In a stunning new investigation, the Toronto Star has made a number of extremely troubling and all-too-familiar allegations regarding police in Ontario. Looking into the affairs of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the Star has found that, not surprisingly, police in this province exist above the law.

In twenty years and 3400 investigations three officers have gone to jail. That’s a pretty sad number, even among the police. The star has turned up plenty of evidence of obstructing SIU investigations (as a general rule, promoted by their union) and judges refusing to sentence those found guilty. Despite this, questionable incidents, including shootings, beatings and traffic deaths which simply go without punishment on a very regular basis.

There’s a blatant contradiction and double standard here, and it’s not hard to understand. When we commit crimes, cops are justified in doing anything (even breaking the law) to punish us. When cops break the law, they deserve the benefit of the doubt. Hypocritical? Yes, but it makes sense in the twisted logic of power. Since police (as armed enforcers of the state’s will) are higher up “the ladder” than us, they are more “people” than we are. They are entitled to special character considerations, sympathy and doubts that we just aren’t. Moreover, as enforcers of the state’s will, they take part in one of the deadliest components. While we don’t officially have “the death penalty” in Canada, the option to use deadly force on those “resisting” means that you could die for nearly any crime. because crimes like “obstructing justice” or “resisting arrest” or “contempt of court” exist, you can be charged, beaten or shot at even if you’re found completely innocent. And as anyone who’s familiar with assault-cop charges knows – they tend to come along with assaults BY cops much more often than assaults ON them.

If police are really so noble, why are they so afraid of being investigated?