Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pressure mounts for inquiry into police conduct

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Amnesty International, Jack Layton and a Facebook group which has grown to 21,751 in a day are calling for an independent inquiry into the police conduct during the G20. As well, numerous rallies are being planned in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto over the next couple of days, with a nationwide rally scheduled for July 17. The Toronto rally will be at Queen's Park on Canada Day at 5:30 pm.

The CCLA in a preliminary report stated:
"It is the opinion of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association that police conduct during the G20 Summit was, at times, disproportionate, arbitrary and excessive. In our view, despite instances of commendable and professional conduct, the policing and security efforts, especially after 5PM on June 26 and June 27, failed to demonstrate commitment to Canada’s constitutional values.

Over the next 36 hours, over 900 people (possibly close to 1000) were arrested by police – the largest mass-arrest in Canadian history. Media, human rights monitors, protestors and passers-by were scooped up off the streets. Detained people were not allowed to speak to a lawyer or to their families. Arbitrary searches occurred in countless locations across the city, in many instances several kilometers from the G20 summit site. Peaceful protests were violently dispersed and force was used. In an effort to locate and disable 100-150 vandals, the police disregarded the constitutional rights of thousands."

Amnesty International calls for public inquiry:
In connection with the G20 leaders summit, the heavy police and security presence that has permeated the city for several days, as well as acts of vandalism and other violence by numbers of individuals, have contributed to an atmosphere of apprehension and fearfulness that has led many individuals to refrain from or limit their involvement in peaceful demonstrations and other activities.

Lessons must be learned from these events. We call on the Canadian government and the government of the province of Ontario to cooperate in launching an independent review of the security measures that were put in place for the G8 and G20 Summits. The review should include opportunities for public input and the results should be released to the public.

NDP Leader Jack Layton on Tuesday called for the Commons public safety committee to be “seized with this matter and require an accountability report on both the spending side and on the operations side” of the billion-dollar-plus meeting of world leaders.

From the Star:  
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair tried to quell the growing uproar by announcing that an internal task force will examine “all aspects” of summit policing by the municipal forces, OPP and RCMP in the G20 Integrated Security Unit. 

But the promise of a police force investigating itself, along with assurances there is a complaint mechanism for those who feel ill-treated by police, seemed unlikely to defuse anger after a weekend that saw riot police use tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters — incidents documented in thousands of photos and videos making the rounds. 

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1 comment:

  1. Slightly off topic:

    Seized items were not tagged for evidence. They could have come from Blair's closet.