Beats Beat The Police:
Commemorating March 15 International Day to End Police Brutality
Feast and concert featuring Testament from Test Their Logik, Mother Tareka, and Lee Reed and Launch of issue 25 of Critical Resistance’s Newspaper, “The Abolitionist”
Opening by Elder Albert Dumont
Speakers: Proshanto Smith (Ottawa Panhandler’s Union), Emily Munro (POWER), Bridget Tolley (Justice For Gladys Tolley and FSIS), A member of Critical Resistance
We acknowledge that Ottawa, and the entire Ottawa river water basin is the traditional territory of the Algonquin nation.
Tuesday, March 15 at 6pm – Midnight
SAW Gallery, 67 Nicholas St.
(Suggested donation 5$ – $10)
No One Turned Away
In collaboration with Critical Resistance, the Ottawa Panhandler’s Union, Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau Work Educate and Resist (POWER), Justice For Gladys Tolley, OPIRG-Ottawa.
6:15pm – Start
6:30pm – Opening with Albert Dumont
6:45pm – Feast
7:45pm – Member of Critical Resistance on the violence of policing
8:15pm – Spoken Word Artist (To Be Confirmed)
9:15pm – Lee Reed
10:15pm – Test Their Logik
12:00pm – Closing
Beats Beat The Police
Join us on March 15 for a feast and hip-hop concert! We will also be commemorating the work being done to end police brutality and to celebrate the people, groups and movements working for a world without the violence of policing.
It will also be a launch for issue 25 of “The Abolitionist”. This issue is on POLICING. The Abolitionist is written mostly by prisoners, former prisoners, and community advocates, and is a paper that discusses and analyzes the prison industrial complex, in to figure out what it will take for us to realize a world without cages.
Test Their Logik is a revolutionary anti-authoritarian hip-hop duo that have been making music together since 2007. Their first music video “Crash The Meeting” led to their arrest during the police repression that took place for the 2010 G8/G20 meetings in Toronto. Since then they have put out a second album, “Arrested Development”.
Crash The Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ninV5yx7FW4
Democracy’s Bankrupt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yxNeeNztto
To check out and download (free) their two Albums, “A” and “Arrested Development”: http://www.testtheirlogik.com/#
LEE REED is a Hamilton O.G. and a veteran of the Kanadian Indie music scene. For 20 years he’s been stomping stages and studios, spewing his unique brand of fiery, anti-capitalist rant-hop. From mouthpiece for the legendary Warsawpack, through to his solo work REED has left a dark krylon tag across the landscape of the nation’s Indie HipHop scene, and a jumbo fuel tanker on the fire of revolutionary music worldwide. REED’s most recent release, 2015’s “The Butcher, The Banker, The Bitumen Tanker” spent 14 weeks on the National Campus Top 10 HipHop charts, with 2 weeks in the #1 spot. Hide your bankers! Hide your cops!
Bazooka Rap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpZsTnT__O0
This Microphone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGvRbHY2W8s
For Lee Reed’s new album, “The Butcher, The Banker, The Bitumen Tanker”: https://leereed.bandcamp.com/album/the-butcher-the-banker-the-bitumen-tanker-2
Ending The Violence of Policing
“Our job, as police, is repression. We don’t need a social worker as chief of police, but a general. After all, the police are a paramilitary organization, let us not forget.” – Yves Francoeur, President of Montreal Police Brotherhood
In 2010, The B.C. Civil Liberties Association released a report that suggested there had been more than 400 deaths in police custody over a 15-year period in the six provinces and territories for which it could obtain statistics. There aren’t any good statistics documenting acts of police brutality in Canada, but they happen every day for people targeted by the police.
In the US (and probably in Canada, too) the second most common form of police misconduct is rape. “Male cops are targeting marginalized women, including trans women, sex workers, homeless women, and teenage girls for extortion, battery, serial rape and gang rape.” – http://feministing.com/2014/12/17/when-we-talk-about-police-shootings-we-need-to-talk-about-gender/
Contrary to the mainstream story, the police don’t exist to keep people safe, prevent crime and help justice be done, and police brutality isn’t exceptional, or the work of “bad apples”. Modern police forces were created to protect rich, white property owners and their property. As Critical Resistance says, “the roots of policing in the US are closely linked to the capture of escaped slaves, and the enforcement of Black Codes,” while in Canada the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were formed to repress and control Indigenous people in order to ensure the continued theft of their territories.
Everyone breaks the law, but only some people are arrested and imprisoned, and the people who are arrested imprisoned are overwhelmingly poor people, especially poor black people, indigenous people and people of colour. This isn’t accidental. Targeting poor black, indigenous and people of colour for repression is the reason that police forces were initially created, and they continue to do the same job.
The police are also used to attack other groups who have been dubbed criminals and outcasts, whether by government policy or by cultural bigotry, groups such as panhandlers, queers, trans people, migrants, drug users, disabled people, and sex workers.
The Violence of the Border
For migrants, and for communities divided by borders, such as Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve, there is, however, an additional institution that interferes in their lives and well-being: the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA). CBSA officers are enforcers of government policies that are intended to “keep new immigrants ‘in line’.” (CR def. of policing, see below)
CBSA officers have the power to arrest and detain permanent residents and foreign nationals. They arrest and detain, men, women and trans people, as well as children, and will imprison them even though they have never committed a crime. In 2013 there were 58 detainees who had been imprisoned for from 1 – 5+ years without any charge. In the past 5 years, 7 people have died while in detention, while awaiting deportation, or upon deportation.
The Violence of Policing in Ottawa
There have been several high profile cases of police violence in the Ottawa area in recent years. For example, the sexual assault of Stacey Bonds in 2008 by Sgt. Steven Desjourdy where a video recorded Bonds being kneed several times, forced to the ground and pinned by four officers before having her bra and shirt cut off with scissors. In 2012 Const. Kevin Jacobs was found guilty of unnecessary exercise of authority for kneeing Mark Krupa twice in the back, and in 2013 the Prescott OPP shot and killed a man who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Another high-profile case is that of Deepan Budlokoti, a Canadian citizen who the government has been trying to deport, despite the fact he was born in Canada, has only ever lived in Canada, and is not a citizen of any other country. The government regularly deports non-citizens who commit indictable offenses as part of their routine efforts to police non-citizens, and to control and punish them in ways that they do not with citizens. In Deepan’s case, despite the fact he is, always has been, and has only ever been a Canadian citizen, they have stripped him of his citizenship, leaving him stateless.
The Ottawa police have also been criticized for the racist practice of “carding”, where police record information about people they meet on the street. In Ottawa, blacks account for 5% of the population but made up 20% of the people street-checked over the past five years. Middle Eastern people make up 3% of the population, but accounted for 14% of street checks.
Justice For Gladys Tolley:
“Gladys Tolley was Algonquin from Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg. She was struck and killed by the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) on October 6, 2001. Her daughter, Bridget, believes that the SQ officers that killed Gladys were negligent. Bridget feels the dignity and respect of her mother and family members were greatly breached by all police officers and by the investigating team.
Gladys’ family believes the police file was filled with inaccuracies and incongruent reports. Her family does not believe that the investigation procedures were conducted according to accepted practices. The family is calling for an independent investigation regarding the events surrounding the accident as well as a public review of the conduct of the police officers and the homicide team at the scene.”
“Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the prison industrial complex (PIC) by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. We believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. As such, our work is part of global struggles against inequality and powerlessness. The success of the movement requires that it reflect communities most affected by the PIC. Because we seek to abolish the PIC, we cannot support any work that extends its life or scope.”
POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa-Gatineau Work Educate & Resist) is a non-profit, voluntary organization founded on February 17th, 2008. Membership is open to individuals of all genders who self-identify as former or current sex workers, regardless of the industry sector in which they work(ed) (i.e. dancers, street level workers, in and out call workers, phone sex, etc.) and to allies who share our vision.
We envision a society in which sex workers are able to practice their professions free of legal and social discrimination, victimization, harassment and violence and in which sex work is valued as legitimate and fulfilling work making an important contribution to society.
Challenges: Challenges: Ottawa area sex workers speak out: http://www.powerottawa.ca/POWER_Report_Challenges.pdf
Ottawa Panhandler’s Union:
The Ottawa Panhandlers’ Union is a voluntary union of panhandlers, street performers, bottle collectors, and other people surviving economic hardship while facing constant police harassment and violence.
This channel is a document of encounters with Ottawa police: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7OL9DzIFT_7WnjXjX3nnGA
More information and articles:
Critical Resistance’s definition of policing:
“Policing is a set of social relationships made up of a set of practices that are empowered by the state to enforce law and social control through the use of force. Reinforcing the social and economic relationships that have been central to the US throughout its history, the roots of policing in the US are closely linked to the capture of escaped slaves, and the enforcement of Black Codes. Similarly, police forces have been used to keep new immigrants “in line” and to prevent the poor and working classes from making demands. As social conditions change, how policing is used to target poor people, people of colour, immigrants and others who do not conform on the streets and in their homes shifts. The choices policing requires about which people to target , what to target them for, and when to arrest and/or book them play a major role in who ultimately gets imprisoned.”
ABOLITIONIST ISSUE 25: POLICING
Notes on police brutality, deadly bullets and systemic violence
Fact Sheet on Police Violence against the African Community in Canada (Updated in July 2013)
When we talk about police shootings, we need to talk about gender
Ottawa police taking heat over street checks
The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I’m black
Abandoned by the System, Killed by Its Cops: The Police Shooting of David McQueen