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News Release

SIU Concludes Six Investigations into Injuries during the G20 Summit

Case Number: 10-TCI-118

Mississauga (25 November, 2010) --- Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has completed six separate investigations into the injuries sustained by six men during the G20 summit in Toronto in June of this year.  All of the men received their injuries on June 26, 2010 at various locations within the downtown area.

Custody Injury - Incident # 10-TCI-115
The complainant, 19-year-old Brendan Latimer, was present at a G20 demonstration at Queen’s Park when the police started to advance, indicating by their actions that the crowd should move east.  People began to depart the area in haste.  When a young female in front of Mr. Latimer fell down, he stopped to help her.  Mr. Latimer was knocked to the ground and was trampled by fleeing demonstrators.  He was on the ground for between 25 and 30 seconds before officers moved in to arrest him.  He said he was struck in the face by one of the officers during the arrest.  He was taken to Toronto East General Hospital and treated for a facial fracture.

The SIU assigned four investigators to probe the circumstances surrounding this incident.  Nine witness officers from the Toronto Police Service (TPS) were interviewed along with a civilian witness. The officer who caused the injury could not be identified.  

The Director of the SIU, Ian Scott, concluded, “On the basis of the investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe an officer used excessive force leading to injuries to the complainant.  However, given the fact that no subject officer can be named after a thorough investigation, I cannot form reasonable grounds that any identified officer committed a criminal offence in the circumstances of this case.”

Custody Injury – Incident # 10-TCI-116
The complainant, 29-year-old Dorian Barton, was at the intersection of University Avenue and College Street at a G20 demonstration.  There was a line of mounted police officers on his left and anti-riot officers standing in front of the demonstrators.  He turned around to take pictures of the mounted police officers with his cellular telephone unaware that anti-riot officers were marching toward the crowd.  Mr. Barton was taken to the ground by a male anti-riot officer and arrested, sustaining a fracture to his right arm in the process.  He was taken to Toronto East General Hospital for treatment.  

The SIU assigned four investigators to probe the circumstances around his injury.  Four TPS witness officers and two civilian witnesses were interviewed.  Upon further investigation, Mr. Barton could not identify the officers involved in his arrest or fully explain how the injury occurred, nor was the remainder of the evidence capable of resolving these questions.

As a result, Director Scott concluded, “It is unclear how the complainant received his injury or who caused them.  Accordingly, I cannot form reasonable grounds that a criminal offence occurred in the circumstances of this case.”

Custody Injury – Incident #10-TCI-117
The complainant, 42-year-old Canute Fernandes, was just east of the intersection of Blue Jays Way and Queen Street West when a group of police officers rushed west to east on Queen Street toward him and other civilians congregating in the area.  He was overrun as the officers and the crowd moved eastward and fell to the ground landing on his shoulder, whereupon several officers moved in to arrest him.  He later complained of pain in his right arm and was taken to Toronto East General Hospital where he was treated for a fractured right arm and shoulder.
 
The SIU assigned three investigators to probe the circumstances surrounding this incident.  Six witness officers from the TPS and three civilian witnesses were interviewed. The evidence collected by the SIU was equivocal as to the cause of Mr. Fernandes’s injuries.  Specifically, it could not be determined whether Mr. Fernandes fell as the result of being knocked to the ground by rushing officers or fleeing protestors, nor could the identities of the arresting officers be ascertained. 

In the circumstances, Director Scott concluded, “It is unclear if the complainant sustained his injury by the actions of the police or as a result of interaction with other civilians.  Accordingly, I cannot form reasonable grounds that a criminal offence occurred in the circumstances of this case.”

Custody Injury – Incident # 10-TCI-118
The complainant, 27-year-old Adam Nobody, was at Queen’s Park on the south side of the Legislature.  At the sound of officers directing demonstrators to move back, he ran westbound toward the southbound section of University Avenue where he was apprehended by officers in riot gear, knocked to the ground and arrested.  Force was used by one or more officers during his arrest and Mr. Nobody sustained a fracture below his right eye.  He was treated at Toronto East General Hospital and released.

The SIU assigned three investigators to probe the circumstances of this occurrence. Eight witness officers were interviewed. Two officers were designated as subject officers.  The subject officers exercised their rights and declined to be interviewed by SIU investigators. One civilian witness was interviewed. 

Based on his review of the investigation, Director Scott stated, “In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that any identifiable officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the injuries received by the complainant.  The complaint involves two allegations of assault by police officers occurring in quick succession.  The first relates to the conduct of the officers at the original arrest scene.  Shortly thereafter, there was an allegation that the complainant was dragged behind two parked vans in the vicinity by two plainclothes officers (identified and designated as “subject officers”) and repeatedly kicked in the head.    

The first allegation is corroborated by a video recording that was uploaded onto Youtube under the title of ‘Toronto G20, Peaceful Protestor Tackled and Roughed Up.’  It shows the complainant running from a group of approximately six uniformed police officers who took him to the ground.  Once on the ground, a scrum of officers surrounded him while he was held face down.  One officer can be seen holding the complainant’s feet off the ground while other officers appear to be holding down the rest of his body.  The arm of one of the officers can be seen moving very quickly two or three times in a striking motion toward the complainant with a closed fist in the upper area of either his body or head. If one or more of those blows landed in the complainant’s facial area, it would be consistent with the injury he received. At that point, the complainant appeared to be immobilized and not representing a threat to the arresting officers.  In my view, these closed fist strikes appear to be an excessive use of force.” 

Director Scott continued, “It is impossible from the video to identify the officer who delivered these blows.  They are all wearing largely identical clothing with helmets, and the video is taken from too great a distance to be of any assistance. The evidence indicates that the plainclothes officers received the complainant from another TPS officer and that the complainant already had bruises on his face.  That arresting officer could not be identified because the badge number written on the arrest sheet did not correspond to an assigned badge number from any TPS officer.   As a result, it was impossible to ascertain the identities of any officers involved in the original arrest.”   

Regarding the second allegation of assault, Director Scott noted, “There is no corroborative information that the two plainclothes officers carried out this alleged assault.  Had the complainant been kicked repeatedly in the head, I would have thought he would have received more severe injuries than the ones documented in the medical reports and photographs.  The fact that the injuries appear to be more consistent with the force used during the arrest makes it even less likely that there was a subsequent assault.”

Director Scott concluded, “In summary, the investigation documents an initial incident of probable excessive use of force by an unidentified police officer, and a second allegation of assault which I cannot conclude probably took place.  Accordingly, I cannot form reasonable and probable grounds that an identified subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the complainant’s injuries.”

Custody Injury – Incident # 10-TCI-119
The complainant, 34-year-old Joseph Thomson, was in the area of Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue during an assembly of G20 demonstrators.  He allegedly interfered with the arrest of a friend and was arrested himself.  Sometime during his arrest he was struck in the face by a police officer.  Mr. Thomson sustained a fracture to his nose and was taken to Toronto East General Hospital where he was treated and released.

The SIU assigned three investigators to probe the circumstances of this occurrence. Eight witness officers and one civilian witness were interviewed.  The SIU designated an officer as a subject officer, but he exercised his rights and declined to be interviewed.

Director Scott stated, “In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by the complainant.  When the complaint is weighed against the whole of the evidence, I do not believe there is a sufficiently reliable basis to conclude that the subject officer used excessive force in what was otherwise a lawful arrest.”

Custody Injury - Incident # 10-TCI-159
The complainant, 43-year-old Norman Morcos, was at a G20 demonstration at the southerly end of Queen’s Park assisting a free-lance photographer.  He got caught up in a crowd that was being enveloped by the police.  The converging line of officers left an opening to the north and the crowd was being funneled in that direction.  Mr. Morcos was moving north with the crowd, but was at the southerly end of the group, followed closely by a line of TPS officers.  He had his right hand on the back of the free-lance photographer to guide him when it was struck from behind by what may have been a police baton.  As a result, he sustained a fractured finger. 

The SIU assigned two investigators to probe the circumstances of this occurrence. Three civilian witnesses were interviewed. Relevant aerial footage and other video recordings were reviewed.  However, investigators determined that there was insufficient evidence available to identify which officers may have been involved in the incident and therefore no subject officers were identified. The complainant could not identify who caused his injury. 

Director Scott concluded, “In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a particular officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by the complainant. He cannot identify the individual who struck his right hand. A review of video tape imagery and interviews with the civilian witnesses also fail to shed any light on the identity of the alleged perpetrator. Accordingly, no criminal liability may attach to this incident.”

The Investigations

The investigations in these cases were assisted by information from a range of sources, including the following:

  • Witness officers’ memo book notes;
  • Interviews with witness officers;
  • Statements from civilian witnesses;
  • Copies of the complainants’ Injury/Illness Reports;
  • Copies of Prisoner Tracking Forms;
  • Copies of the Hand-Off-Team Records of Arrest;
  • CCTV recordings from Ontario Government buildings;
  • TPS CCTV recordings of arrest areas;
  • TPS Booking Area DVD recordings;
  • Aerial footage taken from an aircraft used by the TPS;
  • Social networking videos; and
  • Cellular telephone pictures of police officers taken by civilians.
 

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342