Who Is to Blame?

Posted: April 6, 2013 by wrighter12 in Policing's New Visibility, Toronto G20 2010

The 2010 Toronto G-20 Summit was the largest policed event in Canadian history. Mass amounts of officers were brought in from a number of different detachments such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Provincial Police. The events that occurred during the summit were illustrated by Gord Hill’s (2012) The Anti-Capitalist Comic Book. A number of individuals argue that the comic is biased against the security force that policed the summit, the Integrated Security Unit. However, I believe the comic demonstrates a fairly even view into both the black-bloc side as well as the police brutality side. The black-blocs are mainly comprised of anarchist protestors who dress themselves in black attire and act in a group fashion during anti-capitalist protests (dictionary.com, 2013). Scenes of destruction by the black bloc are displayed in a number of the comic slides, resulting in the vandalism of business’, destruction of police vehicles, and even a brief attack directed towards the police headquarters. Eventually a large number of the black blocs disappeared, leaving their black clothing behind.

Nonetheless, this does not justify the actions in which the I.S.U. began their defense with. Many raids took place in order to arrest protestors and organizers, a clear violation of section 9 of the criminal code protecting them against arbitrary detention and imprisonment. As well, numerous officers removed their badge and name tags, allowing them to blend in and become anonymous among the other officers while their parade of brutality began. The comic describes one scene as the officers “campaign of revenge, fueled by their humiliation at having lost control of the streets” (Hill, 2012). I believe this statement holds truth, yet it has some exaggeration attached to it as well. Yes, it can probably be shown that the officers did become frustrated with the chaos that arose from the protest and wanted to deal with it by finding those responsible. However, to state that the officers were seeking revenge due to the fact that they were humiliated is an over statement. Many of the officers were under most circumstances following orders to obtain control of the protest, which does by no means justify their actions of assault and brutality as shown in the comic. It is hard to be biased in either direction in regards to the G-20 summit in Toronto, as it has been shown that officers had played undercover roles in a number of the groups at the summit. Did the police plan to use these undercover officers to justify their deviant acts? Were they only undercover for the sake of obtaining information for the police? Or is it justifiable to place the entire blame on the police for sparking the riot through undercover officers, and then using unreasonable force against the protestors?


Hill, G. (2012). The Anti-Capitalist Comic Book

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (n.d.) Retrieved from             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms



  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Black bloc tactics are an important issue to study. The debate surrounding these tactics is long-standing, and a source of considerable disagreement within protest movements. I would suggest that, when discussing issues of this nature, we owe it to ourselves to seek out in-depth and informative resources. I am not sure that dictionary.com qualifies …

    Your post addresses the theme of bias – an important topic.

    I wonder – do you think that all narratives or statements that attribute blame to one party or attribute negative outcomes to the actions of one party necessarily reflect bias?

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