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Police shooting hits home

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(Got some thoughts on today's column? Post them below)The news cut through me like a knife.Late Thursday night I learned three Winnipeg police officers had been injured — at least one shot — while investigating an incident on Jubilee Avenue.Immediately it hit home.My brother works in that district. And he was on duty at the time.Fortunately, he quickly called to let the family know he was fine.I was relieved. And then shaken by the realization there were three other families getting phone calls early Friday morning with news that was not so reassuring.Three families likely said goodbye to their loved one as he or she set out to work Thursday evening, expecting them to return safely in the early hours of Friday morning.The issue of violence against police has become a deeply personal one since my younger brother joined the ranks of the WPS three years ago.He wears the badge with honour. And I am proud to tell people what he does.I am also sickened by what I see in court on an almost daily basis.Police officers have become the popular whipping boys (and girls) for an increasingly violent and disrespectful criminal clientele who see them as nothing more than spittoons, punching bags... or worse. And we are all too familiar with those cases — the Strongquills, the Mayerthorpes, the Spiritwoods.Just this week, a chill went up my spine as I covered a sentencing hearing for a Winnipeg man who makes no bones about the fact he hates the police.Norman McGinnis, 40, has 67 prior criminal convictions including four incidents of attacking police officers, court was told.He was arrested last April after police attempted to remove him from a residence where he wasn’t wanted.McGinnis responded with a flurry of elbows, kicks, slaps and punches directed at the two male officers before he was finally restrained. Neither officer was seriously injured.He then set off alarm bells when interviewed by a probation officer earlier this year for the preparation of a court ordered pre-sentence report.When asked how he felt about his crime, McGinnis didn’t hold back.“I feel good about assaulting the cops. Any cop that gets assaulted deserves what he gets,” said McGinnis.“If I could have got my hands on the gun, I would have shot them.”Unfortunately, Thursday’s shooting has only reaffirmed a message that all police officers learned a long time ago.When they put on the uniform, they are also wearing a target.

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