Say it ain't so. NSure, everybody knows the police services board is a joke as a cop watchdog. But police reformers out there counted on councillor Olivia Chow to carry the torch and keep an eye on the antics of the police association and the brass.
She didn't last long, pre-empting a two-pronged attack from chief Julian Fantino and union tough guy Craig Bromell by sticking the dagger in herself and resigning from the board.
Allegations have been swirling in the media that Chow directed the riot squad at the poverty demo and could have been charged with obstruction of justice.
However, she maintains that she didn't direct anybody and says she hasn't been interviewed as part of any investigation.
We would have preferred a public airing of any charges against her, instead of a campaign spearheaded by unnamed sources and the police union. But in an environment of police union intimidation and a domineering police chief, that apparently wasn't possible. Chow believed her best option was to resign.
How is it that when a police board member dares show up at a demonstration and questions the way police handle unruly protestors, she is deemed to have lost the confidence of the force and her actions automatically become a huge political liability?
The thing is, Chow was doing exactly what we expect from all our civilian-appointed board members. They should be watching the cops with eagle eyes and speaking their mind.
The Law Union of Ontario has been one of the few voices to note that Chow's hasty departure should be seen as a result of the police union's campaign to dog politicians who dare to question the cops.
The Law Union urges city council to reappoint Chow or appoint someone with "some courage and principles in her place.
"We encourage you to send a clear message that the city of Toronto will have a police service that serves the people of Toronto," the Law Union urges, "by following the direction and priorities established by a police services board that is something more than a rubber stamp or a cheerleading section for either the police association or the chief."
We couldn't have said it better. Demanding Chow be put back on the board would send a clear message that the public have had enough and we're not going to let the police run their own show.
For her part, Chow isn't ruling out the possibility of returning to the board.
"It's really too early to tell."