The RCMP held a press conference today to tell media they are looking for two men who were "exhibiting suspicious behaviour" outside Toronto's Rogers Centre, and that the public is encouraged to provide any information we may have. Of the many odd aspects to this request, perhaps the most immediately apparent is that the men in question were being "suspicious" nearly three months ago, on August 31.
Fear not, though: the RCMP said there is no immediate threat to the safety of Torontonians! No immediate threat today, on the 26 of November, from two men (brown-skinned, which may be irrelevant but so often isn't) who might have done something weird on August 31. You can breathe easy once again.
It is perhaps worth noting that then-prime minister Stephen Harper was attending the Blue Jays game underway at the time. Then again, Supt. Lise Crouch said at today's press conference that there was no connection between the two events, and law enforcement is not exactly known for minimizing potential threats to national figures.
Penny Hermann, a sergeant with the Ontario RCMP, told VICE they are looking for the two men because a bystander filed a "serious incident report" that same day after seeing something they considered abnormal and investigators followed up, deciding that there was enough to warrant a look into the two men.
When asked if characterizing the men's behaviour as "suspicious activity" meant they hadn't been breaking any laws, Hermann admitted she "would say that's a fair assessment."
"The way I would look at something suspicious," she said, "you're somewhere doing something that, Why are they doing that there? You know what I mean? That's how I would look at it. It's obviously something that caught somebody's attention, you know what I mean, and that [person] was like, Hmm, that's kind of different. And that's why they reported it."
But what, exactly, were the two men doing? And more importantly, if it wasn't illegal, why is the RCMP involved at all? The RCMP won't elaborate any further on why the men were reported beyond calling their behaviour "suspicious." Hermann did say there were a number of other incident reports from that day (which perhaps makes sense, given that the area surrounding the Rogers Centre was a clusterfuck in the hours before, during, and after any Jays game during the last half of this past season), and that illegal activity had all been satisfactorily ruled out in all other cases.
One of the examples Hermann cited was a man who was reported for parking his car on a set of train tracks. Weird? Perhaps. Dangerous? Potentially. Illegal? Not really! Upon investigation—by the RCMP, Canada's national police force—it was revealed that the man was a train enthusiast, and may or may not have been taking pictures (Hermann wasn't sure about that last part).
Another blow to criminal masterminds everywhere!
What the RCMP is looking to do, according to reports from today's press conference, is rule out whether the men had any "criminal intention." Intentions being different from actions, of course, and actions being the things that are actually criminalized. That is to say, it's not illegal to have an "intention;" it is illegal to act on that intention.
But because they were acting strangely, according to one person who saw them, these two men are being sought by the RCMP in order to explain their actions.
"We want to know what they were doing," Hermann said. "Basically, we would want to find out, talk to them, say 'Hey, what were you guys doing on this day? You were seen here, and what were you doing? Can you explain it?'"
Except that the RCMP does know what the two men were doing: they know the men weren't breaking the law. And as a law-enforcement agency that should be concerned with actual, specific instances of laws being broken, that should be all they need to know.
Photo via RCMP
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