Stay home or get beat!

Posted: April 5, 2013 by mateffi in Toronto G20 2010

The Documentary “You Should Have Stayed At Home” allows viewers to look into first hand accounts of what happened during the G20. The documentary begins with people gathering for the peaceful protest. There were more than 2,000 people gathered in the streets of Ontario. Even at the beginning of the protest there was a massive amount of police presence. A man who was not a political protester but had been present at the G20 to merely watch, noted that the police weren’t n regular gear. They were in full on riot gear and that there was heavy tension in the air. What began as a peaceful protest turned into a violent event. Some of the people involved in the protest began branching off and vandalizing property. At one point in the film you can see a few people jumping on top of cop cars while the police stood from a distance and watched. The documentary illustrates that the police were losing control of the situation and the peaceful protest started to resemble a riot. Back at Queen’s Park there were a large number of protesters who kept the protest peaceful and did not know about the vandalizing of buildings or of police vehicles. Many of the protesters that were there were merely curious and wanted to take a look around. When the officers began to get violent it took these protesters off guard because they hadn’t done anything to provoke the officers.

I think this documentary does a good job at setting up the beginning events of the G20. It provided a clear and mostly unbiased description as to how the police began to lose control of the situation. The documentary interviews many people who were mistreated and abused by officers, so it does give a great inside account of what took place during the G20. It also gives a chance for the police to defend their actions by interviewing the chief of police in Toronto.

The officers who were involved in policing the G20 took part in many forms of police deviance. The most obvious is they engaged in police brutality. Police began to use batons and pepper spray on people who were not engaging in any form of deviant or violent behavior  Police began kicking, hitting and dragging protesters through the street and not following through proper medical care to people who were injured. The problem was that the police were treating the peaceful protesters at Queens Park like a riot crowd when they were not. One older man with a disability was thrown to the ground and his hands were tied behind his back. The officers then pulled out the man’s prosthetic leg. He was not a rioter or pose any threat to the police in any shape or form. The police brutality went so far as to shooting rubber bullets into the crowd. The officers then began to arrest people by the dozens, many of these people were not even involved in the protest.  After the arrest of many people the officers denied the right to see a lawyers to many of the arrestees who asked. The prison cells were small and overcrowded. The police entered a university gymnasium where many students were occupying and began to arrest them. Many students asked the officers if they had a warrant to perform these search and seizures but were told to shut up. Later on the police stated that these students were arrested for suspicion of committing vandalism and mischief and that the police were heavily armed because they were tactical officers. Tactical officers are used when entering a place where there is a risk of violence. In this case, a university room of sleeping students was seen as a violent situation. Another big form of deviance that occurred was the removal of name tags and badge numbers.

I think the statement “You should have stayed home” is humorous. It’s like the idea of when a woman gets raped and the response is you should have worn more conservative clothing. The question is: Why do we tell our daughters to stay home instead of teaching our sons how to behave? The statement “You should have stayed home” deters the problem from the person committing the wrong doing to the victim. This response is just another way for the police to avoid the blame of the events that occurred during the G20. I think the police live in this “You should have stayed home” mindset where their actions will always be justified and its the public’s responsibility to conform and avoid police confrontation.

  1. Mike Larsen says:

    This is a great post.

    You conclude with this observation:

    “I think the statement “You should have stayed home” is humorous. It’s like the idea of when a woman gets raped and the response is you should have worn more conservative clothing. ”

    This is an excellent comparison, and it reflects a clear understanding of the implications of the events. Great work.

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