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People Unite Against Police Brutality
June 3, 2012 permalink
There was a rally today in Niagara Falls by a group called People Unite Against Police Brutality. It was not a rally for accountability of CAS, but related. A video gives some of the problems sparking the event. YouTube and local copy (mp4). An article in the Niagara Falls Review announced the event three days ago:
Police protest aims to raise awareness
A peaceful protest against police brutality is planned for Sunday in front of the Niagara Regional Police detachment on Morrison St.
“This protest is not anti-police or anti-establishment. It’s about police officers who abuse their power and we want to make sure they are held accountable,” said event organizer Harley Davidson, 21, of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The demonstration will take place between noon and 4 p.m. Participants are being encouraged to bring cameras to protest an incident at the Kool Katts bar between a man who was taking photos and some NRP officers.
The incident, which is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit, took place inside the Caribbean restaurant and bar on Drummond Rd., at about 1:15 a.m. on May 19.
To date no officers have been charged.
A Facebook page called People Unite Against Police Brutality was launched after the incident. It already has more than 6,500 members.
“I was surprised to see that many people sign on and to hear of so many other cases. When people have that much power and they don’t have any fear of what’s going to happen to them, that’s pretty scary.”
Davidson, who witnessed some of the events at Kool Katts between police and a customer, has already been interviewed by SIU investigators.
“We want legitimately concerned people to come out and not just people who want to slag the authority. We need to be able to trust the police when we call them. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions because of what they might do to you.”
Participants are being asked to bring cameras as a reminder to police citizens have a right to take photos of public servants while they are doing their jobs.
“Our main goal is to raise awareness about this,” said Davidson.
More than 100 T-shirts have been sold, but it’s not known how many people might show up for Sunday’s demonstration.
NRP acting Insp. Mike Woods said police are aware of the demonstration, but have not been contacted by the organizers.
“We respect the right of people to have a peaceful protest, and we don’t have any concerns about that, long as everyone is being peaceful and is obeying the law,” said Woods.
Police don’t plan to take any special measures, but depending on the number of people who show up, they might need someone outside to keep an eye on traffic.
“At this point, we’re not anticipating any issues and we respect their right to protest. The matter in question is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit, but from what I understand their protest is in relation to the bigger picture,” said Woods.
Source: Niagara Falls Review
The same publication covered the actual rally:
Police protesters: ‘We’re here watching’
NIAGARA FALLS -
Harley Davidson says all his awareness group wants is accountability.
The 21-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake man led a protest Sunday afternoon in front of the Niagara Falls detachment of the Niagara Regional Police.
The message to police was that people are watching if they cross the line.
“Our chant is ‘we’re here, we’re watching and we won’t stand silent’,” he said.
Davidson was at Kool Katts bar in the early hours of May 19 when an incident happened between police and a man taking pictures.
The province’s Special Investigations Unit issued a press release a few days later saying it was looking into the confrontation.
To date, no charges have been laid against police.
Monica Hudon, the SIU’s communications co-ordinator, said at the time that while NRP were arresting a man, “there was an interaction and he sustained injuries that included a broken nose, a fractured orbital bone and a fractured cheekbone.”
While the SIU investigation continues, Sunday’s protest was a way to show support for the person who was injured during the incident, Davidson said.
“He won’t be attending because his lawyer is advising him to keep back,” he said.
Davidson posted photographs online of blood on the ground in the restaurant that he says is the result of the May 19 confrontation. That led to the formation of People Unite Against Police Brutality, a Facebook group that has picked up more than 6,500 members in two weeks.
Sunday’s four-hour protest stayed peaceful with a few dozen people standing on the sidewalk across from the Morrison St. police detachment with signs.
At times, the group chanted and cheered as cars driving past honked their horns.
“This isn’t saying all police are bad,” Davidson said. “I fully recognize that a lot of them are doing their job, but somebody being beaten one time is too much.
“We’re raising awareness. The more people that see this, the more people that potentially can join our group,” he said.
Inside the detachment, NRP Staff Sgt. Brian Ash said he was monitoring the protest.
“We’ll respond appropriately to their behaviour,” he said. “What we’ve seen so far is it’s a small group and everything has been peaceful.”
Source: Niagara Falls Review
NRP not UFC: Niagara Regional Police, not Ultimate Fighting Champion.