Of course the cops were yelling that he was resisting arrest – that’s now standard operating procedure. Raise an arm to defend yourself against the crack of a baton or push back even accidentally, and presto, you’ve assaulted an officer. As the G20 weekend and media reports from across the country in recent years make clear, this is about more than just a few bad apples – the barrel of apples is just about rotted through. Of course there must be many honest, hardworking good people on the force but it seems like they’re rapidly becoming a minority. Just look at media reports from across the continent – grandmothers being TASERed for sitting up in bed, women for sitting in the wrong seat at a game, innocent people being dragged out of their homes and beaten, border guards arresting people for asking questions, this is just how the cops roll now. The question is, why? What has happened to our former ‘peace officers’, charged with the honour to serve and protect, now more akin to some sort of dark STASI enforcement arm loosed on the public? There are many cultural forces at play here, but the increasing militarization and corruption of the police in the world we’re told is forever changed ‘post-911′ is but one of the many issues this journal attempts to set in context. Spin the ‘topicgate’ globe to the left of your screen and click a topic to jump in.
Related: Release G20 ‘political prisoners’: rights groups | Canada Day: 2,000 protest G20 summit arrests | Civil liberties association to sue police on behalf of G20 arrestees | Four detained journalists file complaints of assault, sexual threats against G20 police | Inside the G20 Eastern Avenue Detention Centre | Toronto Police Lied: No five-metre rule existed in G20 security fence law | Outraged G20 protesters rally against police abuse and arbitrary detention | 20 G20 detention reports: ‘I will not forget what they have done to me’ | The G20: Brutal spectacle failed a city and its people | The G20’s ignominious end: Panic, outrage as police detain hundreds for hours in pouring rain | National Post photographers arrested, spend night in G20 detention camp | Peaceful Eastern Ave jail solidarity action attacked by Toronto police | Police Raid U of T Student Union for Hosting G20 Protesters | Guardian journalist beaten, arrested at peaceful G20 protest on Esplanade | Four alleged G20 violence ringleaders appear in court | Pre-dawn raids in Toronto homes result in four arrests | First G20 ‘secret law’ arrestee plans Charter challenge | G20 law gives police sweeping powers to arrest people | CP Reporter: How I was detained by G8 security | G20: Activists Arrested, Others Denied Entry into Canada | No legislation, no precedent to limit G20 police powers | Rights group files for injunction against G20 ‘sound cannon’ | G20 activists accuse CSIS of intimidation | For more, see the G20 Coverage page feature
Doug Draper, Niagara at Large
July 5, 2010
John Pruyn wasn’t much in the mood for celebrating Canada Day this year.
How could he be after the way he was treated a few days earlier in Toronto by figures of authority most of us were brought up to respect, our publicly paid-for police forces who are supposed to be there to serve and protect peaceful, law-abiding citizens like him.
The 57-year-old Thorold, Ontario resident — an employee with Revenue Canada and a part-time farmer who lost a leg above his knee following a farming accident 17 years ago — was sitting on the grass at Queen’s Park with his daughter Sarah and two other young people this June 26, during the G20 summit, where he assumed it would be safe.
As it turned out, it was a bad assumption because in came a line of armoured police, into an area the city had promised would be safe for peaceful demonstrations during the summit. They closed right in on John and his daughter and the two others and ordered them to move. Pruyn tried getting up and he fell, and it was all too slow for the police.
As Sarah began pleading with them to give her father a little time and space to get up because he is an amputee, they began kicking and hitting him. One of the police officers used his knee to press Pruyn’s head down so hard on the ground, said Pruyn in an interview this July 4 with Niagara At Large, that his head was still hurting a week later.
Accusing him of resisting arrest, they pulled his walking sticks away from him, tied his hands behind his back and ripped off his prosthetic leg. Then they told him to get up and hop, and when he said he couldn’t, they dragged him across the pavement, tearing skin off his elbows , with his hands still tied behind his back. His glasses were knocked off as they continued to accuse him of resisting arrest and of being a “spitter,” something he said he did not do. They took him to a warehouse and locked him in a steel-mesh cage where his nightmare continued for another 27 hours.