Special victims of the Ottawa police

The only thing they didn’t do was take pictures of themselves with their victims.

The Ottawa Police should be ashamed of themselves.

Instead of defending videos of them hog-tying and strip searching girls, Ottawa Police should be retraining their officers in the art of prisoner maintenance. New videos released yesterday reaffirm the notion that the special constables hired by Ottawa police to tend to prisons are thugs, bullies and sadists.

Here they are, dragging an unresponsive woman along the corridor, with her arms tied backwards. There they are kicking a homeless man. There they are again cutting the bra off of a timid victim.

These are not brazen criminals they are holding. For the most part, they are women who had too much to drink. Sure, they might have been abusive to police at first encounter, but the videos show them as passive victims of police strong-arm techniques.

These individuals, two of whom are women, are unarmed and defenceless; they are being treated worse than any animal arriving at a slaughterhouse.

Maybe, technically, the special constables did their jobs right. Maybe technically, they used authorized force. But it is clear from these videos that they are no better than soldiers in foreign wars who have been court-marshaled for less.

Yet, in all cases, the Ottawa police officers and special constables — two of them involved in all the cases — have been cleared and allowed to return to work — even though they broke the arm of one woman and left her naked in a cell and caused another to sit in soiled and ripped clothing for hours on end.

No wonder Ottawa police did not want these tapes released. Even if they were legally justified, they were morally unjustified in their behavior.

The court of public opinion, clearly, is not on their side.

The women involved in these cases are brave to come forward, to bring this kind of brutality to the fore in spite of the humiliation that has been caused to them. There are images of them, broken and battered, everywhere.

It will be difficult for them to resume their daily lives.

In the cases of Stacy Bond and Roxanne Carr, the charges were dropped against them but the stigma remains.

They will forever be known as the special victims of the Elgin St. Cellblock.


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