Fearless Coquitlam Mounties
show their para-military mettle
at a family’s Thanksgiving dinner

Screaming tough guys brandish weapons
and order a family face-down on the wet ground.
As a woman tries to comfort her 60-year-old mother,
a cop sticks a gun at her head and tells her to shut up

Oct. 18, 2010

It was an operation better suited for taking down a drug cartel than a suburban family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s the Tri-City News story.

At the end of the article comes an especially desperate attempt at spin from Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet: “This is not something we see very often. Complaints against our officers are the exception as opposed to the rule...”

Not very often? Complaints against police are rising all the time, as are unnecessarily heavy-handed police tactics, including the use of weapons and violence.

Bad recruiting, bad training, terrible judgment — these problems are taking their toll on a wide range of people, from East Side Vancouver to the relatively sedate suburbs.

Here are a few other examples of cops executing para-military raids on harmless families:

Guns-drawn, Abbotsford police arrest and handcuff a respectable couple, their daughter and her fiance, who had been looking at vacation photos.

Alberta RCMP swarm all over a family vacation home, handcuff and arrest two parents and remove their children, all over a trivial dispute.

Para-military raids on families show another ugly aspect of police culture. These are group actions that can’t be blamed on an individual officer or even two partners. Nor can these raids be attributed to a culture clash between suburban-raised cops and lower-income city dwellers. These raids show that police often can’t even get along with the kind of people many cops grew up with. Police culture somehow teaches cops that they’re separate from the rest of society.

How Canadian police ever came to this, and how to fix it, are difficult questions. But there has to be some way of keeping cops accountable.

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