To Serve and Protect Who?

Posted: April 6, 2013 by h6812 in Cases - Public Order, Toronto G20 2010

The documentary presented by the fifth estate “You Should Have Stayed Home,”  is meant to inform the public of the gruesome abuse imposed by police officers towards the community that attended the peaceful protests during the G20 Summit in Toronto. The G20 Summit was a big deal for the city of Toronto.  Ordinary people were curious as to what the buzz was all about which lead them to trek downtown.  Others were there to peacefully protest for a cause.  Watching the CBC presentation “You Should Have Stayed At Home” (2011) was an eye-opener to contrast how there was a discrepancy in sharing the government’s story of what happened and what really happened according to those victimized.  It is unfortunate to see how Canada took on a militaristic approach to prepare for the Summit.  There were thousands of officers infiltrating the downtown core of Toronto; this included the riot police prior to any such need.  It is as if this mere presence instigates for a riot.

So many different aspects of the way police approached this event was disturbing. When abandoned police cars were being set on fire, the police were given orders to stay with the public protest. Why were the people in head-to-toe black clothing (faces also covered with bandanas or ski masks),  not arrested and detained for damaging property? College students, in their pajama’s, were prisoners in a gymnasium guarded by police officers in military gear, one of them even carrying a massive machine gun. After our last lecture in class, Larsen brought up the October Crisis and how, many RCMP officers were ordered to act as terrorist and imitate terrorist attacks on a smaller scale. Therefore,  the orders given to police ordering them not to intervene with the rioters leads me to believe that perhaps these rioters were hired in order to instigate a riot; so that the force used by police would be justified? Or maybe they wanted to instill fear into the protestors and visitors. This is just my assumption.  Many protestors who were injured due to the unjustified force implemented by the police officers were denied medical aid, for hours on end. A 29 year old man named Dorian Barton, is one of the many who were denied medical attention for hours, after they broke his arm.  Listening to his story is incredibly disturbing, there is no reason for a man with a broken arm to be kept in handcuffs without any medical attention, for hours. He tells CBC that he was merely taking a picture with a friend, not aware that he was going to be attacked by several officers. Once Dorian Barton hired a lawyer and launched a lawsuit against the police officers who attacked him, another issue emerged. Almost all of the officers on duty that day were not wearing visible name tags, or any sort of means for individual identification by the public, why? The only people the police officers were protecting by keeping themselves unidentified was themselves, so that people like Barton couldn’t sue them. Due to being unable to identify the officers who attacked him, Barton was told there wasn’t enough significant evidence in order to press charges. Well whose fault is that? Even if the officers were unable to be identified they should have paperwork indicating that they arrested and detained Barton, and on that paperwork the police officers would be named.

Overall I think the documentary did a good job of depicting what took place at the G20 summit, in regards to the violence. I do agree with many commenter’s on the video that it is very biased, but I think it needs to be. In no other way can we understand the frustration or pain of the people who were abused and never served their justice. In another article I read that only one officer has been charged in connection to the G20 event. Again, why? When the riots took place in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup game, many Vancouverites were taken to court and charged for the violence and damage caused during the event. So how is it that, with all the video footage and pictures, police officers cannot be identified, but rioters can? The title for this documentary perfectly fits the event. All the people affected should have stayed home. What were they thinking, the police keeping them safe during a protest? Highly unlikely.

References:

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/youshouldhavestayedathome/
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2011/05/25/g20_lawsuit_to_name_officers_when_arrested_man_sues_police.html

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Comments
  1. Mike Larsen says:

    You note that:

    “After our last lecture in class, Larsen brought up the October Crisis and how, many RCMP officers were ordered to act as terrorist and imitate terrorist attacks on a smaller scale.”

    To clarify, following the 1970 October Crisis, the RCMP Security Service was given orders to engage in actions to ‘counter’ and ‘disrupt’ separatist political activity in Quebec. To fulfill this mandate, members employed a range of ‘dirty tricks’, including break-and-enter, property destruction, arson, theft, and the use of explosive devices. Some of these actions were staged to appear to be the work of rival separatist factions.

    You conclude by noting:

    “I do agree with many commenter’s on the video that it is very biased, but I think it needs to be.”
    What do you mean by ‘biased’? I am genuinely curious. How are you using this term?

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