A report slams the G20 police response—but says most officers acted properly

A report slams the G20 police response—but says most officers acted properly

(Image: Phil Marion from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)

Another long-awaited report on G20 policing—the second this week—is out, and it details some egregious behaviour, including civil rights violations, the use of excessive force and some really bad planning. In the report, Independent Police Review director Gerry McNeilly writes that police unlawfully stopped and searched people on the street, and that the kettling at Queen and Spadina was “unreasonable, unnecessary and unlawful.” He also criticizes the force’s mass arrests and miserable makeshift detention centre on Eastern Avenue.

In his column in the Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee zeroes in on how the police failed:

Police planning for the G20 was “incomplete and inadequate and very general.” One reason police often couldn’t catch up to G20 bad guys was that the vans and buses they were travelling in got caught in gridlock—and their civilian drivers weren’t allowed to run red lights. Police were so disoriented that one of them picked up a subway map to figure out how to get around.

Once things began to go wrong, no one in the police seems to have put up a hand to say: enough. The report says officers were often “blindly following orders,” even when they questioned whether the orders were right. Fear and even paranoia seems to have taken hold. Police were told that G20 anarchists might be armed with super-soaker water guns to use as flame throwers.

That said, McNeilly found that the majority of police conducted themselves appropriately—though that’s not what’s making headlines, nor is it much consolation to the roughly 1,100 people arrested at the summit. Also not much help: a defensive Chief Bill Blair, who won’t apologize or even admit police acted unlawfully, saying, “That has not been proven at all.”

• Five key findings of the G20 watchdog report on G20 summit in Toront0 [National Post]
• Report critical of G20 tactics, Chief Blair defensive [Globe and Mail]
• OIPRD review reveals policing gone wrong during the G20 summit [Toronto Star]