Last night, the Square Waves played to a small crowd of Calgarians (30 in total?) who happened to be at the Broken City on a Thursday night, right between two major concerts (Bright Eyes the day before and Modest Mouse the day after). Far be it to be a judge of my own performance, but it felt right while I was playing, and I was told that we sounded good. I am happy with it.
Still sitting with me is a horrifying event that took place before the show. Ryan and Patrick and myself were going to eat after we checked into the hotel. While walking down Stephen Ave. downtown Calgary, we walk right past two police officers talking to this man. I am not sure exactly what went on, the reason why they were talking to him (etc.), so lets make that clear.
As we were walking past, one of the cops THROWS A PUNCH at the guys head, and then grabs him in a headlock, after which the other cop KICKS the guy in the NECK! It is kind of hard to describe, but essentially, these two cops started beating this guy up while yelling “STOP RESISTING” and the guy is crying in pain, and they have him on the ground, and it looks as if the one cop is going to break the guys arm trying to cuff him, while the other cop is resting his full body weight on his knee, which is holding the guys head down on the pavement. The guy did not appear to be resisting, yet the police were clearly not saying it for his benefit, this instructive directed towards the gathering crowd. “STOP RESISTING” code for “hey, we’re just doing our jobs here because this guy is resisting arrest.” From what I saw, and what Ryan and Patrick saw, there was no resisting going on at all.
Yet, what to do? I actually felt around for my cell phone to take video, but I left it at the hotel. Which makes me feel like shit, because if I was looking to intervene, I should have confronted the cops, consequences be damned. Yet, with the severity that they kicked this guys ass, I was worried that this was going to happen to me as well. A video would have shown two Calgary police officers assaulting an unarmed, non-hostile man, and it would have been really bad for these cops.
Afterwards, there was kind of a collective effervescence on the streets, strangers talking to one another about the incident. From the different perspectives of people we talked to afterwards, it was clear that others saw the same thing we did. Three men talking, and one man getting beat up. Except the assailants were wearing Calgary Police uniforms. And the victim is the one sitting in jail.