Imagine a common-sense justice system that frowns on police brutality
"Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game"
—Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"
Imagine, if you can, a justice system where justice is, in fact, part of the system.
Imagine a country where those in a position of power and authority can actually be held to account when they abuse it. A place where cops not only can't get away with beating on innocent people, but also where those innocent people can fight back in self-defense without finding themselves in prison convicted of "resisting arrest" and "assaulting a police officer".
Imagine a place where the relationship between the police, the public prosecutors, and the courts is not so incestuous as to make justice almost impossible to attain whenever it comes to dealing with cases of police brutality.
Imagine a far-off, distant, almost-mystical land where cops are not given a free hand to wail on and/or taser anyone who they claim "scared them" because they, for instance, "had a stapler" in their hand, or, say, enraged them by not immediately obeying a command.
Better yet, imagine a land where, if you were to find some cop illegally beating on you, you could turn around and punch him in the face and the courts would find this to be a reasonable response.
Well, as anyone who has followed the dozens of stories of police brutality in this country over the years clearly knows, this seemingly imaginary land sure as hell ain't Canada. The Robert Dziekanski case may, of course, be the most infamous, but it's only one of dozens, if not hundreds, of cases from the past few years. And it, like so many other cases of police brutality, only came to light because there was a video to contradict the cops' truth-challenged version of events.
So, no, we're most definitely not talking about Canada here, but this fabled land does indeed exist. It's called England: Teacher cleared of assaulting policeman at arms protest: Court rules man who punched officer in face after being hit with batons acted in self-defence
It's sure good to know that there is a reasonable, common-sense justice system out there some place in this world—even if it is on the other side of the Atlantic—because it means there's still hope for Canada down the road.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but...
Maybe, just maybe, the courts in this country will someday give up their incessant, infantile infatuation with the police and start to take serious all forms of police brutality, assault, excessive use of force, and abuse of power.
Perhaps someday the system will no longer be such a farce, a joke, a game.
Perhaps someday regular people won't have to fear running into a thuggish cop in a bad mood. Or a macho cop dealing with ego issues. Or a disturbed cop high on the power of fear and intimidation.
Perhaps someday the good cops will have enough self-respect and courage to stand up and testify against their thuggish colleagues.
Perhaps someday, in the not too distant future, the system will put more of a priority on protecting the public than on protecting rogue cops.
Imagine a future like that.
It isn't hard to do.
Mike Cowie is a freelance writer who writes about politics, music, film, travel and much more. You can read more of Mike’s views on his Web site.