RCMP in distress…

July 12, 2020

MacLean’s – Stephen Maher
The RCMP is broken – The iconic force is fraying under the strain of its rural policing model, tragic mistakes, an ugly past and a controversial present

In the light of the events of the recent killings in Nova Scotia, Maher thinks that the RCMP are now confronting a critical contradiction in their mandate.  “This is the structural problem at the heart of the RCMP, an instantly recognizable symbol of Canada around the world. Its essential work as a federal force is undermined by its obligations as an underfunded rural police force working on contract for provincial and municipal governments. Increasingly, it looks like the Mounties are struggling at both of these competing missions, and are too often a danger to both themselves and the people they are sworn to protect.”  https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-rcmp-is-broken/  Related article (June 9, 2020): CBC News – John Paul Tasker  Systemic racism exists in the RCMP, Commissioner Brenda Lucki says  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/brenda-lucki-systemic-racism-rcmp-1.5610355  Related article: Globe and Mail – Kristy Kirkup  75% of Canadians believe RCMP has a problem with systemic racism, Nanos Research poll suggests  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-strong-majority-of-canadians-believe-rcmp-has-a-problem-with-systemic/   Related article: Globe and Mail –  Kristy Kirkup and Marieke Walsh   RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki faces calls to resign  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-rcmp-should-institute-zero-tolerance-for-excessive-use-of-force-afn/   Related article: Toronto Star – Douglas Quan  ‘She threw us under the bus’: Internal email shows RCMP commissioner faces backlash over racism comments   https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/07/08/she-threw-us-under-the-bus-rcmp-commissioner-faces-internal-backlash-over-systemic-racism-comments.html?source=newsletter&utm_content=a10&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=lng_27339

Center for Court Innovation (US) –
Restorative Justice is Racial Justice

The Center works in five Brooklyn (NY) schools, mostly all Black students, with very high school suspensions rates, one of the key elements in the school to prison pipelines.  The program staff are embedded within the schools and the success to date has widen the horizons to prompt further consideration within the lives of the students for the Restorative Justice principles driving the program.  A podcast of the meeting of facilitators on the subject of racism (A Podcast that seems limited to Apple users is available but so is the transcript of the discussion.)  https://www.courtinnovation.org/publications/restorative-racial-justice   Transcript:  https://newthinking.blubrry.net/2020/07/06/restorative-justice-is-racial-justice/

 Toronto Star – Steve McKinley (Halifax Bureau) and Wanyee Li (Vancouver Bureau)
As the deadly opioid crisis rages, Canada’s police chiefs say they’re ready for a new approach

The opiate crisis across Canada is driving this latest concession to the failure of policing and tough-on-crime measures to stem the overdose deaths in our streets.  The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police are at the forefront of this recommendation, startling for police:  “They’re publicly calling for the decriminalization of the personal possession of illicit drugs and for all police agencies in the country to recognize substance abuse and addiction as a public health issue, rather than a criminal one…the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police proposed diverting people dealing with substance abuse or addiction issues away from the criminal system and toward social services and health care. The association stipulated such change would need to be synchronized nationally.”  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/07/09/canadian-police-chiefs-recommend-decriminalizing-personal-possession-of-illicit-drugs.html  CACP full statement:  Findings and Recommendations Report: Decriminalization for Simple Possession of Illicit Drugs: Exploring Impacts on Public Safety & Policing   https://www.cacp.ca/index.html?asst_id=2189   Related article: Canada’s National Observer – Carl Meyer  Trudeau ministers welcome decriminalization endorsement as opioid crisis deepens   https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/07/10/news/trudeau-ministers-welcome-decriminalization-endorsement-opioid-crisis-deepens

The Atlantic.com (US) – Jacob Stern
This Is Not a Normal Mental-Health Disaster – If SARS is any lesson, the psychological effects of the novel coronavirus will long outlast the pandemic itself.

So far, not a lot of attention has been focused on the psychological stress that accompanies the Covid-19 pandemic.  Surveys and expects are suggesting as much as over 50% of us are experiencing some severe anxiety.  In the aftermath, they say, as in natural disasters, we may expect a surge in “depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence almost always surge.”  At the link, Stern goes on to explain the Covid-19 differences we may expect in our mental health from natural disasters.  https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/07/coronavirus-special-mental-health-disaster/613510/?utm_term=2020-07-07T17%3A00%3A19&utm_campaign=the-atlantic&utm_content=edit-promo&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

The Atlantic.com (US) – Annie Lowrey
The Pandemic Proved That Cash Payments Work – An extra $600 a week buys freedom from fear.

The response to the massive unemployment that came with Covid-19 has proven one immediate pre-occupation.  Nothing quite alleviates worry and fear of the future as a little cash in hand, especially those in precarious employment.  “Two in three UI recipients ended up making more than they were before with the $600 boost, with one in five workers doubling their income. And the UI expansion, along with the $1,200 onetime checks that Congress sent to most adults, at least temporarily prevented the poverty rate from increasing—an astonishing feat, given the size and scope of the economic shutdown.”  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/600-week-buys-freedom-fear/613972/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=edit-promo&utm_campaign=the-atlantic&utm_term=2020-07-10T10%3A30%3A11

 BBC (American desk) (UK)
US Supreme Court rules half of Oklahoma is Native American land

In what is no less than an astounding decision, the US Supreme court has recognized almost half the state of Oklahoma (including the city of Tulsa) as belonging to a group of five Native Indian tribes: the Muscogee Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw nations, located in the southwest corner of Oklahoma.  The decision was consequent to an appeal over a rape conviction of a man who claimed the Muscogee Creek treaty rights where the offense occurred over the reservation.  The Court ruling establishes shared jurisdiction.  The immediate consequence of the decision is to put some state court convictions for offences on these treaty lands in question.   https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-us-canada-53358330?__twitter_impression=true  Supreme Court Ruling:  McGirt v Oklahoma   (A 84 page downloadable pdf)  https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-9526_9okb.pdf   Related article: The Atlantic.com –  Julian Brave NoiseCat   The McGirt Case Is a Historic Win for Tribes – For federal Indian law, this might be the Gorsuch Court.   https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/mcgirt-case-historic-win-tribes/614071/

BuzzFeed.com (US) – Ellie Hall
A 13-Year-Old Will Be Tried As An Adult For Shooting And Killing His Brother While Playing Cops And Robbers – The boy has been charged with first-degree murder and second-degree aggravated assault.

This headline has many wondering where are the adults in the room.  The question of the death penalty for children who murder seems to have been resolved, if not the LWOP status of those previously convicted, the practice of raising child crimes to adult court to ensure the harshest penalty seems still alive and wreaking havoc with all involved in this most recent Pennsylvania case.  https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/ellievhall/13-year-old-cops-robbers-brother-shot-kill-dads-gun?__twitter_impression=true

Blogger Ava DuVernay

The link offers an insight into one of the hidden factors in the defund police effort that advocates for justice say is an important consideration around the true community cost for policing.  In Syracuse (NY), one of these advocates makes the point: Most of the money for policing is funding salaries for police who live outside the city and the funding subsidizes suburban towns and educational systems through the resident taxes in the suburbs.  https://twitter.com/ava/status/1282066862977646592?s=03  (The link is to a two minute video.)