de resistance for last.
The police officer in question was a witness at the trial of a motorist charged with impaired driving. The policeman stopped him driving slowly in a bus lane near the downtown police headquarters building.
The reporters said the defence wasn't over whether the driver was drunk, but over how many complaints had been made against the officer. The charge was eventually stayed by the prosecution, a legal manoeuvre to let the accusation expire without a verdict in court.
"In that case there was no finality--no finding that (the officer) acted properly or improperly..." said the reporters. Oh, the defence lawyer "believed his client was innocent." Qu'elle surprise.
The reporters, had they not been so blinded by the narrative, could have answered the question.
What the was the driver's blood alcohol reading? That would have been part of the evidence. Was it over .08? In that case, the officer was right to have arrested him.
But that would have ruined the narrative, tissue-thin as it was.
Baby lives matter.