Thursday, May 24, 2012

People Out There Turning News Into Gold

It's a classic he said/she said story. On one hand we have the disgruntled ex-employee, accusing his former employer of bowing to police pressure to have him fired. On the other is the employer, a fine, upstanding member of London's business community denying the charge, denying, in fact, that anything was ever said to anyone.

What's a girl to do?

Let me fill in the gaps here. This is a story out of the London Community News (By Paul Everest/ @PaulEverest1)  the one that comes with your Wednesday flyers. Or Thursday flyers. Whatever. It's a paper, and it acts like a paper, and in my opinion, scooped the "real" paper in town.

The Community News had on its front page the shocking allegation that the London Police Force encouraged the owner of Jack Astor's to fire Rob Bazinet simply due to his connection to the Occupy London movement. It's a great bit in that it offers us the classic match-up of working schmoe vs. guy with monocle. It also offers us the comfortable out of an unsubstantiated claim about our blessed police acting the part of small-town heavy.

But wait, what's this?

Understandably worried about what the firing would mean for his family, Bazinet decided to confront Matt Morton, the bar’s security supervisor who hired him, about the reasons for his termination.
He said Morton alleged police were behind the decision to fire him.
When Bazinet expressed concern his girlfriend would jump to the conclusion he was fired for not performing his duties properly, Morton agreed to explain the reasons for the firing in her presence.
At that point, Bazinet approached London Community News with his allegations and a reporter posing as his girlfriend accompanied him to a meeting with Morton on May 3.
During that meeting, which Bazinet recorded without Morton’s knowledge, Morton reiterated the firing was due to alleged police pressure.
“Robert doesn’t have a very good relationship with the London police and we do,” Morton claimed in the recording. “They were not keen on having him working here.”
He added the police officers allegedly told management the good relationship between the bar and police could be jeopardized if he was kept on as an employee.
“I’m not supposed to be telling you all this,” Morton claimed. “It was just purely based on a request from the London police for us to re-evaluate whether we had made the right choice.”
“But they didn’t really give you a choice?” Bazinet asked.
“No,” Morton replied.
He claimed the bar’s management decided to fire Bazinet so as not to endanger the good relationship with police.
“My boss is worried about blowback.”

Sounds a bit more cut-and-dried. But there's always room for back-pedaling:

I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but the London Police had absolutely nothing to do with Rob’s dismissal,” [general manager Ian] Campbell wrote. “I should know…  I was the one who let him go.  Obviously, any recording Rob has provided you is not of myself or of anyone who was involved in coming to the decision to end his employment here at Jacks.

It's a clever bit of Bart Simpson derived defense. Basically it involves saying "I wasn't there, you can't prove I was there, and if I was there, I didn't do what you said I did." Still, it could be true, and it's not like this has happened to Mr. Bazinet before.

That's such a blogger thing to do, isn't it? That open-ended sentence that telegraphs where this is going next. I have to stop doing that.

Here's the quote:
Bazinet took the job at Jack’s to gain more shifts after his hours were cut back at Cobra Nightclub on Talbot Street, where he had also worked as a security guard.
He claimed a police officer also made inquiries about him when he worked at that club.
Cameron Hodgins, Cobra’s general manager, confirmed a police officer had come into the club earlier this year.
He alleges the officer asked if Bazinet was employed there and if he had a licence to work as a security guard for the bar.
He said, however, the officer did not ask him to fire Bazinet, who does hold a valid provincial licence to work as a security guard and was never arrested or charged during any of the Occupy events in the city.

It's not like the police across this province (or this continent) seem intent on trampling rights and defending corporations to our detriment. Regardless, we need our proxies to look under the rocks and to poke the cross-beams looking for rot. We give the London police sticks, and guns, and dogs, and 100K to not risk their lives. I expect them to be on their best behaviour at all times. If they aren't, it needs to be brought out in the open.

Good for you London Community News and Paul Everest for doing that reportery thing the Free Press seems to forget about.

Since you've read this far, I'll tell you that my weak title was due to this song being on my mind, and I'll take or make any excuse to hear "Gold", by John Stewart. 1978. Balls, that's getting to be a long time ago.


  1. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Okay, in the spirit of debate I am going to support the london police for what they purported not to have done in this case. Recall that I came of age in London when these beverage industry security guards were called bouncers. In London back in the day, there were some establishments with "security personnel" with "issues" who rather than express themselves verbally (e.g. use their words), they would knock the teeth out of some drunk undergrad leading to the police being called out to clean up a situation that could have been solved by the security guard saying "Hey drunk kid... stop doing that").

    So now we have a story where some guy "known to police" is not someone that the police want to see hired to do security at a bar. The "news" story does not explain why this person is known to police or whehter there are legitimate reasonas that they would not want said person hired into a position that requires good judgement about the use of physical force.

    Consider this, the police would also discourage daycares and such establishments from hiring persons known to them for things like, er well, molesting kids. So I thought the world worked like this. If you get a record doing something violent or offensive its a good idea not to hire you to do a job where you have the opportunity to reoffend.

    So you can't be hired to do "security", go assemble nutritious sandwiches at Subway! London is the "City of Opportunity" so if one job is not for you, try another!

  2. "The "news" story does not explain why this person is known to police or whehter there are legitimate reasonas that they would not want said person hired into a position that requires good judgement about the use of physical force."

    The story does explain how he is "known" to the police. That's sort of the point of the entire story--that the police are punishing an Occupy London "member". That their alleged interference is keeping him from being employed when there is no legal restriction keeping him from doing this work that he is, in fact, licensed to do.

    In the spirit of debate, why not take another swing, as it seems your argument has a couple of holes in it.

  3. Anonymous5:19 PM

    The occupy movement link is a classic red herring that slime bags use to deflect attention from the fact that they are not so innocent.

    The story does not say anything about what other reasons this person was known to police. The Occupy movement may have been just one more thing on a list of many.

    Let me ask you this, if the Police in London are so concerned about the Occupy participants then where is the evidence that they are harassing all of the participants? Or, is it coincidence that people with anger issues and previous contacts with london's finest are being targetted when they seek to work in settings that are a potential "problem"?

    If you want a real story about government harassment of good people then stop listening to the whines of guys like this and read about how Canada treated the returning soldiers of the Mackenzie Papineau Batallion:

    Hell, if you really want to get on this hobby horse then lets talk about people like Pete Seeger who really took crap for his political beliefs and not because he beats up undergrads waiting in lines for pubs in shitty malls!

  4. So we've gone to the "spirit of drunken debate"? This one is a beauty, well done. I'll parse it later, and then you can spin that off into some other direction. Papineaus. Comedy gold.

  5. Anonymous10:28 PM

    That's not comedy. The Paps are guys who fought for a cause that they believed in and were persecuted for it. Your London guy who likely is bald with a goatee and wears a muscle shirt and unlaced high cuts showed up for the misguided Occupy movement and then assumes that explains his harassment and not his steroid fuelled problems with the police.

    You are missing a major point here. Some loser cries and pees his pants that the police have taken an interest in where he works and you see this as a corrupt society issue.

    WHat I think happened is this. Police keep track of people who have a history of problems with the law. Many of those people liked the idea of the Occupy movement which gave them some anti-establishment kicks for a few days. The interest the police took in them after that "event" was not something new.

    That's kind of low laughing at the Mac-Paps don't you think?

  6. "The occupy movement link is a classic red herring that slime bags use to deflect attention from the fact that they are not so innocent."

    That's an interesting, if comically biased opinion, but that's all it is, so let's reject it out of hand and not waste time on your ranting.

    "The story does not say anything about what other reasons this person was known to police. The Occupy movement may have been just one more thing on a list of many."

    I'm not dealing in speculation, which this is. So, walk back the first two grafs and replace them with something substantial, and then we'll talk. Until then, this will be a one man circle jerk starring you.

  7. Anonymous12:24 PM

    "I'm not dealing in speculation, " -- that's rich. Okay you are not speculating or thinking rationally about alternative explanations for the situation. INstead you take it on FAITH that the aggrieved individual who is so unfamiliar with these situations with employers and police was savvy enough to:

    1) lie about having a girlfriend to get a meeting for the purposes of confirming the reasons for dismissal


    2) misrepresent a reporter with a recording device as said girlfriend.

    That's right, most people fired with no previous experience in these situations think about recording the meetings for grievance purposes.

    Sorry, this guy's story does not pass the sniff test and I am not sure why you view my distrust of it as "comical" or something less worthy that your original post.

    Back to the blog barrens for me I guess...

  8. I'm sorry that you have a seemingly pathological need to be right, and to misrepresent the written word, but you don't get to have a pity party because of it. The only faith being shown is yours and your faith in your speculation. Cool bro. Own it, don't project it.

    Now, deal with my previous request or be banished to barrens.

  9. Let's reset this to the actual point of the article, and of my, evidently pointless, commentary.

    Const. Dennis Rivest, a London Police Service spokesman, said he could not specifically comment on Bazinet’s complaint, but added if a member of the service has done something inappropriate, that act needs to be investigated.

    He also said it is not common practice for London police to approach the employer of someone they have interacted with.

    “It’s not the police’s position to go tell someone else that we dealt with you.”

    "Sgt. Brent Anderson, who is in charge of the police headquarters reception unit, is often one of the first officers to receive a complaint against police.

    He said if a member did try to influence an employer to fire an employee, such an act would be a breach of confidentiality, adding police have “strict rules and guidelines about what can be released.”

    Are we clear on the fact the the London Police, as a rule, do not interfere in your present or potential employment? Do you, anonymous commenter, see that you are in opposition to the London Police when you say people "are being targetted when they seek to work in settings that are a potential "problem"?" You are supporting an activity the Police force specifically prohibits.

    You said "Some loser cries and pees his pants that the police have taken an interest in where he works and you see this as a corrupt society issue"

    I don't see it as such, it is such. According to the police.

    Clearly you didn't read the article, or my post, so let's just chalk it up to experience.

  10. Anonymous6:26 PM

    yeah, let's go occupy victoria park and hope we can some up with some reason for occupying it...

    this was clearly a pointless post. The police did not interfere. The person quoted that saying that they did was not the one who let Monsieur Bazinet go. So we have a shitty employee (speculation on my part) who got canned. When he confronted waylon smithers about the decision, smithers gave a sensational explanation that the "man" was pushing for this. This story of spineless persons interacting with morons who are shitty employees (more speculation on my part) then gets written up in some neighbourhood news and makes your blog.

    You then take the side of Bazinet that the police did do something untoward, by the police service's own admission, even when the guy who fired Bazinet said the police never were involved.

    So what the fuck man?

  11. I'm not taking sides, I noting that two people and a voice recording purport that Brazinet was fired after police interference. Speculation on your part is no reason to disbelieve what two people heard and recorded. I no more think Mr. Brazinet is pure of intent any more than I believe that of the police. What I care about is abuse of police power. Given their already great power over us, any attempts to gain more must be fought, or ignored at our peril.

    I'm sorry you felt compelled to read and comment and wasted your time doing so.

  12. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Who is speculating now? The boss who fired him said the police were not involved. The police sought to confirm that he had a licence. Where is the abuse of power? How is this speculation on my part?

    In my experience, the overwhelming majority of people who have trouble with the police and attention from them, have good reason to be in trouble.

    Besides, the abuse of power by police at the fan belt college street party this spring seemed obvious as they sat back and watched the subdivision burn.

  13. Anonymous7:04 PM

    In the words of Jack Wagner in his pop hit...

    "If this isn't love we're making then I don't know what it is".

  14. Love? It feels more like a hate-fuck. I guess I should just be happy for the attention, lay back, and think of England.