Thursday, November 11, 2010

can you be sued for posting a comment online? Officer Bubbles says yes.

This is one of the animated videos that caused Officer Bubbles to sue YouTube and about 25 people who commented on the YouTube videos. He is suing YouTube to get the names of the people who made the comments. The Toronto Star article says the cartoon videos are no longer available on YouTube, but that's where I found them. Who is Officer Bubbles? See the video below:

During the G20 in Canada earlier this year, the Canadian state was heavy-handed with security. This clip of "Officer Bubbles" shows part of the criminalization of peaceful protest; it is just one example that reveals the harsh measures and abuse of authority that some police used to arrest many people, including massive detention of about 1000 people -- the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. Some people who were just waiting for the bus got rounded up by police and put in detention! A journalist for The Guardian, Jesse Rosenfeld, was arrested and beaten, despite having identified himself as a journalist to the police. Most have had their charges dropped, and recently 100 Canadian protesters had their charges dropped.

Because of the abuse of civil rights, "A class action lawsuit has been started against the Toronto Polices Services Board (TPSB) and the Attorney General of Canada (AGC) on behalf of all of those who were arrested and/or detained June 26 and 27, 2010 but were later released without charge."

Further, G20 defendant, Alex Hundert, who was arrested before the G20 meetings began, is facing serious charges and has punitive bail conditions that curb his right to free speech:

"Hundert is facing politically-motivated conspiracy and counseling charges in relation to the Toronto G8/G20 protests. He was arrested preemptively at gunpoint on the morning of June 26th, before the protests began, and is being targeted as a member of the community group AW@L and Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance.

Hundert was re-arrested on September 17th after speaking at a panel discussion. He remained in jail for almost one month awaiting a hearing, and on October 7 Hundert was unreasonably found to be in breach of his previous no-demonstration bail condition for speaking as an invited panellist at two forums at Ryerson University and Wilfrid-Laurier

According to Judy Rebick, organizer of the Ryerson University event and co-panelist, 'The draconian bail restrictions on Alex Hundert are an attempt to silence and vilify him. No supporter of democracy can stand for such an assault on civil rights.'

'These bail conditions and the politically-motivated conspiracy charge is setting a dangerous precedent in the intensifying criminalization of political speech since the G-20 protest. This is an attempt to intimidate and harass and is a serious assault on freedom of expression and the right to assemble,' further states Gary Kinsman, a Professor at Laurentian University."

This 5 minute news video explains the broader context of the police conduct during the G20. One main point this report discusses is that the video of Officer Bubbles that went viral wrongly put the focus on whether one officer had overstepped his authority rather than the larger issue: the long list of police violence that defined the weekend and the abuse of power in the police institution itself. The report suggests that Toronto police have a history of abuse of authority as it also addresses the death of a young black male, Junior Alexander Minon, while in police custody.


Merche Pallarés said...

In case you're interested, I could hardly see this post. Everytime I tried to go down with the mouse it kept sending me back up and the last video is completely blank. Are they harassing you also? Is Canada becoming a police state? I CANNOT believe it!!! Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

Hello MP,

I have no idea what is up. I've been having problems with my blog for the last 4 or 5 days. I can't seem to fix it. I hope this is not permanent!