Tag Archives: police

More from the G20 Summit

Who gave the G20 Commander his Commands?

An excellent piece from theRealNews.com that raises a lot of important questions surrounding the G20 Summit.

Toronto G20 Summit

G20 lawsuit seeks $45M in damages

Jayme Poisson Staff Reporter

Office administrator Sherry Good made her media debut Friday. The 51-year-old is now the face of a G20 class-action lawsuit launched against the Toronto Police Services Board and the Attorney-General of Canada who represents the RCMP.

Filed Thursday in the Ontario Superior Court, the lawsuit seeks $45 million in damages for all those wrongfully arrested, detained, imprisoned or held by police during the G20 summit at locations across the city. According to Good’s lawyers, Murray Klippenstein and Eric Gillespie, the Ontario Provincial Police may be named at a later date.

“I’m just an ordinary person. I’m not an organizer, I’m not an activist,” Good told a news conference at Queen’s Park. “I just feel that what happened to me and to hundreds of others was very wrong.”

More than 1,000 people were detained during the summit after black-clad vandals broke away from peaceful demonstrations to smash windows and burn police cars. The 800 released without charges are the individuals the lawsuit is seeking to represent.

Good was approached by Klippenstein after posting her story on websites asking for G20 accounts.

“When I read her story, I could tell it really came from the heart,” Klippenstein said, adding that Good is representing hundreds of others with similar accounts.

On the evening of June 27, Good was caught by a police technique known as “kettling” when about 250 people — some protesters, others bystanders — were encircled by a wall of police officers at the intersection of Queen St. W. and Spadina Ave. She was walking home when she decided to join an informal demonstration.

Good said she was held in a downpour for hours with no food or access to toilets, and was “terrified” by police. She was later released but said she was so shaken up by the experience she couldn’t sleep that night, didn’t attend work the next day and had a panic attack as a result.

It wasn’t Good’s first protest of the week. On the Saturday, June 26, she joined the major protest that erupted into chaos. Good said she had nothing to do with any property destruction and decided to protest only because she had witnessed intimidation by police leading up to the G20 and wanted to exercise her “right to speak up.”

“The biggest consequence was that I lost all trust in police,” she said. “Now I am nervous when I see a police car. I consistently look over my shoulder.”

For Good, it is a privilege to represent all those detained without charge even though she feels the lawsuit “could be a difficult journey.”

The next step involves the court’s approval of the class-action lawsuit; a process Gillespie admitted could take longer than a year.

“We’re going into this with our eyes wide open,” said Gillespie of the long haul ahead. The legal team confirmed they are not getting paid for their services.

Those who wish to be involved in the lawsuit can contact the legal team or go through the website www.G20classaction.com.

Gillespie said the team’s reasoning behind launching a class-action lawsuit was to give individuals who may not otherwise have access to the justice system that access, and to encourage efficiency in the courts.

One person — Good in this case — can be the representative of all the others who were detained without charge.

Precedents include a similar lawsuit launched after mass arrests in Washington, D.C. in 2000 near the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings. The district was ordered to pay $13.7 million in damages to some 700 demonstrators and bystanders last month.

If the G20 class-action lawsuit gets that far, it would be up to the courts to divvy up any monetary award.

Klippenstein said a full judicial inquiry into police actions during the G20 is the only real solution, but that the intent of the lawsuit is “to help reaffirm our freedoms.”


By any means necessary….????

Drug war abuses by Mexican army rise sharply

By Mica Rosenberg

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Complaints of torture, murder and illegal detention by the Mexican army have jumped as soldiers have been dragged into a long, gruesome battle with powerful drug cartels, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

Mexico’s national human rights commission received some 2,000 accusations of abuse by the military in 2008 and the first six months of 2009, a sharp jump from 367 complaints in 2007 and 182 in 2006, the rights group said in a report.

In one case documented by Amnesty, 31-year-old Saul Becerra was picked up in an army raid at a car wash in Ciudad Juarez, near the U.S.-Mexico border.

His body was found a year later and his death certificate showed he died the day after his detention of a severe brain hemorrhage from blunt-force trauma.

“The cases that we have been able to investigate are truly shocking. But what is more shocking is that we know that this is only the tip of the iceberg,” Kerrie Howard, deputy director of Amnesty’s Americas program, said in a statement.

President Felipe Calderon has deployed 49,000 soldiers across Mexico to combat the feuding drug cartels who control cocaine trafficking from South America, produce methamphetamines and grow marijuana for U.S. consumers.

The army has failed to curb violence with more than 16,000 people killed in the drug war since Calderon took office in late 2006 and the president risks losing public support for his military-backed crackdown.

In a sign of the intensity of the fight, suspected drug gang members attacked a police helicopter in the northern state of Durango on Tuesday, provoking a fierce battle with soldiers in which 10 assailants died, police and the army said.

Thousands of people protested against the army presence in Ciudad Juarez on Sunday, calling for troops to leave.

Mexico’s interior ministry said in a statement it would look seriously at Amnesty’s report and that the army was committed to protecting human rights.

Generals in Mexico City deny systematic rights abuses by soldiers and say any troops caught working for the cartels or failing to respect human rights are tried in military courts.


The army has taken on more policing roles because many of Mexico’s police forces are working for the drug gangs, and soldiers often clash with local law enforcement.

In March, 25 police officers were detained by the military, held incommunicado for 41 days and tortured to illicit false confessions, the Amnesty report said.

One police officer told human rights investigators how he was beaten for hours until he fainted and was given electric shocks on his feet and genitals.

Other people detained by the army said they were suffocated temporarily with plastic bags or told they would be executed.

The United States has promised Mexico $1.4 billion in aid to boost Calderon’s anti-drug campaign but so far only about 2 percent, or $26 million, has been spent in Mexico, said a recent report from the U.S. government accountability office.

Fifteen percent of the drug aid can be withheld if there are legitimate complaints of human rights abuses committed by the Mexican army. But President Barack Obama said on a visit to Mexico earlier this year that the drug traffickers were the biggest violators of human rights.