Archive for the ‘Toronto G20 2010’ Category

The Toronto G20 summit was the target of widespread protesting. Early opposition to the summit was a result of angry citizens voicing their opinions about certain laws. Peaceful protests were carried out throughout the city’s “Free Speech Zone” in Queens Park and the mayor encouraged everyone not be scared by the vast amount of security personnel present. “You Should Have Stayed Home” offers the viewer a first person recollection of the events that took place through the eyes of various citizens affected by the police brutality that took place those two short days.

Although the protests began nearly a week before the summit took place, numbers were small. As the first official day approached, peaceful protests with few members turned into mobs of angry people shouting and wreaking havoc to get their point across. In the video mentioned above, it seems as though we are introduced to the event through the eyes of the protestor and no one else. The viewer is introduced to several individuals who faced police brutality at the events. Because of this, stories seem biased. At the start of the protest, the main role of the police was to guard the summit fence. Even as rioters began breaking windows to local shops, the riot police stood by the fence and were eventually seen fleeing the site. The following day, the police came out in numbers. Having had enough from the previous days, it could be understood as to why they came out aggressively. The video walks us into the lives of average citizens. Among them are a woman from Quebec who is arrested without a warrant, a handicap gentleman who is arrested after losing a prosthetic leg, a carpenter who is hit and arrested while recording, and a gentleman who is simply taking a picture until he is arrested and left with a broken arm. Although these individuals all seem to be innocent, a critique I had was that of the comments they made. All individuals spoke as though they were innocent victims, which in most cases they were; however, among the thousands of  protesters and 10,000 police officers, how are the officers to know who is innocent and who is not. Following the first day in which the protestors were left to destroy buildings and wreak havoc, they should have known they were breaking the law. Fed up, could you blame the authorities for coming out strong the following day? It is clear they over-reacted in some cases (pepper spraying protestors sitting on the floor) but amongst the large crowds I feel we must try and understand their standpoint.

On the contrary, as stated above, the police were a bit too aggressive in some cases. Removing police badges and numbers leads one to believe that officers went out on the job knowing they’d commit a deviant act. With 1100 members in the detention centre, it is clear that the officers went overboard when arresting certain people. Arresting individuals screaming “Peaceful Protest,” “Let Us Go,” and those simply making peace symbols with their hands is unnecessary. These depicted acts of police deviance are sickening and force me to reconsider working in the police force. Having said this, I once again begin to consider WHY the officers began this in the first place. It all stemmed from the actions of the protestors on the first day of the summit.

This video introduced me to many videos I had never seen before of the summit. Although my mindset remains the same, I still feel as though the police were only acting based on the actions of the protestors. As the protests escalated, so did the actions of the police. Sure not everyone was to blame for the negative actions of some protestors but it was almost impossible for the police to distinguish who was doing what. Because of this, they were required to act in a hostile manner with everyone present. If the first day’s protests only resulted in 291 arrests and the second in over 800, people should have realized that things would be getting out of hand. As with the protests in Vancouver, many left the site of the riots rather than stay and argue about being treated unfairly. Organizations like the IIO and different police complaint commissions have been created to allow for police complaints to be made. Starting a protest in an already crowded city with angry people isn’t exactly the best way to voice your opinion.

Does it seem reasonable to say that both parties are to blame for what transpired at the summit in Toronto?

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“You should have Stayed Home”

Posted: April 6, 2013 by kiratmatharu92 in Cases - Public Order, Toronto G20 2010

“You should have stayed home as controversy continues to swirl around police treatment of G20 protesters astonishing stories are now emergering about ordinary citizens caught in a huge police dragnet during those three highly charged days in June” (CBC NEWS). The Toronto G20 summit had an huge impact upon the people and society by the aggression laid by the police and the certain kinds of actions that the police had done upon the people that were protesting within the video. It shows that the peaceful protesters were taken out of the city’s “Free speech zone”. The orders that were given to the protesters by the higher authority was that not to be scared , there is a lot of security that will not let anything happen to them.

The You Should have stayed home Documentary resembles back to the citizens that were severely injured and were a part of the G20 act in Toronto that scar them for there whole life. The protestors began before the summit within the two days there was a small amount of protesters at first, than it grew as a mob during the protest which was occurring. Within the G20 act at first it was an civil protest were the police officers had no aggression towards the protesters but after sometime within the afternoon the protestors started to act, wreck less and started to yell out things within the community.

Within the video it shows that the civilians that were attacked upon in this event has affected them so much because of the aggression or police brutality of the police officers that had laid upon them when they were just peaceful protestors . The main goal of this protest for the officers in the G20 act was to protect the summit fence. Within the documentary it is shown that the rioters smashed the windows and they broke police officers cars, also lit them on fire and break glass windows and damage property in a sever manner. During the time of the G20 act the police officers mood switched from being civil to being at a point where they had enough of this protest.  More over within the time the police officers mood became very aggressive and they started to attack upon the individuals. The video shows that the civilians that were brutally attacked by many of the police officers. Such as they attacked an Quebec women who was arrested without an warrant, an handicap man that had only one leg who was arrested after his prose tic leg was pulled out, an carpenter that was attacked upon while recording the event. All of these individuals that were shown in the video, were to be seen innocent, and did not harm anyone but yet they were a part of the protest that’s all.

Among the protesters there were 10,000 officers that were involved that could believe that everyone could be innocent or not they could not tell during the event. The tactic officers went overboard with their aggression with the protestors. Such the police officers used pepper spray and were shooting rubber bullets at them for no reason. Within the Video one of the civilians mentions that one of police officers had no name tag and then mentioned that “there could be only one reason” that the officer could have his name tag off. By taking his name tag off it is an illegal act or a deviant act that the officer has committed. Later on within the video it is shown that in the detention room where there were 1100 people arrested  in the cell cages with just only portable washrooms , and these civilians would not get there food after 12 hours within the day which would be in the afternoon. Also within the day as spoken within the video the civilians would get searched such as getting strip searched for dangerous aspects or items that they can harm themselves or others with, personally it made the civilians uncomfortable and humiliated and embarrassed upon the fact that they have gone this far by searching them now?.

While the G20 act was occurring some of the officers took it to far by putting force upon the people in the video the protestors would shout and scream “ Let us Go” because the police officers were brutal against the innocent people.  In my opinion the video has opened my eyes upon the fact that officers use such brutality towards people and it shows certain aggression in the video. It shows that they can go to any extent to fight or recklessly harm an innocent civilian. They were being unreasonable by arresting people without a warrant by attacking them and injuring them without any consent.

Within the G20 act if the protesters were within a limit and not grew during the time frame it would have been controllable and not many people would have been injured but as the protestors increased the police officers increased. My opinion would be focusing upon the fact that the police officers treated the protestors wrong. If this was to happen in Vancouver as bad as the G20 act was there would be organizations to deal with the police complaints and there would be more ways to handle the situation.

References:

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/the%2Bfifth%2Bestate/Season%2B36/ID/1818797039/

On June 26th, 2010, Toronto held an event in which leaders from all over the world settled for two days to discuss important financial information. This event created several protests before the G20 Summit even started. The day prior to the event, metal fences were posted around the area where the meetings were taking place, with posters and banners so that officials could not see what was happening on the other side of the fence. Security started off with Toronto Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Forces and within twenty four hours, there were over 20,000 police officers that came to the aid in hopes to control the riots and protests. To the political leader’s knowledge, the G20 went smoothly. They believed that the city was quiet, and it seemed that way because officers had placed borders blocks away from the G20 so no one could get near the location where the G20 was taking place. After watching the video “You Should Have Stayed Home” on CBC, viewers got a sense of what happened from the standpoint of people who either participated in the protest or were curious and attended to see what it was all about. Through the footage, viewers could see that there was already heavy police presence which gave an aggressive vibe to the situation. Officers were dressed in riot gear walking the streets, making it look as if they were expecting a situation to occur. There were several groups that came to protest at the G20, some came to protest against the G20, and some came to make awareness to other issues. Whatever their reasons were, they were peacefully protesting. Later during the afternoon, some protesters broke off from the group and started to vandalize property. This is when the commotion truly began. Officers stood by and watched windows and cars get vandalized, since they were ordered to stand back. This set the mood for other individuals who saw the police take no action. Quickly, a riot broke out, and since officers were told to stand down from getting involved, officers began to harass people peacefully protesting blocks away. People were brutally assaulted by police officers with rubber bullets and tear gas for not moving from the designated protesting area! The officers violated the rights of citizens to protest, meanwhile, people were committing actual crimes and no one bothered to intervene for a long period of time. Once there were enough officers to create a strong force, officers began trying to control the situation using unnecessary physical force. Several clips in the CBC documentary exploited the officers; yet, the Police Chief did not seem too bothered about the footage. People were dragged by the arms and neck behind a lineup of police officers, and it is unknown what abuse took place there. One man ended up with a broken arm and the police did not obtain medical attention, until the day after, another physically challenged older man was dragged to the side of the street because he could not get up quick enough. People where unlawfully detained in holding centers, made of metal cages bounded up, and a porta- potty with no doors. The cells were overcrowded and freezing cold, there were no blankets or pillows and some people hand no choice but to stand. Officers had broken a law because they had a mix of adults and underage children placed in the same cells. The basic necessity’s such as food, water and medical attention were ignored for hours, up to the next day. People were strip searched for no reason, they were not criminals, they were just peacefully protesting. More than 1,000 people were charged with ridiculous accusations, most of them dropped. This event took a huge toll on the people of Toronto, especially the ones who were brutally attacked, hungry and thirsty or the ones forced to use a washroom in front of strangers. The footage is truly disturbing to view. The title “You Should Have Stayed at Home” is unfair but true depending on your point of view. I think it is unfair because people came from far and wide to see what the G20 was about, and to give awareness to the issues in the city. The protest was going great until a few people decided to protest in their own way. I don’t believe people came with the intent to create a riot, people watching probably got involved because of the atmosphere. If the police were letting vandalism go on, why not join the group and have a little fun?

At the glance of the cover of Gord Hill’s comic, I noticed that there are two groups of people rivaling each other. The left side of the cover appears to be a group of rebels and the right side of the cover appears to be a group of riot police. The comic had illustration the protestors wearing full black vandalizing cars, breaking glass windows, and stealing parts of mannequins from shops. The protestors were shown to resist the force of the police, throwing rocks at a group of cops. The comic also illustrated the police brutality that occurred in the G20 Toronto summit. The police were aggressive to the pacifist protesters and proceed to charge at them after the pacifist protestors finished singing Canada’s national anthem, “Oh Canada.” Mounted police were sent to the event, so that they can easily charge into the crowd and “catch the agitators.” Due to having felt humiliated for being unable to control the crowd decided to assault anyone whether they are the pacifist protestors or a citizen passing by. At the last page of the comic, we see more of police attacking the protestors as well as arresting someone because they found evidence that the person might be one of the vandals from the protest. The last page also showed a bunch of riot police cornering a group of people into one area, calling the technique “Kettle” and also grabbing prisoners from the crowd and putting them on an unmarked police van. The comic then explains that an old studio was used to as a prison to put the protestors in.

There are many things in the comic that got my mind thinking. Firstly, the comic seemed to show more of the police brutality than the protest. Isn’t the comic called Anti-Capitalist Resistance?  Secondly, there is some uninformed information in the comic such as the reason to attack the pacifist protestors. The only reason that was given to why they attacked the protestors is because they failed to control them, but before that they were already attacking the protest. Another unexplained information is the raiding of the university at the last page of the comic. The police raided the university, but there was no reason why they raided the building other than the information that is where the protests were staying.

Other than the uninformed information, the comic displayed the relation between the police and the public citizens. There were many arrests of protests during the G20 incident, but shouldn’t the police who committed brutality be accountable for their actions?

My impression of the representation of the G20 summit was that it did not in fact show most of the cover-up done by the police as well as the laws at the time it took place. Overall my impression was that the Fifth Estate did a good job at projecting all sides of the story, from the police deviance (attacking individuals from behind, giving the order to have the dog attack a person, not wearing name tags to be unidentifiable, using smoke bombs on unsuspecting individuals ,etc), to the small groups of individuals who did damage police cars and buildings as well as the individuals who were detained and beaten by officers for no reason.

As for the issues arising, I believe the issues will be more faced in the direction of the police from its citizens of Toronto and across the country. After seeing the video, I was extremely angered mainly at the fact that the police were able to detain people well over the 24 hour limit, as well as deny them legal counsel and basic necessities (food, water, etc) as shown in the video. I was also extremely angered that there were well over 1100 people detained and only 98 charged with 12 pleading guilty. It showed that the police used additional force and power when not entitled to. Also, another issue that I found upsetting was that at the time the video was made, only 1 officer had been charged. There were hundred of officers breaking the law and more importantly causing bodily harm. The real issues arising will be the public’s lack of trust in its police force and how to proceed with the trust broken.

The police deviance and accountability depicted, I noticed that even after the video of officers using excessive force was shown to the Bill Blair, the police Commissioner, his reaction did not differ as one would suspect. With regards to the accountability, I feel that no matter what the officers would receive, as some only received docked pay and others a few days suspended, it is not enough since clearly damaging a few individuals’ physical capabilities and more importantly their psyche. The trust that is placed in the police is most definitely broken even in myself. After hearing what occurred and talking with friends that went to the summit and seeing it now, it brings back many emotions even though I was not there.

Regarding the title, “you should have stayed at home”, as said in the documentary “I find it offensive”, I too do find it offensive.  The implications of making that statement suggest that the individuals that were detained due to being on a mission to cause trouble or make a statement when in fact most weren’t aware of what was actually occurring and were more curious at seeing a large peaceful protest.

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

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?

References: 

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

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/black+bloc?s=t