Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive June 29, 2016)

Cheap Stunt


By Bob Cooper



Osgoode Hall law student George Knia Singh is taking the Toronto Police to the Ontario Human Rights Commission because he was denied a Ride-Along Lawyer activist denied cop ride along.  Singh claims the police based their refusal on a number of incidents where he was checked and ‘carded’ in the company of people with criminal records.  He wants an apology.  Oh, and $170,000.  Not to enrich himself as some might suspect, but rather to deter such police conduct in the future.  One marvels at the altruism.  Some people just give and give and give. 

The race card, of course, is played freely and according to Singh this is proof of the tendency of the Toronto Police to target young men of color.  It’s also a big misunderstanding because Singh was out there doing God’s work as a community activist interacting with these young men to bring them back on the path of righteousness.

Police generally take the position that criminals and those who associate with them learn quite enough about police tactics and procedures from being arrested frequently without giving them a front-row seat for an 8 hour tutorial.  Unless someone can show me the section of the Charter which guarantees a right to a Ride-Along I’d say the police were quite justified in refusing Singh.  The legal issue aside, there are many community members with a genuine curiosity about what it’s like to be a police officer and the police should hardly be expected to make room for a professional pain in the ass. 

In a piece a couple of years ago I wrote this , Legacy of Ferguson, about the motivation of many ‘activists’ and it almost always comes down to self-interest.  Another reality of ‘community engagement’ is that many ‘community leaders’ are using their positions as a springboard to politics.  Or an anchor spot at MSNBC.   They’re always looking for an issue and no matter how much goodwill or trust you think you’ve built up, they’ll turn on you in a heartbeat if doing so will get them 10 seconds on the news or a couple of potential votes.   So guess who’s seeking election to the provincial legislature as a member of the Ontario Liberals in an upcoming by-election?  Unlike the BC Liberal Party, people in Ontario who call themselves Liberals mean it. 

Singh, by his own admission, has been stopped at least 30 times often in the company of known criminals which would lead a reasonable person to conclude it was likely the criminals who initially attracted the attention of the police as opposed to Singh.  No doubt their interest in Singh intensified the more times he was found hanging out with ex-convicts.  On some occasions Singh’s associates had done federal time which is nothing to sneeze at considering how difficult it is to be send to prison in this country.  His sole purpose is to gain ‘street cred’ and get his name & picture in the papers who fall all over themselves to accommodate him.  It’s a cheap stunt which should fool no one.  But we all know that it will. 

A final word on the subject of ‘carding’ which figures so prominently here.  Last year 'Disrespectful and hurtful', I predicted what would happen if carding were banned or severely restricted.  In the first four months of 2016 Toronto gun homicides are up 200%.   


Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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