As the smoke clears from the aggressive police raid on Toronto’s C.A.L.M. Compassion Club, some important questions remain unanswered.
The most pressing question, of course, is why did police decide to raid one of the largest dispensaries in Canada after 14 years of operation with few problems or complains?
C.A.L.M.’s hard-working lawyer, Ron Marzel, sent me this analysis of the video footage of the raid, which raises more questions:
Based on my review of the footage it seems fairly obvious that the use of force in the 51 Division raid was completely planned and pre-meditated.
In particular the Officers planned to forcefully take down the doorman and likely also the patient they planned to follow inside.
For convenience, I’ll make reference in my comments to the 3 minute and 30 second compilation of the CALM raid (called CALM edit) at http://www.youtube.com/user/calmtoronto (video below). Although you can also see the same timing issues in reviewing the raw footage too. It also helps to see some of the sequence in slow-motion which you can do by intermittently clicking pause/play while simultaneously keeping an eye on the second counter to see how little time goes by during key sequences.
The police plan was simple:
1) use the element of suprise,
2) follow a patient in,
3) have the first officer distract the doorman with fake medical ID, while
4) a second officer flanks the doorman, so that
5) both officers can quickly and forcefully bring the doorman down.
Suprise, Distract, Obtain the Tactical Advantage and Ambush Forcefully. That was their plan.
Watch the video. The first person to walk up to the door is a legitimate medical patient (“CannaPatient1”) who has a legitimate CALM issued medical ID card.
As soon as he gets to the door though, the short Asian undercover officer in the khaki pants and maroon hoodie (“AgentAsianGuy”) pulls up behind him.
His intention is to slip in with Cannapatient1, distract the Doorman with his fake medical ID long enough for his partner behind him (dude with the ripped jeans and baseball cap in reverse aka “AgentRippedJeans”) to assist in taking down the doorman. If you slow the footage down (click pause/play multiple times) you can clearly tell that AgentAsianGuy and AgentRipped Jeans begin taking Doorman down immediately – within a second after AgentAsianGuy has gotten inside and just as Agent RippedJeans is almost fully through the doorway – precisely when they are both flanking doorman from different sides (see seconds 1:31 to 1:32 and 0:51 to 0:53). Doorman was never even given a chance at peacefully letting the officers in. He was targeted for a take-down from the outset.
This footage is conclusive evidence that before the raid began the officers had planned to suprise, distract and forcefully ambush their way in to CALM rather than simply knocking on the door and showing their warrant.
What I find even more shocking is that they did this knowing full well that CALM services the seriously ill and disabled – even while a wheelchair-bound patient was inside the premises (note the empty wheelchair outside before the raid begins).
What’s also telling is the sequence of officers going in.
The plan to have AgentAsianGuy and AgentRippedJeans take down Doorman was staged so that the Officer in charge, Detective Browns, could be the first one fully into CALM, followed and backed up by AgentAsianGuy who (having effectively tackled Doorman outside to his several colleagues) is now free to get back up and follow and back-up Det. Browns.
But before this happens watch closely as Detective Browns rushes in – he also unnecessarily and forcefully throws down CannaPatient1! Unbelievable!! Did he not know there was a desk by the doorway necessitating tackling Cannapatient1 to expand the bottleneck?!??
Can’t wait to get this footage before a judge.
Another important question, long unanswered: what exactly is the legal status of dispensaries in Canada? Selling cannabis, for medical use or otherwise, is against the law for Canadians. But due to the lack of a quality supply from Health Canada and a working model to supply sick people with their medicine, authorities have been looking the other way – until now.
More questions are raised when one considers that CALM owner Neev Tapiero was planning to start a large-scale commercial growing operation in Port Hope that has Mayor Linda Thompson throwing a shit-fit. Does this fit into the CALM puzzle some where?
The raid comes at a time when the marijuana legalization issue is heating up again in Canada, with Stephen Harper being forced to answer a few questions from Canadians about pot, and activist Marc Emery making national news with support from government officials from every party including the Conservatives. Is it possible ol’ Steve is launching a Canadian medical marijuana crack-down in response?
Still no answers from authorities, despite daily phone calls to Toronto Police, but I’ll keep you posted.