"Die": Toronto Pig to 65 y.o. Toronto Somali Woman

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Halq’emeylem
"Die": Toronto Pig to 65 y.o. Toronto Somali Woman

"The Somali community has further been stigmatized by the actions of some officers in the raid,” said Mahad Yusuf, executive director of Midaynta Community Services.

Saeda Sidin Hersi remembered waking early to loud noises in her Dixon Rd. apartment.

“It was like a loud repetitive thunder. It reminded me of gunshots,” the 65-year-old woman recalled in a statement read by community member Fasia Duale.

Hersi called for her daughter. “Is the house under fire?” she asked.

“I didn’t have time to listen for her reply. I didn’t have time to think.”

Hersi sat nearby as her story was read, cameras pointed at her as she held her face in her hand.

The woman said she was pinned against the wall and held with rubber handcuffs, her lower half uncovered.

Ashamed, she begged the officer to cover her. She says she told him of her worrisome blood pressure.

“He responded with one word: ‘Die.’”

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/06/18/toronto_somalis_say_they_were...

Issues Pages: 
lagatta

I commented on this post yesterday, and somehow my comment didn't show up. But it was mostly simply to agree how horrible, humiliating and terrifying this was, and that the Ford brothers and clan never got such treatment.

I hope anti-racist groups (not only Somali ones) are planning to react to this atrocity.

Mórríghain

Why did the police have a warrant to search this woman's apartment? Project Traveller was a year-long operation which targeted guns, gangs and drugs, why would the Fords be subjected to similar treatment? Why are the various Somali community members which are speaking out against the cops not saying anything about the organized criminals in their midst?

kropotkin1951

Mórríghain wrote:

Why are the various Somali community members which are speaking out against the cops not saying anything about the organized criminals in their midst?

I find this statement disgusting. To me it says that as long as some people who are like you in some way are criminals then of course the police have every right to treat you like a criminal.  However if you bow and scrape enough and publicly buy into the racist stereotypes then maybe you might be allowed to express your outrage at police methods that include terrorizing citizens because members of their community do bad things.

 

Mórríghain

kropotkin1951 wrote:
... I find this statement disgusting. To me it says that as long as some people who are like you in some way are criminals then of course the police have every right to treat you like a criminal.

My previous question states nothing at all, it asks whether the criminal elements within the Somali community should be ignored by the rest of the community while all the negative attention is focused on the cops. If so, why—with 'why' being the key word.

kropotkin1951

Your question implies that criminal activity is not taken seriously in this community and area. What proof do you have that the activity is "ignored by the rest of the community."  In your opinion what steps should a poor community have to jump through before they can complain about police brutality. Does it only require a few community leaders to speak because I'll bet that is a requirement that this neighbourhood has already passed or is there a certain percentage of people in a neighbourhood that is required?

The right not to be mistreated by the police is not dependent on the "community" having said or not done anything.  If the police treat all people from the community in that area as criminals that is called collective guilt and it is a very serious matter.

Sineed

The Somali community in Canada has been suffering greatly because of the heavy involvement of Somali youths in the drug trade, often resulting in their deaths.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2010/05/11/somali-murders.html

http://www.ctvnews.ca/murders-rob-alberta-somali-community-of-youth-1.486977

In my job I encounter many Somali drug dealers. I don't speculate why so many Somalis are involved in the drug trade, but the fact is they are, and pretending it's all racism doesn't help solve this ongoing tragedy. It also doesn't help that so many in the community are in denial about the problem, even as the young men continue to die:

http://torontoist.com/2013/05/community-group-challenges-torontos-stars-reporting-about-somali-drug-dealers/

Somalians come from a country with a destroyed infrastructure, and their deep distrust of authority is totally understandable. Knee-jerk cries of racism don't save the lives of young men who get involved in the drug trade, and get killed.

kropotkin1951

Why is it only marginalized communities that are given this task of self policing themselves. How come the people of Montreal are not being vilified for turning a blind eye to decades of corruption? How could ALL Montreal residents allow that kind of criminality to fester in their community. I don't speculate why so many Quebec politicians are involved in corruption, but the fact is they are. It also doesn't help that so many in the community are in denial about the problem.

Quote:

CSC (Canadian Somali Congress) communications director Ebyan Farah, who we also spoke with on Monday, emphasizes that Somalis in Toronto are Canadians first, and must not be held responsible for the drug dealers’ alleged conduct. “It’s the responsibility of the police to find them,” Farah said. “The job of the community is to educated our boys not to go down the wrong path—but a criminal is a criminal.”

http://torontoist.com/2013/05/community-group-challenges-torontos-stars-...

lagatta

Unfortunately, there is a hell of a lot of "collective guilt" thrown at Québec for everything from corrupt politicians to the patkas on the pitch story. Even on this board. Poor example, as while we are no longer "marginalised" - I wouldn't even have used that term in the bad old days - there is still a hell of a lot of anti-Québecois bigotry in comments at English-speaking Canadian websites.

But one of the effects of marginalisation is precisely what you say - stigma.

 

Sineed

kroptokin wrote:
Why is it only marginalized communities that are given this task of self policing themselves.

Straw man. It was members of the Somali community that have been screaming for more action. Ham-fisted actions of the Toronto police aside, there are many people in the Somali community who are quietly applauding.

kropotkin1951

If it is members of the community that have been screaming for action then how can it also be true that the community is in denial.

The question again is what does how much a community speaks out against criminality have to do with potential police misconduct? They are two separate issues and the police need to be held to account if they have acted improperly.

Sineed

Quote:
If it is members of the community that have been screaming for action then how can it also be true that the community is in denial.

Fair point; I thought of that after I posted before. I have dealt with family members of Somali drug dealers who insist that their little darling could do no wrong, even when there's incontrovertible evidence of not only drug dealing, but also accounts of horrifying acts of violence going back for years. And to be fair, it isn't just Somalis. But these days, Somalis are prominent in the Toronto drug trade, as evidenced by all the murders of young Somali men, victims of the Toronto crack market.

Like the article I referenced above, some community members vigorously protest the singling out of the Somali community. Some of these people are actively protecting drug dealers. But there are many who decry the drug dealers and want strong action taken, but speak timorously out of fear of censure by people who feel that acknowledging criminality will bring shame to the community.

And yeah; Toronto police can be unnecessarily violent and thuggish. But keep in mind that accusations of police brutality can be an effective distraction from the accusations of drug dealing made against one's own family.

The drug trade is the source of a whole lot of Toronto's crime, from petty theft to murders. I'm one of the people who helps pick up the pieces and treat the real victims and not just those who complain to the media. My sympathy for drug dealers and their families is limited.

BoredToTheCore

I always thought this was a progressive board. Honestly, I can't see how the mistreatment described in the OP at the hands of the police by that woman, can in any way be rationalized (and thread-drifted) by purported activities of some in the Somali community. Who cares what community she's from. 

BoredToTheCore

But this part of the OP has been excised (didn't see it there, anyone else?)

 

“He responded with one word: ‘Die.’”

BoredToTheCore

Depending on the how the Ford situation ultimately unfolds, that Rob Ford photo with those three guys, (now all dead or in jail, correct?) is a very telling and provacative photo. For every poor neighbourhood with a drug problem, drugs like crack cocaine touch the hands of powerful people (maybe not the Fords excatly, but through the hands of people not unlike Rob Ford-types) many times before it hits the hand of powerless refugee crack-dealer from Dixon Road. 

onlinediscountanvils

BoredToTheCore wrote:
I always thought this was a progressive board.

It's supposed to be, but frequently falls short in practice.

 

6079_Smith_W

BoredToTheCore wrote:

But this part of the OP has been excised (didn't see it there, anyone else?)

“He responded with one word: ‘Die.’”

Yes, it was there earlier today, and has been edited out. If anyone can get ahold of a print edition you might want to see if it is there.

I know this is a thread about police brutality and I don't think that should be minimized. But I do think Sineed presents a side of this which is equally important.

If anything is a distraction, it is chiding people about not being progressive enough.

 

 

 

Mórríghain

BoredToTheCore wrote:
I always thought this was a progressive board...

Does progressive mean homogeneous? There can be room for disagreement in any discussion, no?

6079_Smith_W

http://globalnews.ca/news/652559/members-of-torontos-somali-community-cl...

The global news report also includes the "Die" comment, with the source attributed.

 

arielc

Mórríghain wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
... I find this statement disgusting. To me it says that as long as some people who are like you in some way are criminals then of course the police have every right to treat you like a criminal.

My previous question states nothing at all, it asks whether thet criminal elements within the Somali community should be ignored by the rest of the community while all the negative attention is focused on the cops. If so, why—with 'why' being the key word.

Most people can conceive of simultaneous facts of criminals arrested and innocents brutalized in the process, of people providing information to police investigation while others deny .
None of these cancels another.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Anti-racist and feminist activists in Toronto should call for the police officer in question to be fired. His actions towards Saeda Sidin Hersi were abusive, sexist, racist, you name it. Terrible, horrible; no one should have to suffer this level of mistreatment at the hand of the police or anyone else, ever.

lagatta

You are right, Left Turn. Not even if Saeda Sidin Hersi were indeed covering up for a drug-dealing son or grandson, out of misplaced motherly love. (Not that we have any evidence of that).

It is perfectly possible to advocate for action against the harm caused by the hard-drug trade while insisting that nobody is subjected to police brutality, and in particular vulnerable, marginalised communities.

Mórríghain

Just to clarify, all the accusations of police brutality during Project Traveller should be investigated and the offending officers should be dealt with accordingly.

6079_Smith_W

I know the cops said this was planned for months, but I seriously doubt the mayor's situation didn't have something to do with how this raid played out. Anyone who hasn't seen Chief Blair's press conference denying any connection or anything to do with that video should watch it.

Was the heavy handedness intended to terrorize people into shutting up? Or to take out anger on the community? It might just backfire.

 

kropotkin1951

Sineed wrote:

I'm one of the people who helps pick up the pieces and treat the real victims and not just those who complain to the media. My sympathy for drug dealers and their families is limited.

Drug addiction is a health issue first. Do you also have limited sympathy for families whose members are suffering from mental illness or cancer?  At least you are now focusing only on specific families and not the whole community. But blaming the family for drug addiction and drug dealing is not right either.  Most families that I know with members involved in those activities would love to be able to wave a magic wand and get their relatives to change their behaviour. Unfortunately none of them have those kinds of supernatural powers. 

You also seem to be saying that people who complain to the media about police brutality should just STFU because they can't be REAL victims.  I doubt if you really meant that but it is what your words imply.

BoredToTheCore

Sorry for being a distraction, for failing to see how blaming the victim, as I read or maybe misinterpreted in a few replies, can be seen in any way shape or form as 'progressive'. 

 

Anyway, I think this whole police raid can be seen as a distraction itself.

And I wonder, since the police have wiretap evidence mentioning the Rob Ford video at the very least, if when the Star and Gawker put the story out there --- if it maybe threw a wrench into the investigations of people higher up the drug-rung  that were apparently going on(hint hint). All those low level drug dealers will be replaced quickly, the cycles will continue, and someone somewhere is getting rich off the social problems caused.

Sineed

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Sineed wrote:

I'm one of the people who helps pick up the pieces and treat the real victims and not just those who complain to the media. My sympathy for drug dealers and their families is limited.

Drug addiction is a health issue first. Do you also have limited sympathy for families whose members are suffering from mental illness or cancer?  

Drug DEALERS not drug USERS. There are people who deal in drugs in order to support a drug habit, but Somali drug dealers in particular tend not to be drug users themselves.

I have no idea if the elderly lady was protecting a gangster son or grandson. What I decry is how we let it get to this point: dozens of young men killed, tons of crack on the streets of Toronto wreaking havoc, a bumblefuck of a mayor obviously in the thick of it. What the hell is wrong with our city, that so many young men are using each other for target practice, our cops are ham-fisted meat sacks, our city hall is in chaos? Where are our social programs? Where is our leadership?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Toronto Star wrote:

“It was like a loud, repetitive thunder. It reminded me of gunshots,” the 65-year-old woman said, her story told through a written translation.

This tells us that she wasn't able to communicate in English. Can you imagine being in your home and having police storm in and not being able to communicate with them?

Toronto Star wrote:

Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said the women can file a complaint with police or the OIPRD.

“I do not believe that an officer kicked her in the face,” Pugash said. “If any of our officers haven’t lived up to the standards that we demand then we will hold them accountable.”

Yes because fuckwad police officers are always held accountable for violence against unarmed civilians, right?

Sineed wrote:

I have no idea if the elderly lady was protecting a gangster son or grandson.

So. If her grandson turns out to be a criminal, then violence, violation of human rights, brutality and racism are okay? 

..................

From a press release by the African Canadian Legal Clinic:

Quote:

At 3:00 a.m. on June 13, 2013, units located at 320, 330, 340, 380, and 390 Dixon Road were raided by Toronto Police, as part of a police investigation dubbed “Project Traveller”. “In the aftermath of the raids, many community members feel victimized, vilified and traumatized as a result of the reckless manner in which officers forcibly entered their homes. Community members are angered by the destruction of property and disrespectful remarks made by some officers and the police brutality that they were subject to,” says Mahad Yusuf, Executive Director of Midaynta Community Services.

While the raids were intended to target criminal elements in the Dixon community, the actions of the TPS labelled and profiled the entire Somali community on Dixon Road as possible criminal elements. “This is particularly hurtful to a community already reeling from systemic barriers to services due to the combined impact of anti-Black racism, and Islamophobia. The community has been further stigmatized by the careless actions of some officers involved in the raid, and the irresponsible conduct of Toronto’s disgraced Mayor,” stated Margaret Parsons, Executive Director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic.

Residents shared stories about the raid with community leaders at a Town Hall meeting held at 320 Dixon Road on June 15, 2013. “Instead of providing additional resources, or hiring trauma counsellors from within the community to heal the collective wounds caused by the raid, an increased level of policing has been deployed in the community. This only serves to further perpetuate fear in an already victimized and traumatized community,” says Yusuf.

At the community meeting several disheartening stories were shared. In one horrifying example, a 100 year old community Elder was so shocked by the raid on her unit she fell to the ground and was not assisted by officers. Her daughter, who is also a senior citizen, was cuffed, pushed to the ground and kicked by officers while her pleas for water to control her high blood pressure were ignored. Another 65 year old woman who recently immigrated to Canada just 3 months ago, was also cuffed. Children as young as 10 years old woke up to guns pointed at their heads. “All of this has caused near irreparable damage to community police relations and has entrenched the feelings of indignity amongst residents,” says Yusuf.

In July 2012 the African Canadian Community responded to the Danzig Street and Eaton Centre shooting by calling for sustainable funding to the African Canadian community for social development programs. “Rather than heeding the call made by community leaders and organizations, the response has been further criminalization and racial profiling of our community. Clearly, nothing has changed,” said Parsons.

For further information contact:

Mahad Yusuf, Executive Director, Midaynta Community Services 

(E): mahad@midaynta.com

(T) : 416-544-1992 Ext. 229

(C): 416-702-8056

Roger Love, B.A., J.D., Advice Counsel African Canadian Legal Clinic

(E): lovero@lao.on.ca

(T): 416-214-4747 Ext. 25

(C): 647-294-1583