Saturday, February 16, 2019

Amber Alert Red Herring

People were upset to be woken up by the Amber Alert Thursday night. And now, on social media, people are REALLY upset that people were upset to be woken up by the Amber Alert.

This is trending:

But, instead, we need a #believethem movement to trend for whenever a parent or grandparent or neighbour has good reason to believe that someone is about to do something dangerous or lethal involving a child.

And, like many, I have so many questions!!

Why couldn't the police enter the residence with the mother's police station testimony as evidence? It was reported that, "Officers did not knock down the door into Rajkumar's home sooner because there was a lack of evidence to suggest that Riya could have been inside," despite a concern that she was in imminent danger, merely because his car wasn't in the driveway and he didn't answer the door. They waited five hours (or maybe four hours?) to force entry.

Riya's dad had contacted her mom to TELL HER he was about to cause some harm to his daughter and himself, but that doesn't count as enough evidence to enter his home.

Riya's dad picked her up at 3:00, didn't return her as expected at 6:30, and police knocked on his door at 7:00. Good on the cops for at least listening to the mom enough to go to his home! At 10:30, police put out a description of his car on social media, then, according to CP24, they found her dead at 11:00, but they didn't have enough information to issue an Amber Alert until 11:30. Then, at about midnight, they found the perpetrator on highway 11 near Orillia, tipped off because of the Amber Alert, but I'm just guessing that he was likely not a danger to anyone else at that point. The Amber Alert was cancelled at 12:20.

30 minutes earlier?? Aren't Amber Alerts to find missing children, not to find perpetrators? And are people horrible if they are annoyed by an alert that came after the child was found?? But back to the important part of this story:

He was injured when arrested, but here's the part that concerns me (from Global News):
"Court records obtained by Global News showed Roopesh was charged with assault causing bodily harm and threatening death in 2004, assault and mischief under $5,000 in 2008, and assault in 2015. In all three cases, the charges were withdrawn. He entered into a peace bond after two of those incidents. It’s unclear who the alleged victims of these alleged assaults were."
CBC reported that the child murderer's cousin said, "Rajkumar has no prior history of violence or mental health issues, which has made the incident all the more shocking," but he didn't know him well enough to be able to answer questions about what he does for a living.

So did the police need to find out that he had caused harm before? Was that the evidence necessary for them to enter the home? If that's the case, then if he had no priors, would they still be standing outside the house? It does happen, sometimes, that people even without priors harm themselves and others, so one would think telling someone would be enough evidence for police to take action. I just can't get over this!

Whether or not people are upset at the Amber Alert doesn't matter. What we need to be upset about is the fact that the word of a parent isn't enough to investigate. Evidence of a child in imminent danger is all that's necessary to enter a residence without a warrant. They had that evidence with the mother's statement. But it doesn't count.

Of course we want to protect people against random searches provoked by disgruntled former partners, and we don't want to give the police free and easy access to our homes, except when a child in imminent danger. The basic security of children should be the line across which we are willing to give up our basic freedom from having our home searched.

The Mayor of Mississauga tweeted,

If it were my child, I'd want them breaking down that door at 7:00! The violence was done by then, but what if it wasn't too late to save her life?

Now can we also look at supervised visits for parents with a history of violence??


The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Marie

Entirely off topic but I thought you would want to see this:

Marie Snyder said...

Thanks, Mound! Too bad it's in the U.K. We'll all be protesting here soon enough, I imagine!