What I Told The Cops [TRANSCRIPT]
My Deputation to the Toronto Police Services Board after the Violent Encampment Evictions of 2021 [DEPUTATION 2 IN COMMENTS]
[NOTE THAT MY SECOND DEPUTATION IS IN THE COMMENTS]
THEM: Dooby, can you put on the next deputant? I believe it’s Mr. Golding…
THEM: Adam, if you can unmute now…
ME: Hello, am I on?
THEM: Yes. Go ahead when you’re ready.
ME: Okay great, uh, thanks for your time, I hope you’re all having a good morning. Um, I, uh, unlike Miguel, I’ve never spoken at one of these things before, but I’d like to second everything that he had to say, um, uh, you know I’m sympathetic to what a lot of activists like Miguel have to say, but I will say that I am sympathetic to the force: there have been police in my family, military in my family, but, uh, I, um, don’t take pride in what’s been happening lately.
And, while Miguel has already, uh, shamed people, I want to suggest an approach that—uh, well—what we could take pride in; I’m speaking as a teacher, um, and, uh I’m not an expert in policing, so, um, ah but I do know education, and so hopefully this is relevant:
Um, if this were a classroom, I would ask the class a rhetorical question at the beginning which is: “Why was over-policing predictable after the pandemic?”
And the answer would come from an assigned reading from "The Shock Doctrine.” Um, we’ve been through this before with 911, and this is what’s happening now: we’re experiencing over-policing, post-covid.
So, it’s predictable, so I’m not going to shame you for it; I’m just going to say: let’s work on it.
Um, we have to increase training, um, partly by making police know what—what activists have to say, um, several, there’s one link I already provided when I signed up for this deputation, uh, which is, you can also view at TorCH.help, the URL TorCH.help, which is a press conference about the encampment clearings that happened recently, um, I also recommend two videos on YouTube, called “Dismantling Stubborn Structures”, parts one and two—I’ll put those in the YouTube chat in a moment, and another playlist on YouTube called #EvictJohnTory, which catalogues the many, um, news, uh… clippings, let’s say, that are available of, of all of these events, and I think, uh, the facts… speak… uh, well.
Um, and I would suggest that ‘learning rate’ is something we have to focus on, when it comes to training, and the education system, period—uh, I’m surprised that there’s no other teachers that showed up for this meeting, um, but maybe I’m just just naïve about how the world works these days, but, um, I well, you would think there would be lots of teachers that would show up to a publicly accessible meeting about police training, but I don’t know where they are…
Um, but to me that says that—that teaching has been depoliticized, and in a way, the force has been politicized, because, uh, much of what they were doing with encampment clearings was politically motivated, um, but unfortunately they’re not politicized at the individual level where the individuals are trained in the political issues of the day and where they might object in the name of the collective interest.
Uh, the total amount of training that police need probably needs to be multiplied by 1000, for them to be really informed about what’s going on and how that intersects with their duties, and to that point, we do need to hire from other fields, although someone already spoke to that.
Um, and, uh, that, that learning rate, that’s hard to get, since there’s only so many hours you can pay for training, has to come, uh, implicitly through interactions with the community. So every interaction that a police officer (or a Teacher) has with a student, or a police officer has with a civilian, or a politician has with somebody—it should be an interaction where either party can learn something, and that should be the primary goal of every interaction, and I think it should be a basic metric, that you ask your force: “Did you learn anything from a civilian today"?
Because that’s what I would ask of every teacher, if I were teaching teachers, which I do now and then, which is: “What did you learn from your students"? And I don’t see that approach taken by 311, I don’t see it taken by Star Security, I don’t see it taken by the force, I don’t see it taken, um, by the city, really. Um, and I see a lot of arrogance, in the city, in that they don’t expect to learn anything from civilians, which is wrong. And I say that as a teacher.
Um, police budgets need to be democratized, I think if we had a ranked ballot people wouldn’t have voted to spend two million dollars on these evictions, I think that’s… obvious.
And that just shows that, ultimately, this is a failure of democracy, because a more democratic budget would not have allocated funds to that. Um, I think we’d see the same if we had local polls about, um, municipal… um, uh, code 608, about what the rules for bylaw—parks should be—I think we should repeal municipal code 608, and start over with different rules for different neighbourhoods, because one size does not fit all.
And we should also have votes among officers at work, if you look at the work of economist Richard Wolff, um, there should be Democracy at Work at every workplace, that includes the police force. So that means, the police should be a worker managed… a.. a.. a worker manager cooperative; there should be worker council meetings where police vote regularly, in way where they have, uh, individual power, um, and thus: political engagement with what the police are doing and the political impact of it.
And there should be a test, that all officers are given: To see if they will disobey an order which is too unethical. Um, I am ignorant as to whether such a test exists, but I imagine it does not. Um, from what I have seen.
And, I would suggest, that this is because, like covid, pathogens of the mind can infect any social system. And, if a pathogen infects the police force, we need immunity in every individual. And I think the same is true of Science—uh, we’ve seen, uh, a few contaminated ideas in the chat there, in, in YouTube—ehh, but I think everyone has to uh, um, heh, be an individual piece of that immune system. And so, also the force at the collective level—this is my final point, I see my time is running down here—the force at the collective level should be able to say ‘no’ to instructions from, say, the city manager, to do evictions all in one day which creates a very, uh, dangerous setup let’s say—I’ve made this point also in a letter that I have circulated. Thank you for your time.
THEM: Thank you, Mr. Golding. Any questions for Mr. Golding? … Seeing none, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us today, we appreciate it.
I also said in the chat:
‘item 3 and item 12 relate: if you hire from other fields you have the benefit of the training people in those fields have--imagine if all officers already had law degrees, or experience in care fields, eg: counselling
The asking of questions is part of how we can increase our collective learning rate
and this letter is the "SEQUEL": https://www.facebook.com/adamgolding/posts/10108582298442202
If Ford can cut council in half, we can defund the police by 50% as defund.ca has called for, but both decisions should be subjected to ranked ballot
instead of defunding the police budget by 50%, however, we could have police spend 50% as much time on what we currently call 'policing' and spend the remainder on paid vacation/nonviolent work
we could also repeal laws as a a way of decreasing policing, eg: REPEAL MUNICIPAL CODE 608
the police force must become a worker cooperative but the budgets themselves must be voted on by the people policed, not the workers, so this is a variant on wolff's co-op model
Yes re the "ARMY' style I called the actions at lamport and trinity 'worse than military' in my earlier letter to Mayor Tory: https://www.facebook.com/adamgolding/posts/10108490631084322