Civillian review of G20 policing approved

The Toronto Police Services Board approved an independent review of police tactics during the G20 corySummit at its meeting on Tuesday.

The board, a civilian agency which oversees the police force, issued a press release stating that an Independent Civilian Review has been established.

According to the release, the review will focus mainly on “matters of governance and policy, rather than operational policing issues or public complaints about personal experiences with police.”

Many Canadians were looking for answers into the police actions surrounding last weekend’s G20 summit protests and called for a public inquiry.

With close to 1000 arrests being made in a single weekend, the Canadian public questioned the legitimacy of tactics used by law enforcement officers and was concerned that many basic civil rights were violated.

Bethany Goluboff, a 40-year-old teacher from Oakville, is one of the many who have been calling for a public inquiry into the events surrounding the G20.

“We felt with the many abuses that had occurred, we needed to express our outrage at the blatant loss of human rights and civil liberties which are an affront to the Charter and what previously made us feel proud to be Canadian,” Goluboff said.

“An independent inquiry must be made if we are to make sure that this shameful episode does not repeat itself in the future,” she said.

Chris White, 32, of Whitby, his wife Rebecca Harrison-White and Darcy Higgins, 24, of Toronto, created a Facebook group to allow people calling for an inquiry to come together.

“The ultimate goal (of creating the site) is for some justice to come about for what happened,” White said

Higgins said that the social media website allowed people to mobilize and feel like they had ways to vent their frustrations about the events.

“It was more of a venue for people to organize around,” he said. “It helped organize those who wanted to rally and write letters and (helped) raise the idea of an inquiry and bring it to public attention”

White also emphasizes that an inquiry is so important because it allows all sides of the story to be heard, and all the facts to be gathered, before any action is taken.

“You can’t jump to conclusions,” he said. “The proper way to go about things is through the proper channel of an inquiry and we need to hear about everything before we can decide who was responsible for what.”

The Board’s independent civilian review will be conducted in addition to the Toronto Police Service’s own internal review to be conducted by the Summit Management After Action Review Team (SMAART).

The Board will reconvene in two weeks time.