Chronicling community action, revolutionary and revealing thought

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Christopher-Reid killing commentary snubbed

Talked with Don Weitz who sent this commentary to the Toronto Star and guess what...

(No, really guess what...?!)

They didn't publish it.

Now, for those who don't know Don Weitz, here's just a tip-of-the-iceberg info on him:- In addition to being an active member of the community, he does the Anti-Psychiatry Radio program every Friday on CKLN 88.1 FM as part of OCAP Radio. He has also published a book with Bonnie Burstow titled "Shrink Resistant:the struggle against psychiatry in Canada", so he has some idea of what he's talking about. He's sort of what you'd term a "community elder"; a mine of information.

Since they didn't see it fit to publish what he wrote, he read it out on the radio.

And I am putting it here on this here humble weblog.

Here's what he wrote:

"The Toronto police killing of 26-year-old O'brien Christopher-Reid on June 13 is not just tragic but outrageous ("Man is shot dead, officer hit in park," June 14). Christopher-Reid's death marks about the 15 or 16th person with a psychiatric history whom Toronto police have killed in as many years. According to police accounts, Christopher-Reid was "bare-chested" and "wielding a knife" somewhere in Edwards Gardens when confronted by three heavily armed policemen - namely Rick Milson, John Leggio and Sergeant Darren Berzowski. Instead of shooting Christoher-Reid, these policemen could have disarmed him, or at least tried to talked him down. Since Christopher-Reid was a young black man, the police probably didn't try treating him as another human being in crisis. Another example of police racism?

Police are not trained to deal with people's emotional crises, they're trained to reach for the gun or another weapon, and follow orders. Maybe they get a few days of lectures or role-playing in a course on "the mentally ill" at the C.O. Bick Police Academy. However, such a course is apparently useless, a waste of time and taxpayers' money. In their zeal to "serve and protect", the police are still targeting-demonizing-killing African-Canadians, Aboriginal people, people of colour, homeless people, and psychiatric survivors on the street and in our parks.

Police Chief Fantino and Ontario's Community and Social Affairs Minister Monte Kwinter now want to further arm the police with "sub-lethal"(?) 50,000-volt taser/stun guns to ue on more people like Christopher-Reid. ("Park death prompts Taser call," June 15). Glock guns , pepper-spray, tear gas, expandable batons, and plastic handcuffs aren't enough.

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating the death of Christopher-Reid including several "subject" police officers and witnesses. Wanna bet the SIU won't charge any police? "Serve and protect", right?

Don Weitz
Member, Justice for Otto Vass Committee

Since I am familiar with people who have psychiatry issues, as well as literally living down the road from where Otto Vass was beaten to death in 5 minutes to the point of being unrecognizeable, I'll also humbly suggest you NAG THE PEOPLE AT THE TORONTO STAR for their bit of censorship.

The link