In case you were wondering, it’s probably not a great idea to be hanging out in the entertainment district at 3:15 a.m. Especially if you’re in a luxury SUV. And especially especially if you’ve got a ponytail.
In February of 2006, Toronto police officers arrested Irshad Ahmed and Omar Betty for failure to stop, failure to comply, and obstructing police. Their trial is currently being conducted at Old City Hall, and some interesting evidence has emerged in the form of a voice mail recording.
When Ahmed and Betty were stopped by police, Ahmed immediately called his lawyer. (Oh, like you don’t have your lawyer on speed dial?) It turned out to be an ingenious decision, as his lawyer’s answering machine captured the entire exchange between the suspects and the police. And what an exchange! The tape captures officers telling Ahmed and Betty to open the doors and get out of their vehicle. When the two did not immediately comply, the police smashed the window open and used a taser on Ahmed. He was then handcuffed and placed on the ground. What was particularly striking was the contrast between the profanity used by the police and the seemingly compliant behaviour of Ahmed, who repeatedly addressed the officer as “sir.” As well, one of the officers on the tape can clearly be heard to tell Ahmed, “I’ll break your fucking ponytail,” which, you’ve got to admit, is a pretty stylish and creative threat, even if it’s not entirely practical.
According to the National Post, Constable David Rubbini (one of the officers involved in the arrest) testified that it was a “high risk” stop because the entertainment district is a “dangerous” area. Hear that? The entertainment district is dangerous according to Toronto police. Do you really need any more reason to stay away? The National Post story also tells us, “The tape is of poor quality because it is from a recording of an earlier court proceeding. A Toronto police detective said he inadvertently threw out the original recording.” That must really suck when you want a crucial piece of evidence to remain as safe as possible but then, instead, you inadvertently throw it in the garbage. By mistake.
Photo by Bitpicture from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.