Although we now have a judge's statements that the police were unjustified aggressors on the weekend of the G20 protests in Toronto (June 2010), the statements are regarding a trial of one defendant (found not guilty of all charges), and not as part of a much-needed federal public inquiry.
A Toronto judge has ruled that “adrenalized” police officers
acted as aggressors at a peaceful political rally that led to dozens of
arrests during last year’s G20 summit.
“The only organized or collective physical aggression at that
location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced
on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was
referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday,
June 26, 2010.
Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.”
Green’s stern words echo widespread criticism of police during the
G20, in which more than 1,100 people were detained in the largest mass
arrest in Canadian history. A Toronto Star/Angus Reid Public
Opinion poll conducted on the one-year anniversary of the G20 found a
majority of Torontonians (54 per cent) now believe police response to
demonstrations during the summit were unjustified.
“The zealous exercise of police arrest powers in the context of
political demonstrations risks distorting the necessary if delicate
balance between law enforcement concerns for public safety and order, on
the one hand, and individual rights and freedoms, on the other,” Green
wrote in a 29-page judgment.