Police Violated Civil Rights – G20 Report

Dark days happened in 2010 as security forces caused the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.

Now, a new report confirms what many already knew – during the G20 summit police violated civil rights, detained people illegally, and used excessive force.

The 300-page report finds that “Numerous police officers used excessive force when arresting individuals and seemed to send a message that violence would be met with violence,” continuing on to state “The reaction created a cycle of escalating responses from both sides.”

The report also lambasted the unprecedented use of ‘kettling’, where protesters are corralled by riot squads into closed off areas to be detained and arrested. It is during kettling, where protesters are backed into a corner, where clashes can reach a boiling point and fatalities can occur.

So police were overbearing and essentially silenced attempts at peaceful protest. But what else is there to expect when the government spends 664 million on security? Had nothing happened, the price tag might have seem unjustified.

Still, what is most damning about this entire report is the utter lack of accountability. The authors of the report seem appeased to know their recommendations might be considered by police departments in the future.

But this does little to protect Canadian free speech. How about some firings or fines or something to teach the police a lesson? If anything, the lack of repercussions will just encourage more of the same in the future.

What would be nice to see is a clear message sent to police departments across the nation: do not stifle dissent, do not crush protests, do not silence free speech, do not impede peaceful assembly. Otherwise you will face stiff consequences.

Until that happens, ham-handed security will be free to trample our rights the next time we unite against the injustices of the system.

Update – May 17, 2012 Senior Toronto police commanders are expected to be charged in coming weeks for a variety of misconduct offences over their leadership at the G20 summit in June 2010, according to reports from the CBC.

Awesome! This is more than just a slap on the wrist, or at least it could be.

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