Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finally, an independent civilian inquiry into G20 security

Today (Tuesday), Mr. Alok Mukerjee, the Chairman of the civilian Toronto Police Services Board that oversees the Toronto Police force, put a motion forward recommending that the police undergo a review for the actions they took leading up to and during the summit weekend. This is a complete about-face on his comments way, way back on June 30th when he stated that he saw no need for an inquiry partially because Chief Bill Blair was undertaking an internal review of the Integrated Security Units operations with the Toronto Police Service Summit Management After Action Review Team (SMAART) (a rather self-serving acronym, don't you think?). I'm quite certain that the SMAART review will be entirely without bias seeing as Bill Blair, who led the ISU, stated in a news release after the summit:

"Considering the challenges of the G20 Summit, the Toronto Police Service and our policing partners with the RCMP, the OPP, the Canadian Forces and Peel Regional Police, worked together seamlessly. The effort, professionalism and restraint displayed by Summit police officers was outstanding."

It sounds like Chief Blair has already made up his mind how well his security forces performed.

When the independent civilian review is undertaken, there are a few questions that should be asked.

1.) Did the ISU deliberately abandon their vehicles to draw the attention of demonstrators? This video in particular certainly makes it look like the police were using their vehicles as a decoy. As the camera pans, you can see a large number of policemen (I count at least 30 security personnel) and at least 4 marked police cars. The police are very close to the car that ultimately sustains damage (less than 100 feet away) and backing up away from the intersection of Bay and King. One of the officers even has his or her yellow taser drawn. They are obviously standing in very close proximity to their cruiser while Black Bloc members jump on the roof and smash the windows with clubs. The officers appear to be well armed and wearing protective gear. Why did they not at least attempt to apprehend the offenders or at least try to scare them off?

2.) Did the security personnel have orders to prioritize protection of the $5 million perimeter fence and the leaders of the G20 over the best interests of civilians and their businesses? In this video you see the demonstrators smashing windows and a large group of armoured security personnel stand less than a block away, not interfering in any way.

3.) This CTV video shows people walking up Yonge Street as windows are smashed and general vandalism takes place with no security presence, other than an occasional private security guard, for a full 10 minutes. Where were the police/security personnel during that entire time (and I'm assuming longer)?

Apparently, the public will have the opportunity to "vent their spleens" at the civilian review ; at the very least, that should prove interesting if not entertaining. As a side benefit, maybe Canadian taxpayers will get a little glimpse into where some of the money was spent on the billion dollar boondoggle.


  1. While I am sure there are questions about the police actions, I admit to asking questions about the protesters. I watched somebody throw something at the mounted police and knock a policeman off his horse. Unconscionable. In the end, I'm guessing both sides will come up short.

    My view of the OMG-20: photos and videos

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3

    The Aftermath; The Afterthoughts

  2. Thanks for the photos. At the very lease, the review will be an interesting exercise. Like all of society, there are good people and there are a few bad apples - both in civilians and in the police.