Toronto van attacker: Known to police or not known to police?

If what is reported in this story is accurate, it is likely that this was not a jihad attack. But the odd discrepancy about whether or not he was known to police is useful to keep in mind when actual jihad attacks are reported. There is so much false information and outright disinformation in the news today, it is sometimes virtually impossible to know for sure what is happening.

In this case, “the suspect was previously known to law enforcement in Toronto, CNN reported. However, Toronto police said during a press conference that Minassian was not previously known to them. They said there was nothing in their files connected to Minassian….Bill Bratton, a former New York City police commissioner, told MSNBC that his sources said the driver was known to police. However, Toronto police disputed this in a press conference, saying they had no record of him.”

So this mentally ill person was known to police elsewhere? What for? Yet he was not known in the city where he attacked and near where he lived? That’s odd, since Canadian police actually have a large and growing database of people who have been charged with crimes in the U.S.; it was used falsely against me when I was detained for three hours in the Toronto airport a few years ago. So if Minassian committed a crime or was suspected of doing so in Canada or the U.S., Toronto police should have known that.

And later in this story: “ISIS channels have not promoted the attack or taken credit for it.” Why would anyone expect them to do so, if Minassian is not a Muslim and was just acting out on his mental illness? The Islamic State as a rule does not take credit for attacks in which it had no involvement. It claimed credit for the Las Vegas massacre, claiming that the perpetrator was a convert to Islam, but that cannot be used as evidence that it claims credit for attacks in which it had no involvement, as there are still more unanswered questions than answered ones regarding that attack.

The point of this post is not to say that Minassian is a jihadi. At this point, it does not look as if he is. The point of this post is that it is increasingly difficult to trust law enforcement and the media, as their explanations of events often leave more questions than answers — particularly when it comes to jihad attacks.

“Alek Minassian: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know,” by Stephanie Dube Dwilson, Heavy.com, April 24, 2018:

Alek Minassian, 25, has been identified as the person arrested on suspicion of driving a white Ryder van into a crowd of pedestrians in Toronto, killing multiple people. Witnesses said the driver was traveling fast when he jumped a curb and hit “everything in his path.” When police arrested him after he fled the scene, he approached them with what appeared to be a gun in his hand. The motive in the crash is not yet known, but early reports indicate the driver hit the pedestrians deliberately. People who know Minassian said he was socially awkward, but never strongly associated with any ideology or religioun [sic]….

Alek Minassian is the suspect who was arrested in connection with the horrific crash that killed 10 people, law enforcement officials have said. He is 25 years old. The suspect was previously known to law enforcement in Toronto, CNN reported. However, Toronto police said during a press conference that Minassian was not previously known to them. They said there was nothing in their files connected to Minassian….

Jonathan Dienst of NBC News reported that Minassian had allegedly researched and chatted online about the Isla Vista killings in California in 2014….

 At this time, officials have not determined a motive for the horrific crash. However, officials currently think that mental illness — not terror connections — may have played a role. U.S. law enforcement officials told CBS News that the incident appeared to be a deliberate act.

There is some dispute on whether Minassian was known to law enforcement officials. Bill Bratton, a former New York City police commissioner, told MSNBC that his sources said the driver was known to police. However, Toronto police disputed this in a press conference, saying they had no record of him. Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said, “At this point it’s too early to tell what if any motive there was.”

Jonathan Dienst from NBC News reported that three officials were saying the leading theory for today’s horrific crash was mental illness, not terror….

Although early reports indicated that the horrific crash might be terror related, government officials have said that Minassian is not associated with any organized terror group, and the suspect does not represent a larger threat to national security.

During a press conference on Monday night, officials said: “There would appear to be no national security connection to this particular incident. The events that happened on the streets behind us are horrendous, but they do not appear to be connected in any way to national security based on the information that is available at this time.”

Bill Bratton, a former New York City police commissioner, had told MSNBC that his sources said the driver was known to police and the horrific crash was being considered a terrorist attack. But other sources are now saying the suspect was not associated with terror groups. ISIS channels have not promoted the attack or taken credit for it….

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