Police deserve more thanks than complaints in terror takedown

There’s always two sides to a story.


Strathroy cabbie Terry Duffield is making the rounds to media and suggesting “police put my life in jeopardy” when they took down would-be terrorist Aaron Driver last week.

It’s probably understandable he feels that way.

As Duffield tells it, he went to pick up a fare and Driver got in, his cab was surrounded by police waving guns, he ducked down to get his smokes before leaving the cab, and Driver detonated the bomb he was carrying.

On Newstalk 1010, Duffield told John Moore he is “more mad at the police than (the bomber).” Really?

It’s more likely that cops saved his life.

Duffield, who has a crowdfunding page online, charges that in the “five minutes that I was there” waiting in front of the residence for the fare, “no cop approached the car. Nobody tried to signal me, like ‘get the hell out of the area,’ nothing.”

He added: “They never called our cab company once to say, ‘Do not send any cabs into this area in this time frame ... Or, when I’m driving down the street have someone stop me, put in a plainclothes officer, and they act as a cab driver.”

The headlines now suggest police actions were worse than the terrorist, and have rocked the RCMP who bravely and swiftly stopped Driver’s apparent plan to detonate the bomb in a mall.

Needless to say, “it’s not something we needed,” a police source said, adding Ottawa is abuzz. “There are several large investigations going on and the taxi driver’s public comments are not helpful.”

What actually happened, police sources say, is that there was “just no time” for police to approach the cab, that they were dealing with too many unknowns, and were forced to act extraordinarily quickly on the terror threat.

The RCMP only received a tip from the FBI that Wednesday morning that an “attack was supposed to be taking place within the following 72 hours and was likely to target an urban centre” in the morning or afternoon rush hour.

“This was a fluid situation with resources moving to get in place quickly,” said a source, including the potentially unexpected taxi approaching the home they were trying to surveil.

There were only a few steps from the residence to the taxi and very little time for tactical unit officers to swoop in for an arrest.

“They did the very best they could under incredible circumstances,” said a source, who added the OPP and Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service were also extremely supportive in backing up the RCMP.

The OPP and Strathroy police have referred all calls to the Mounties. The RCMP has not returned calls, but sources say there is empathy for Duffield’s claims and a professional standards-style probe is possible — which could include going through any police recording devices.

Police sources say Duffield did receive police and medical assistance moments after the explosion, which caused him minor injuries. Duffield believes he could have been mortally wounded had he not reached for a pack of cigarettes.

The problem, say sources, was police were not completely sure what was happening in real time. They needed to be sure there were no accomplices or secondary plays or explosives.

“There were complexities,” said a source, who said police have noted the online request for financial donations.

The way police look at it, this could have been a catastrophic situation in which the taxi driver “and countless others” could have been killed, including the officers.

“The bomb that went off could have caused potential major damage if detonated next to a gas pump or in an open food court setting with many people around,” said the insider.

An investigation into the bomb or potential other explosives is underway but “it is conceivable if it had exploded,” it could have “killed the taxi driver and all the police responding.”

There is a lot more in play than concerns of the taxi driver, who is understandably shaken up. It could have been far worse.

“How it was handled will be looked at,” said the source.

It could be a “thank you” might be warranted to police, and some medals, too

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