Early this afternoon a group of mostly young people took to the streets to demonstrate their frustration over the actions of a London police officer last week. Last Thursday the officer tasered a student, hitting him in the face, to break up a fight. The incident was captured on camera and was the catalyst to the outrage of the students who took part in today’s march.
Around 2:30 the crowd of demonstrators, who seemed to be mostly high school students, neared the intersection of Richmond and Dundas tailed by about ten cruisers and a forensic evidence police van which filmed the demonstration. In similar fashion, the young people sported their phones to film the police. The cameras providing assurance for both sides to keep the other in check.
The crowd moved in a way that can only be described as youthful bravado. Many of the kids went shirtless, with slogans painted on signs and their chests. N.W.A.’s “Fuck the Police” slogan was a prominent feature as bandana clad youths proudly stomped their way through the street.
United and proud in their puerile defiance I saw two kids taken away. The first because he was trying to provoke the crowd into violence. The second decided to join in the stupidity and stepped into the street to block a police car from driving through the intersection.
Was the police officer wrong to taser the young man last Thursday? Probably. The video above shows there was little sign of a threat posed by the youth towards the officer. More importantly, what grown man let alone a police officer wouldn’t be able to detain a minor (and not a very big one) without having to use unnecessary force like a Taser?
But what was on display this afternoon was not a call for justice for police actions, but rather a demonstration of disdain and disrespect for authority.
FTP at Richmond and Dundas
Youth pitted themselves against the “establishment” in asinine fashion. Waving red and black flags (really? Where can I buy a Che Guevara shirt?), shirts off, grunting, chest puffing and slapping, banner waving, strutting the cross walk attempting to C-walk (someone forgot to tell these kids they live in South Western Ontario, not South Central L.A.).
Not that long ago, I would have probably joined the rank and file of the young marchers. Rebelling is an integral part of being a teenager after all (though I like to think I was more well-informed than to go out brandishing anarchist and communist symbols to show my disgust at police actions).
Maybe I’m just getting old? Or at least too old to march without a purpose other than being a shit disturber.