Guest speaker Lawrence Greenspon
- Regarding police misconduct: The vast majority of police officers are doing a difficult
job, and the majority of the officers are doing a good job. But, with every job, there are
minorities of individuals who do not do a good job. Some officers are tasering, breaking
bones, shooting pets, shooting people (and sometimes killing them), arresting individuals
to remove them from a scene, holding them over night, and then releasing them the next
day without charges, for no apparent reason, or simply for the reason that the individual
looked a certain way.
• Police officers know generally that they can get away with what they are doing.
- They sometimes see “CYA – Cover Your Ass” charges, where the police know they have
done something wrong, and charge an individual with charges to cover up what they have
done. What happens to a police officer that has violated the Constitutional rights of an
individual? Absolutely nothing.
- He urges individuals not to file a police complaint because there is usually nothing to
gain for the complainant; it just takes time and energy and money, all for the police
officer receives is a proverbial “slap on the wrist”. In the event that a police officer gets
suspended from the job, they receive full pay while they are on suspension.
• There is nothing in it for the complainant, they are usually dismissed and even if
successful the complainant gets nothing and the officer usually suffers no
consequences. It takes time and money.
- A police officer that was suspended for slamming a woman’s head into the hood of his
police cruiser four times. During the investigation (which lasted for about four years) he
was suspended with pay. With his time off he returned to school and completed his
undergraduate degree as well as his masters (all while still suspended and receiving pay
from the Ottawa police).
- There was a young man named Norris who was riding his bike, and was hit by a police
officer (who had been drinking). Norris was seventeen years old, and as a result of the
impact, he died. Realizing that he had hit something, the police officer went to the donut
shop to tell his buddies “he think he hit a deer”. He was charged with impaired driving,
but after everything he was acquitted and walked free.
• The court affirmed that there is no duty to a bereaved family to properly investigate a
death cause by an officer.
- Police know there is no effective police accountability
Interactions between civilians and police officers: when are they likely to lead to arrest?
1. The character of the officer 2. The place where the encounter occurs
3. The character of the person the police is having an encounter with (are they
- These will influence whether or not an arrest will happen
- Stacey bonds was not arrested for doing anything illegal, she was arrested for questioning
- Whether or not you are arrested is largely dependent on the police officer and your
compliance. When you challenge the police it characterizes you as symbolic assailants.
- Use standard approaches. Research demonstrates that it is the demeanor of the person,
not the act.
Whether or not police will make an arrest:
1. Police perception of a challenge to authority
• It is the challenge to authority. Police have a perception of challenge to authority, and
it is even worse towards minorities. [somebody challenging them who they already
believe is lesser than them]
2. Police demand for submission
• You have to show them that you are sorry, remorseful, and if you do so chances of
3. Response to the demand