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Toronto police ‘regret that mistakes were made’ during G20 summit in 2010


October 20, 2020
By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — More than ten years after mass arrests during the G20 summit in Toronto, the city’s police force said Monday that it regrets that “mistakes were made” when hundreds were detained at the time.

The Toronto Police Service said that in attempting to preserve peace, there were times when many people were detained when they shouldn’t have been, with many held in “unacceptable conditions.”

“We regret that mistakes were made,” the force said in a statement.

The statement came about two months after the force and hundreds of protesters and others reached a $16.5 million settlement over widespread arrests during the summit.

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On Monday, a court officially approved the entire settlement package, which includes the statement and other acknowledgments from police, said Eric Gillespie, one of the lawyers representing protesters in the case.

Lawyers said in August that those arrested will each be entitled to compensation between $5,000 and $24,700, depending on their experiences.

The settlement also included a commitment from police on how large demonstrations would be handled in the future, said Murray Klippenstein, who also represents members of the class action. He said that includes some police training, respect for charter rights and the avoidance of the “kettling” mechanism, which had seen police box-in people in certain areas in the city.

“The class representatives and many class members have constantly said this is not just about monetary compensation,” said Klippenstein. “It’s about other things, including this kind of acknowledgment by the police.”

One of the suit’s lead plaintiffs, Sherry Good, said she hopes nobody would be “kettled” in Toronto again.

“I’m very pleased they’ve acknowledged that they did wrongdoing and they are looking towards a future to not having a repeat of what happened ten years ago,” Good said.

The police force said reaching an agreement in the case was an important development “that will help everyone move forward.”

Toronto hosted the G20 summit of world leaders in June 2010.

Many public demonstrations were organized to address issues like climate change, globalization, and poverty. Thousands of protestors demonstrated peacefully, but some protests were accompanied by deliberate vandalism.

Police reacted by encircling large groups of hundreds of protestors in several locations in downtown Toronto with cordons of riot police, holding them for hours, and then transferring many of them to a temporary detention centre in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.

– Denise Paglinawan

This report by The Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2020 was first published October 19, 2020.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.