Having nothing better to do at 3:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning, Toronto, Ont., police, long fed up with local radio show Lester Eugene Siler torture tape along with an interview with the Knoxville journalist who covered the story. (Listen to the May 25 broadcast.), which covers police misconduct in the U.S. and Canada, found a ready-made excuse to raid the college radio station where the show is produced: It was airing sections of the
If you’ll recall, five Campbell County, Tenn., police officers tortured Siler for two hours, and only were caught because his wife had started a concealed tape recorder. All five are now serving prison sentences.
Toronto police would excuse the raid by saying that someone had called 911 during the broadcast thinking that someone was actually being tortured there at CKLN, a Ryerson University college radio station.
Anicich said he preprogrammed the radio show and went home sick, so when police showed up to raid the place, he wasn’t actually there. It was several days later before he even found out that the station had been raided. And he doubts the official police story for several reasons:
- The Toronto police refuse to release the alleged 911 tape.
- The alleged 911 caller would have to have been extremely stupid, because “all the four letter words were beeped out” of the broadcast, all of the people on the recording had “thick Tennessee accents,” and his voice came on at the end of the broadcast introducing the next show.
- The police response didn’t correspond to the normal police response to a hostage situation: to send police, fire and ambulance services. Instead, only police showed up. And security let them right in to the building.
Anicich says he has a long history of exposing abuse by the Toronto police, which he says are as bad as any in North America, and he believes that’s why he was raided. “They have tried to shut me down before, very publicly and openly,” he said. And he complained that CKLN waited several days to even tell him about the raid, and that CKLN is not cooperating with his attempts to find out what really happened.
He said the raid spooked him and he’s actually changing the format of his show, at least temporarily, because of it. “Right now, I’m feeling pretty unsafe,” he said.
Now this sort of thing could never happen here, could it?
Update: I just got the following email response from Ron Anicich.
I’m not going to be scared until I know for sure what has happened. Details are still sketchy. So far CKLN has not been able to view their own security video. Frustrating! We are not quite sure how many cops were there, how heavily armed, how long they stayed, did they look through our files or not. Too many questions, not enough answers.
More to come on this story, I’m sure.