Puzzling deaths…

    July 17, 2015

 Toronto Star – Edward Keenan
Saunders’ comments belong in a police state 

Keenan is talking about the lack of information available around the shooting death of two men at the hands of an armed private security guard at a Toronto MacDonald’s.  Neither are there any charges nor even an inquest at this point.  Police Chief Saunders seems to be saying there is no news here, trust me, and move on.  A police spokesperson says that no one has been charged so there is no information.  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/07/16/saunders-comments-belong-in-a-police-state-keenan.html   Related article:  Toronto Star – Betsy Powell    Coroner’s office considering inquest into McDonald’s shooting deaths    http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/07/17/coroners-office-considering-inquest-into-mcdonalds-shooting-deaths.html

The Nation (US) –  Benjamin Todd Jealous
How Prison Reform Became a Presidential Priority – Obama’s prison visit would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. But organizing and advocacy created a new consensus.

The guest author is the national President of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP).  The article is a review of how mass incarceration became odious in the last few years and is now at the frontline of pretty well all penal and prison reform.  Jealous finds a new consensus:  “Criminal-justice reform is inevitable, and transformative national legislation is a matter of time.”  Says Jealous, “We need to talk about mass incarceration as a moral failing as well as an economic burden.”   http://www.thenation.com/article/how-prison-reform-became-a-presidential-priority/    Related article: NBC Nightly News – Halimah Abdullah    Obama Visits Prison in Push for Reform  http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/obama-set-visit-oklahoma-prison-push-criminal-justice-reform-n393056

 Toronto Star – Robin Levinson King
Friends say death of young woman in Texas police custody suspicious – Demand that death of 28-year-old woman while in a Texas jail, which local authorities have ruled a suicide, must be investigated 

A young Texas born woman, aged 28, arrested allegedly for traffic violations and a scuffle with the arresting officer was jailed over the week-end and wound up dead, authorities say from a suicide hanging in the jail cell.  Friends and family are looking for an independent agency for an investigation beyond the Texas Waller Country Sheriff’s office and suggesting that the death is more racism from a Sheriff’s department known for racism.  http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/07/16/friends-say-death-of-young-woman-in-texas-police-custody-suspicious.html   Related article:  Reuters (US) – Family suspicious after Texas police say woman killed herself in jail cell    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/family-suspicious-after-texas-police-say-woman-killed-herself-in-jail-cell/article25544353/

Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles
RCMP tightens secrecy in identifying victims of crime, accidents – The RCMP has stopped routinely identifying the names of victims of accidents, car crashes and crimes.

In a puzzling turn of events, the RCMP is invoking 30 year old privacy legislation as the rationale for not naming victims of crimes and accidents; no one will say why or even when this new policy started.  A number of groups like MADD and victim support groups are mystified and without answers about why the new policy.  Some think that a privacy provision in Bill C-32 recently passed into law is creating the policy.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/07/16/rcmp-tightens-secrecy-in-identifying-victims-of-crime-accidents.html

Globe and Mail – Steven Chase
Harper scraps Arctic trip, expected to start election campaign early

Speculation about an extended pre-election period are getting louder.  The idea appears that the Conservatives have the biggest war-chest and a longer election call than the usual 36 days would be very costly to both the NDP and Liberals.  The appearance of Nigel Wright at the Mike Duffy trial may be the largest objection to an earlier writ.  The maximum allowable fund to be spent increases by about $1.3 million for every two days longer the election call.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-cancels-annual-visit-to-north-ahead-of-election-campaign/article25543838/  Related article: National Post – John Ivison  Cunning Tories may plan early election call — with aim of draining opponents’ finances    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/john-ivison-cunning-tories-may-plan-early-election-call-with-aim-of-draining-opponents-finances

Ottawa Citizen – Bruce Hutchinson
‘Disabled’ undercover cop waits for robbers in Vancouver but only finds kindness

He went looking for the people who assault the most vulnerable in wheelchairs in the Vancouver Downtown East Side and all he got was kindness.  Staff Sgt. Mark Horsley borrowed an electric wheelchair, got some coaching, but none of the villains fell into the trap, even though the sting lasted almost six weeks.  Horsley got friendly concern and donations instead.  Perhaps the unknown, other side of community living in high crime and impoverished areas?  http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/national/Disabled+undercover+waits+robbers+Vancouver+only+finds+kindness/11220607/story.html