And now:Ish <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:

Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 16:39:11 -0400
From: Lynne Moss-Sharman <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: re Dudley George   ARMED & DANGEROUS: SWAT teams in Ontario 
   Saturday Night Magazine (April 1998) David Pugliese (Part One)
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Saturday Night Magazine  April 1998
David Pugliese  pp. 40-49, 81-82

COVER:  Armed and Dangerous Bernard Bastien was killed in his front yard by a SWAT 
team with the wrong address. They were looking for his suicidal neighbour. They shot 
him too. Tactical squads are doing routine police work now, and the victims are piling 

FIRST PAGE: <<Debbie Bastien's husband was killed in her front yard by a SWAT team 
with the wrong address. Armed, aggressive and poorly trained, tactical squads keep 
multiplying, and so do their victims. >>

p. 40

It was hot and humid on the night of August 14, 1988 when Debbie Bastien rolled over 
in bed and got up to answer the phone. She wondered who could be calling at 5am. It 
was her mother-in-law, Evelyn, whose house was next door to the Bastien's brick 
bungalow in a rural community near Windsor, Ontario.  She told Debbie she had seen 
prowlers outside. Evelyn was scared; in the last few years, a man dubbed the 
Colchester rapist by the media, had been preying on elderly women, and he was still on 
the loose; there had also been a couple of break-ins lately in the neighbourhood.

Debbie woke up her husband, Bernard, who had fallen asleep on the couch watching 
television. A 34 year old autoworker, Bernard had been his mother's right hand since 
the recent death of his father. He decided to go outside and see what was happening. 
"Bern, better grab your fun," Debbie said, almost as an afterthought. "You don't know 
the kind of idiots that are out there. The Colchester rapist hasn't been caught." 
Bastien took a shotgun from a case in the family room, loaded it with one shell, and 
both he and his wife went out onto the front porch. Bernard saw shadowy figures moving 
in the night, and stepped down onto the front lawn.

"Hold on or I'll blow you away," someone barked from the darkness. "Bob, it's the 
police," yelled another voice. "Put down your weapon. You don't want to hurt anybody 
and neither do wel."

The men in the shadows were members of an Ontario Provincial SWAT team - known as the 
Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU). They had been called in from London, some 170 km. away, 
and were now hunkered down in the ditch, or hiding behind a police van parked on the 
road, with their machine guns trained on Bastien.  But they had the wrong man. They 
thought they were aiming at BOB JARIETT, a 19 year old who had threatened to kill 
himself and whom they'd been searching for in the area.

Wearing camouflage, their faces blackened, the officers wore no visible police 
identification. Bastien strained to see who was out there. "Get out of here," he 
yelled. His mother's beagle, Buster, who was tied up in the yard, started barking at 
the intruders.

Meanwhile Debbie Bastien had run back inside and called the police. She pleaded 
withthe local dispatcher to send help. She said her husband had gone outside with a 
shotgun and there were strange men on their property. "The guy is hollering, 'Put the 
gun down,' that they're going to shoot him, that they're cops," Debbie told the 
dispatcher. "But I couldn't see a cop doing that."

The dispatcher relayed the message to an OPP constable involved in the Jariett search, 
but just as he was about to pass it on to the tactical squad, the unit switched its 
radios over to a channel only they had access to. Debbie went back to the front porch 
and eylled at her husband. "Bern, I've called the police. They're on the way. Get back 
in the house."

p. 42  <<SWAT teams were created to handle hostage-takings and terrorist incidents. 
Now they handle domestic disputes, customs searches, suicide threats, even drunk 
driving >>

Her husband turned and looked at her but didn't move. She would say later that he 
appear frozen with fear.

A tactical officer fired two flares into the sky. As they floated back down down on 
parachutes, they cast a pale light over the Bastien property. Some of the officers, 
who had seen photos of Jariett before heading out, would later say they couldn't make 
out any details of the man standing before them. Others, who had been told that 
Jariett was wearing a long green coat, would admit they could see the fitgure on the 
lawn was clad only white shorts. As the flares descended, the officers continued to 
yell out to "Bobby."

A few tactical-squad members, including Constable Robert Fleming, circled around to 
cut off any potential escape routes. As Fleming moved into position a light went on in 
Evelyn's. Bastien turned and started walking toward his mother's place, his pace 
quickening somewhat. At that point an officer turned on a floodlight and police could 
see Bastien trotting towards Fleming. Again, it didn't register with the officers that 
the six foot tall autoworker looked nothing like the photos they had seen of the 
scrawny, five foot seven inch Jariett.

At about the same time Evelyn's dog tried to snap at one of the squad members who 
moving up behind Fleming. The officer aimed his assault rifle at the beagle and fired 
a stream of bullets. The animal's body exploded.

What happened next is still a source of controversy. Police claim Bastien opened fire, 
hitting Fleming in the leg with birdshot. A coroner's inquest would later rule there 
was no conclusive evidence that the autoworker shot first. The Bastien's family lawyer 
would argue that tactical officers mistook the gunfire that killed the beagle for a 
sign that Bastien had started shooting and so they opened fire.

Whatever the case, in a matter of seconds Bastien was hit by a stream of machine-gun 
bullets. Five tactical officers fired 22 slugs at him in several bursts. The first 
bullets caused him to slump to the ground. Officers fired a second time and he keeled 
over on to his back. He then jerked upright as his body did a sort of macabre sit-up. 
Police fired again.

A total of 13 bullets hit Bernard Bastien in the groin, leg, arm and abdomen. A 
pathologist determined the fatal shots struck him as he was lying on the ground or 
falling backwards, that he might have survived if it hadn't been for the final volley.

Inside the house, Debbie could hear the gunfire. Fearing the intruders would come in 
and kill her, she grabbed her 2 year old son, Anthony, and ran into the basement. As 
she huddled in the cellar, her hand over Anthony's mouth so the armed men outside 
couldn't hear his crying, the tactical officers were examining her husband's body.  "I 
don't know who this fella is but he's not Bob Jariett," announced the TRU commander as 
his men looked on."

Minutes later a police radio crackled. Jariett had just been spotted walking into a 
farmhouse down the road. TRU members quickly surrounded that house, and when the 
suicidal Jarriet walked back out carrying a shotgun, another confrontation ensured. 
Jarriet wound up being shot twice. He survived.

By now, one of the most highly trained police units in the country was coming to 
realize that a series of errors had led to the death of an innocent man.  But it 
wasn't the first time a tactical unit had made a tragic mistake. And it wouldn't be 
the last.

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were originally established in Canada in the 
1970's to handle terrorist incidents.

Clad in black masks and combat fatigues, armed with sub-machine guns, sniping rifles 
and stun grenades, and trained in military techniques, they go by a variety of names, 
including emergency response unit or emergency task force.

They are also becoming more and more common.  Almost every Canadian police force with 
more than 100 officers has one. Nationwide there are at least 65 tactical squads;the 
RCMP alone operates 26.

In the past, these teams have had the dangerous job of rescuing hostages or dealing 
with armed standoffs. But over the last decade or so they have branched out to take 
more of a role in day-to-day policing, handling potentially violent domestic disputes, 
drug or customs searches, and suicide threats.  And with has come tragedy.

In the last 13 years, Canadian SWAT teams have mistakenly killed at least 4 people, 
and have wounded several more.

They have shot and killed suicidal people they were supposed to have kept from 
injuring themselves, and they have laid siege to the homes of people with  no 
connection to crime.

Tactical officers have been accused of violating the basic police rule on use of 
force, by firing on suspects who weren't endangering anyone. Judges have criticized 
their methods. Coroners' inquests have chronicle their mistakes.

To their critics, the mix of SWAT's paramilitary mindset, tactics and arsenals, 
together with their increasingly frequent deployment, is a recipe for disaster. Those 
critics point to a growing list of incidents to back up their concerns.

* In April 1997 OPP tactical officer Sgt. Kenneth Deane was found guilty of criminal 
negligence causing death. Deane had shot and killed an unarmed native, Dudley George, 
during a 1995 protest at Ipperwash Provincial Park. Deane, who fired seven shots, 
claimed George had a gun. But the judge determined that wasn't the case and the 
officer had lied about the case.

* On February 19 1996 an OPP tactical team used a battering ram to smash down the 
front door of a house near Hamilton. They were looking for marijuana growers and guns. 
They found 57 year old John Goddard and his wife, Jean, forced them at gunpoint to lie 
on the floor, and slapped them in handcuffs as the house was searched. Nothing was 
found. It turned out an informant had given police the wrong information.

* On February 17 1996 an OPP tactical team launched a pre-dawn raid on a house near 
Orangeville. Officers, looking for a murder suspect, smashed in the front and back 
doors and hauled a couple out of bed at gunpoint. The homeowner's 70 year old father 
was also dragged from his bed and handcuffed. The couple had absolutely no connection 
to the real suspect, who was captured later that day in Miami.

* A Surrey BC couple were asleep in their bed when heavily armed masked men burst into 
their house in January 1996. The couple thought they were the victims of a home 
invasion, but the intruders were members of an RCMP tactical team. Looking for cocaine 
and guns, they also kicked in the door to a bedroom where the woman's 93 year old 
mother was sleeping. The suspected drug dealers the police thought lived there had 
moved out 6 months earlier.

* During the 1995 standoff between police and native protesters at Gustafsen Lake BC 
an RCMP tactical-team sniper was given permission to shoot to kill an Indian 
demonstrator.  Although the man was carrying a gun, he was in an agreed-upon safe 
area. He was simply getting some water from a nearby lake. The sniper fired 3 bullets. 
Luckily he missed.

* In September 1995 a SWAT team without a warrant kicked down the door of a Montreal 
apartment. Searching for drugs, police instead found a terrified woman and her baby.

* Two members of a Quebec Provincial Police tactical unit were charged with uttering 
threats, forcible confinement, torture and assault in February 1992 after police armed 
with machine-guns burst into the house of a man and his son.

* Also in February 1992 members of Vancouver's tactical team were caught on videotape 
beating a man they had dragged out of an apartment house. The unit had gone to the 
wrong address during a drug raid. The man they hauled from the dwelling was a newly 
arrived Chinese immigrant who couldn't speak English.

* After laying siege to a motel during the search for a murder suspect in December 
1991 Calgary's SWAT team took into custody a Newfoundland man and his friends. The man 
was reportedly grabbed by the hair, thrown down to the ground, and kicked several 
several times. A newspaper photo showed two terrified children, who belonged to one of 
his friends, being grabbed by SWAT members armed with sub-machine guns.  One of the 
children, thinking the men were kidnappers, grabbed onto a handrail and had to be 
pried off. Again, it was a case of mistaken identity. The man was a house painter who 
had just arrived in Calgary to look for work.

* On July 3 1991 a Montreal SWAT officer shot a 24 year old black man. Marcellus 
Francois, through the head with an M16 assault rifle, killing him. The police had 
mistaken him for a suspect in an attempted murder.

* On October 7, 1984 a member of the London OPP tactical team accidentally killed a 
fellow officer during a night-time confrontation with a gunman.

Despite all this, there is no official country-wide tally of how many times tactical 
squads have wounded or killed people. Nor, for that matter, is there any 
acknowledgment from police leadership that a problem exists. The Canadian Association 
of Chiefs of Police has no stated position on the matter, and the Canadian Police 
Association says it has no concerns at all.

To police the tactical squads simply represent the reality of law enforcement in 
Canada. Criminals have easy access to guns and don't hesitate to use them, so police 
have to be prepared.  Besides, it's unfair to focus on the mistakes SWAT teams have 
made. "It's more the exception than the rule that you're finding them discharging 
firearms or injuring or killing suspects," says Staff Sergeant Craig Rogers, head of 
the tactical unit for York Regional Police in Ontario. Rogers admits SWAT teams 
represent "for sure, an increased level of force by police," but he believes that, 
because they are better trained and equipped than regular officers, they are "more 
likely to bring about a peaceful resolution."

The families of those who have died think tactical-squad members are anything but 
highly trained professionals.  They think the units are too aggressive for civilian 
policing. "Each time I hear about another incident I think, oh God, here we go again," 
says Debbie Bastien. "How many more people have to die before they realize something 
has to be done? Did my husband die in vain?"

And a growing number of criminologists and other experts worry about tactical units 
too. They worry over the fact that there are no national training standards, or even a 
common tactical instruction manual. They worry that SWAT teams are being used where 
they shouldn't be - that the aggressive attitude and paramilitary techniques may work 
when dealing with outlaw biker gangs but have no place in routine police work. 
"Psychologically you're looking at a completely different direction in policing," says 
John Thompson, executive director of the Toronto-based Mackenzie Institute, which 
studies organized violence in society. "You're thinking not about making an arrest but 
instead about crushing the opposition. They treat everything like a commando raid."

Police may defend SWAT teams by pointing out how violent society has become, but the 
fact is, the creation of the squads in Canada had little to do with escalating 
violence here.  The world's first SWAT team was formed in Los Angeles in 1965 to deal 
with snipers who opened fire on police during race riots and later to handle hostage 
taking incidents and deranged gunmen.  Canad's first unit didn't come along for 
another decade, and then only because of concerns about security for the upcoming 1976 
summer Olympics. OPP officials wanted enough security to prevent a repeat of the 1972 
Munich massacre, in which 9 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists. So 
in 1975 they created five Tactics and Rescue Units, which were also to handle 
hostage-taking incidents throughout the province. Soon after, Ottawa let the RCMP 
create its first Emergency Response Team.

               "Let Us Consider The Human Brain As
                A Very Complex Photographic Plate"
                     1957 G.H. Estabrooks

                    FOR   K A R E N  #01182
                   who died fighting  4/23/99

                   [EMAIL PROTECTED]


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