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Thursday, February 14, 2008

That Thing That Happened

So. The Pub business.

Unless you've been under a rock since January, you know of the ongoing controversy surrounding the end of the Passa Passa event at The Basement on January 20. If you don't, peep here. And here. And here. And here. You get the idea.

The latest finds Ross Paul calling out the UWSA, saying they need to get a better handle on what happens at the Pub.

What's confirmed is that 26 cops showed up to the CAW Centre after reports of people fighting were radioed in, resulting in two arrests and alleged excessive force [as depicted in the videos].

Clearly, it's a tense time around the U of W and for good reason, but allow me to play the role of the Outsider for a moment, and offer an opportunity to step back and reexamine what happened.

1. Cops can be jerks sometimes. This is not new, we all know this. Sometimes they power trip, sometimes they profile and sometimes they overreact.
2. By acknowledging point 1, you acknowledge certain behaviour by members of law enforcement are to be expected. Was 26 cops a little over the top? Absolutely, and that sucks. But when that many cops bust into a room, with little to no grasp of the situation at hand, they're probably going to be a little rough whilst serving and protecting.
3. When you expect these behaviours, you understand what will set them off. The unfortunate truth of the world we live in is this: If a cop tells you to leave, and you don't, he's going to make you, one way or another. Their concern is the public safety, and if they think removing you from the building is in the interest of the public safety, you gonna be removed, regardless of how valid you think the reason is. Doesn't matter if it's the CAW Building you pay for. Campus Police Director Bob Cowper admits as much in the article of Feb. 8.

Now, don't misunderstand, Windsor: I think what happened to Bright Kyereme is reprehensible, and the sort of thing we like to think we as Canadians in a smaller city are above. And I'm certainly not saying he or anyone else "had it coming," I think he should absolutely file the formal complaint he's planning to. But as stated above, all the cops knew was that things were "out of hand" at the Pub, but not to what degree.

And all I'm saying is, when 26 antsy cops show up, things can get nasty. It's not fair, it is not just, and it also isn't surprising.

That said, the delay from the UWSA on this is disheartening, but I'm told it will be discussed at length at an upcoming council meeting, which may have been tonight for all I know.

Developing. Which you knew.

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