Court Tells Police Watchdog to Investigate Police Chief's Role in G20 Arrest

TORONTO, June 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Yesterday, the Ontario Divisional Court issued a ruling criticizing the Independent Police Review Director (IPRD) for his failure to investigate the role of Toronto Chief of Police William Blair in the unlawful arrest of Jason Wall during the 2010 G20 protests.

Mr. Wall had been walking home on June 27, 2010 when he was arrested by officers looking for those responsible for vandalism during the G20 protests.  Mr. Wall was detained for 28 hours.  He was released without being charged with any crime.  He was told that he was arrested for "disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence."  There was no disguise.  He had worn a bandana around his neck.

The IPRD investigated Mr. Wall's complaint and concluded that two Toronto police officers had unlawfully arrested and detained Mr. Wall.  But the IPRD failed to conduct a full investigation.  The arresting officers told the IPRD that they had been ordered by "upper command" and the "Chief of Police" to arrest anyone wearing a bandana.   The IPRD failed to do anything to investigate senior officers or the Chief of Police.  When Mr. Wall petitioned the IPRD to finish its investigation, the IPRD told him that it was not in the public interest to continue.

Lawyers Clayton Ruby and Nader Hasan took the IPRD to Court over his failure to investigate the role of the Chief of Police.  The Court held that the IPRD's failure to consider the Chief's role was "unreasonable" and "violate[d] principles of procedural fairness and natural justice."  The Court also agreed that the IPRD "demonstrated a closed mind and intransigence" on this issue.

"It is important that the Court called the Director's decision unreasonable and found that he did not understand his own statute," said Ruby.  "Anywhere else but the world of policing, this would show incompetence and justify firing the Director. The Court's decision also paints a picture of a Director determined to cover up for Chief Blair and his senior officers who gave the illegal order to the poor cops on the beat. That is shameful."

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), which referred Mr. Wall to Clayton Ruby's office, has noted that Mr. Wall's case was one of numerous G20 cases where individuals walking on the street with bandannas were profiled, harassed, searched or arrested.  Prior to the G20, the CCLA had specifically alerted the Integrated Security Unit that mere possession of items such as bandannas did not, on its own, provide reasonable grounds for arrest.

A copy of the Divisional Court's opinion, cited as Wall v. Independent Police Review Director, 2013 ONSC 3312 (Div. Ct), is available to the media by request.  Please e-mail Cheryl McKinnon (cmckinnon@rubysiller.com) to request a copy.

SOURCE: Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan

For further information:

Media contacts:

Clayton Ruby (ruby@rubyshiller.com)
416-964-9664

Nader Hasan (nhasan@rubyshiller.com )
416-964-9664

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Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan

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