Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino nearly had a fit when he heard that Mayor Mel Lastman went down to a local hotel that was hosting a biker’s convention and shook hands with a member of a motorcycle gang.
Didn’t he know, by golly, that these bikers are criminals? What the hell was he doing shaking hands and smiling with a gang of known felons?
My question is, what was Julian Fantino doing sitting on his duff while known criminals were frequenting a Toronto bar? Why didn’t he get into his new police helicopter, race down to the hotel, and arrest them? Quick– before they hurt the mayor!
Possibly because the police didn’t happen to have any evidence that any one of these particular persons shaking the hands of the mayor had actually committed a crime.
In other words, these were merely unsavory characters, with whom respectable men– like Julian Fantino– would never associate.
Fantino knows that some members of biker gangs commit crimes. He also knows very well that some do not, just as we know that not all business executives cheat and lie and then sell off their stocks and retire with millions in ill-gotten gains. But I’ll bet Mayor Lastman doesn’t get any flack for shaking hands with Enron executives.
Mel Lastman should never have apologized. He should have said, look Fantino, if you have evidence that these people committed crimes, go ahead and arrest them. If you don’t, then respect the fact that like any other citizen they are entitled to the assumption of innocence, and to visit our fair city and spend their tourist dollars here like any other tourist.
The image of a supposedly respectable public person shaking hands with a felon, though, calls to mind an image from last year: Margaret Thatcher embracing Augusto Pinochet, Chile’s dictator and torturer-general.
I don’t care if you call it “stereo-typing” or “profiling” or any other euphemism for prejudice. It’s wrong. Fantino is the one who should apologize. His statement is the one that should be garnering loads of disapproval from the so-called liberal media.