McMaster Student Union Newspaper Cheapens The Fight Against Police Brutality! (Sexism too!)

Journalism's not so great at McMaster...

Journalism’s not so great at McMaster…

I’ve been meeting with some people and doing some research on a protest against Niagra Fall’s Marineland back in October. A lot of people are unhappy with Marineland- for a number of good reasons. Unlike the US and other countries Canada doesn’t have legislation for keeping large marine animals like whales and dolphins. Many countries have banned their captivity altogether. A growing number of Canadians agree they should be banned here- I’m one of them.

I’ll write more about that over the next couple of weeks. But, I have a primer for you today- a story of a McMaster student who was arrested at the Marineland protest and made a claim of police brutality. Her name is Chantal Godin (formerly of Occupy McMaster), she’s no stranger to the anarchist world. And, as expected, this story has a lot in-common with the Sasha Wiley-Shaw incident at the Vancouver Casseroles marches. It also has something in-common with the recent anti free-speech event at the University of Toronto– people were belligerent with the police, and another cause for social justice has been cheapened and damaged.

Welcome to another tale of the logic of the Old-Left…

As you probably expected, what happened during this arrest hardly looks brutal- perhaps with the exception of Godin’s behaviour. The incident with the police begins at 0:19 on the video when we see Godin in an altercation with the police. As the video pans towards the incident, we hear Godin yelling out to the police:

“Don’t Touch me! I don’t give a fuck!”  (I think she used the ‘c’ word too- hard to tell)

What a charming young woman- McMaster University must be proud!

Godin was angry and belligerent towards the officers throughout the incident. After swearing at the officer she continues to yell and then starts to push her finger towards the officer’s chest. After watching Godin continue her escalation, a male police officer stepped-in to push her away.

In the world outside the bedlam of the anarcho-primitive world, most people will understand this was not a case of brutality. The police gave Godin instructions, she resisted, yelled and escalated to where there was genuine concern she could have got physical. Had he not stepped-in, and Godin further escalated, he would have had a lot of explaining to do.

But, in Godin’s world, things are a little bit different. Here’s what she wrote about it- published in an anarcho-feminist-vegan website:

“I was the women assaulted and handcuffed by the two Niagara police officers at the closing day demo at Marineland. There seems to be a lot of confusion seeing how only the end of the incident was captured on film. Basically, after ushering people to come into the park, people began to flood the dolphin show at which time we decided to go back and encourage more people to jump the gates. In the process of jumping back over the fence, I felt someone grab hold of me and push me down. Not knowing who was assaulting me, I swung my arm to free myself from this person. Once I saw it was the female police officer, I became extremely upset with the amount of unnecessary force she used, and began shouting at her telling her not to touch me, and asking her why she’s going after me while there were over a hundred protesters actually in the park protesting the show. I believe this is where my frustration escalated and the cursing came in. The “macho” stereotypical male cop then intervened, by randomly manhandling me, and pushing me backwards (which as you can see I deflected and pushed back), after which he smirked and walked away before returning to cuff my hands. I don’t feel such force was necessary, and I will not stand for that shit. Just because I am young, and just because I am a women [sic] does not give any police officer the right to treat me with such disrespect.”

First notice how Godin admits to encouraging people to commit a crime (trespassing, and potentially theft).  I’ve watched a few videos of the people going through the gates and it appears that a few minors were involved. I’l be writing more about this part of the story in an article later this week.

So, Godin first encourages people to commit a crime. Next, she tries to climb over the fence and commit a crime. The police come to pull her down and take her out of the park. She swears at them, she points her finger at a cop, she continually ignores their requests, they handcuff and arrest her.

Can someone tell me where Godin’s race and gender come into the picture here? She was committing potentially one or more crimes, she was belligerent, she was actively encouraging people to commit crimes. Would the police have treated her differently if she were a transgender albino llama?

The answer to that question is yes. You see, the llama is considered to be an animal, and they would have handled the llama much less gently than they handled Godin. It’s possible that the llama, in this situation, may need to be afraid of police brutality.

But what about the next, real, case of police brutality?

Well, the next person who experiences police brutality in Niagara Falls is going to end-up slightly more screwed over than they would had been had this incident not been promoted as police brutality. It probably won’t be noticeable- but, each false claim of brutality, sexism,  adds up over time. It’s like cholesterol- eat enough McDonald’s hamburgers and your arteries choke.

Here’s a quote from Godin in the McMaster Students Union newspaper:

“I began arguing with her as to why she used such excessive force to bring me down and why she was targeting me when I was outside of the park at the time this happened. Why [did] she decide to target me when I was outside of the park at the time this happened,”

The excessive force was pulling a ringleader down from the fence that she was climbing over in order to evade an entry fee. In addition to the fact she was committing a crime, she may have hurt herself much worse after getting to the top of the fence. The police were obligated to do what they did. One has to wonder if Godin is incredibly naïve or if she is pulling the wool over our eyes.

Next she makes a comment about the male police officer:

”He walked away from the male and came towards me. He gave me a small push while I was still being dealt with by the female officer…He pushed me a second time which I deflected in the video.”

She’s referring to where she was escalating her agitation with the female police officer and where the male officer came in to support her. Then, she admits using force towards him. And, of course, she makes an accusation her attack was based on sexism:

“the fact that he left my partner and came after me [given] that I’m much smaller [than the other protesters]. It was a bit sexist. I feel as though because I’m a woman he felt he could intimidate me or make an example of me to other protesters. I guess I ended up being the scapegoat for that. I felt violated because he has no right to put his hands on me

It wasn’t enough for Godin to make an incredibly weak accusation of police brutality- hurting future victims of police brutality wasn’t enough for her it seems. Why not add some sexism to make the story that much more sexy? Well, there’s a good reason for that- because it cheapens the fight against sexism equally as her claim of brutality cheapened future claims.

Claims like this remind me of the problem with the nuclear energy industry- they haven’t figured out safe storage yet and are building a giant debt for future generations. It’s the same thing with crying wolf- it’s a massive show of disrespect to the people who brought us our current level of social justice, and it increases the burden on those who come behind you.

I hope Godin’s happy with herself. And one must wonder why the student union newspaper decided to publish such a blatant story. I’ll have some more analysis on the issue of encouraging minors to commit crimes in a future article…

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