More horror stories from the G20 detention centre means more searching for closure for the city

More horror stories from the G20 detention centre means more searching for closure for the city

Riot police holding the line at the G20 Summit in Toronto last summer (Image: Bahman A-Mahmoodi)  

The long-simmering anger over the Toronto G20 was revived this week after the Toronto Star released surveillance footage from the temporary detention centre, where hardened criminals ordinary people were packed into cells still wearing plastic handcuffs (something that appears to violate the United Nations’ treatment of prisoners protocol, by the by). Sure, stories of the detention centre’s squalid conditions and the mistreatment of prisoners therein are well worn, but no matter how many times they’re told, little seems to happen when it comes to holding key players accountable.

More from the Star:

The Toronto Star has published the first images to emerge from inside the now-notorious prisoner processing centre during the June 2010 summit. The makeshift jail, housed in an unused film studio on Eastern Ave., held 885 of the 1,118 people arrested over the course of the G20 weekend.

The photograph was taken from video footage capturing the detention of Michael Puddy, then 31, who was cleared of his G20 charges in August. He and 27 other inmates can be seen inside a 3-by-6-metre cell with their hands bound by zip-ties.

“I think there are a number of issues that the images raise, particularly around the treatment of Mr. Puddy and the others,” [police services board chair] Mukherjee said. “It rings alarm bells.”

Alarm bells? Mukherjee sounds somewhat surprised by news that the conditions in the detention centre were less than ideal, but we’re pretty sure those alarm bells have been ringing for upward of a year now. He also expressed his hope that John Morden’s G20 review would answer some of the lingering questions. But according to the Toronto Sun, Morden “has not yet interviewed senior officers, most of whom involved already retired and are now not obligated to talk to him.” Hmm.

What it all points to is part of the reason why Toronto can’t seem to find closure on the G20. It the aftermath of a fiasco like this, it’s only logical that some of the people responsible be held accountable. But so far that hasn’t happened. Any retribution for the police’s bad behaviour has come in small doses: a police officer charged here, a few dozen with docked pay there. Without larger consequences for the police force, it’s likely the city will remain angry about what happened on that fateful weekend last summer.

A troubling picture of G20 detention [Toronto Sun]
G20 jail photos raise ‘alarm bells’ for police chair [Toronto Star]
How the G20—with its burning cars, broken storefronts, violent beatings and mass arrests—ruined Bill Blair’s popularity [Toronto Life]