Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On lost credibility

In case Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair hadn't embarrassed himself enough already, the Globe and Mail's Jill Mahoney calls BS on his ill-advised weapons display/garage sale:
Chief Blair said the objects represented just some of the evidence police collected. The display did not include flammable items, such as Molotov cocktails, several of which were seized by officers during the weekend.

The items, which were laid out on several tables in the lobby of Toronto Police headquarters, include gas masks, cans of spray paint, a replica gun, crowbars, saws, pocket knives, a staple gun, a drill, a baseball bat, a slingshot, chains, bear spray, dog repellent, handcuffs and bows and arrows. Some of the arrows had their pointy ends covered with fabric, which officers said were designed to be dipped in a flammable liquid and lit ablaze.

However, the “weapons” included items not normally considered dangerous, including skateboard and bicycle helmets, bandanas, golf balls, tennis balls, bamboo poles, goggles, rope, plastic tubes and walkie talkies. The police also laid out several notebooks and shields depicting red clenched fists, a resistance symbol.

In addition, some of the items presented to the media were not seized by protesters. A car search last Friday netted a cross bow and chain saw but they were not determined to be G20 related, and no charges were laid. When this was pointed out, Chief Blair acknowledged the items should not have been displayed but said “everything else” was seized from summit protesters.

However, police also included objects taken from a Whitby, Ont., man who was heading to a role playing fantasy game in Centennial Park Saturday morning. As was reported by the Globe on Saturday, Brian Barrett, 25, was stopped at Union Station for wearing chain mail and carrying a bag with an archery bow, shield and graphite swords. His jousting gear was seized by police, but was on display Tuesday, even though he was not charged and police told a Globe reporter it was a case of bad timing.
Sadly, it doesn't sound like that additional falsehood was pointed out at today's press conference. But the more Blair claims "but everything I've said is true except what you've just proven to be false!", the less anybody will be able to take anything he says seriously. And that looks to be particularly damaging with the calls for a full inquiry into the summit debacle growing by the hour.

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