Steve Morales|Dec 8, 2014
Prominent civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby says police have too much leeway to use excessive force because there is no will to punish officers who cross the line.
Canada’s Criminal Code allows anyone authorized by law, if acting “on reasonable grounds” to use “as much force as is necessary” in enforcing the law. While that wording is intentionally to general to cover different situations, Ruby says that vagueness, coupled with a lack of strong oversight, emboldens some police to act as aggressively as they choose.
“The terms are extremely general so they tend to bear whatever meaning the individual police officer wants to assign to it,” he says. “And in Canada, as in the U.S., judges and juries and police chiefs refuse to use these phrases to put a limit on police activity. They don’t charge the police and they acquit them when they are charged. It’s a sham.”