Monday, December 13, 2010

G20 Part 3

Just got my hands on some Hansard Documents form when Bill Blair Testified in front of the Commons Committee on Public Safety. What is the charge for lying to the Commons?

Once and a while, the Hansard index provides a great deal of information. Note this quote from Chief Bill Blair:

“First of all, every police officer who was working on the G-8 and G-20 summit sites undertook training on the limits of their legal authority. It was about six hours of classroom training and then a full day of practical training to ensure every officer knew the limits of their authority. There was no period of time where any such thing as martial law was declared. In fact, we ensured that all our officers received training.”

This is not what the York Police have said. From the Ombudsman Report:

“ 253 We learned that York Regional Police officers assigned to G20 summit security did not find out about Regulation 233/10 until it was already in effect, even though some of these officers were actually responsible for fence security. Most York officers heard about the regulation through the media. The York Regional Police informed us that it sent about 450 officers to Toronto to assist the Toronto Police Service with the summit. York officers were assigned to various duties. Three teams of 41-49 officers, including supervisors, were assigned directly to the fence line, and a fourth team was stationed in the “the PATH” (a network of underground pathways in downtown Toronto) below the fence line. With respect to training regarding Regulation 233/10, the York Regional Police told us: At no time did he [the York Regional Police Inspector who acted as liaison during the summit with the Toronto Police Service] receive any material or information about the “fence line law” that could have been
disseminated to the participating officers.

254 Apparently, the Toronto Police Service also provided no information about
Regulation 233/10 to York officers when they checked in and attended morning
roll call sessions on June 21 and 22, 2010. It wasn’t until June 23, 2010, that some but not all, of the York Regional Police Supervisors were briefed on the
Regulation, and began to educate other officers. Some officers received
information about the Regulation, the Act and a document entitled “Toronto Police Service 2010 G20 Summit Interdiction Zone Access Policy and Procedure” while “street side.” Other York officers apparently never received any information about the Regulation, because they were not working when the information was supplied or the information was never specifically provided to their team. The York Regional Police told our Office:

As the summit carried on, most York officers became aware of the fence
law through the media. Some did not find out until they saw the press
conference with [the Toronto Police Chief] on Friday, June 25. It is
unknown whether or not all York officers received the information about
the fence line law, and if they did, when that notification actually took

Then there is this:
“Chief William Blair:
Okay. First of all, I have a rule in the Toronto Police Service--it's my rule; it's in accordance with the policy of my Police Services Board--that our officers will wear their names displayed on their uniforms. You'll notice that I wear mine.”

It’s my rule. Sorry Bill. I looked into this. This is whole-heartedly NOT your rule. Unless your used to fighting AGAINST rules that you are for. This was handed down by a Human Rights Commission for all officers in 2003. In 2005 it was implemented and halted for a study to see if it was detrimental to the well-being of the officers. Needless to say, it hadn’t been in all the years it had been implemented in other jurisdictions which would have taken about 5 minutes to research. Then it was a money problem, and then, you decided to say okay, after saying you wanted it to be optional. So no, Mr. Blair…it is NOT your rule. It was a rule that came into effect while you were in office fighting against it.

“What I have stated is that if they have made a choice to engage in misconduct by disobeying a rule of the service, they will be held accountable and be disciplined.”
Does this apply to all of those under your command in this instance, or only Toronto Officers. This is a very important distinction since there are many other officers under your command at the time that are NOT Toronto Police members. If they are under your command AT THE TIME, do they abide by your (proven to not be) rules? Or do they fall under the Uniform command of their originating detachments.

“Chief William Blair:
There was one particular incident, and it relates directly to the event we've displayed. This took place on Friday evening. There were no criminal charges arising from this event, which is one of the reasons I felt I could bring images of it; it doesn't compromise any ongoing criminal trial.

With this event, there was a clear element within that demonstration. I've spoken to two reporters who were with that crowd, and they were standing within 20 feet of this, yet both of them reported the next day that the crowd was provoked when the police donned their helmets.

I was out there that day and I witnessed what was taking place. There were things being thrown at the police from that group—golf balls and rocks and urine and feces—and the police officers put their helmets on to protect themselves from that assault.
The reporters were there and witnessed that, and yet there was not a single mention, not only of that assault but even of the presence of this group, in any of the media reporting on Friday night or on Saturday morning. I thought it was an extraordinary omission.”

I’d like to see those files and photos you have. If this is the ‘incident’ I think you’re speaking about, I was there, in front of Police Headquarters. This is not how I remember it, nor how I filmed it. In fact, in looking at my footage, I found another 3 or 4 officers without their badges.

“Mr. Rick Norlock:
For the 19,000 security personnel who were in Toronto, do you believe you had sufficient resources—

Chief William Blair:
I'm sorry, sir, but not all 19,000 of them were in Toronto. They were split between the two events.

Mr. Rick Norlock:
In Toronto, about how many personnel were there?

Chief William Blair:
Initially, I believe, the number was approximately 6,000, but when the events transpired on Saturday and it became clear that we needed additional personnel and help, the help was forthcoming. The OPP sent a lot of their resources down from Huntsville on Saturday night to help us in Toronto.”

So…when all of this was happening…only 1/3 of the entire force was in Toronto? And, as I’d assume, 1/3 of them off-duty? Of the 19,000 Officers involved, 2/3 were designated to an area that wouldn’t experience the major problems. This seems like an… I wouldn’t call it an oversight…I’d call goddamned fucking common sense to send the majority to Toronto and call them up to you if needed.

“Mr. Roger Gaudet (Montcalm, BQ):
Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Blair and Mr. Giroux, I have seen the photos. How come you did not arrest the people in disguises and masks? You went into a university gymnasium at four o'clock in the morning and you arrested people as they slept.

There were people in masks. But it was not Halloween weekend, it was June. Halloween is October 31. How come you did not arrest those people on the spot? They were all together. It would have been easy to surround them and take them off to prison. That would have settled the matter for the weekend. But you let them go and, instead, you arrested some poor students in a university gymnasium. Can you explain the logic behind that?


Chief William Blair:
Certainly, sir, I'd be delighted to explain that to you. This was a crowd of several thousand, and for the police to penetrate into that crowd in an effort to apprehend those individuals.... First of all, they had not yet begun to riot tumultuously, as they did the following day. So unfortunately, there needs to be access—


Mr. Roger Gaudet:
Those people were wearing masks. It wasn't a costume party.


Chief William Blair:
Yes, and—


Mr. Roger Gaudet:
You knew what you had to do. You should have arrested them immediately. But no, the force's finest went to a university gymnasium the next morning. It is ridiculous.


Chief William Blair:
Mr. Gaudet, if I may answer your question, the decision was made to not try to penetrate that crowd, because it would have created a more dangerous situation. In fact, an operational decision was made by the investigators that a safer place to apprehend people whom they believed were involved in criminal activity was the school gymnasium, away from the crowd. That was a safer thing to do.

Our responsibility is to maintain the rule of law and to protect the public, but also to do our job in a way that does not compromise public safety. The decision was made to not try to penetrate that crowd to remove this group, but rather to do it in a safer environment, which was why the arrests were made in a school gymnasium in the very early hours of the morning, as opposed to out on the street where a riot might have ensued.”

Okay. I’m confused. The question asked is why “ONCE THE BLACK BLOC BEGAN BREAKING SHIT” why did you not do anything. His Answer: They had not begun to riot tumultuously”. Hey…he used the key words to invoke the Riot Act, which, as I recall was never invoked, and therefore basically makes ‘breaching the peace’ moot. Thanks for that. Lovely evidence. Next!
“the decision was made to not try to penetrate that crowd, because it would have created a more dangerous situation” Possibly…but…still your job. But we have seen your cops running away. So…maybe it was dangerous, or you called them off, on of the two really.
“In fact, an operational decision was made by the investigators that a safer place to apprehend people whom they believed were involved in criminal activity was the school gymnasium, away from the crowd.” - If that’s what your going with. Good for you. Stick by your investigators. Would you be surprised to know, that 70, out of 70 charges laid by your ‘investigators’ were dropped. So much for it being the better place to arrest them. Operational decision indicates that they had very good evidence. The Crown doesn’t appear to think so. I’m going with the Crown on this. You also indicated that an arrest at gunpoint is unusual. Yet, these 70 people who did nothing as described by our courts were arrested at gun point. Placed in zip-ties, had those removed while going past media, and had them re-applied. Not only were there at least 70 false arrests (sorry, ‘operational decision’ is not the right term), they were also done at gunpoint which, as you say, is unusual. You mention that of the 1100 arrests, 900 were for breach of the peace. If that were the case, then your numbers are off. You have 100 or so still facing charges. 70 charges dropped in this incident. 300 dropped or deferred to a questionable “donate to charity’ scheme during the first court appearance. Given the benefit of the doubt, you’re off by a third. And as Police Chief, after many months, testifying before a FEDERAL panel, you should know what the hell you’re saying.

“The decision was made to not try to penetrate that crowd to remove this group, but rather to do it in a safer environment, which was why the arrests were made in a school gymnasium in the very early hours of the morning, as opposed to out on the street where a riot might have ensued.”
Remember, the ‘crowd’ he’s referring to extricated themselves from the larger group, moving, unaided across Queen Street to Yonge, and then up Yonge Street uninhibited by the police. At all. All the qualifications for “riot” were met. He failed, as did all the other officers in failing to quell the riot in his/her jurisdiction, an offence punishable under the Police Services Act.

“as opposed to out on the street where a riot might have ensued.” Let’s look at this again. You mean the riot that was ALREADY ensuing…by your own words.
Again…for clarification he stated: “We didn’t go in and arrest them during the riot, for fear of starting a riot”.

Further in the Hansard Record:

” With great respect, I think that all of those video images that have been posted and displayed demonstrate quite clearly that the officers acted with restraint; they acted according to the rule of law; they acted within their lawful authorities; they maintained their discipline; and they did their very best to protect the citizens of Toronto, while at the same time trying to facilitate lawful, peaceful protest.”
No. Unless were watching different videos.

“The overwhelming majority of citizens helped us and cooperated with that. Some chose not to and placed themselves at risk of being apprehended and arrested.”
Is that the citizens that were out buying groceries? Or walking their dog? Or like me, asking a cop if the area was clear and basically being sent INTO the kettle at Queen and Spadina? As you have stated, downtown Toronto was NOT a scene of martial law, and therefore all you “we told you to stay out” phraseology is moot. No marital law means NO stopping of the freedom of movement, which allows me to travel any part of city, NAY any part of the country I want, when I want. YOU do not decide my fate. In this case, my fate is decided by me alone. You breech of the peace arrests were either false (no actual “breach of the peace”) or dubious at best. If this was not the G20, and you had 1100 arrests and only 100 charges that go on to trial, you would not only be fired, but held to account for all the nefarious charges. You cannot arrest that many people and only have less than a 10% CHARGE rate, let alone a conviction rate. Trust me when I say more charges will be dropped. This is not a one off people. This is going to become the norm. So many people have had to hire lawyers for something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. It’s more than high time that the police pay for their own mistakes, versus the public purse paying for them. NO officer found guilty of wrong doing either by Criminal Court nor in Civil Lawsuits should be paid out by the taxpayer. If they want to act illegally, they can pay it themselves. There is no place for public money to pay the public for wrongs committed against them by the vary people they pay through their taxes to protect them. It’s a criminal cabal that must be stopped.

“Chief William Blair:
First of all, on our responsibility to maintain the safety and security of the summit, I believe that was a successful mission. There was no interference with either the summit site itself or the motorcades.”
ISU’s direct responsibility, not yours. Yours was outside of the fence. They were acting under the International Protected Persons Act…you …

“There was difficulty in maintaining the public peace. We certainly saw significant disruptions to the public peace, damage to private property, and the injury of two innocent people, including police officers, on Saturday afternoon. It then required a great deal of work over the next two days to prevent a further breach of the peace in the city of Toronto and to protect our citizens.”
You recently said 10 officers were injured. Were you lying then, or are you lying now? Or did you simply misspeak, as is the convention of today.

“A number of reviews are taking place. We are cooperating fully with those reviews because I believe it is the responsibility of the police to be publicly accountable to the public through our civilian authorities. We are doing our best to do that.”
That is, except the SIU who has said you’re not helping, and the Ombudsman which we know you didn’t help. If by doing you’re best, you mean you’re not doing anything, then I believe you.

“It's very unfortunate that the right of Canadians to engage in lawful, peaceful protest was compromised by the actions of criminal groups who made it impossible, frankly.”
Like the criminal groups at Queen and Spadina, or at the Novotel. Yeah…those FRIGHTENING people leaving the Keg after a meal. You must have been so frightened. I now totally understand why you beat a reporter that night. Wait…no, I don’t. I thought ALL policing was to be done on an as seen basis. Even if there ARE criminal elements within a peaceful group…if the group is peaceful, you treat them the same. NOTHING on the street is supposed to met out for court. Court is one thing, the street is another. I don’t care if you have a serial killer in the group. If he/she is NOT violent, you DO NOT perpetrate violence against them. That only does two things, get the case dropped, and gives yourself a bad name.

“I have to tell you that one of the challenges of trying to police lawful, peaceful protests and respect all citizens' rights to express themselves is that it's very difficult when you're also trying to manage a mob. The mob was using the cover of a large, law-abiding crowd to launch their illegal attacks on the city and on our citizens. It did compromise our ability, to some extent, to continue to work to maintain those lawful, peaceful protests and the protestors' rights to do that.”
But you didn’t manage the mob. In fact, earlier you said you COULDN’T while trying to maintain the peaceful protest. You let them run free to arrest them later when it wouldn’t turn into a riot. So…you let a riot take place, because of the riot, and arrested uninvolved individuals 12 hours or so later, so as to not start a riot. You sir…are a RIOT…if it wasn’t so serious. Illegal attacks on our citizens? Windows are citizens? The only illegal attacks on citizens I saw that weekend were from your gang.
“Comprimised our ability to maintain peaceful protests?” So, instead you arrest them all. That’s not what you’re saying, but that’s what seemed to have happened.

“Even after the riot had taken place, there were other protests that were taking place and that we were able to work with, but some of our ability to do that was made very difficult. Even as we moved with 10,000 people, with several hundred were attacking our city, we stayed with the 10,000 and we got them back safely to their points of origin. We allowed them to do what they had come to do, which was to protest lawfully”
I would put it at about 100% that those 10,000 lawful protestors would have been just fine without police protection. They would have gotten safely to wherever they were going without those officers whose duty and responsibility it was to quell the riot, again, as stated in the Police Services Act. If the Police Chief wants to keep bringing up that a “riot” took place, then I will keep bringing up the Police Services Act that states he must quell the Riot (and read the Riot Act).

“I understand that he has those complaints and he's investigating them. Frankly, my responsibility is to do everything I can to cooperate and to provide him with the evidence and information he needs to do his job, and then I will respect the decisions he makes on the basis of that evidence.”
How about dictating to your officers that failure to appear, or make yourselves available for questioning will result in your immediate firing from the force. THAT is co-operation. Stating that it is your right and the officer’s right not to testify is not good enough. In fact, one in the public would view it as either trying to conceal evidence, or stopping self-incrimination. Either way, you look bad in the eyes of the public, and it’s no giant leap to guess why they don’t trust you.

“Yes, there were cameras every 10 feet, in fact. I went through the facility to ensure that there was thorough coverage of the video cameras. Any areas that were not covered by camera were marked off and blocked off and no prisoners were taken into those areas.” You’re now an expert on cameras and their coverage zones. Good for you. By the way, for those following along on the home game, he just admitted that there were areas in the detention centre that were unmonitored.

“First of all, they were all given two online training requirements that they had to complete successfully{sic}, and then at least one full day of operational training. Most of the online work pertained to their legal authorities. We wanted to ensure that our police officers knew the limits of their authorities and that they knew how to work together in maintaining public safety.”
Did that include the PWPA, since the York Regional Police seem to dispute that.

“Training was very important to us. We wanted to make sure that our people knew how to work together, that our communication systems worked, that there was consistency in our policies and operational directives, and that there was a very clear line of communication and a clear line of command.”
Except that, again, the York Regional Police dispute this, The OPP not wearing ID disputes this (YOU are the one in charge, therefore everyone is under YOUR policy, regardless of actual juritiction, and you yourself said “ONCE I FOUND OUT ABOUT THE SO CALLED KETTLING AT QUEEN AND SPADINA”…means, you Chief, were NOT in charge of those under your charge.

“One of the challenges in policing an event of this magnitude is ensuring that your people maintain their ranks, maintain their discipline, and do their job in a way that is lawful. So we trained our people quite relentlessly in preparation for this event.”
Except that you failed them, in what you yourself had made into law, for your officers to use and was abused throughout the city. Your requested invocation of the PWPA was used at various locations around the city, illegally, to detain hundreds, if not thousands of people to search them. You claim only two were arrested. While that may be true, it’s severely missing the point.

“Quite frankly, we know, because events like the G-20 have happened in other places, that public complaints are an inevitable result. Civil suits are an inevitable result. Calls for public inquiries are also an inevitable result. Quite frankly, calls for the resignation or firing of the chief of police are usually an inevitable result. We prepared our people for those complaints. We took every prudent step we were able to in order to ensure that our people knew their jobs, that they were properly supervised and properly managed, and did their job according to the rule of law.”
Except, advising them of the rule of law, I agree. In fact, there is ample evidence to prove you right, except for the “properly supervised and properly managed” part.

“As an area to secure, if it had been held in one of the buildings, because it's isolated from other buildings, it would perhaps have had less impact on other businesses and citizens. In the area where the summit subsequently took place, there are a number of condominium buildings. There are people who live and work in that area. It might have had less impact on their daily operations and lives if the summit site had been at that location.”
So much for “people were told not to go downtown” since, as you indicated there were numerous people who lived in the area.

“We even went to the extent of delivering over one million flyers to the people of Toronto and about ten thousand flyers to the businesses impacted in that location. We spent money and took out advertisements in six of our newspapers, including in several different languages, informing the people of Toronto of what they might expect as an impact, both through traffic disruptions and their ability to move through the area secured for the summit.”
With no mention of the PWPA…funny that.

“We wanted to provide as much information as possible to our citizens to minimize and mitigate the impact of the summit on their daily lives.”
Except the PWPA...

“In addition, there was a very significant breach of the peace that took place on Saturday. There was, in my opinion, a very reasonable apprehension of a continued risk of a breach of the peace that continued throughout that weekend at a number of different locations. Decisions were made by the incident commanders and operational people on the ground that it was necessary, to prevent a breach of the peace, to detain those individuals under the breach of peace legislation of the Criminal Code, and that was done.”
Other than the day you let the riot happen, nothing else came close to satisfying ‘breach of peace’. Are you really that daft? Novotel, where upwards of hundreds were arrested, were in jeopardy of breaching the peace?

“A significant number of people who were apprehended were not apprehended with the intention of bringing criminal charges against them. Rather, they were apprehended under the breach of peace legislation to prevent that breach. The circumstances were such that I think we had a very real apprehension that the peace was very much at risk from the demonstrations taking place over that weekend. Certainly there was strong evidence from what transpired on Saturday afternoon about the intent of those individuals.”
No. There wasn’t. This is you lying again. You mention ‘individuals’. That indicates a specific crime. Breach of the peace is not specific, so, your either talking about two different crimes, or lying about two different crimes. Either way, your lying to the House of Commons. In either case, you do NOT arrest willy-nilly to make up for Saturday.

“People were apprehended and detained under that legislation without an intention to bring them up on criminal charges, because there is no charge under breach of the peace. It is simply preventive detention to maintain the public peace.”
This is the most complex of the arguments you have made. But it’s not complex at all. You can only detain someone under this legislation if you have a STRONG feeling that they will do this. As is was, there was not. So this point is also moot.

“We've had quite an issue in Toronto. I'll explain this as quickly as I can. When I issued an order that we would wear name tags, a number of concerns were raised by our police union.”
Without discounting the concerns of the Union, I’ll say this. “When I issued an order”…that was made two year previous by the people who control you, that you fought against, that was originally made by the Human Rights Commission, is NOT your order. No matter how you try to spin it.

NOTE: The quoted testimony from Bill Blair is from the Hansard Record of the Federal Government. Testimony is available here:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

G20, New Thoughts, Part 2

Watch Toronto G20 Exposed. If you want to see what was ACTUALLY experienced by people downtown, those who live there, those who got there by chance, and those who were their by choice. However they got there, you NEED to see that movie. If you see what has happened, and hear/see what was said and done at the time, this folks is why we need a public inquiry. There is, without any shadow of a doubt, that major abuses were committed that week. This is the biggest blight that could EVER come down on the Police forces, and yet, NOTHING is being done. There are various small inquires without teeth going on. As we’ve seen this week, the Police can be shamed into helping with the investigations, but that only goes so far. The Police did NOT co-operate with the SIU until the new video came out. Even on the first video, those individual officers could be identified to the satisfaction of the court, but somehow NOT to the satisfaction of the SIU. If grainy footage is all the police have to go on in the course of a normal investigation, they go to the public with it. They did not do that in this case. They could have. Someone OTHER than other officers knows them too. We now ‘know’ the names of those officers involved. 14 of them in total. So…after the new video came out it took a total of ONE DAY to get to 14 identified officers. Now they say they’ve co-operated. That’s a load of bull. They ONLY co-operated when they were called out on it. Chief Blair was called out on his ‘doctored and armed’ comment, which he then had to retract. The web of lies is slowly unravelling. The Ombudsman report has shown that Blair lied about who asked for and who knew about the PWPA. Then, to deflect, the police mislead the public about what the Report was about. It was NOT about the arrests, it was about the implementation and use of the regulation. That was his job. And he did it. Without the help of the officers who were identified using the PWPA in inappropriate locations. This means that either the officer didn’t understand his orders (a fault of the brass), or overstepped his duties (a fault of the officer). Either way, the officers who did this, and were identified by the Ombudsman, were protected by the Police Chief and were not allowed to talk to the Ombudsman after two requests. By talking to the officers involved, the report could have also contained details such as:
- When did the officers receive their briefing about this law
- How much information was given to them
- How ACCURATE was the info given to them
- How were the officers briefed
- What was in the actual briefing notes

These questions are fundamental to the report, about how it was enacted and how it was USED, which is what his prevue was. Therefore, it WAS appropriate for the Ombudsman to question the involved officers, despite what the Police Chief has indicated. If his job was to review the implementation and use of the law, than those who implemented it and used it are the very FIRST people you need to interview. There is NO GOOD reason why the police would refuse. Other ongoing investigations are NOT looking at the implementation of that law. No one currently charged is being charged with a PWPA offence. Therefore, there is no ‘protecting investigations’ going on here. It’s clear-cut avoidance of something that would have made them look bad.

The more we allow everyone to delay the needed public inquiry; more and more evidence can be hidden or destroyed. The police and politicians and anyone else involved NEED to be held accountable for all that has been done. This is NOT as simple as one or two people being fired, resigning, or not being re-elected. This is much more complex than that. How can more than 1100 people be arrested, some 300 charged, 200 of THOSE subsequently dropped, meanwhile, they’re asking US to identify the vandals that they seem to claim they were arresting the next day. How is it that charges can be made under the PWPA, and then, when the individual gets to court on his appointed day be told the charges may have been lost in the mail? That is ludicrous. There is NO WAY that this kind of thing should be happening in civilized society. And that people can still think that the cops should have beaten MORE people makes me physically sick.

Before I watched the documentary, I was pissed at what happened. I was there; I saw a lot of things that would NOT be allowed to happen on a daily basis. And, contrary to what is being said, there is NOTHING in law that defined that Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from any other Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Meaning that if they can’t do it today, they couldn’t do it then. From everything that I saw that weekend, though some of the searches may have been legal, the vast majority were anything but. Put it this way, I have the same chance of carrying something ‘illegal’ today as I did on that day. Yet, when I was out today, I wasn’t searched. There also something deeply troubling when you hear eyewash being claimed as a weapon, or goggles.

Maybe it would have been better if the ISU and more specifically the Toronto Police to have googled “G20” before the summit to see what would likely happen, and say the reasons why people had things that were far from illegal. I’ll give you a hint, its protection FROM the cops. Pepper Spray and Tear Gas into peaceful crowds seems to happen a lot. Therefore, people are now protecting themselves while exercising their rights.

At a certain point, there will be too many lies uncovered for the narrative to withstand scrutiny. There will be a bloodlust for heads to roll over this. There WILL be private prosecutions against officers who think that they are above the law. There will be justice for all those who were wronged during the G20. Sad thing is, for some of us, there won’t be any compensation for what happened. There is no compensation for those who were illegally detained and searched, but not arrested or have anything confiscated. Currently, the only potential compensation that people like me have is the ability to say I was right, you were wrong. And frankly, that’s not good enough. The totality of what happened must come to light. The public needs to know what happened inside the jail, since all we have are horror stories from the detainees and sunshine and lollipops from the police. The tapes tell the story in context. Release those tapes. Most of the people still charged will want those tapes as evidence FOR them, so, as long as they agree, release them. None of these trials will likely go to a jury, so you don’t have to worry about tainting the jury pool either. If you’re worried that releasing them will jeopardize the other investigations going on, then say so. Releasing them however, will not jeopardize your independent review, as it is only a review, and you’re not likely to press any charges against your officers.

It should be blatantly obvious by now that the police had no idea what they were doing, and then over-reacted in a show of force that can only be described as excessive.
Once again, anything MORE THAN what is needed to affect an arrest is excessive. If the arrest is not legal, than ANY force used is deemed excessive.

Beating a reporter being held by two cops is excessive.
Forcibly strip searching a non-resisting person is excessive.
Strip searching a person in front of a group IN PUBLIC is excessive and sexual harassment if not worse.
Telling non-protesting kettled neighbourhood residents to move, when they can’t, and then beating them is excessive.
Ripping a man’s prosthetic leg off and telling him to walk, and when he can’t, drag him and injure him, is excessive.
Sitting on someone’s torso, beating them, while another officer digs his thumb into the neck of the person, causing them to almost pass out…is excessive.
“Searching” a woman by pawing at her breasts and rubbing her vagina is not excessive…it’s closer to fucking rape!

What is clear to me, is that this is going to get MUCH worse before it gets better. Many officers likely know who these offensive officers are. This is going to be as bad for them, as it is for us when all the information comes out. If any officer stood by, while a criminal offence was being committed, they are just as guilty as the ones committing the offence. That’s the law that the citizens are ruled by, that’s the law that the cops should live under. All that does however is make the wall of silence even thicker. Not to mention the fact that if officers do come forward, their lives may be at risk on the job as well… It’s a tricky situation.

We CAN get to the bottom of all of this. It’s just going to take a full public inquiry. thoughts.

I know I don't seem to update this much...but here's a little something...

With everything that has happened over the last week and a half with regards to the recent G20 Summit in Toronto, I decided it was finally time to watch G20 Exposed.
I got to part 4 before feeling the need to write. Hearing what was said at the time, versus what is being said now, there is absolutely no doubt that the actions of the various governments and police forces need to be reviewed. This review MUST have the power to lay charges, and the power of subpoena. There is NO DOUBT now that we were lied to at the time, and the lies continue to this day. Witness the recent smearing of Adam Nobody and the person that took the video of him being beaten by police. And then the admission that the Police Chief was wrong about what he said, that he ‘misspoke’ or ‘over spoke’. There is a big difference between ‘armed and violent’ and ‘unarmed and non-violent’. You should NOT be able to confuse the two. The same thing can be said with ‘doctored’ and ‘tampered with’ versus missing time. I’m sorry but if you can confuse apples and oranges, you shouldn’t be in charge.

If you only watch one part of the documentary, watch part 4. By definition, excessive force is usually defined by ‘more force than in necessary’. What you hear in part 4 is, by its very definition, excessive force. Ripping off a man’s prosthetic leg and then telling him to walk, and when he can’t, hop, is disgusting behaviour at best. To then drag him, have his head squished into the ground, elbows digging into the ground, accusing him of having a weapon, resisting arrest, throw him on the ground, kick and then throw him in a van. I could barely get through the second interview without wanting to throw up a little. It was purely disgusting.

This is NOT how policing is done in Canada. If this is the new norm, than we need to seriously look at re-writing the rules for these people who work for us. There is no doubt that the police over-stepped their bounds.

“But there were riots…” Yes, and very few if any arrests were made for those acts of VANDALISM during the time, and within the week following. Watch the video footage of the ‘riot’. There were no cops ANYWHERE after it broke out. “They had to protect the fence…” There were other officers assigned to do that. I know as I could see them from my front window. From my roof, I could see a lot of cops in alleyways. They were not stopping the vandalism and they were not protecting the fence. And even if they DID get to the fence, through the line of police there, they couldn’t have gotten over it. And if they DID manage to get over it, they couldn’t have gotten to far with all the police INSIDE the fence. At NO TIME was the delegation ever in danger. Never, NOT ONCE. There was NO reason for the police to retreat from the black bloc.

The wall of silence needs to be broken. Individual police officers need to come forward and tell the public what they know. Do it anonymously, do it in front of 50 cameras. I don’t care, just do it. Can you not see that every time your Police Chief lies, it hurts YOU. It’s YOUR reputation on the line, it’s YOUR interactions with the community, it’s YOUR safety that is jeopardized when your Police Chief lies to the public. Police often appeal to the public for help in solving murders, stating one of the reasons many crimes go unsolved for so long is because no one wants to come forward. You see how we feel? Do you think it is possible that the reason people distrust the police is quite possibly your own fault? By not speaking out about your own when they make mistakes, and break the very laws they’re supposed to uphold? Most of Toronto’s Police force are commendable, but if you stay silent and know about any sort of wrong doing, you are no better than those who actually committed the crime.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ghost Hunting Gone Wrong

It’s been a year since the tragedy at Knox College in Toronto. September 2009 saw an internet spawned first date end in tragedy for a 29 year old American woman at the University of Toronto.

They started their escapade on the ground floor, finding a window that they could get through in order to access the building. After making their way up through the building, they managed to make it to the roof. Once on the roof, they decided to try to make it across to another section of the roof by jumping over a void. The male made the leap, the female was not so lucky. She apparently got caught up in the meshing used to keep birds out, and ended up falling to her death. She fell around 2 a.m., alcohol was believed to be a factor.

Rumours of the building being haunted are just that, rumours. To the best of my knowledge, there are no reports of the building being haunted. The building has some history though. In January of 2001, lecturer David Buller was found stabbed to death in his office. His murder remains unsolved to this day.

This story is tragic, but let us use it as an example of what NOT to do when ghost hunting or legend tripping:

It was only a rumour that this place was haunted. There are no published stories or any ‘eyewitness’ testimony. Only stories of stories of stories, no first hand stories seem to exist. An unsolved murder will not make the place haunted!

They had been drinking. This is fine for a first date. Not so good for ghost hunting, or barring that, roof jumping. This may have led to my next point…

Breaking and Entering. These would be criminal offences committed, and not a very bright idea. Some people like me like to have a record of their ghost hunts, just not a criminal record.

Jumping rooftop to rooftop seems cool, and looks good in the movies, but it’s not for you. It’s not easy to judge distance apart from things when they’re also separated by height. Plus, it’s 2am and dark, even with a flashlight, you can only see so much and not nearly enough to try something like that. Remember, you’re not Jack Bauer hunting terrorists, you are YOURSELF hunting ghosts, don’t try to become one.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What I Don't Understand

What I Don’t Understand

Today, over 300 people charged during the G20 summit appeared in court. Many have already had charges dropped, or dropped with a ‘non-guilt’ diversion process where they have to donate some money to charity. These are likely charges that have either no basis in fact, or no chance of conviction. This is unethical at best. DROP the charges or proceed to court, do NOT ‘bribe’ people to make charges go away.

One thing I have not been able to understand is that there are MANY people out there who think that ALL of these people ARE guilty…of the VANDALISM that happened. It was a very small number of people who were involved in this. Police estimates are between 25 (low) and 200 (high). 5 times as many were arrested (of the high number), and of those, only 303 charged. Here’s something to think about before spouting off, how many were charged with vandalism? Very few. Most of these charges did not even need to come to the court to be dropped. They could have just dropped them, and NOT have had people pay for lawyers today. This is completely unacceptable in a democratic society. This is tantamount to a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), in that, the goal would appear to be to waste the ‘accused’ money, only to have the charges dropped. They could have also been dropped at the bail hearing.
I must also say that those who WERE charged with the vandalism (most charged AFTER the summit, based on video and photo evidence) should pay for what they did. Either restitution or jail time.

The Crown has had almost 2 months to go through 300 or so charges. In that amount of time, they could have called the representative lawyers, or sent out letters to drop those charges. Instead, they decide to hold a circus, complete with the ETF, and withdraw the charges. Again, this costs the accused money and time, for something that could have been done much more simply. Most did not seem to have spent much time at all in court. The only thing this does is create a media storm, strengthening the vitriol against those who were unjustly detained.

At a certain point, you just have to say STOP. You’ve done more than enough harm to the City and the reputation of the Justice System.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What a Weekend

This was quite the experience for me. I’d first like to give big thanks to CBC for allowing me to do this this week. This week saw everything. We had an earthquake and the G20 Summit. It truly was a week of ups and down, both physically and emotionally. I was ‘lucky’, I never experienced any of the violence that was seen throughout the weekend on Toronto streets. I did experience the aftermath, but nothing more than that.

There were a few moments from this weekend that I’d like to highlight:

The “Bike Bloc” that I stumbled upon at Yonge and Dundas yesterday was very well handled by the police. The group was led by four bike cops, and trailed by four bike cops, with a few more throughout the area. They stopped them at Yonge and Dundas to regroup to that traffic wasn’t tied up as much, and also seemed to show concern for possible injuries due to the streetcar tracks. It appeared as though the police were really enjoying this, despite probably being beyond tired.

The “Black BAG” protesters I ran into were really funny. I ran into one of them again on my way home last night. These were 3 guys who were upset by the rain while trying to get home to the Spadina and Richmond area; trying to find streets that were open to get there (this was during the Queen and Spadina incident). We stopped for shelter for a moment in a massive downpour so I snapped a pic. Luckily, for a fun pic, props were nearby.

The protest on Friday that I was about to get shots of was also very revealing. As the protest passed me, near the end was a group of five or so people cleaning up the streets, picking up discarded water bottles and the like. THIS is how to protest. Other than scraps of paper, to me it looked like they left the area the way they found it.

This weekend was an eye opener. We’ve all seen Summits like this before on television and the violence it brings from a small group of people who try to change this all for their own agenda.

And then there was the bad that I experienced. I never again want to be searched trying to get home. It’s un-Canadian and un-democratic. I understand the need for security, but if that’s the case, then residents outside of the yellow zone should have been provided ID cards as well, or at least the option of getting one. Some people were unaware of the need for ID, which you don’t always have to carry in this country. A newer neighbour of mine was stopped while driving home, asked why he was entering the area (his home), asked for ID, and because his licence expires soon, it was not updated to the new address. The info is updated with the Ministry, just not on his physical licence. They asked him to prove he lived there. He couldn’t. So they let him in, and asked him to return with a document that proved he lived there, and to get his vehicle.

I saw lots of people being searched for ‘no apparent reason’. Just for being in the area. A friend of mine was detained coming out of a restaurant, AWAY from any violent protest. This is what angers me the most. People who the police should know have nothing to do with the violence being detained in the name of public safety. That’s not the public safety I know.

Then there is what I witnessed on TV, and thankfully it didn’t happen to me. The inhumane practice of “kettleing” protesters. This was a tactic used by police in London England. It basically resulted in the death of one resident of the area who was trying to find his way home after work, not given info by the police on how to get out of the area, was beaten by the police and left for dead. The police then tried to cover it up with the help of their coroner who said he died of natural causes. A second autopsy proved this false.

The events of this weekend are far from over. This will continue to be played out in the weeks and possibly months to come with all the arrests that were made. The fact that many people have been released without charge should not go unnoticed. As well as some of the statements made by police to journalists and camera crews who were arrested and or witnessed arrests. Statements like “that shouldn’t have happened” in regards to a Guardian reporter being punched in the stomach and then elbowed in the back, as told by Steve Paikan (TVO). Or “don’t worry, you’ll be released soon, you didn’t do anything”.

Statements like this are deeply troubling.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Secret Documents and What They Mean For Democracy

Last night we all found out about the sweeping new powers of arrest granted to Police Officers, Security Guards and the Military. These were apparently given during a secret cabinet meeting in early June, went into effect June 14th and will finish by June 28th. It won’t be ‘public knowledge’ until July 3rd, when the new regulations are published province wide. This is an end run around our rights, and NO ONE should stand for it. To put it mildly, I’d likely be arrested if I didn’t know about this change. Why…because I knew what my rights were before hand. This throws all of that out the window. Don’t kid yourself. This had to be the plan all along. What better way to control the crowd than a secret document that gives them the discretion to arrest everyone. The language used, “satisfy the ‘guard’” is too vague. I LIVE here. The only way I have to prove it (since I don’t drive, and therefore do not have a Drivers Licence with my address) is to carry a piece of mail with me (plus ID). I hope this is ‘satisfactory’ to the officers.

If this hadn’t come to light before the majority of the protests, I think we would have been in for MANY more arrests. Hopefully this information is being disseminated to all interested parties, like it SHOULD have been done by the province. To put it mildly, all changes to law (which this is) have to be made public before said law takes effect. “Ignorance of the law” is no excuse, well, YOU made us ignorant of it by not making it public.

There were a few concerns I had before this summit started. Security Guards brought into this province were not licensed (neither was the company) in province. The requirement for that came into effect last year I believe. With this regulation, they don’t need to be, in fact, they seem to have more power than Ontario-licensed security guards. Also, the use of the Military as ‘police’ officers. Only Military Police are considered peace officers here…so, this regulation also seems to skirts that too.

This is not good for democracy. I encourage all of you to write or call to your MPP. Explain to them why this should not be acceptable in a democratic society. This is NOT a ‘public work’…this is an EVENT. If I can’t apply for this for a block party, you shouldn’t be able to either. This is Canada, you can’t secretly change something and not tell anyone about it when it affects their day-to-day lives. This is one aspect of the Summit that should not go quietly into that good night. This needs to be fixed. Something that can be done is to change the language of the Act so that it’s much less vague. Keep this an issue, since it seems this can be done at will for no good reason.

Part Two to follow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Word with a Lawyer

This is not to be taken as legal advice.

In the past, Summits have involved clashes between protesters and police, some because of violence by the protesters and some for other reasons. Since these incidents did not happen in Canada, I asked a lawyer about the laws and regulations within Canada and what powers the police do and do not have. This is NOT to be taken as legal advice. If you find yourself under arrest, hire/call a lawyer. There are plenty that will be available all week.

I spoke to a Jeff Hershberg, a lawyer from Pinkofskys. Specifically, I wanted to know about identification, and when/where you need to produce it, and when you do not have to. Below is my correspondence with Mr. Hershberg:

BD: I’ve read some stories and seen some video of people being detained by police for not handing over government identification. They freely gave their name and address, but not identification. They were detained, searched, the police read the identification, and then released them. Now, I’ve also heard that unless driving (or sometimes riding a bike) you do not have to hand over identification, but you must identify yourself when asked. I’ve also heard the opposite that you must hand over identification whenever you are asked. What is the legal standing on this? Please note that question has nothing to do with the security zones, where I’m assuming the rules are different.

JH: If an officer simply approaches you on the street, you do not have to speak to him/her (I will use him from this point forward). If he is detaining you for a specific reason, he should inform you as to the reasons for the detention. You do not have an obligation to speak with him. In circumstances where you are driving, you must produce valid identification and insurance or you could receive a ticket. Lack of identification is not justification for a search. An officer needs reasonable and probable grounds (hereinafter RPG) to believe a criminal offence has been committed to arrest or search an individual. If I am walking down the street or sitting on a bench and an officer asks me my name and what I'm doing there, I would choose not to answer and ask him why he is questioning me. I would not have to provide him with my identification. A person not driving a vehicle does not have to carry identification. An officer would not be allowed to detain nor search an individual who does not provide identification. You are allowed to turn and walk away if you are not lawfully being detained or arrested. Now this does not necessarily mean that a police officer won't search an individual anyway but it would not be a legal action.

BD: In Summits and gatherings such as this in the past, some photographers were forced to delete photos or had footage confiscated by authorities. Under Canadian Law, would this be permissible? Would they need a warrant in order to confiscate footage or force deletion of photos?

JH: I have been informed in the past about officers on a scene taking away cameras or phones and deleting images taken by witnesses. This is not allowed but appears to be somewhat common. An officer would not be allowed to confiscate your camera or force you to delete photos unless it somehow was obstructing them in their duties (even then it is debateable whether they could take it from you). It'd be hard to think of a scenario where this would be the case. To take your camera, they would need judicial authorization. With the majority of the circumstances I've encountered where photos were deleted by force, the witnesses were less than savoury and it would be hard to prove. The beauty of the Summit is that there are security cameras everywhere right now and even if a camera is taken by an officer (whether legally or illegally), the security footage could be subpoenaed.

BD: Homeless people in the area have been told they need to be off the street by June 21st. Otherwise they will be arrested. Is there a precedent for this? What would the charge be?

JH: A precedent could be during what I believe was the Mel Lastman squeegee era where Mel Lastman, along with Conservative Mike Harris wanted to "clean up" the streets and force the squeegee kids to stop cleaning car windows. The sad reality is that "rounding up" homeless people occurs during many big events throughout the world (I recall hearing about criminals being locked up [or shot] for a month 'before the Rumble in the Jungle bout). Before the Olympics, governments where they are held often try to "clean up the streets temporarily.

I'm unsure what the police would charge homeless people with that would keep them in jail for the week or so around the Summit. They could be charged with loitering or if they are on private property and have been told to leave before they could be charged under the Trespass to Property Act. Unfortunately, those less fortunate sometimes get the short end of the stick and are not treated in the way Canadians should be treated. They might also be searched and arrested for whatever they might have on them that could be illegal.

BD: Do you have any advice for people who are arrested during the summit, and who may read this blog before that happens?

JH: If already arrested, there is no benefit in arguing with the officer. The only place that might get the person is added charges, based on what the officer might feel is appropriate. If you pull away, you might be charged with resisting arrest. If you lie about your name, you might be charged with obstruct. If you shout, you might be charged with causing a disturbance. With the way our laws are currently set up, the police have the power initially. The place to dispute the charge is in court. If you feel your arrest is unlawful, dispute the charge and let the court hear the case.

There are several lawyers willing to assist with those charged during the Summit including myself and my firm; Pinkofskys. Many will provide initial legal assistance for free. When arrested, you have a right to remain silent. You don't have to answer police questions. Speak to a lawyer before even considering whether to speak to the police upon arrest. Make full use of your rights when under arrest. You won't talk your way out of a charge so don't even try.

The great thing about being Canadian is you have a right to speak your mind and not be fearful that you will be arrested or killed for it. Though the G20 is an unnecessary waste of scarce resources and money in today's technologically advanced society, it continues to be held each and every year (though instead of twice a year it is about to change to once a year). It is a great opportunity to let your message be heard by many people throughout the world but doing so in a violent way will only distort your message and bring with it a backlash that does not help your cause. Don't give the police and other security forces a reason to arrest or harm you through its use of distractionary measures (for example, use of the sounds cannons, pepper spray, batons, or any other method). If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of being arrested, stay calm, call a lawyer, and let the court process take its course. If you are arrested or charged, don't hesitate to contact me and I will do my part in assisting anyone arrested during the Summit.

Jeff Hershberg is a lawyer in downtown Toronto and can be reached at 416-428-7360, or

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Already searching vehicles....

What is the big problem right now? This morning I found out that newspaper delivery vehicles were being searched for bombs. Were still 2 weeks from the Summit. Those newspapers are DAILY…they will not be there tomorrow. There is NO reason to be searching them now. This is just another cost that does nothing to promote security, but it DOES cast a bad light on the police and the procedures they use. In Canada (as well as most civilised societies) we are free from unreasonable search and seizure. This seems to fall past that. I can see in the few days gearing up to it, but 2 weeks away, not so much. I would also assume that on the Friday night, they will be doing a bomb sweep of the entire area, which makes doing this now counterproductive and pointless. I knew our Rights would be trounced during the summit, but I didn’t expect it to start so soon.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Fencing Begins...

19 days before the summit, the first of the barrier is laid down on Windsor St. I've already seen some set up south of Rogers Centre, which must have been done earlier in the day. They seem to be moving at a pretty good pace...which is good, since the area they have to cover is quite large. One thing I've noticed in the past few days is that it seems they've stopped calling it an unscalable fence. Talk like that only makes one want to try it. Remember, they called the Titanic unsinkable, and we ALL know how that ended! And if you don't know how it ended, spoiler sank.

Here's a short list of things that have been shutdown, moved or cancelled because of the 'minor'interruption of the G20 Summit:

- University of Toronto
- Rock of Ages
- Mamma Mia!
- Daycares
- Rogers Centre
- CN Tower
- Bay Street (some)
- VIA Rail
- Various Small Businesses
- Queens Park, and associated Media Facilities
- Parking lots

If this is what is to be considered "minor" in the view of our Government, I would NOT like to see what a major disruption is.

So, as the first barriers are put in place, I thought it nice to commemorate it with a few photos.

The trucks arrive...

And start laying the base of the fence

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One month to lockdown...

With the G20 Summit only a month away, I thought it would be a good time to take some ‘before’ shots. It was a beautiful day today in Toronto. Sunny. Warm. And by warm I mean almost stifling hot. Really hoping for some rain tonight to cool the city down.

I decided to walk basically the ‘Northern’ border of the zone. There wasn’t much different yet other than the cameras and the signs indicating that there are cameras. There seemed to be a few new signs right at the Convention Centre (no loitering, no vending…), but other similar signs have been here before, so it’s nothing new. No one on the street was really talking about it, but the cashiers at the grocery store were. Just trying to figure out how to get into work those days. Just those everyday mundane things that gets a wrench thrown at it when the big guys are in town.

I noticed that on the eastern end of the zone, cameras were as far as Yonge Street, but I noticed that they also have a wireless transmitter (like those with the camera) at Church and Front as well. I haven’t seen any vehicles installing them in the last few days, I wonder if they just ran out.

I went home ‘within’ the inner sanctum. Right in front of the Convention Centre where I found the new signs.

There is some new construction going on at Front and John. The parking lot has been closed for a while, and now it’s almost fenced off. Does anyone know if this is for a new condo, or for the G20?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is a test.

This is just a test...