Tommy Robinson, the Muslim Defence League, and a “cautionary tale” for Toronto Police Services

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I received a phone call from the Toronto Police Service. They said they were calling me on behalf of Interpol, the organization comprised of almost 200 national police forces, who share information about international crime: terrorism, cybersecurity, human trafficking and the like.

They were calling about a riot in the United Kingdom from the spring, at a Tommy Robinson political campaign stop, in the town of Oldham.

Let me state the obvious: it wasn’t Tommy or his supporters who were rioting. They were the targets, the victims of the riot.

We had sent our reporter Jessica Swietoniowski there, to cover Tommy Robinson’s campaign for MEP. I thought that was pretty good coverage, and she kept her calm. Here’s a young woman from calm, peaceful Canada, being dumped in the middle of a race riot, where a group that called itself the Muslim Defence League wore masks and threw bottles and bricks at peaceful British men, women and children.

(By the way: Local police didn’t make a single arrest that day. Most of those rioters didn’t even come from Oldham. They came in from the big city, from Manchester and other places. And the Manchester Police literally escorted them to Tommy's rally.)

So back to the police phone call. Interpol contacted the Toronto Police on behalf of the Greater Manchester Police. They were asking me for any footage that Jessica Swietoniowski had recorded from the rioters. Of course, we had published some. But as with all news videos, we record much more than we broadcaster, or else it would be a very long video. So we have some footage we didn’t publish.

Now, normally our answer to any police force, at least those in a free country where police aren’t just political bullies, is to tell them to get a court order, and we’d comply.

And second of all, we don’t work for the police. We don’t work for the state. And when people see our cameras, I don’t want anyone to think we’re part of the government surveillance apparatus.

But in the case of these riots, we were actually a victim of them, too: Jessica was hit by a flying projectile — she wasn’t badly hurt, more startled than anything. She was also jostled a bit. I’m glad we had a bodyguard there, one that our viewers crowdfunded.

So I told the Manchester Police directly that, we would assist them, on the undertaking that our footage would only be used to charge the rioters, not Tommy's supporters (who'd done nothing wrong, regardless.)

TONIGHT I'll show you some of the unpublished footage we sent to the police.

Some of this footage shows two cops filming the entire scene.

Except they weren't pointing their cameras at the rioters, who were fifty feet the other way. Instead, they were filming every single face of every single Tommy supporter.

Remember: Those police didn't arrest any rioters that day. Instead, the police actually brought them to Tommy's rally, which included women and children.

As I said in my letter to the Toronto police when I gave them this footage:

"The Manchester Police are a disgrace; I hope the Toronto Police Service takes their conduct as a cautionary tale, not a model to be followed."

NEXT: Manny Montenegrino joins me to talk about Justin Trudeau's failed attempt to keep the Rebel from reporting on the leaders' debate, as well as the PM's performance that night.

FINALLY: Your messages to me!

  • By David Menzies

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