Fantino and Gates – cut from the same cloth?

Posted: May 18, 2009 in Caledonia, Craig Grice, Darrell Gates, FantinoGate, Gary McHale, Haldimand County Council, Headlines, Jeff's Blogs, Mitch Hoffman, OPP, Top Posts

May 18, 2009

During the testimony that Julian Fantino gave a Hamilton Court last month about his involvement in the witch hunt to charge Gary McHale with “Counselling mischief not committed”, Julian was forced to reveal on the stand that he sent an email on December 3, 2007 to deputy commission Chris Lewis in which he stated “I feel like doing what LA Police Chief Darrel Gates go out and arrest the goof myself”.

Just who is this Darrel Gates that Julian idolizes? McHale’s efforts to clarify were quickly interrupted by Mitch Hoffman in order to prevent Fantino from being held accountable for his words. So since we’re not allowed to hear it from the horse’s mouth, I decided to have a look for myself (and all of you) at who Gates is and why Julian so admires him and it quickly became obvious that there are similarities.

First some trivia! See if you can tell who the following quotes belong to. In each case the answer will be either Darrel Gates or Julian Fantino.

1. “Casual drug users ought to be taken out and shot”

2. “That’s garbage. I am really tired of this notion that we have to hug a thug.”

3. “They (officers) have the ability to take a person’s freedom from them. On certain situations, they have the ability to take a person’s reputation. And under certain circumstances, they have the authority to take a person’s life.”

4. “You know, if you pull this off I’m liable to say that your issues are critical and they’re important and I’ll speak to that, but if you don’t then I’m gonna go the other way and I’m gonna say that you’re just destroying and you’re abusing… and you don’t want that, because I think I can play the media routine like you do.”

5. “Blacks might be more likely to die from chokeholds because their arteries do not open as fast as they do on ‘normal people”

6. “You know, we talk about civil rights violations. No one seems to talk about the civil rights violations of the good people out there . . . that are caused by gangs. Those gangs are so oppressive to those individuals who live within that community. All we talk about is have we violated the civil rights of these idiot gang members…”

We’ll get to the answers shortly, but let’s have a look at the general background of Mr. Gates.

Darrell Gates

Gates joined the LAPD in 1949 and spent time as a chauffer to Chief Parker who made reforms which were considered to have made the LAPD a paramilitary body.  He later became an inspector who oversaw the Manson Family murders investigation. He was named chief of the LAPD in 1978. He is considered to have been the father of the SWAT team, founded the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, and was for a time an apparently well respected cop.

It would be hard to argue that Chief Parker was not an influence in Gate’s life if he worked with the man on a daily basis, so I think it’s important to touch briefly on the morphing of the LAPD into a paramilitary body as this no doubt had an impact on Gates.

A Paramilitary body is defined by the Miriam Webster dictionary as “of, relating to, being, or characteristic of a force formed on a military pattern especially as a potential auxiliary military force.”

A potential auxiliary military force? The chief whom Gates worked with turned the LAPD into essentially a mini military and Gates later goes on to be a power monger. Fortunately we need not be concerned about Fantino trying to turn the OPP into a paramilitary force as he would have to pull too many men out of speed traps.

I make $250,000 per year

I make $250,000 per year for this

Gates became a highly respected and decorated officer, but his career was not all happy Friday’s. He was known not to work with community Activists and leaders, was the subject of accusations of arrogance, racism, false arrests, and for two events in particular. Operation HAMMER which was a campaign to target gangs and saw some 25000 arrests over several years, and the coupe de grace of his career, the LA riots.

The 1992 Los Angeles riots brought an end to Gates’s police career. Following the acquittal of the officers shown beating Rodney King on videotape, rioting broke out in Los Angeles. Within minutes of the announcement of the verdict, white truck driver Reginald Denny was dragged from his vehicle while stopped at the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues in South Central Los Angeles and severely beaten by several black teenagers as news helicopters hovered above.

Blacks, Hispanics, and Koreans clashed for three days throughout South Central and Mid-Wilshire and news cameras beamed images of destruction throughout the world. Both the LAPD and the National Guard failed to contain the riots, and order was not restored until active-duty Army troops (including the 7th Infantry Division) were deployed.

On the first evening of the riots, Gates told reporters that the situation would soon be under control, and attended a previously scheduled fundraising dinner. These actions led to charges that Gates was out of touch. General command-and-control failings in the entire LAPD hierarchy during the riots led to criticisms that he was incapable of managing his force. In the aftermath of the riots, local and national media printed and aired dozens of reports deeply critical of the LAPD under Gates, painting it as an army of racist beat cops accountable only to an arrogant leadership. While evidence of systematic racism among the rank-and-file and by Gates himself was not clear-cut, it was undeniable that the paramilitary approach he espoused was seriously lacking in certain areas. The Christopher Commission formed in the wake of the riots issued a report that was generally considered to be scathingly critical of the department, and to a lesser extent of Gates’ management of it. Late in 1992, Gates finally resigned.

Many thanks to Wikipedia for the info about Gates involvement in the LA riots.

Now to answer our trivia questions. #1, 3, 5, & 6 are Darrel Gates. #2, & 4 are Fantino. The similarity in both their rhetoric and their behavior is quite something.

Fantino is an immigrant who became an officer with the Metro Toronto Police in 1964 and went on to become the London police chief where he lead a campaign that targeted and arrested over two dozen gay men for alleged involvement in a child pornography ring. No such ring was ever found and nobody was ever convicted of any of the charges. Fantino later claimed that he was simply arresting people (who were a visible minority) engaging in “a sick, perverted crime” although they were found not guilty.

He went on to become chief of the York Regional Police for only 2 years and then moved on to the Toronto Police Service where he posed for the cover of a gay men’s magazine “Fab”  in an effort to make himself appear more friendly to the gay community. If anyone has a higher resolution version of this cover, please email it to

Fantino trying to be Fabulous

Fantino came under increasing scrutiny due to three corruption scandals which broke out during his tenure and his handling of those incidents. Fantino was accused of having tried to deal with these cases out of public view and attempting to shield them from investigation by outside police forces.

In one case, drug squad officers are alleged to have beaten and robbed suspected drug dealers. In another, plainclothes officers were charged with accepting bribes to help bars dodge liquor inspections. In the third, a group of officers who advocated on behalf of a drug-addicted car thief faced internal charges.

Two of these cases involve the sons of former police chief William McCormack, and came to light not as a result of investigations by Toronto police, but due to an RCMP investigation into gangster activity which inadvertently uncovered evidence of wrongdoing by Toronto police officers. Mike McCormack was later cleared of all wrongdoing due to a lack of evidence.

In March 2005, the CBC announced that they had obtained documents via the Access to Information Act showing that between 1998 and 2005 Toronto had spent $30,633,303.63 settling lawsuits against police. Norm Gardner said the settlement costs, which amount to about $5-million a year over six years, were expected, given the number of confrontations police face, suggesting that “people think they are going to get paid off.”

In late 2008 and early 2009, Fantino was embroiled in a controversy surrounding his role in an internal discipline case at the OPP in which Fantino was accused of being petty and vindictive in his actions against the officers. Fantino ordered a hearing into the matter but attempted to remove the adjudicator he had appointed on the grounds that the judge was biased against the commissioner due to critical comments he made during testimony by Fantino. Divisional Court rejected Fantino’s request

Again thanks to Wikipedia for the info about Julian’s involvement in the above.

Fantino certainly displays similarities to Darrel Gates. He is well known not to have met with any of the Activists or community leaders involved in Caledonia, and for hand picking a couple of people who have no influence but will be easy for him to control so that he can later claim to have consulted with residents. When offered the chance to diffuse a protest in March of 2008, Fantino opted instead to send in the troops to line Argyle Street with cruisers and threaten to arrest any non Native who dared to so much as stop on the public road.

Civil rights you say? HAH!

Civil rights you say? HAH!

Julian became Commissioner of the OPP in October of 2006 after his predecessor Gwen Bonafice was run out of town by Civil Rights Advocate Gary McHale for her failure to enforce the law when a group of Native thugs launched an illegal occupation of a housing development in the small town of Caledonia, and a subsequent terrorist attack including attacking police officers with bats and axes, burning down a wooden bridge, blowing up a hydro transformer station, blockading and digging up a Provincial highway, the attempted murder of an OPP officer, an attack on an elderly couple and CHTV camera crew, and other conduct which should have been suppressed by the Ontario Provincial Police who stood by and simply observed.

In his first days as Commissioner, Fantino stated that “there is one law for all” but quickly proved otherwise by having his force target only non Native people for arrest including 3 people for trying to exercise their civil right to freedom of expression by hanging a Canadian flag on a hydro poll in December of 2006, going so far as to have his officers target Gary McHale to be unlawfully detained without a charge overnight and forced to appear before a Hamilton judge who quickly determined the courts had no jurisdiction over him.

McHale had become a thorn in the side of Fantino by exposing to the public the clear race based double standard being enforced in Caledonia so Fantino tried to have bail conditions set on McHale to keep him out of town. The courts don’t issue bail conditions on those who have not been charged, so the tactic failed and Fantino turned to a smear campaign in an effort to discredit McHale and those he works with.

On January 20, 2007, Fantino had hundreds of officers including the London Riot Squad and a helicopter brought into Caledonia to prevent 4 men from trying to again raise a Canadian flag on a hydro poll, and personally attended to ensure that the rights of non Natives were again violated. When efforts were made by Caledonia residents and the future members of CANACE to confront Mr. Fantino at the local OPP station, he hid from us inside peeking out of a window while having a subordinate say there was “nobody here”.

Julian hiding from CANACE founders Jan 20, 2007 

In April of 2007, Fantino sent an email to Haldimand Council threatening to support officers in filing lawsuits against the County, recommending that the OPP contract not be renewed, “publicly hold accountable Councillor Grice AND Haldimand County along with McHale” and download the cost of policing Caledonia onto Haldimand County (which he can not do) because one of the Council members expressed himself as a resident in a manner that didn’t kiss Fantino’s feet. Efforts were made by members of CANACE to get Councillor Grice and Mayor Trainer who felt intimidated by Fantino to sign a Police Service complaint about the incident, but neither had the intestinal fortitude to proceed.

Throughout 2007, Fantino kept up his attacks on the character of CANACE members in the media in an effort to hide his glaring failures as OPP commissioner despite numerous lawsuits, human rights complaints, and Police service complaints (which were white washed by the Minister of Community Safety), and when his best efforts to convince the public that McHale and company were “mischief makers” or carrying a “self serving agenda of violence” failed, he turned once again to using bail conditions as a weapon against an innocent man.

When Gary McHale was attacked, bloodied, and hospitalized by a mob of Native thugs while surrounded by OPP officers on December 1, 2007, Julian had his boys start a vigorous search for criminal charges to be laid against CANACE founders, and in particular his arch rival McHale. Fellow CANACE co-founder Jeff Parkinson was assaulted by an OPP officer and hospitalized with a head injury, but no investigation was launched by the OPP to determine the culprit.

Before enough time to begin a proper investigation had passed, they settled on laying a bogus assault charge against McHale, but when video evidence proved that he had been set up, they drummed up the charge of “Counselling to commit mischief not committed” for a suggestion Gary allegedly made to a Caledonia resident. This achieved Fantino’s goal of having travel restrictions placed on the victim of a vicious attack while no bail conditions of any sort were placed on the Native who started a riot by jumping McHale from behind like a coward. Why not? Clyde Powless is a Native criminal and Fantino protects Native criminals from justice.

This is not dissimilar to Gates attitude when he stated “All we talk about is have we violated the civil rights of these idiot gang members…” clearly showing that he has no regard for the civil rights of those he dislikes. Gates was referring to criminals instead of Civil Rights Advocates but his mentality was the same. Ignore the rights of those we don’t like and call them names to try to dehumanize them. Fantino once referred to Gary McHale as “A bad cold that won’t go away” in an effort to make the public see the man as something less than human that they should all despise.

The differences are equally apparent in looking at their careers. Gates headed initiatives known the world over (SWAT team, Manson Family murder investigation) while Fantino makes sure that people who are determined to have been driving too fast are labeled “stunt drivers”, have their car taken away, are hit with a huge fine, and lose their license on the spot. No effort is made to determine the actual guilt or innocence of the person in a court of law before they are punished, but Julian seems proud of himself for becoming the highest paid traffic cop in the Country and seems content with a career that has accomplished nothing significant and will be remembered by many as a foolish old man who overstayed his welcome and should have retired when his work as a real cop ended in the early 90’s.

After his retirement Gates went on to develop the video game Police Quest 4 – Open Season which was heralded for its gritty realism. I personally remember spending many hours playing that game and wonder if Fantino will go on to develop a game about abusing minorities and fighting to strip away the civil rights of innocent Canadians. Perhaps he could design one based on his life story and call it “Traffic Stop – 50 over”

The most startling difference between the two is that Gates was forced out by his own incompetence while Fantino lingers on collecting those big cheques while holding a position that allows him to wield a dangerous amount of power to further his bigoted personal agenda.

Even McGuinty looks disgusted by his OPP commissioner

McGuinty looking displeased with his lap dog

I only hope that it won’t take a full scale riot to convince the people of Ontario that Fantino needs to be put out to pasture before he is able to further erode our basic rights and freedoms.

If we were to allow history to teach us anything as a society, we would look at the patterns of behaviour that the likes of Fantino exhibit and understand that he is at the very least not deserving of $250,000 a year of our taxes nor our respect and we would scream from the rooftops as a community to have him removed from office, but in the real world it takes a travesty that touches us all in some way for us to collectively say “something should have been done to stop that” It’s the one unfortunate pitfall of being Canadian those of us who can see the writing on the wall have to live with until it’s too late and drastic measures are forced to be taken.

Gates has long faded from the spotlight, but his influence on the likes of Fantino provides us with a fascinating albeit disturbing look into the psyche of a new generation inspired by the actions of a man who was drummed out of office some 17 years ago.

So are Julian Fantino and Darrell Gates cut from the same cloth? That is for you to decide, but one has to think that Fantino certainly wants to believe so which I would submit may make him an even more dangerous individual then any of us previously realised.

Jeff Parkinson

  1. Shivers up and down my spine reading this one, Jeff, especially since I’ve seen the emails with my own eyes, and listened to him lying under oath about McHale being the cause of Caledonia’s misery.

    Fantino has to be the greatest danger to democracy in Canadian history; small wonder his hero is a racist blowhard.

    Mark Vandermaas

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