Monday, 28 June 2010

Protest against police brutality - evening update June 28, 2010

The rally seems to have moved from Nathan Phillips Square up to Queens Park and has grown to about 3,000.
The rally ended peacefully after 10pm. From what I've read and seen, there weren't riot-gear police, just normally suited police and bicycle police. No arrest and no police brutality. But the police did stop and ask many people for ID.


Toronto Media Coop
Naomi Klein says stop playing politics and let them go #g20report Monday June 28 2010 9:30pm [regarding the people illegally detained at the Eastern Ave detention centre]

pls be careful exiting march, unmarked
vans are following people & questioning them #G20report Monday June 28 2010 9:10pm

TorontoPolicePR: We've already recovered sufficient evidence of police
misconduct from all those journalists we arrested and strip searched.
#g20 #g20report Monday June 28 2010 8:59pm

3k strong at Queens Park! #G20report #G20 Monday June 28 2010 8:51pm

March going north on university to queen,s park #g20report Monday June 28 2010 8:50pm

prisoner solidarity march back to dundas and university, chanting
away... #g20report Monday June 28 2010

Heading out of Nathan Phillips square #g20report Monday June 28 2010 8:10pm

Thought the police were holding up traffic on Queen in front of city
hall, turns out it's police in a fleet of minivans #g20report Monday
June 28 2010 8:08pm

CBC News: G20 Protests Continue

Activist Naomi Klein takes part in the rally. (Patrick Morell/CBC)
he crowd fills College Street. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

CBC News: Crowd Protests Police G20 Actions
Another large, noisy, traffic-stopping protest erupted in downtown Toronto on Monday, with about 1,000 demonstrators marching through the streets, angry at what they said was police overreaction during weekend G20 protests.

There was a peaceful, two-hour rally on College Street, outside the headquarters of the Toronto Police Service, with chanting, drumming, and a call for the release of those protesters still being held in detention.

The protest closed a section of College Street, affecting car and pedestrian traffic, as well as one of the city's busiest streetcar lines, for a large portion of the afternoon rush hour.

After about two hours of peaceful protest, the group moved off westbound, then headed south on University Avenue, which is lined with hospitals, insurance companies and the U.S. consulate.

The protesters continued their marched through the streets of the city, followed by police, snaking their way through Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto City Hall.

Western Standard: I was just harassed by Toronto Police
It happened just a few minutes ago. I was sitting down on
University Avenue, when a group of police officers approached me and
said they wanted to talk to me. Stunned, I opened my mouth getting
ready to reply to the request, when one of the officers at the top of
his lungs yelled: "I DON'T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU THINK!"

Another officer said they didn't want to hear about my rights.

They then proceeded to demand I remove the earphones from my ears,
forcing me to get off the phone with my colleague. I told them I was on
the phone to which another officer responded, "we don't care."

Then they said they wanted to search my bag, because I was "wearing a

black shirt". To which I replied, that I did not consent to any
searches. I told them that I would not resist them, and that any search
they conducted was under protest. They simply said, "we don't care.
We want to make sure you don't have any bombs to kill us with."

They demanded I present identification, once again I complied under

protest. To which they told me they didn't care again.

Then one of the officers told me that, and I quote, that I (me)

"don't care about the security of the city." To which I protested. They
then called me "ignorant".

I asked them why they were using such vulgar language with me, and

they simply denied that any such language had been used. Despite having
literally sworn at me multiple times, seconds prior.

There was one police officer, who was mostly quiet, who seemed to be

looking at me somewhat sympathetically. I sensed that he was not
comfortable with what his fellow officers were doing.

But I was just subjected to an warrant-less, suspicion-less search,

contrary to my Charter Rights. And when I protested my treatment, I was
repeatedly told that they "don't care". They accused me of not caring
about the security of Toronto, and they called me ignorant twice. I
should note that I was never given any chance to really say much to them
at all, so I can only assume that they had some prior knowledge of who I

I assert that I was just criminally harassed by the Toronto Police.

And I would swear a legal affidavit on the above facts.

Posted by Mike Brock on June 28, 2010

MyNews CTV: Surrounded and arrested by police
from Sunday evening at Queen & Spadina - more evidence of police brutality
Posted by Jason MacDonald. Uploaded 2010-06-28
- watch the video at the link above -
WARNING: Strong language and violence that may upset some viewers.
MyNews user Jason MacDonald, a 27-year-old construction worker from
Toronto, submitted this chilling first-hand video of a tense standoff
with police on Sunday.
MacDonald told his group marched peacefully along Queen from Bay
Street to Spadina, where they were surrounded by police in riot gear.
“We kind of got surrounded and weren’t able to get out, they just pushed
us back and I

was trying to film, and the one officer lunged forward
smashed me in the face with his shield and one by one they arrested us,
all of us,” MacDonald alleged.
In addition to the cut to his face, MacDonald alleges he received
bruises to his ribs, head and both arms, as well as scratches to his
back from being dragged by police officers.
Eventually, MacDonald and his friends were all arrested and taken to a
detention centre. He was eventually released at about 11:30 p.m. - In His Own Words: Guardian journalist arrested by G20 security forces
33 minute interview. Listen at the link
Jesse Rosenfeld was writing for The Guardian newspaper when G20
security beat him up and arrested him. Amy Goodman on what it means to
have a real independent media.
1:48 - 13:45 Jesse Rosenfeld was writing for The Guardian when G20
security beat him up and arrested him. rabble radio spoke to him a few
hours after he was released from detention.

14:08 - 32:15 Amy Goodman is the host of the radio/tv/podcast
Democracy Now! Friday night, at the Council of Canadians event Shout Out
For Global Justice, she spoke about what it means to have an
independent media, and why it is important. - Judy Rebick: On Saturday's G20 arrests and detentions

2:38 minutes - listen at the link

The author, writer and journalist argues that police arrested “the most
important grassroots organizers in the province” on Saturday to try and
discredit them. “Hopefully, the media will smell a rat and start to see
that this whole thing was a setup,” she said, in an interview on Sunday
afternoon. Growing Number of Serious Allegations About Police Treatment of Detainees in During G20 Summit
Video interviews with Jesse Rosenfeld - The Guardian and Independent Journalist, and with Amy Miller of Alternative Media Centre.

Maggie Knight: The World Is Watching: G20 Media Summary to Date (June 28, 2010)
Includes a lot of interesting links. Links to interviews with and stories of journalists being arrested and detained. One very disturbing item included in the video interview above with Amy Miller - "Amy Miller says she was told she would be repeatedly raped so she would never want to be a journalist again." She also saw a number of young women, who were detained, being strip searched and cavity searched by male officers.

Urgent: Conditions at 629 Eastern Ave. Illegal, Immoral, Dangerous


We (i.e., Justin Giovannetti and Lex Gill) are both able and

willing to testify in front of a court of law, tribunal or hearing to
attest to the validity of these statements. Much of this is now recorded
on video and we have some contact information for the victims. We will
NOT consent to contact with any police representatives (municipal,
provincial, or federal) nor will we consent to speaking to other
security agencies (CSIS, Canadian Forces, etc.). We can be contacted at
lex.gill [at] gmail [dot] com, or jackgiovannetti [at] gmail [dot] com.

We just got back to our computers and are frantically writing this
message. It is 4:45 a.m. on Monday morning. We are the only people who
seem to know the extent of this story. Coffee and adrenaline keeping us
going. When we got to Queen and Spadina after leaving the Convergence
Centre raid today, we had already been blocked off by police lines. It
was pouring rain, and we could hear a confrontation taking place further
down the street. The cops didn’t care whether or not we were media — in
fact, we heard that media was forced to leave before we arrived. Police
acted violently and with sheer disregard for the law, attacking
peaceful protesters and civilians unrelated to the protest. Tired,
frantic, and feeling defeated, we came home and posted the message
before this one.

We then did the only thing left to do, and headed to 629 Eastern
Avenue (the G20 Detention Centre, a converted film studio), where
detainees from the demonstrations were being taken. We knew people were
being released sporadically so we grabbed as many juice boxes and
granola bars as we could afford and set off with medical supplies.
Journalists were basically absent, showed up only to take a few seconds
of video, or simply arrived far too late to be effective.

It is next to impossible to set the scene of what happened at the
Detention Centre. Between the two of us we estimate that we spoke to
over 120 people, most of whom were released between 9:30 p.m. and 4:30
a.m. Despite not knowing each other, the story they tell is the same. It
goes like this. Most were arrested at three locations: the Novotel on
Saturday evening where the police arrested hundreds of peaceful
protesters (look @spaikin on Twitter); Spadina/Queen’s Park all day
Saturday and early Sunday, as people were arrested all over the downtown
for many different (and often bogus) reasons; and the University of
Toronto, where hundreds of Quebecers and others were woken up and
arrested at gun point early Saturday morning.

What follows is a list, as detailed as we can make it in a blog post,
of what we saw and heard.

People were held for up to 35 hours with a single meal. None
seemed to have received food more than twice daily, the meal they did
receive was a hamburger bun with processed cheese and margarine
described as a centimeter thick. Detainees had to create loud noises for
hours to receive any food at all. All reported feeling more ill and
dehydrated after eating than before. Some vomited and received no
medical attention when they did. Water was not provided with the meal.
Inadequate water, as little as an ounce every 12 hours.

some people reported receiving approximately an ounce (a small Dixie
cup) of water every three hours, most seemed to have received far less
than that. They had to create loud noises and continuously demand water,
only to receive it up to an hour and a half later. Sometimes rooms with
over a dozen people were only given a handful (four or five) cups of
water and forced to share. Some reported the water as yellow-coloured
and smelling of urine, which they didn’t drink.
Facilities over-capacity.

There were many reports of “cages”
filled with 40 people, though a police officer told one detainee that
they were intended for groups of no more than 15 to 20. Each cage had a
single bench, with only enough seating for five people. There was only
one toilet in each cage and it was without a door. Women were creating
barriers with their bodies for others to create some semblance of
Major delays in processing.

Many detainees were told that the only
reason they remained at the Centre was due to unexplained delays in
processing. Most detainees seemed to go through a three step system
whereby they were put in an initial holding cell, only to be moved to a
second cell after meeting a Staff Sergeant in a board room. This is
where they were told what they were arrested for. Eventually they were
moved to a third cell before release. This process seemed to take no
less than 10 hours. Others were never told why they were arrested and
never signed any documents. A few were released immediately upon
arriving at the Centre and were never processed. Some were never brought
to a cell, only made to wait in a line to be let out.
Inconsistent charges.

Groups arrested at the same time and for
the same behaviour were given different charges, with some let out and
others given court dates. Many felt the police simply assigned a charge
or did not know why they were being arrested. Some charges were changed
or dropped before the detainees were released.
People put in solitary confinement.

Most of the openly queer
detainees reported to have been transferred to a “Segregated Zone.” In
cages built for one, couples of men and women were held. A lesbian is
reported to have spent nearly 10 hours alone. Another woman said she was
kept alone in a large cell for hours, asking to be moved the whole
No pillows or mattresses to sleep.

No bedding was ever provided
for detainees, who were told to sleep on bare concrete floors. Detainees
were stripped of all but a single shirt and legwear. Many said they
could not sleep during their day long detentions.
Unsanitary and unsafe living conditions.

Many of the floors of
the cages were covered with dirt and the residue from green paintballs
used to identify suspects in crowds. Vomit was also on the floor and no
cleaning of the cages took place.
Police intimidation of released detainees.

With many of the
detainees released and standing across the street from the detention
centre, getting food and water from community volunteers while waiting
for friends, police stood menacingly across the road. Almost all the
detainees were frightened by the police presence and feared an attack.
The police used the headlights of rental Dodge Caravans to light up the
crowd, citing a need to “keep them visible.”
Non-stop light exposure/loss of natural light rhythm/sensory

Detainees emerged with a broken day/night cycle, being
deprived of all connection to the outside world or any other time-based
events (ie. set eating times). While in their cages, detainees were
subject to constant light.
Exposure to extreme cold.

Detainees complained of the air
conditioning in the building being very high. Many of them said that
they were frozen and asked for blankets, a request which was always
refused. Due to having only a single layer of shirt and sleeping on
concrete floors, the cages were extremely cold.
Sexual harassment of women and Queer people.

We heard many
first-hand accounts of cat-calls and crude sexual comments directed at
women from police officers at the Centre. Some women faced inappropriate
sexual contact (including one girl who was forced to endure a police
officer covering her body with detainee number stickers in order to
touch her), and rough handling from police officers. Openly Queer boys
were told to “straighten up,” and there was at least one completely nude
strip search preformed on a young woman with no reasonable explanation.
It is unclear whether the strip searches that took place were
consistently conducted by members of the same gender. It is also unclear
as to whether any Transpeople, if detained, were put in cells of a
gender of their own determination or in cells of a police gender
Youth as young as 15 in adult cells.

Youth (under 18) detainees
were held in the same cells as adults, some of whom had not been charged
at all (and thus it could not be justified that they were being held on
adult charges). A 16-year-old was held in an adult cell for at least 12
hours, the police were fully aware of his age, and his parents were at
no point contacted.
Denial of legal counsel.

When detainees asked to see lawyers they
were told that they would receive legal counsel at a later time or at
the time of processing. Often, these times went by and no legal counsel
was provided. Those released without charge were told to avoid
contacting lawyers. Most detainees said they were never informed of
their rights.
No phone call.

About only one in ten of the detainees we spoke to
had been given access to a phone. Others were promised access at a
later time and never received it. There was a father waiting outside for
his 20-year old son who had been arrested Saturday afternoon or
evening, and had yet to receive a call. Many of the detainees were told
that only 20 phones were available in the building, holding over 500
detainees at the time. The offices of legal counsel also had no
Belonging stolen/damaged.

Most detainees reported that at least
some of their confiscated belongings were not returned to them,
including passports, wallets, credit and debit cards, money, cellphones
and clothing. When detainees were escorted outside the Centre, many were
made to walk on the street without access to their shoes (sealed in
thick plastic bags only returned at the limit of the Centre’s property).
Some shoes were missing entirely. At least one extremely visually
impaired detainee’s glasses were put with his belongings and were
severely damaged when he recovered them (ie. broken in half).
Threats of assault/harassment.

Many detainees, but especially
French Canadian detainees (who were not served in French), were taunted
and threatened with assault. Homophobic slurs were used by guards and
one was told that if he was ever seen again in Toronto the cop would
attack him. Other degrading comments were made, including telling
detainees that they “looked like dogs.”
Obviously illegal civilian arrests.

Some civilians who were
completely uninvolved in the demonstrations were arrested while exiting
subway stations in the downtown core. Some were arrested after illegal
searches of cars turned up “dangerous goods” (like books about activism
and lemon juice). One fully-uniformed TTC streetcar driver was arrested
for hours. He had been ordered out of his streetcar by riot police and
was immediately arrested. We wish we were kidding.
No access to medication or medical treatment.

While doing medical
support, Lex met at least two people who had been denied medication.
The first was a woman who said that she was pre-diabetic and needed
medication for nausea and dizziness. She was denied access to medical
treatment, despite the fact that by the time Lex found her she was
extremely faint, barely conscious, and had difficulty sitting up. The
second was a young man who was prescribed anti-psychotics and had missed
several doses (he did not, however, have an episode at the time Lex met
him). We heard stories of at least one person with Type 2 diabetes
inside the Centre who had been deprived of insulin and fell unconscious.
Many stories of a man handcuffed to a wheelchair, missing a leg (and
his prosthetic) came from the released detainees. One recently-released
detainee had four extremely poorly done stitches on his chin and was
uncertain as to what shots (whether tetanus or anesthetic, or both) he
was given. He was given the stitches at the time of his arrest and the
wound was still bleeding badly (we had to sterilize it and applied

Despite all of the above mentioned crimes against
detainees, most notably including medical issues, the Toronto Police had
no plan for the detainees after they were released. They were simply
escorted off the property and told to leave. Many had no idea where they
were, had no access to a phone, had not eaten in a day, had no
identification or money on their person, and were nowhere near mass
transit. Had community volunteers and fellow released detainees not been
present to assist them, we fear that some could have faced
life-threatening medical emergencies or death.

We will be continually updating this blog over the next few weeks.
Please share this with everyone you possibly can. People must know what
has happened in Toronto. For those of you attending the Jail Solidarity
rally tomorrow, please distribute this link widely.

QUICK UPDATE: Its been five hours since we posted this entry and
it’s climbing by hundreds of hits every half hour. According to those on
the ground, detainees leaving the Centre seem to now be avoiding the
group of supporters outside waiting for them. We fear this is due to
police intimidation within 629 Eastern Ave.. If anyone has further
reports, please post in the comment section.

Thank you.

For Justice,

Justin Giovannetti and Lex Gill

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