It was 37 years ago today that my station-mate Mike Sweet was shot down by the Munro brothers during a robbery at a Queen Street bar in Toronto’s downtown. As Mike lay bleeding out on the floor begging for mercy, the murderous Munroe thugs did more heroin and taunted the police officers surrounding the building. They threatened to kill Mike if anyone approached.
They tortured Mike. The press went easy on those details to spare the family and to not inflame potential jury members.
Outside stood Eddie Adamson and his ETF Emergency Task Force team – yanking at their leashes to go in and rescue Mike.
Senior Officers on scene gave orders for Eddie and his squad to stand down. For over an hour everyone listened to Mike dying; crying, screaming, begging. Then just low moans. Then silence.
The men were outraged at the idiocy of the senior officers who wanted to ‘negotiate’ while Mike was bleeding out. Some were crying. In frustration, one officer smashed out a car window with the butt of his shotgun.
Still the senior officers ordered no action. They held a press conference while Mike lay dying…
And in the middle of that press conference, Eddie Adamson and his ETF breached the building, shot the hell out of Craig and Jamie Munroe, while some of the uniform guys dragged Mike up the stairs and to the hospital.
But it was too late for Mike. The Munroe brothers lived because they were jacked up on drugs. My friends could have been excused for finishing off each Munro with a shot to the head – but – they were disciplined police officers who served the rule of law first even in this horrific situation. It must have taken every bit of self-control and discipline to not murder the Munroes.
If I had been there in that basement, I might have murdered them.
Haunted like all of us, but perhaps worse because of his rank, twenty-five years later Eddie Adamson rented a hotel room, spread out newspaper articles about Mike, put his pistol into his mouth and pulled the trigger. The Munroe brothers taunted Eddie and his family from prison both before and after his death.
Eddie was right. We should have gone in way sooner no matter what the idiots in charge said.
And therein is the lesson of March 14, 1980: When authority is wrong, disobey and do the right thing no matter what the personal consequences. All the brass hat senior police officers and dignified second-guessing judges won’t bring back Mike or Eddie.
May God bless both of them, and their families.