May 14, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CCLA: Report into RCMP G20 Complaint Bolsters CCLA Concerns, Highlights Need for Answers from Toronto, Ontario Police
TORONTO, May 14, 2012 – The Canadian Civil Liberties Association welcomes the long-awaited report into RCMP conduct during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits. This report was produced by Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“the Commission”) and responds to the concerns set out in CCLA’s G20 complaint, filed over a year and a half ago. Click here to read the Report by the Commission.
This report’s release is an important step in the effort to achieve post-G20 accountability and transparency.
The report provides new information that bolsters a number of concerns raised by CCLA in the wake of the G20 and strengthens the call for answers from the outstanding review processes focused on the conduct of the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The report also makes several key recommendations, which CCLA strongly urges the RCMP to act upon immediately. CCLA is also concerned about some of the report’s findings which approve of RCMP conduct despite RCMP use of police tactics contrary to RCMP policy, planning failures and insufficient documentation on questionable arrests
Several of the disclosures in the report shed new light on police conduct and raise significant concerns regarding the propriety of police actions during the G20 summit:
- A chaotic police command environment at Queen and Spadina, violations of policies and procedures
- The report reveals a chaotic police command environment at Queen and Spadina on Sunday June 27, 2010. The RCMP officers who arrived at the intersection could not locate the on-site commanding officer – an OPP member – for nearly two hours. Officers on scene expressed concern about the orders to box in the intersection and about whether individuals being detained had been told they were under arrest. The RCMP Commander on scene had questioned why people were still being held, given that the G20 summit was effectively over, and was told that the TPS wanted “everyone” arrested. Despite the fact that the RCMP remained bound by their own policies and procedures which did not allow for ‘kettling’ crowds without an exit, for nearly two hours the RCMP assisted in containing the intersection at the apparent direction of the Toronto Police Service. The report confirms that senior RCMP command had expected RCMP Public Order Units to operate within established RCMP practices and policies. Although the RCMP Commander on scene was concerned and questioned the orders, and at least one senior RCMP officer was likely aware that the kettling was taking place, this information was not relayed to the RCMP command centres. Read more
- RCMP officers arrested five at Queen and Spadina, including two plain-clothes police officers.
- The report also confirms that RCMP officers conducted five arrests while containing the crowd at Queen and Spadina. Insufficient notes were kept, and the Commission did not have enough information to make a finding on the reasonableness of these arrests. “The results of the investigation into these arrests raises a number of concerns,” said Abby Deshman Director of the CCLA’s Public Safety Program. “The RCMP stated that these individuals were arrested because the RCMP officers on scene thought they posed a risk to tactical forces – one person was drunk, for example, and another was thought to be carrying a weapon. Unbeknownst to the on site RCMP officers, two of the five people they arrested were actually plain-clothes police officers. What were these officers doing that led the RCMP to single them out for arrest? How are we to assess police assertions that crowds contained individuals posing a security risk, when some of those identified as suspicious were themselves police officers?” Read more
- Lack of planning, lack of accountability
- Although the Commission found that the RCMP planning process was thorough and comprehensive, CCLA notes that several crucial planning deficiencies were identified in the investigation. “Planning for policing must include planning for police accountability,” said Abby Deshman. “The report shows that officers’ notes regarding arrests were inadequate, the RCMP relinquished control of crucial information to other agencies, and inadequate procedures for organizing and identifying relevant documentation caused significant delays in the review process.”
- There was also inadequate prior planning regarding what would happen if RCMP officers received orders from another police force to take actions contrary to RCMP policy and procedure. “The RCMP should have been alerted to this possibility,” said Abby Deshman. “It was well-known that, while the TPS and OPP had approved the use of ‘sonic cannons’ for public order events, RCMP policy explicitly rejected its use in this setting. Ensuring that police protocols and accountability regimes remain functional in large policing events should be a core part of the planning process, not an afterthought.” Read more
- Further investigation of undercover operations needed
- There are also outstanding questions regarding the propriety of undercover RCMP operations, which the Commission states it is considering for reviewing further. CCLA calls on the Commission to commit to a full review of G20 undercover operations. Read more
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has been calling for a public inquiry into the G20 since June 2010. Specifically, CCLA has been asking for a public inquiry to look into some of the aspects that no single review to date has been able to fully evaluate because of the limited scope of their mandate – the interplay between various police forces from different jurisdictions, as well as issues of chain of command, communications, training and leadership that lead to the mass violation of civil liberties we witnessed. The significant gaps in the Commission’s Final Report, many of which point directly to TPS and OPP conduct, highlight the need for a comprehensive, inter-jurisdictional review. Given the well-documented scale of civil liberties violations that took place in June 2010 in Toronto, CCLA maintains that rebuilding trust in our institutions will require nothing short of a comprehensive, federal-provincial inquiry with a broad mandate.