Stories of Toronto Police Brutality at the G20

Toronto Riot Police and protester: Everything is not Ok

Toronto Riot Police and protester: Everything is not Ok

It aches me to read these stories, but I knew from video coverage and from photos of Toronto Riot Police intimidation that many innocent people that live in Toronto would get beaten up and arrested by police. Unfortunately surprising but not unexpected. The stories come from all ages, male and female, and varied professions. It seems that there were no filtering of good or bad, that all at the scene were bullied, beat up and arrested. It is upsetting that such treatment by police can happen in my home town of Toronto. Maybe I am too naive. Those who endured the brutality will never forget. The issue of police brutality, overzealous police behavior and the G20 overall will become a significant provincial and federal issue.

Up to now I and most other Torontonians believed that police were fair in their treatment of fellow citizens. “To Serve and Protect”. These words now ring hollow. The battle against police must be now fought in the courts, which will take time. Unfortunately for those illegally searched, arrested and victimized by police, then released after hours in detention, the psychological scars will remain. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has already started the process.

Was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms suspended during the G20 here in Toronto? There was a law passed that allowed police to search and arrest anyone within 5m of 3 summit locations, but how can police use this law throughout downtown Toronto? Was there martial law imposed on Toronto this weekend, because the police seemed to have sweeping powers to do whatever it takes to clear protesters, pedestrians and observers from Toronto streets, no matter how peaceful citizens were acting. It is no crime to walk on the streets of Toronto, so why were so many innocent people arrested. The last count was 940, and this could easily exceed 1,000. This is the reason there was a rally in front of police headquarters today, where over 1,000 Torontonians of all stripes protested.

Scr8on writes to the CBC, and I am in total agreement with him:

I understand they had to deal with violent people, but it the response to those who were not violent that has left me absolutely horrified. There is no excuse to violate civil rights, this is 2010 and we have crossed the line to a very very dark and dangerous place. To abuse the power that has been entrusted to the police is such an egregious act, and to not take them to task will only further perpetrate the wrong that has been acted out over this fiasco. Toronto must demand that all people have rights, civil liberties and the right to free speech- even during tenous times, failure to do so only leads us towards being like N.Korea..and I do not want to be like that at all.

I hope that the insanity of police actions will be explained in the near future, because I cannot understand how such blatant breaches of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be justified. A public inquiry is required. The citizens of Toronto deserve better.

Note: There are some great photos of police and protesters here.

Chilling is this report. If this is true the police should be charged. There must have been witnesses.

My name is Geoffrey Bercarich, age 26 and life long resident of Toronto, Canada. I was attacked and held illegally by Toronto Police in the “g20 jail” on Sunday June 27th, 2010.

I was riding in a special critical mass of cyclists, there was 600 cylists riding in group to take the media spotlight away from the property damage done to the city core the day before.

The bike ride was peaceful and no street laws where broken. The mass ride was riding along Yorkville and this is where I was attacked. A police cyclist blocked my path directly in front of me; another police cyclist struck me in the face, hitting my teeth with his fist. Another police cyclist threw his bicycle into mine causing me to fall to the ground. The squad of five police officers threw me onto the fallen police bike, pushing me down onto the bicycle and beat me in the face and the groin. The officer that struck me first held my knees open as another hit me repeatedly in the groin. I was then turned on to my stomach and my face was smashed into the street repeatedly, leaving a pool of blood. This all happened without any notification by the police officers as to what crime I committed or why they were attacking me. As the beatings continued I repeated in a strong voice, “I am not resisting.”

I was now on my stomach with my arms restrained behind my back with my face being pushed into the street under the knee of another police officer. A large group of police set up a line of police bikes to stop onlookers from getting a clear view on what was taking place. The police threatened the witnesses with arrest under the charge of obstruction of justice. As the beatings continued the officers repeatedly kneed me in the head, lower and upper back. There is heavy bruising around my right shoulder, cuts and bruises on my right knee and right elbow and my chin has a large cut that likely needed stitches. As I was being beaten, I cried out in extreme pain, “Stop the insanity.”

I was removed from the street, dragged into the near by parking structure on Yorkville Avenue . The arresting officers’ number was 8114, and his commanding officer was Sgt. Hicks. All other officers on site had no visible badge number and would not identify themselves. The police told everyone in the parking structure to leave or face arrest under the charge of obstruction of justice. They then spoke about taking me into a corner without any cameras. I was barely conscious as the beatings continued against the wall of the parking building. They threatened to beat me if i did not remain silent, i repeated one thing, “I am complying”.

The officers then read me my rights and told me I was under arrest for inciting. All I could think about was my handcuffs, I could not move or feel my hands. I asked them repeatedly to loosen my handcuffs. Finally after thirty minutes of the police pushing my head into the wall, Sergeant Hicks ordered them to loosen my handcuffs. I was indebted to his mercy.

I was sent to the G20 jail site on Eastern Avenue and Pape. I arrived at the makeshift jail at 2pm, and I left by midnight. All charges dropped, no explanation given. I was let go under a verbal promise not to go to a protest again. I am now in fear for my life, I live in this city, I am active in the public life and workings of the city. I fear for they will pick me up and bring me back to the detention center at anytime.

G20 Detention center on Eastern Avenue.
I was brought to the detention center at 2pm, I left at 12am, my life would change between those ten hours. I was the first to be placed in one of ten holding cells. The holding cells were in a giant studio space with extremely filthy floors. Vomit and piss were present everywhere. The holding cell was ten feet wide and four feet deep. There was a latrine in every holding cell, the latrine was full to the point where it was overflowing onto the cells floor. I was the first to be brought into the holding cell. By the end of the day 25 people were being held in that cell, and all of us were handcuffed for the entire duration of our stay, other people in other cells told us they have been there for more than thirty hours. The cells became overcrowded to a point where people were handcuffed to the floor outside the cells.

I was beaten bad by the police, I asked for a medic and was laughed at by every police guard on duty. They told me there were more people hurt in worse ways then me. Not one medic was ever seen and no one that I knew of received any medical attention. Of the 25 people in my cell, half were not protesters, two needed medications that they never received and myself with open wounds and a handcuffed, bruised arm and shoulder. We were given a two day old stale cheese and butter sandwich, and given a small cup of water every five hours. The police guards had a unlimited supply of apples, bottled water, roast beef sandwiches and chocolate covered strawberries that they were eating in front of our cells. Some cell mates were so desperate for food they eat the thrown away apple cores left on my the cell wall. No one in the entire holding facility got a phone call to the outside world. I have two friends that have yet to be seen or heard from for over three days.

As I was let out, the officer escorting me got lost, thereby taking me through most of the detention facility. No one person had received a phone call, and the people that have specific charges laid against them were being held in one person cells that do not have enough space to lie down. As I walked past their cages, i saw the look of fear, anxiety and the loss of hope that can only be seen thorough the fear for losing ones life.

I now live under the fear that the Toronto police will raid my home and take me away to the dentition center again. I fear I have gotten away with my freedom and they will take it back at anytime.

Please help.
June 28th 2010
Geoffrey Bercarich

There is a possible joint lawsuit in the works:

“I can’t imagine how (police) could not have known that what they were doing is unlawful,” [Jonathan Dawe, criminal lawyer with Sack Goldblatt Mitchell] said. “I’m shocked at what seems to have been a wholesale decision on the part of the police to abandon the Charter.”

Here is the story of Benjamin Elroy Yau, a TTC fare collector on his way to work:

A TTC fare collector spent a “terrifying” 36 hours in custody after being arrested in uniform on his way to work during Saturday’s G20 summit protests.

Calls for G20 inquiry ratchet up
Canadian Civil Liberties Association Preliminary Report of Observations during the G20 Summit

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone in Canada the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. It also guarantees the right of all persons to be free from arbitrary detention and unreasonable search and seizure. These constitutional liberties – and the limits they place on government and police – are the foundations of our free and democratic society. The G20 Summit did not authorize or warrant their suspension. Constitutional guarantees matter because, as is often said, without them, “even the most democratic society could all too easily fall prey to the abuses and excesses of a police state.”

It is the opinion of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association that police conduct during the G20 Summit was, at times, disproportionate, arbitrary and excessive. In our view, despite instances of commendable and professional conduct, the policing and security efforts, especially after 5PM on June 26 and June 27, failed to demonstrate commitment to Canada’s constitutional values.

Note: Write a complaint to the Premier of Ontario and to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Street protests in Toronto

Anti-G20 group seeking evidence of alleged police brutality. I agree with collecting evidence of police brutality, but do not believe in this:

The Toronto Community Organization Network, an umbrella group of numerous anti-G20 organizations, is also calling for the immediate release of all G20 protesters, the dropping of G20-related charges and the abolishment of the G20.

If crimes were committed by protesters and there is evidence for a conviction, they should pay the price for their transgressions. The G20 is not an excuse to create havoc in Toronto, for protesters or police.

Addendum May 09 2011: Last year I wrote the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister of Canada about these G20 atrocities. The Premier of Ontario did write back stating he will not hold a public inquiry. The Prime Minister never wrote back. Today the Premier wrote me to say the Public Works Protection Act (PWPA) will be replaced. Still there will be no public inquiry.

Some time ago, you wrote to me about security during last summer’s G20 summit in Toronto. I appreciated hearing what you had to say about events during the gathering of world leaders, and would like to provide you with an update on recent steps that our government has taken.

Last September, we asked former Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry to lead an independent review of the Public Works Protection Act (PWPA). Our government released his report in April.

Mr. McMurtry concluded that the PWPA should be repealed and replaced with legislation specific to court security and energy infrastructure. I want you to know that our government will act on all of his recommendations.

We will begin consultations on replacement legislation necessary to
protect vital infrastructure, as Mr. McMurtry recommended. Our objective and commitment are to ensure the security of our essential
infrastructure while protecting civil liberties.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this information with you. Please accept my best wishes.

Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario

Dorian Barton, a 30-year-old cookie maker, suffered a broken right arm, black eye, swollen limbs and a bruised back when he was arrested by police near Queen’s Park during the G20 Summit in June, 2010

Dorian Barton, a 30-year-old cookie maker, suffered a broken right arm, black eye, swollen limbs and a bruised back when he was arrested by police near Queen’s Park during the G20 Summit in June, 2010

Addendum May 24 2011: SIU’s G20 ruling in Dorian Barton case a ‘failure of justice’: Eight G20 police officers are deemed innocent even though there is a eye witness and photographic evidence to Dorian Barton’s beating by police.

One of the police officers who could not name a colleague accused of beating Dorian Barton during last June’s G20 summit was the suspect officer’s roommate, according to the head of the Special Investigations Unit.

Furthermore, two of the other so-called witness officers to Barton’s arrest were supervisors, Ian Scott told the Star.

Addendum June 07 2011: Officers tell their side of Adam Nobody’s G20 arrest: Officers testify that they did not hit Mr. Nobody in any way. I am sure they are lieing.

Addendum June 24 2011: Toronto police were overwhelmed at G20, review reveals

In the first significant admission things went wrong during the G20 summit last year, Toronto police say they did not have the right tactics to effectively handle the Black Bloc, were so overwhelmed at a temporary detention centre that some prisoners were never given access to a lawyer and that in future officers should not box in protesters without leaving an exit.


  1. Inappropriate tacts to deal with Black Block. Out-strategized by the Black Block
  2. Inadequate staff at detention centres, resulting in accused not being fed, able to call a lawyer, able to get necessary medical treatment, loss of personal belongings
  3. Kettling tactics should not be used without a way for people to leave

While this is a good beginning, more honesty is needed in a public forum. These issues will not disappear. A public inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of this fiasco and to restore the trust of the people of Toronto.

Addendum Aug 11 2011: Aggression during G20 rally ‘perpetrated by police,’ judge rules

Addendum July 01 2012: a href=”–the-g20-summit-where-are-we-now>The G20 Summit: Where are we now?: Nearly two years later, there is no public inquiry, there are almost no police charged, and the Ontario and Federal governments have not admitted guilt in Toronto’s botched G20. We still wait for justice to be served, and maybe we will need a change of government in order for this to occur.

4 thoughts on “Stories of Toronto Police Brutality at the G20

  1. Chac

    I just heard a story from my best friends sister. She was smoking a cigarette with a friend of hers outside a restaurant during the G20. She was no where near any riots or anything.

    She and her friend are honors students who strongly believe in peace and civil justice. They have nothing against the police and are against any violent protest.

    Cops came up to her and ask them if they spoke French. Once they said yes, they were beaten and brought to jail for over 16 hours.

    Before being arrested a female cop said: “welcome to Canada bitch”.

    When we heard that story, we said it was impossible. That they must have provoked them someway. She can’t stop crying. She says if her brother won’t believe her, who will.

    What can we do to ensure these aggressors are fined, publicly denounced and fired. Ideally put in Jail.

  2. dontai Post author

    Stories like your best friend’s sister are terrifying and disheartening. The best thing for her to do is to contact the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and join their group lawsuit. The CCLA also has a G20 incident report which you can download and fill out. The next steps will be fought in court. You might also consult a lawyer that is assisting other victims.

    I am sure she is very traumatized and will need a lot of time to get over her ordeal. I have experienced such treatment in China during martial law, but not in Toronto. Her Charter of Rights and Freedoms were squashed with police boots and a lot of ignorance. One can only hope that this terrible experience will have no long lasting effects on her.

  3. notepad

    Shocking police brutality: G20 Detention Center, 629 Eastern Avenue, Toronto, Canada

    Shocking footage about the G20 Detention Center,- a converted film studio on 629 Eastern Avenue, Toronto, Canada. Women and girls are strip searched, assaulted and intimidated by male officers, no food, no water, no phone call, no laywer – no human dignity.

    Shame on you! Police brutality against women G20 Toronto, Canada

    15-18 year old girls only get 3 tiny cheese sandwiches and 3 cups of water for over 30 hours. 100’s of girls are strip searched, watched naked and some sexually harassed by male police officers. Sexist behaviour and explicit sexual remarks ar very commonplace in the G20 detention center. Women and girls are violently detained, snatched and shot at by police in Toronto, Canada during the G20 2010. Young people traumatized for their life. Held for 30 hours in a guantanamo like prison camp with insufficient food and 3 tiny cups of water, 40 women held in tiny, cold cells. No right to a lawyer, no right to a phone call, freezing cold…

    notepad youtube channel

  4. dontai Post author

    There are hopeful signs that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be defended, albeit too late, and the wrongs will be put right. Eventually. The next legal steps will take years to flow through the courts.

    Marches of protesters through downtown Toronto show the feeling in the city. Protests in front of Police headquarters. Protests where the police chief goes. The Ombudsman of Ontario has been called upon to investigate. Now the police seem to be in damage control, with little to shield themselves. Still, with most police being unidentified and having no badge numbers, there is little transparency that I can see. Closure for individual cases of illegal incarceration and police brutality will be difficult, if not impossible.

    If you are a citizen of Canada and feel our Charter of Rights and Freedoms were infringed upon, I urge you to write the Premier of Ontario, your Member of Parliament and the Prime Minister of Canada. I have given the links above. The treatment of the citizens of Toronto during the G20 must become an election issue. Those responsible must be brought to account.

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