“We didn’t know much of what had happened at Queen’s Park – not the scope or the depth. The kettling fiasco had not been fully brought to light yet and we were still learning how disastrous the detention centre had been. We knew police had detained several hundred people and then the chief had come in and directed the front-line people to let them go. We didn’t know at that time that there had been a dispute between the service’s top brass and Supt. Mark Fenton, the front-line commander who was insisting on giving people tickets or sending them to the detention centre, completely misreading the chief’s direction. We did not know then that the chief had pulled rank on the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit (ISU) to give this order” – and – “We made it clear to (Police Chief Bill) Blair that officers from other forces would need to undergo training to learn our board’s approach to policing. They were to be appointed by me to act as officers in Toronto and the agreement for them to do so was to be between police boards, not police chiefs.” (*).
The article in which these comments appear is a review of the book “Excessive Force: Toronto’s Fight to Reform City Policing” by then-Toronto Police Board Chairman Alok Mukherjee and Toronto Star journalist Tim Harper, and consists almost entirely of excerpts from the book. The article comes to a massive 5,811 words by my count, and contains many revealing insights into the professional rivalries and bureacratic bungling which combined to produce this appalling abuse of civil rights.
The book will be of considerable interest to those who care about police abuse of power. You can buy it here.
(*) – You can read “G20 policing fiasco ‘left a permanent emotional scar,’ former police chair writes in new book” here.
You can read my presentation to Judge Morden’s G-20 Inquiry here.