Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Duped by Religious Leaders into Violating the Rule of Impartiality

UPDATE: Please see update at end of posting.

Or this might also be appropriately entitled: "Dialogue between the RNC and a St. John’s Religious Leader"

Last Wednesday, September 5, 2007, something shameful went down in Newfoundland history in the city of St. John’s, and shockingly, but very sadly, it took place at a meeting of the province’s top religious leaders.

Furthermore, officers of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) not only permitted it to happen but they also facilitated the outrageous incident where a loyal son of Newfoundland was stripped of his fundamental rights of free assembly and free speech.

In addition, as a result of the RNC’s cooperation and complicity in the affair, at the end of the day this man’s character was impugned and on provincial, if not national, television news he was filmed and falsely portrayed as an unruly protestor, some extremist who had disrupted the Press Conference of a wonderful new coalition of religious leaders.

To date, no correction, retraction or apology has yet been issued by any of the parties involved in this egregious violation of the person of Eric Alcock.

The following scenario is one that might have been constructed by any Newfoundlander who expected the RNC, of all parties, to be able to assist and defend in a situation where fundamental rights and privileges of his/her person were being threatened, and where unjust discrimination and accusation had been laid.

1. Religious Leader (RL): Officer, we called you here to have this man removed.

2. RNC: Very well sir, what has this man done?

3. RL: Well, he has come here to disrupt this meeting and he is not welcome.

4. RNC: He looks peaceful enough to me.

(turning to guest) Is this true sir? Have you come here to disrupt?

5. GUEST: No Officer I have not.

6. RNC: (to guest) What are your intentions in being here sir?

7. GUEST: I came here Officer hoping to express a viewpoint should the opportunity present itself. I have no intention of disrupting this meeting.

8. RNC: (to RL) Sir, this man says he has no intention of disrupting this meeting. Has he actually done anything disruptive?

9. RL: Well, no, but he just got here a minute ago. I’ve been welcoming him (and holding him) by shaking his hand, until my associate just headed into the hall to immediately fetch you two officers.

10. RNC: So he hasn’t done anything disruptive to this point?

11. RL: No, but we just don’t want him here in case he does.

12. RNC: But Sir, you must realize, this is a public press conference and all interested parties have been invited.

13. GUEST interrupts: Yes, Officer, and the reason I learned about the Conference was I received a forwarded email from Coalition members to all those interested in the issue of poverty and encouraging them to be in attendance.

14. RL: Well, we insist Officer that he must leave immediately or that you remove him because he is a threat to our meeting.

15. RNC: Sir, has this man threatened you or others in any manner?

16. RL: No.

17. RNC: Has he made any threatening gestures?

18. RL: No.

19. RNC: Do you suspect that he has a weapon of some sort that he intends to use here?

20. RL: No Sir but he did say some very mean, bad things about us yesterday in a press release.

21. RNC: I’m sorry Sir, there’s no law against expressing a viewpoint. I ask you again, what has this man done to warrant his removal?

22. RL: Very well then, we would just like to disinvite him, to rescind his invitation. We don’t like him.

23. RNC: I’m afraid Sir there hardly seems sufficient cause to remove a law abiding citizen from a public event to which he appears to have been invited just because you don’t like him. Furthermore there is no evidence whatever of disturbance or threats.

24. RL: We just don’t want this man expressing his opinion and bringing chaos to our meeting.

25. RNC: Sir, as I said before, there’s no law against expressing viewpoint. I’m sure others present here today are likely to be doing the same. And besides, please explain how your meeting will be thrown into chaos simply by allowing this man to express his opinion. Will others present start throwing chairs around?

26. RL: Of course not! But it will detract from our good initiative and usurp our very pleasant message to Newfoundlanders.

27. RNC: Perhaps Sir, if you wanted to ensure that everyone present was going to say only good things about your initiative, you should have sent out private invitations and given passwords for the door.

28. RL: But I protest Officer! I had you people called in and waiting so that you could immediately remove this man once we had identified him.

29. RNC: Sir, you are beginning to sound very extreme. We understood there might be some threat posed by this man’s presence at this event. It appears that is not the case and I urge you to remember that this man has certain rights and freedoms which we must also respect and protect. We will monitor this man’s activities throughout this conference and act accordingly. In the meanwhile, please release this man’s hand.

Imaginary? Yes. Sadly so, and perhaps too much to ask for in the times in which we live.

When the same thing happens to YOU and you recall that you were one of the people who failed to speak out regarding this incident, you’ll be feeling a whole lot worse sitting in the paddy wagon than even Mr. Alcock did.

Now remove #’s 4 through 29 and replace it with the following and you have a summary of how the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary failed miserably in its duties to ensure justice on the most fundamental level at the Press Conference called by the Religious Social Action Coalition on Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 11AM in St. John’s NL at The Lantern.

4. RNC: Sir, you are no longer welcome here. If you do not immediately leave, we will forcibly remove you.

And indeed, they did just that.


UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the real violation here was not being discourteously thrown off private property, as rude and hypocritical as that was, but detention without accusation.

Apparently my detention for one hour in a police cage on site, without reading of my rights or being accused of an offense, was the real violation.


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5 Comments:

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Balbulican said...

Well, to be fair to the police:

- the text of your communique to the organization suggested that your intent was disruption.

- the text you say you intended to present had nothing to do with the event you proposed to disrupt.


Now, we both know that what happened was precisely what you expected, and wanted, to happen. You wanted airtime, and you got a bit of it. It clearly pleased you, as you have published the link on your blog.

I still disagree with your strategy: it shows you in a very poor light, and reinforces some of the negative impressions folks have about pro-life propagandists. I don't personally think what you did was "wrong", just a really bad idea. You can't really act like a disruptive protester, and then complain when you're treated like on.

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger ELA said...

balbulican,

Once again, you carefully avoid the case made in this post by offering a sweeping generalization and your opinion about the incident as a whole...and essentially the same comments as you have made on previous postings.

This posting concerns the treatment I received by the RNC and the immediate circumstances surrounding it. If you are saying that some aspect of the scenario I presented is not in accord with what really happened, then please be specific.

If you are saying that I am wrong in some aspect of what I believe I, or another citizen, e.g. a journalist, might reasonably expect from the RNC under these circumstances, then please be specific.

Otherwise your same tired commentary puts you squarely in the same department as those who insisted on condemning me , arresting me, and confining me for the mere crime of expressing a viewpoint. Conveniently, you, as well as the parties involved in this shameful treatment, continue to misrepresent and brand me as being a "disruptive protestor" when in fact there is not a shred of evidence for that accusation.

You, like them, prefer to take on the role of the "thought police" of society, condemning the mere voicing of politically incorrect statements as equivalent to an actual act of physical disruption and calling for, or excusing, the same punishment thereof.

As I said before, your viewpoint is noted but don't expect your commentary to be welcome here if you cannot keep it confined to the subject matter of the posting.

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger mother said...

I believe if I were in the same situation as Mr. Alcock, that's exactly the kind of treatment I would expect from police. In this country I thought you were treated as innocent until proven guilty.

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger ELA said...

mother,

Thanks, I assume that was a statement of support, considering you made reference to being "treated as innocent until proven guilty."

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger Mark said...

I think you should devote your time to something more important like helping the poor, the sick or the elderly. Instead of wasting your time on something that is a woman's choice. It also makes me sick to hear you say that abusing a living child is not as bad as killing an unborn one. You've got to be kidding me.

Secondly, you and the Religious Social Action Coalition and everyhing else I read or see about religious groups, proves to me once again, that religion poisons everything. Society has spent the last 100 years trying to release itself from the dangers of religion and you people are trying to set us back. And say what you want about my comments, I don't care, I won't be coming back to this site anyways so I'll never know.

I feel bad for you and your crazy followers. Hopefully, you people will never be in power. We already had the dark ages once, we don't need go through it again.

 

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