TORONTO, May 16, 2012 /CNW/ - The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) today released its G20 Systemic Review Report providing an in-depth analysis of issues surrounding public complaints against police during the G20 summit in Toronto in June 2010.
"The events that took place over the course of the G20 weekend resulted in the largest mass arrests in Canadian history and had a profound impact not only on the citizens of Toronto and Canada generally, but on public confidence in the police as well. This report provides a comprehensive and balanced account of events surrounding the G20. It is my hope that the recommendations I have made provide a map to improve the interaction between the public and the police during future protests and to strengthen confidence and trust in police and policing."
- Gerry McNeilly, Independent Police Review Director
The 300-page report examines the planning and execution of the security operation at the G20. The report covers incidents where large-scale protests and interactions or clashes with police occurred, with timelines and analyses of the issues at Queen's Park, The Esplanade, the Graduate Students' Union at the University of Toronto and Queen and Spadina, as well as the stops and searches that occurred. The report also examines the planning and operation of the Prisoner Processing Centre.
The Independent Police Review Director found that while the vast majority of police officers carried out their duties in a professional manner, some police officers ordered or made arrests without reasonable grounds, used excessive force, overstepped their authority when they stopped and searched people without legal justification, and failed to take adequate steps to address problems at the Prisoner Processing Centre.
- The OIPRD is responsible for receiving, managing and overseeing all public complaints against the police in Ontario. This includes Ontario's municipal and regional police services and the Ontario Provincial Police.
- The Police Services Act gives the Independent Police Review Director the power to examine and review issues of a systemic nature that are the subject of, or that give rise to public complaints under the Act.
- The OIPRD received 356 complaints in relation to incidents during the G20 summit in Toronto. In reviewing these complaints, systemic issues became evident.
- Read the G20 Systemic Review Report on our website.
OIPRD RELEASES G20 SYSTEMIC REVIEW REPORT
At the conclusion of the G20 summit in Toronto in 2010, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) began receiving complaints regarding police conduct. The OIPRD received a total of 356 complaints and the analysis of these complaints revealed allegations of a pattern of conduct regarding policing that occurred throughout the G20 summit weekend. The Independent Police Review Director determined that it was in the public interest to combine and consolidate a number of G20 complaints as well as to conduct a review of a systemic nature in accordance with Section 57 of the Police Services Act. Such a review would provide the most effective and complete investigation of issues that arose.
Contents of the Systemic Review Report
The OIPRD's G20 Systemic Review Report, "Policing the Right to Protest," contains an executive summary with recommendations and is divided into three parts: Planning and Preparation, Protest and Response and Aftermath and Reflections.
The 300-page report outlines the planning for security at the G20, the security structure that was put in place for the G20 and examines some of the command and control issues that arose during the G20 weekend.
The report includes a timeline of the protest march that took place on Saturday, June 26, 2010, and the events that occurred during and after the march. The G20 "hot spots" are covered in chapters on stop and search, Queen's Park, arrests on The Esplanade, University of Toronto arrests, Queen and Spadina arrests, and issues at the Prisoner Processing Centre (PPC), with timelines, analyses and recommendations on each.
The Independent Police Review Directors findings include:
- The vast majority of police officers carried out their duties in a professional manner during the G20 summit. For many officers, this was the first time they were part of a security operation of this magnitude, and it was the first time they were faced with such a large number of protesters, some of whom were intent on destruction, riot and violence. The officers who acted within the law, who carried out their duty to serve and protect with diligence and respect, must be commended.
- In their attempts to prevent unlawful activity, some police officers ignored the basic rights citizens have under the Charter and overstepped their authority when they stopped and searched people arbitrarily and without legal justification.
- The level of force used in controlling the crowds and making arrests at Queen's Park during the afternoon of June 26, 2010, was in some cases, excessive.
- On Saturday night, June 26, 2010, the night shift Incident Commander in the TPS Major Incident Command Centre ordered the containment and arrests of all people gathered outside the Novotel hotel on The Esplanade. The OIPRD investigation concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that this mass arrest was unlawful and the subsequent detention and imprisonment of the people was in violation of Section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- The arrests of the occupants of the Graduate Students' Union, during the early morning hours of Sunday, June 27, 2010, were unlawful on two basis: the police did not have the requisite grounds to believe each arrested party had committed the offence of unlawful assembly the previous day and a warrant was required to arrest a person for unlawful assembly where that person was not found actually committing the offence. Such a warrant was never obtained.
- The arrest and continued detention of people at Queen St and Spadina Ave in a severe thunderstorm, during the evening of June 27, 2010, was unreasonable, unnecessary and unlawful and people's rights guaranteed by Section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated.
- The Prisoner Processing Centre, which was meant to serve as a temporary holding facility for people arrested during the G20, was poorly planned, designed and operated and the senior officers in charge failed to take adequate steps to address problems at the PPC. Complaints raised a dozen issues of concern, from overcrowding, lack of food, water and access to duty counsel, to the use of flex cuffs and strip searches. Paperwork throughout the G20 was not properly completed and, in some cases, not completed at all. As a result, it is impossible to state accurately the number of people who were arrested over the course of the summit weekend.
The Independent Police Review Director makes 42 recommendations regarding planning, command and control, arrests and containment, tactics, equipment and prisoner handling and communication with the public and the media, which he expects to be acted upon in a timely manner. Among the recommendations are calls for changes to the Police Services Act and the police Code of Conduct to impose a duty on officers to disclose potential evidence of misconduct; senior officers especially should not condone or distance themselves from the misconduct of subordinates or colleagues. There is also a recommendation that Toronto Police Service should exercise its discretion to expunge records of those people who were not charged or whose charges were withdrawn where it is not in the public interest to retain them.
For further information:
Rosemary Parker, Communications Branch, (416) 314-4517
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