June 2011


Public scrutiny is the best solution to G20

As written by Sarah Thomson in the Toronto Star on Sunday February 27, 2011

A few months ago I was open to supporting a less costly civic inquiry into police brutality at the G20 summit, thinking police forces would co-operate with investigations, share camera footage they have from the summit, and work to uncover any wrongful actions their officers might have taken. I believed their primary goal was to improve and that transparency and accountability would be paramount.

Facts are slowly seeping out that a group of officers taped over their name tags, brutalized innocent people, ignored the law and kettled people during the summit in areas outside the defined G20 zone, and that those in charge do not have a history of transparency and accountability with the provincial body that oversees them.

Last week the Star reported that a number of police forces across the province have refused to cooperate with the Special Investigations Unit — the provincial agency that investigates serious injuries from interactions between police and citizens. As more facts come out, I believe a public inquiry into the actions of police at the G20 is absolutely essential.

It is essential for all the innocent people who suffered injuries, had their personal property destroyed, and their rights trampled over without warrant or reason. It is essential because corruption can easily occur when full transparency and accountability are ignored.

It is essential for those officers who did a good job at the G20, who didn’t overreact, who didn’t cover up their nametags, who didn’t use excessive force, and who should be honoured for the great work they did.

A federal inquiry can be costly, but it would address the handful of officers who over-reacted with brutality against innocent civilians. A public inquiry could save more than one life and would make those who should be accountable stand up to the scrutiny their actions deserve.