When Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias heard about the new Cop Watch Toronto iPhone app, it’s likely she giggled with excitement. You see, Antonia is very well connected with the city’s F##k The Police crowd- she writes stories painting them as jailhouse activist heroes and sometimes even uses them as ‘credible’ sources for her (‘credible’) stories. She once went as far as using her position at the Star to try and intimidate Your Humble Narrator on behalf one of the country’s most prominent supporters of violence.
Antonia Zerbisias is quite the (nasty) piece of work.
Zerbisias began her story about the app listing well-known incidents where citizens filmed the police including the G20, and last year’s shooting of Sammy Yatim. Once the reader is buttered-up with some anti police porn she then introduces us to Darren Baptiste- the man who created the app. But there’s something important Antonia’s story didn’t tell us about him…
Antonia’s article paints a picture of Baptiste being a peaceful man who was motivated to write the Cop Watch app after “years and years of seeing violence in (the black) community”. The article also leaves the impression that Baptiste is perhaps a bit meek explaining how he got his “confidence” to write the app at a conference at OISE (red flag!) called Do I have the right to film the police?.
That conference was headlined by Miguel Avila-Velarde- he’s the head of a one-man band called Toronto Cop Watch, a regular participant in OCAP protests, one of the city’s most notorious cop baiters, and one of the three idiots who got arrested after intentionally disrupting last year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. Miguel matches the profile of many of Zerbisias’ anarchist friends.
But of course, Antonia’s story left out this vital information; there’s not even a hint about Baptiste’s connections to the radical community. Instead, we’re left to believe that he’s a meek and humble computer programmer with a big idea (and not some anti-cop nutbar who supports Hugo Chavez).
Your Humble Narrator saw a different side of Mr Baptiste during an anti-police march that he and Avila-Velarde attended in September. The protest was a gong show from the beginning when anarchists crowded in front of Toronto Police headquarters waving around doughnuts tied to fishing string.
Shockingly, right after waving doughnuts in their faces, the police let the anarchists march unattended through the middle of busy downtown streets. As one would expect, this didn’t work out very well- motorists were harassed by the protesters, and one unlucky driver had her windshield smashed. Here’s a video of the mayhem:
The man you see being arrested in the video is none other than Darren Baptiste! He and his fellow protesters were illegally blocking drivers from crossing the road (without police escort) when one driver (accidentally or intentionally) pushed her car forward. When she did this, Baptiste hit his fist on and smashed her windshield. He was arrested a couple minutes later when the police arrived.
Any half-decent (or half-witted) journalist who covered this story would have realized there’s a possibility Mr Baptist had a problem with the police and would have asked some probing questions to understand his intent. Of course, this is Antonia Zerbisias we’re talking about- she’s just (in the best-case) half-assed. When the day finally comes, Antonia’s retirement will be a moment of festive celebration…