Adam Nobody conviction: The “Blue Wall” begins to crumble…

“The blue wall of protection wasn’t enough.  It wasn’t enough to save Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani from becoming the first Toronto cop convicted for using excessive force on the G20 weekend three years ago. It wasn’t enough to prevent him from facing a prison sentence for assault with a weapon… No doubt he was expecting to be acquitted just like Glenn Waddell, the only other cop who has been tried for assaulting protesters during the G20. After all, even the chief had defended him, calling Nobody an armed criminal at one point, a statement he later had to retract.” – Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun, Sept. 12th 2013.

In her article referred to above, Ms. Mandel relates how Nobody was tackled by a number of police officers, and then beaten and kicked causing injuries including a broken cheekbone and a broken nose.

Justice Louise Botham was critical of the infamous “Blue Wall” erected by the police to protect each other in cases where officers are caught assaulting or even killing civilians, or committing other infractions of the law.

And, she provided clear reasons for her verdict in a ten-page ruling.  As Mandel says, “The truth was right there in the video.”

But, of course, that did not prevent Police union president Mike McCormack from saying that grounds for an appeal are being sought, and that “We’re disappointed, obviously…  In this case we just feel the judge came to a wrong conclusion.”

Typical police arrogance, together with the usual disdain for the courts and for anyone else who dares to criticize them.

The public is unlikely to ever regain their past trust and confidence in the Toronto police while Police Association representatives engage in such knee-jerk support for their members regardless of what laws they break, or how many members of the public are killed and injured by police violence.

In January 2011, Ontario’s Specal Investigations Unit announced that it would not be proceeding any further with the Nobody case because, after two investigations and a report by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, and despite the existence of a video, not one of the officers assaulting Nobody could be clearly identified.

Had the SIU received just a minimum of co-operation from the Toronto Police, four other officers whose names had arisen during the earlier investigations would quite likely have been charged and convicted also.  But only Const. Babak Andalib-Goortan was charged, and it took some three years to get him into court for a trial.

Such police charges usually take a very long time to come to court, witness the current delay with the officer charged in the death of Sammy Yatim.   The reason for this is simple; the police officers who are charged are almost always acquitted or have their cases dismissed, and the public outcry will be minimal because time takes the edge off the public’s anger at such travesties.

But in this case the delay was irrelevant, because the Judge, in my opinion very courageously, has struck a hard blow against the “Blue Wall” and to its effectiveness in concealing violent and other illegal actions against the public.

We still have to wait and see what the sentence will be, but in the meantime here are some links to background and related issues.

And don’t forget (emphasis added): “If a police officer is convicted of a serious crime, Police Act charges should be laid immediately.  Upon conviction, in most cases, he or she should be dismissed from duty with no pay.  If they don’t take action what you end up with is convicted criminals carrying a badge and a gun.”  – Joe Warmington, “Get convicted cops off the payroll”, Toronto Sun February 9th, 2011.

Jeff Goodall.

Read Michele Mandel’s article here.

See “How can cops not know who this is?” (May 17th, 2011) here, “Toronto Police Chief’s delays threaten public confidence” (Jan. 21st, 2012) here, and “Nobody case abandoned because SIU has no teeth” (Jan. 31st, 2012) here.

For background, see “Is steroid use contributing to police abuse of power?” (Dec. 26th, 2010) here, “Get convicted cops off the payroll” (Feb. 9th, 2011) here, and “Convicted Toronto cops still carrying guns?” (Feb. 15th, 2011) here.