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Wednesday, May 16, 2012 

Turning Harper's Canada Into An Authoritarian State - 'Practice Makes Perfect'


TORONTO — Police violated civil rights, detained people illegally, and used excessive force during the G20 summit two years ago, a new report concludes. 

The report by Ontario’s independent police watchdog also blasts the temporary detention centre that Toronto police set up for its poor planning, design and operation that saw people detained illegally. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director found police breached several constitutional rights during the tumultuous event, in which more than 1,100 people were arrested, most to be released without charge. “Some police officers ignored basic rights citizens have under the Charter and overstepped their authority when they stopped and searched people arbitrarily and without legal justification,” the report states. “Numerous police officers used excessive force when arresting individuals and seemed to send a message that violence would be met with violence,” the report states. “The reaction created a cycle of escalating responses from both sides.” 

The report takes aim at police tactics at the provincial legislature, which had been set up in advance as a protest zone. It says the force used for crowd control and in making arrests was “in some cases excessive.” “It is fair to say the level of force used in controlling the crowds and making arrests at Queen’s Park was higher than anything the general public had witnessed before in Toronto.” It also concludes mass arrests outside a downtown hotel were “unlawful,” and a dawn raid and arrest of people at a university residence was done without the required warrants. The office, under director Gerry McNeilly, slams police for “kettling” scores of people — many passersby — at a downtown intersection for several hours in a severe thunderstorm, calling it “unreasonable, unnecessary and unlawful.” 

Even officers in place thought the situation untenable, with one describing the incident commander as “maniacal,” the report says. “Where are they going to give them a chance to disperse?” one officer asked. “They aren’t, that’s the problem,” another replied. “Well, that’s stupid.” In regard to the temporary detention centre, the report criticizes senior officers for failing to take adequate steps to address problems. Among complaints were overcrowding, lack of food and water or access to lawyers, the use of flex cuffs and strip searches. Detainees had to use toilets in full view of others and many were held illegally. National Post



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