Thursday, July 01, 2010

G20 lawsuits on the way

"Joint lawsuit planned for G20 arrestees." Irrespective of whether there is any public inquiry held, there is no permission required to file a civil action and seek a remedy. As could be expected, they're on the way:
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it is considering a joint lawsuit against the Toronto police and other police forces responsible for the G20 mass arrests.

“The CCLA is planning to help people who are seeking compensation to (initiate) a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Ontario,” said Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the CCLA. “We have a couple of plaintiffs.”
Des Rosiers said the CCLA has been overwhelmed with phone calls and has already collected 75 complaints from people claiming they were wrongfully imprisoned, detained, harassed or assaulted by the police.
Some people who were arrested will probably argue their Charter rights were violated, said Jonathan Dawe, criminal lawyer with Sack Goldblatt Mitchell. He pointed to reports of people being denied their right to legal counsel or to not be arbitrarily arrested or detained.

“I can’t imagine how (police) could not have known that what they were doing is unlawful,” Dawe said. “I’m shocked at what seems to have been a wholesale decision on the part of the police to abandon the Charter.”
These lawsuits will likely be going on for quite some time, maybe years. With lots of evidence to be disclosed as they proceed. All the police forces who were there, including the Integrated Security Unit would likely be defendants in these actions.

One more item from the weekend's ugliness, a reader sent me this video on the Queen & Spadina kettling incident. The last two minutes in particular are worth watching. Here is the description from the MyNews site:
WARNING: Strong language and violence that may upset some viewers. MyNews user Jason MacDonald, a 27-year-old construction worker from Toronto, submitted this chilling first-hand video of a tense standoff with police on Sunday. MacDonald told his group marched peacefully along Queen from Bay Street to Spadina, where they were surrounded by police in riot gear. “We kind of got surrounded and weren’t able to get out, they just pushed us back and I was trying to film, and the one officer lunged forward smashed me in the face with his shield and one by one they arrested us, all of us,” MacDonald alleged. In addition to the cut to his face, MacDonald alleges he received bruises to his ribs, head and both arms, as well as scratches to his back from being dragged by police officers. Eventually, MacDonald and his friends were all arrested and taken to a detention centre. He was eventually released at about 11:30 p.m.

The person who sent it along has forwarded it to his MPP, MP, the Attorney General of Ontario, the Premier and the Minister of Community Safety, asking questions about what was seen here. These are the kinds of scenes I imagine we'll be learning more about during the course of the lawsuits referenced above.