29 June 2010

First-hand Testimony of Sunday's G20 Corral at Queen and Spadina

This first-hand account from my friend, Terra Dafoe, who was detained with her boyfriend at Queen and Spadina for four hours in the pouring rain. They were heading home and were among the hundreds of innocent bystanders rounded up for allegedly "breaching the peace" by, you know, walking home. Here's an excerpt:
At this point it began to rain and thunderstorm. Like most of those around us, we were in shorts and t-shirts so it didn’t take long for the pellets of rain to drench most of us to the core. A handful of people, including some elderly huddled underneath shelter next to the McDonalds. Police promptly ordered them to stand in the rain instead. We waited for hours in the cold intense rain; rain so hard the nearby DVP flooded. Some police joked about being cold too, even though they were in full riot gear, and told us to ‘stop pretending,’ as we shook violently from the cold. At least one man right beside Lucius collapsed and was promptly dragged out of the crowd by police. We were offered nothing in the way of comforting words and one officer told a group of people to use their body heat to keep each other warm, telling a distasteful joke about who stays warmer, a naked farmer or one in full clothes. Some officers who interacted with us, also used this time to belittle us...
Despite Police Chief Bill Blair's protestations to the contrary, this was not warranted. They weren't looking for any sort of criminal conspiracy, nor were they protecting the peace. The police had been embarrassed the day before and this was their last opportunity to retaliate. "Charter rights? Not on my watch!"

By the by, Terra isn't some activist flake, by any stretch of the imagination. She's doing a PhD in Counselling Psychology, and her research involves new methods to assist the rehabilitation of particularly egregious criminal offenders. Her boyfriend, Lucius, is a CBC producer. Not to equate Chief Blair with the egregious criminal offenders with whom Terra works, but it occurs to me that the Chief could probably benefit from some of Terra's methods.

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