Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A rotten police chief                           

I will state right from the beginning of this article that the facts that I have written in this article are from Internet sources. My commentary in this article is strictly written by me as my own opinion.

The City of Toronto in Canada is Canada’s largest city and one of North America’s largest cities. It is a vibrant city covering 636 square kilometres (395 square miles) with a diverse population of more than 2,600,000 people.

The Toronto Police Service employs over 5500 police officers and 2200 civilian employees. It is the largest municipal police service in Canada and one of the largest in North  America.                                                               

Chief Bill Blair started his 35-plus year policing career as a beat officer in downtown Toronto and he continued with assignments in drug enforcement, organized crime units, and major criminal investigations. He was promoted to the senior ranks of the Service in which his postings included Divisional Commander, Community Policing Programs and Detective Operations that was responsible for all specialized investigative units including the Homicide Squad, Hold-Up Squad, Sex Crimes Unit, Fraud Squad, Forensic Identifications Services, Intelligence Services, and Organized Crime Enforcement, including the Guns and Gangs Unit, and the Repeat Offender Program.        

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto with dual disciplines of Economics and Criminology (1981), a Certificate in Law Enforcement Administration from the University of Toronto (1983) and a Certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Virginia (1990). He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (1990), the Police Leadership Program of the University of Toronto, the Rotman School of Business Management (2002) and the National Executive Institute (2006).

With that kind of training and his experience as a police officer, is why he got the appointment as the chief of the Toronto Police Service on April 26, 2005.

At first, many people believed that with his training and background in policing, the Service couldn’t have got a more qualified police chief than Bill Blair. What many of them didn’t know then was that he would end up in their minds as one of the worst police chiefs that the city ever had.

In this article, I will bring to your attention three incidents that occurred under his watch. The first one is minor and the other two are very serious events that took in Toronto. 

Ignored a letter of a citizen

Toronto has bylaws that have an effect on handicapped citizens. If there is a sign that says NO PARKING and no other sign in the immediate area of that sign that restricts parking on that part of the street such as NO STOPPING, handicapped motorists can park their vehicles on that street.  

There is also a procedure in Toronto that any car parked on major streets during rush hours can be towed away. What a citizen (who is handicapped) wanted to know was; “Will a car driven by a handicapped person have his car towed from a major street during rush hours if there is a sign that says NO PARKING, a sign that normally gives him the right to park on such a street?”  

Chief of Police, Bill Blair never responded to the citizen’s letter. If he didn’t want to personally write the citizen a reply, he could have had someone in the Handicap Parking Unit contact the citizen. He didn’t do this either. This is clearly a sign of indifference to the concerns of the citizens of that city. But what follows in this article is not only his indifference to the citizens but also his flagrant abused of the rights of the citizens he was suppose to serve and protect.

The G20 Summit of 2010

The G20 was formed in 1999 to give developing countries a more powerful voice in forming the global economy. The meetings started as an informal get-together of finance ministers and central bankers but later included world leaders from both developing and developed countries.  

In  2010 the G-20 summit held in Toronto was the fourth meeting of the G-20 heads of government, in discussion of the global financial system and the world economy. It took place at the huge Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto during June 26–27, 2010. The summit's priorities included evaluating the progress of financial reform, developing sustainable stimulus measures, debating global bank tax, and promoting open markets. Alongside the twenty-one representatives of the G-20 major economies, leaders of six invited nations, and eight intergovernmental organizations also took part in the summit.

Needless to say, it was extremely important that the people attending that summit were to be protected. Organizers formed an Integrated Security Unit, consisting of police officers from The Toronto Police Service and several regional departments, to provide security during the summit in Downtown Toronto. The event was part of the largest and most expensive security operation in Canadian history. The total combined expenditures involved between the 36th G8 summit in Huntsville and the G20 summit in Toronto.   

General policing and patrolling was provided by the Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (federal police)  and the Canadian Forces, while the Peel Regional Police aided in policing at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga during the arrivals of the delegates.

According to an early estimate by The Globe and Mail, 25,000 uniformed police officers, 1,000 security guards, and several Canadian military forces were to be deployed during the summit.

The total cost for security at both the G8 and the G-20 summits was determined to be $1.8 billion, paid entirely by the federal Crown-in-Council, (Canadian government) excluding the costs of any possible damage to local business.

A security perimeter, beginning with the outer boundary, specifically bordered by King Street  to the north, Lake Shore Boulevard to the south, Yonge Street to the east, and  Spadina Avenue to the west, where vehicles would be restricted from entry during the summit dates. Residents who lived within the security zone were issued registration cards prior to the summit and other pedestrians who wished to enter the security zone were only able to do so at one of 38 checkpoints, where they were required to present two pieces of photo identification and provide justification for entry. The area surrounding the Metro Toronto Convention Centre itself was fenced and off-limits to civilians and protesters. The 3-metre (10 ft) high fence was built at a cost of $5.5-million and installation began on June 7.

The Toronto Police Service installed 77 additional closed-circuit television security cameras in the area and purchased four Long Range Acoustic Devices which were to be in use exclusively during the summit.   It was also decided on using water cannons for riot control. The security perimeter even extended into the waters of Lake Ontario and included a Maritime Security Operation with numerous Police vessels and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon patrolling to discourage international demonstrators from unlawful entry into Canada.

A former film studio located on Eastern Avenue was designated as a temporary detention centre for individuals arrested during the summit. This detention centre would later play an important part with respect to the complaints against the Toronto Police Service.

Canada Post declared that it would remove post boxes in the security zone. Toronto Parking Authority removed some parking meters as well. Small trees along sidewalks around the convention centre were removed to prevent them from being used as weapons by protesters. Other removed municipal properties include 745 newspaper boxes, 200 public trash cans, 70 mailboxes, 29 bus shelters, and 5 public information boards.       

As you can see, every effort was undertaken to secure the area surrounding the conference Centre. There were no known concerns about any terrorists attempting to get at the conferees but there were concerns that protesters might get out of control.

The Protesters  

Whenever there is any form of organized gathering of officials attending a conference, there will always be protesters. Many of them conduct themselves properly. And then there are the hoodlums whose main purpose in attending these gatherings is to create mayhem. The G20 Summit held in Toronto in 2010 had them. They broke store windows and set fire to a police vehicle. Those that were caught were severely punished with long sentences in jail.

But this article isn’t about those hoodlums; it is about innocent protestors and others who were severely abused by police officers of the Toronto Police Service. There were many incidents that justified complaints against the Toronto police officers.  The abuses were caused by Toronto police officers under Chief Blair’s watch—officers that hadn’t been warned by the chief that there would be serious consequences for any Toronto police officers who acted in an illegal and or improper manner.  

Improper removal of ID badges

About 90 police officers removed their identification badges during the G20 summit. There was only one reason for this. They knew that anyone who was complaining about their abuses would have a hard time remembering their faces weeks later. The Chief should have warned the officers handling the security at the G20 Summit that anyone who removes his or her ID badge will be docked a great deal of pay if caught doing it. This the chief  did not do.

Police abuses of innocent citizens

Two Toronto veterinarians were woken up at gunpoint on June 25 by police officers who thought they were the anti-G20 protesters who lived in the apartment downstairs. Dr. John Booth said the officers forced their way into their High Park-area home at 4 a.m., turning their home into chaos for about 45 minutes at the same time, the police were unwilling to show their warrant. That is because they didn’t have one. Dr. Booth said he was handcuffed, and spent about 15 minutes on the curb outside his home in cuffs before his identity was cleared up. The officers said they were looking for an activist named “Peter,” who apparently lived downstairs.

In terms of policing, they should have done their due diligence before they raid the innocent couple’s home a home.  What follows is another example of raiding premises without a warrant.

Raid on a University of Toronto dormitory

The Toronto police raided the offices and space of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) at the University of Toronto. They arrested approximately 70 activists who were billeted there by using the GSU’s pub and small gymnasium as temporary accommodations for the G20 summit protests. They were then taken to the make-shift detention centre I wrote about earlier.

These arrested people were protesters and as such, they hadn’t committed any crime nor did they intend to commit any crime. Further, the police barged in the building without first obtaining a warrant to do so. They couldn’t use the excuse that there was a pending crime about to be committed. The worst case scenario, naturally, would be if those responsible for any of the violence in Toronto were using the GSU offices as a staging ground–either as invited guests or else by mingling with them. Clearly police are attempting to convey this idea and raided the space on that theory. They describe “weapons of opportunity” in the form of bricks and sharpened sticks, as well as black clothing found on site. Those objects are fairly ubiquitous. The GSU had sticks for their picketing signs on hand and there are bricks and stones all over the U of T campus. The suggestion that there was something inherently suspicious in owning a black t-shirt is too absurd to even engage with it.

The mass arrests at the GSU offices should be a reminder to everyone that Canadian law does not promote guilt by association. The court made that same conclusion and dismissed the charges against those who were arrested and detained. It is important to remember that the police cannot sweep up scores of people just in the hope that one of the persons captured is a person who they believe is engaged in criminal activity.

Being forced to show ID

In Canada, pedestrians are not required to show ID to the police. It is however mandatory to show ID when entering the immediate areas of public works such as power stations, dams, etc. Unfortunately, it was decided to declare the entire area surrounding the G20 Summit as a 'public works area' so that the police could go around demanding ID from anyone within that area even if they are many blocks from the Conference Centre. It applied to people who actually lived in that area.

Some hack in the provincial government told Chief Blair that the area surrounding the conference was a public’s works area. The chief of police who was in charge of the security should have double-checked to see if the advice he was given about the area surrounding the G20 Summit being a public place was correct. If he had, he would have learned that it was not. If he had done his job correctly, he would have then realized that the Canadian Department of Public works deals with only property under the control of the federal government. Public streets and buildings such as the conference building in Toronto are not under the domain of the Canadian Department of Public Works. Hence, the area surrounding the G20 Summit wasn’t a public works area and for this reason the demanding of ID was illegal and improper. After an investigation by the province’s ombudsman, he said that the government person had secretly given police phenomenal powers that opened the door to mass arrests and civil rights violations. 

Physical abuses of citizens by the police

Recently, all of us have been aware of police abuses everywhere and true to form, those abuses were committed by Toronto police officers against innocent citizens during the G20 Summit.

After Adam Nobody had left his house to see what the G20 protests were about he first he went to buy some beer and then a poster board to make his own protest sign. When he returned to Queen's Park where other protesters were, he busied himself with his sign—a joking homage to an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, which read ‘Let Donna Graduate.’ He thought it would be a funny sign.

He was seen writing on his poster board by the police. Suddenly a line of police officers approached him from behind. He started to back away, and then an officer charged at him. Mr. Nobody said he turned and ran. He threw away his bag and then the officer dove and tackled him. He later said, “The next thing I know, there's cops on top of me punching me, kicking me in the face, having at me.” People around him were screaming, “What are you doing. You've got him. Stop beating him.”

He had then been led behind a police wagon shielded from public view by an officer. Then another officer asked him his name. “Adam,” he replied. He was face down on the ground by then. Another officer's boot was resting on his head. “Adam what?” the officer asked. “Adam Nobody.” replied the prostrated man. The officer lifted his boot and kicked him in the face. He kicked him again and again. “Stop being a smartass,” the officer said angrily. Mr. Nobody ended up with a shattered cheekbone, and a broken nose. Blood poured from his head. His eye was swollen shut. He spent 31 hours in jail and also spent three days in a hospital. He went through several hours of surgery to repair his broken nose. He couldn't lie down to sleep for a long time.

The other officers in the immediate area of that assault when questioned later as to who the officer was who had assaulted Mr. Nobody (the officer who had previously removed his ID badge), lied to the investigators when they claimed that they didn’t know who the officer was that kicked Mr. Nobody. Their actions were what is commonly known as the Blue Wall of Silence. When Chief Bair was asked who the officer was, he refused to say and even refused to say if he was a Toronto police officer or a police officer from another police force. His inaction at that moment was no different than those who hide behind the Blue Wall of Silence. Was he thinking, “I want to be seen by my men as a good guy?’ Was he really thinking at all when he was questioned as to who the officer was?  

The officer listed on the arrest record provided a badge number that didn't correspond to any police officer employed on the Toronto force or to any officer believed to have worked in the G20 policing according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

The Special Investigations Unit, which is charged with investigating police wrongdoings, said that the video of his arrest at Queen's Park was evidence of a ‘probable use of excessive force’ but did not lay charges. That is because they couldn’t determine who the officer that beat Mr. Nobody was.

Toronto police chief Bill Blair said that the video evidence of Mr. Nobody' arrest, uploaded to YouTube, was “tampered with” and that the missing seconds would explain why he was arrested. He said on radio that his impression was the police were dealing with a violent armed offender.  When he made that comment, was his brain no longer in his skull and instead had gone to take a pee?

Mr. Nobody was charged with assaulting a police officer, and obstruction of a police officer. At his court appearance, the Crown (prosecutor) conceded that there was no evidence to support the assault charge. He said that the officers' notes did not indicate an assault by Mr. Nobody had taken place. The Crown also said Mr. Nobody's so-called ‘assaultive behaviour’ did not amount to reasonable and probable grounds for arrest.

Mr. Nobody's defence lawyer, Christopher Murphy said the Crown withdrew the charges. That was because prosecutor had no evidence that his client had done anything illegal.

The Chief of the largest police service in the country had made an unfounded allegation that Mr. Nobody was acting like a violent criminal. And equally wrong was that someone in his police farce (I mean police force) apparently, according to the arrest document, had falsified a badge number. The police refusal to come forward to acknowledge who beat Mr. Nobody was the stuff of totalitarian regimes.

Fortunately the creepy officer was eventually discovered when a video of the event was shown publicly. Constable Babak Andalib-Goortani, 33, was convicted in September of 2013 of assault with a weapon. The judge who presided over Andalib-Goortani's trial had found that the officer hit protester Adam Nobody several times with his baton while the man was already on the ground, surrounded by other officers who were in the process of arresting him. He was using excessive force during the arrest of protester Adam Nobody on June 26, 2010, on the lawn of the Ontario legislature. This police brute only got 45 days in jail. Andalib-Goortani was suspended without pay from the Toronto police following his sentencing was then unemployed. This creep was also charged with assault with a weapon after blogger Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy was hit during the G20 protests at Queen’s Park in June 2010. His trial was scheduled for February 10, 2014.

He was acquitted in that second case because the only evidence against him had been ruled inadmissible. The case against him depended on an image, a photograph taken from the Internet. The expert evidence established that whatever photograph it came from had been altered and the nature of the alterations could not be known. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this creep didn’t beat the woman with his billy stick. It just means that photo shown that was taken off the Internet was altered to some degree. Quite frankly, even if there was no evidence that it was altered, the suspicion that it was altered by PhotoShop, is enough to refuse to accept it as evidence. Given the uncertain provenance of the image, a judge ruled it inadmissible, meaning the second officer could not use it to identify Andalib-Goortani as Bettencourt-McCarthy's assailant.

He continued to be suspended without pay as his case worked its way through the courts.  Finally in a decision delivered at the end of January 2015, Superior Court Justice Brian O'Marra upheld Andalib-Goortani’s conviction, but ruled he would not have to serve time in jail, sentencing him instead to one year of probation and 75 hours of community service. Since he wasn’t sentenced to a period of imprisonment more than 30 days, he could legally remain in the police force. That is most unfortunate. There are people who will say that this particular cop was punished enough with the long suspension but the people of the City of Toronto have to ask themselves as to whether or not this cop really adheres to the Toronto Police Service motto: To serve and protect. He certainly didn’t serve and protect the two persons he was accused of beating.

On June 26, 2010, the first day of the G20 summit in Toronto, freelance journalist Jesse Rosenfeld was arrested while covering the “kettling” of hundreds of people outside the Novotel Hotel. His takedown was witnessed by Steve Paikin, the popular TVO host who famously tweeted about the incident and described Rosenfeld being punched in the stomach and elbowed in the back. I will describe the kettling incident later in this article.

But according to a report by the province’s police complaints watchdog, Josephs was the third high-profile character in this G20 story — one of two officers who escorted Paikin from the kettling and, later, the witness who identified Rosenfeld’s arresting officers to investigators. In a report by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, investigators found enough evidence to believe that Constable Michael Martinez, of the Toronto Police Service used “unnecessary force” during Rosenfeld’s arrest. One of the officers who described him was a police officer who was referred later as Constable Bubbles. I will tell you who he was later and why he got that moniker further in this article. The two officers who held Rosenfeld’s arms denied seeing any officers striking him during the arrest, according to the report. The investigators investigating the assault against Rosenfeld were facing the Blue Wall of Silence.

The Police set up what they referred to as a “designated speech zone” at Queen’s Park (which was also the meeting point for the main march on the first day of the summit) and invited citizens protesting the summit to assemble and demonstrate there. However, by the late afternoon of June 26, police surrounded and charged into the area, physically assaulting peacefully assembled citizens who had accepted the police’s suggestion earlier.  

One man, John Pruyn, who wears a prosthetic leg, provided the following testimony at the CCLA’s Breach of the Peace Hearings:

The police ordered me to walk (…) I said ‘I can’t’. Then one of the police grabbed my artificial leg and yanked it right off my leg for no apparent reason (…) He pulled it off, and then told me to put it back on. I just looked at him (…) I couldn’t believe what he was saying. Of course, I can’t put my leg back on with my hands tied behind my back so then he says ‘hop’. And again I said ‘I can’t’. Then he says ‘you asked for it’. So then one police grabbed me under each arm and they started to drag me backwards. As they were dragging me backwards we went over pavement and I had on a short sleeve shirt and my elbows were digging right into the pavement and they were gouged out, both elbows, both sides.”

Arrests of the protesters

The 1,105 arrests made over the G20 weekend constituted a new record for mass arrests in Canada during peaceful times. The vast majority of those arrested were not charged or alternatively, had their charges dropped. That strongly indicates that the people were unlawfully arrested in the first place.

Gerry McNeilly, head of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director; (the province's top civilian police watchdog) tabled the 300- page systemic review report. He said in his report; “What occurred over the course of the weekend resulted in the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. These disturbances had a profound impact not only on the citizens of Toronto and Canada generally, but on public confidence in the police as well. McNeilly recognized that the police had legitimate concerns and faced challenges tracking ‘black bloc’ (vandals wearing black clothing) who had intent on violence and criminal activity as they hid within crowds of peaceful demonstrators.

He concluded some officers used "excessive force" to clamp down on any and all protesters, with Toronto police commanders acting on orders for mass arrests. The orders came from Tony Warr, the then deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service. I wrote and published an article about this nitwit in my blog on the 3rd of July, 2013. He had previously arrested an innocent nurse and accused her of murdering six babies in her care while she worked in the Children’s Hospital in Toronto. One of the babies had died when she was thousands of kilometers away. A court found her innocent. Why did he arrest her? She asked him if she should consult with a lawyer before he questioned her. He later said that anyone who wants a lawyer with them before being questioned has to be guilty. His fiasco cost the Ontario province millions of dollars. He later resigned when it became obvious that he wasn’t going to be appointed as the new chief of police. As many as 2562 persons from around the world have read that article I wrote about Tony Warr.

Now back to the G20 fiasco. The night shift incident commander said that Deputy Police Chief Warr told him that he wanted him to take back the streets. McNeilly said in his Report that that order referred to protesters in such a way that it left the impression to the police officers that the protesters were criminals and that attitude resulted in the decision to contain and arrest approximately 1,100 people during the weekend of the Summit.

What follows are some examples of bad conduct by some of the police officers at that G20 Summit.

A police officer who arrested a man wearing a bandana around his neck at the tumultuous G20 summit in Toronto three years ago has been found guilty of misconduct — the first such finding arising out of that weekend. A police services tribunal convicted Const. Vincent Wong of unlawfully arresting Jay Wall for being disguised with intent to commit an offence. The charge had alleged Wong, who was on patrol with his co-accused, Const. Blair Begbie, had arrested Wall illegally. In convicting the officer, adjudicator Walter Gonet, a retired judge, found "clear and convincing`` evidence that Wong had no reasonable grounds to arrest Wall on Sunday June 27, 2010.

There was the weird case involving Constable “Bubbles” as he was referred to after this fool made a mockery of the Police force. Constable Adam Josephs was one of thousands of police officers who were protecting the world leaders at the G20 Summit held in downtown Toronto.

One of the protesters, Courtney Winkels was blowing soap bubbles in the immediate area of this police officer. This huge bald-headed officer told the protester that if any bubble hits him, she will be arrested. There was Officer “Bubbles”, facing the onslaught of soap bubbles as they careened down from above him. Unfortunately for Officer Bubbles, this event was videotaped and the images of bubbles heading towards him were shown all over the world along with his threat to the woman. Did he move out of the way? Of course not. The surrounding police needed an excuse to arrest a protester.

Ten minutes later, Ms. Winkels found herself trapped between lines of police in riot gear. Officers grabbed her, threw her against a brick wall, and arrested her. She spent the next 50 hours in captivity. She was charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. At her first and only court date in August of that year, her charge was thrown out. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Toronto Police Services Board for $100,000. She's claimed damages for false arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery, as well as breach of her Charter rights. The police services board was named as the defendant in the claim as it is the employer of all officers in the Toronto Police Services. I don’t thing her suit went to trial because there is no record of such in the Superior court.  However, it is possible that a settlement between her and the Board was reached.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that someone began drawing cartoons of Officer Bubbles arresting various people such as the pope, President Obama, Santa Claus and other famous and well known people and placing the cartoons in YouTube where the images then spread around the world like a hurricane. It was then that Officer Bubbles became recognized world-wide as one of Canada’s police force’s dumbest police officers. His stupidity knew no bounds. He sued YouTube in hopes of learning who the authors of the cartoons were. It was too late. The cartoons had been seen all over the world and no doubt, flitting from computer to computer everywhere. Officer Bubbles was asserting what he claimed was his right to be free from public ridicule. That is a task that would never succeed especially when you are recognized as a fool.

The Toronto Police Association said it supported Josephs in principle, but its president, Mike McCormack would not confirm whether it would be financing any suit he would be bringing against YouTube. McCormack said, “He’s one of our officers, he was doing his job and his family is getting death threats. We support him.” unquote 

You may recall however that I said earlier in this article that he later did what a good police officer is expected to do and that is report the actions of a bad cop.

In the case of Brendan Latimer, a 19-year-old chef from Ajax, Ontario whose nose was broken when he was arrested at Queen's Park, SIU director Ian Scott wrote that "there are reasonable grounds to believe an officer used excessive force leading to injuries to the complainant," but noted the officer responsible had not been identified. Mr. Latimer, who was brought to the ground by fleeing protesters as he stooped over to help up a woman who had been knocked down, said the officers who allegedly kicked and struck him with batons weren't wearing their nametags. “I said 'I'm not resisting arrest,' and I was told to shut up,” he said. "They just started wailing on my ribs." He said he sat in a paddy wagon for three or four hours with a broken nose.

Dorian Barton, said that he went to College Street and University Avenue with a friend to see what was happening. As he turned to snap a photo of police officers on horseback, the 29-year-old was knocked over by a riot shield-toting officer and broke a bone in his upper right arm near the shoulder, he said. "When I asked for medical attention, they laughed at me," Mr. Barton said. He said he was held for several hours in the Eastern Avenue detention centre before being taken to hospital. Charges of obstructing a police officer and unlawful assembly were later dropped.

Oher cases examined were those of 42-year-old Canute Fernandes, who broke his right arm after he was knocked down as officers and protesters ran along Queen Street West; Joseph Thomson, 34, who was hit in the face by a police officer and broke his nose, near Queen and Spadina Avenue; and Norman Marcos, 43, who was trying to escape advancing police at Queen's Park when he was hit from behind by what might have been a police baton, breaking his finger.

Geoffrey Bercarich was riding around the city as part of the Bike Bloc on Sunday around 2 p.m., when an officer punched him off his bike near Avenue Road, in the Yorkville neighbourhood, That area is some considerable distance from the Summit security zone. He says when an officer rode toward him, Bercarich swerved to avoid hitting him. Then another officer punched him in the face, causing him to fall off his bike. Bercarich says they put him on top of a police bike, then three officers were on top of him while seven others created a perimeter around the scene. He said he didn't fight back, but officers beat him and hit his private parts. They handcuffed him and "drilled his face into the concrete," then held him there for 30 minutes.

He says he was then taken to the detention centre, where he was left in plastic handcuffs for 10 hours. He was the first in the cell, by the end of the night there were 25. Bercarich says he received a cup of water after five hours and was given a stale cheese sandwich that made him vomit. He asked for medical attention but was refused. At one point, an officer upon finishing his apple, threw the core at the cell and people grabbed at it in hunger. He was released by midnight. He said, “Before I left, an officer said to me 'We'll be watching you all. If you show up ay another protest we will snatch you up.' No charges were laid against him and he never got the opportunity to make a phone call.

What was going on in Toronto during the Summit was reminiscent of the actions of the Nazi Brown Shirt thugs in Berlin just before the war. They too assaulted citizens at random. And this in Toronto was all done during Chief of Police, Bill Blair’ watch.

The detention of the protesters

Gerry McNeilly,  the head of the of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director took aim at senior officers for failing to address problems at the temporary detention centre in which as many as 1,000 people were held without being permitted access to lawyers.  In response, Blair was adamant he would offer no apologies.   

Tommy Taylor, a Toronto theatre director and playwright said that he was in a 12x20 foot cell, with about 40 men aged 16 to 78. Seven hours into custody, they shouted for water.  People in other cells were also yelling for water, shaking the cages, and kicking at the doors. Nine hours later he said that his cell got water.

He said they weren't given toilet paper initially. Later, officers gave prisoners a few sheets, but going to the toilet was difficult while in handcuffs. His girlfriend, Kate, says the girls made human walls so the male police officers outside their cells wouldn’t see them when using the toilet.   and because they were in handcuffs, they had to help wiping each other’s bottoms.

Prisoners said they couldn't all lie down or even sit at the same time because it was so crowded in the cells.

Taylor also said that after 10 hours in his cell, food arrived which was a wrapped dinner roll with a slice of processed cheese slathered in butter. About 15 hours, he was taken to the booking area and was transferred to a new cell with 15 men. They asked for water again. He said, “My mouth was pasty and dry. Some guys’ mouths were cracked. We were once again ignored and told to wait.” Another cheese sandwich arrived but he says he found it difficult to swallow since his mouth was so dry. Later on, after asking for water, he passes out. Someone called out for medical attention, but was told it's not available. An officer, who helped Taylor, began bringing orange Tang to all the cells. 


Twenty-three hours later, just before the legal 24 hours a person can be held without charge, Taylor was released. His plastic cuffs were cut off and then he was told that he was arrested for ‘breach of the peace’ but would not be charged, but could be if was arrested for this or a similar crime again, he would be charged with breach of the peace He warned not to join any more G20 protests. That warning was illegal since the Canadian Charter guarantees freedom of association.


While he was in the detention cells, he was never permitted to make a phone call. That refusal on the part of the police was also illegal.




It means containment or corralling people. This happened in Toronto during the G2 Summit in 2010. Many people can normally be found in the area of the intersection of Spadina Avenue and Queen Street, which is a busy intersection; one that was not in the security zone of the G20 Summit.



The Toronto police detained several hundred people for four hours in the rain accompanied by lightning and thunder in that intersection. Anyone approaching that intersection was grabbed and placed into that intersection.  They were surrounded by a great many police officers. No one was permitted to leave no matter what the circumstances were. The elderly, children and mothers with babies were not permitted to leave. The order to kettle these innocent persons was illegal and the senior officer, Superintendent Mark Fenton, one of two Toronto officers who served as ‘incident commanders’ during the G20 and had control of officers in streets was later charged with two charges: discreditable conduct and unlawful use of authority.

Fenton's order to keep the group of protesters, bystanders and even some journalists boxed in at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue during a severe rain storm that included thunder and lightning was unreasonable, unnecessary and unlawful, according to the charge document. This disreputable officer violated the detainees' constitutional rights against arbitrary detention and in doing so; he was negligent in his duties as a senior police officer.


During his explanation to investigators in 2013 for his decision was that he feared police riot squads weren't mobile enough to react to ‘ongoing attacks’ by what he saw as ‘terrorists’ committing acts of vandalism in Toronto's streets. he said, "Therefore, the tactic of isolating, containing the movement of the terrorists/protesters was required to stop the ongoing attacks and prevent new attacks.” That hogwash is so unpalatable, even the hogs would turn up their noses at it.


The structure of the Major Incident Command Centre broke down. Fenton, was the Centre's night commander when he launched an ‘autocratic’ and ‘dysfunctional’ crackdown ordering mass arrests of protesters; especially those in the area of Spadina and Queen.


Some front-line officers, ultimately disregarded Fenton’s orders at the kettling and let some people out of the ring of riot squad officers, including those with medical emergencies. He noted records of one officer stating of Fenton, "He’s maniacal.”


The Office of the Independent Police Review Director ordered Chief Blair to charge 28 officers, but the agency was expected to direct him to lay more counts against another 17, including Fenton, bringing the total number of officers facing discipline hearings to 45.


Summary re the abuses by the Toronto Police during the Summit


Admittedly, the June 2010 summit was marred by vandals who smashed windows and set police cruisers on fire. There was punishment waiting for them. For example, American G20 protester Richard Dean Morano was sentenced to seven months in jail for vandalism. However, the summit was also marred by the Toronto police officers by their needless physical assaults, mass arrests and detention of innocent protesters and bystanders.

Gerry McNeilly, the head of the of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, blasted the Toronto police for blindly following orders at the G20 that led to the what he called civil-rights abuses, illegal detentions, and the excessive use of force. He also said he had substantiated more than 100 complaints against individual officers and referred them for hearings, which carry maximum penalties of dismissal from the service on conviction. McNeilly told reporters that his team of investigators was also probing allegations against specific officers. He said 350 individuals filed complaints relating to G20 policing, and his office substantiated 107 of them, determining that 97 were serious.

It was a national shame and embarrassment that the Toronto Police Service acting under the authority of former Chief Police, Bill Blair acted the way they did during the G-20 Summit in 2010. Hopefully under the new leadership of the Toronto Police Service, the 2010 G20 Summit security fiasco will be the last one committed by those men and women who are in the Toronto Police Service of serving and protecting the people in Toronto.


This system is basically a stop and frisk system conducted by the police. When the stop and frisk policy was conducted in New York City for many years, African-Americans which represented a quarter of the citizens in that city were stopped and frisked on the whim of any police officer that was nearby which often resulted in an arrest or a summons. Fewer that one in 100 stops produced a gun. In other words, tens of thousands of black people were being unjustly harassed by the police. That all changed later. The past stop and frisk policy has all but vanished in that city.

That is because in 2013, a federal judge ruled that that policy was unconstitutional and was an indirect form of racial profiling.

While the former Chief of Police in Toronto, Bill Blair was still  the City’s leading enforcement officer, he permitted carding and the victims of that carding were primarily blacks.

In Toronto, the police had implemented a carding system where Toronto police officers stopped, questioned and documented black people during non-criminal encounters on the streets. The information obtained was placed in a data base at police headquarters,

Statistics about carding in Toronto showed that people who are black or brown were more likely to be carded than whites. Essentially this meant that a brown or black person was more likely to be seen as suspicious by the police than someone who is white. There has been a disproportionate visible minority youth contact with the police. Of course, that is racial profiling. One black business man was carded as many as 50 times.

Lawyer Frank Addario, who was hired policy by the Toronto Police Services Board in December 2013 for the purpose of creating the carding policy, said that ending carding would just drive bad practices underground, adding that carding had already fallen dramatically by 83 or 90 per cent in the previous year. However, in his five-page draft report, he wrote that procedures needed to be developed that would ensure compliance with human rights laws, such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code and municipal laws.

He also said in his Report that eliminating carding would be simplistic. It would not improve the police service's reputation or public trust. Instead, it would frustrate the board's oversight function and affect their ability to communicate with the community.

That makes no sense to me at all. There is nothing more that will frustrate the board’s oversight function and communication with the community than carding innocent citizens walking peacefully on Toronto’s streets.

However, he also said that the police need to explain why they have stopped someone, and give them a chance to call a lawyer before they answer any questions.

The first suggestion makes sense but the second answer does not. He should have told the Board that citizens are under no legal obligation to answer any questions when they are randomly stopped by the police while walking along a street. In fact one judge in a recent ruling said that if a police officer stops anyone who isn’t committing a crime or a municipal offence and begins asking questions of the citizen, the citizen should tell the officer to take a hike.

The Board decided not to rehire Chief Bill Blair and since he has left the Toronto Police Services, carding has been reduced considerably. The Toronto Police Services Board will return to its 2014 carding policy, which requires officers to have a valid reason for stopping people on the street and to provide a receipt for each interaction. Gone are the days of indiscriminate , racial and unjust carding that existed under former Chief Blair’s watch.

My Summary

Blair is now running in the federal election for the Liberal Party. My greatest fear is that this man may win and worse yet, the Liberal Party may win. If that does happen, it is even conceivable that this man may be appointed by the new prime Minister as Canada`s Solicitor General. That job also entails supervision of Canada`s national police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. That force already has a history of wrongdoings in the past. He can also be appointed as the Minister of Public Safety.

I have written the leader of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau to tell him that I won’t be voting for his party because of my fears that citizens of Canada will suffer at the hands of Bill Blair if he is given any of those posts in his government if Trudeau wins the election. Of course, there is also a possibility that Blair won’t even get elected at all. That will depend on whether or not the voters in his riding are willing to risk possible law enforcement abuses to be brought against them on national scale.

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