Five Officers Should be Charged in G20 Protester’s Arrest, Police Watchdog Says

Update: see previous posts – January 18, 2012 G20 Lawsuit Emerges After Largest Mass Arrest in Canadian History, December 22, 2011 G20 Activist Unapologetic As She Receives a Sentence of 10 Months, December 10, 2011 McGuinty to Declare the1939 Public Works Protection Act Null & Void in the New Year, November 23, 2011 11 G20 Defendants Set Free, November 3, 2011 G20 – Chair of Toronto Police Services Board concerned about G20 Photo’s (June, 2010), October 27, 2011 G20 Arrest for Weapons Charge Results in Acquittal, October 5, 2011 G20 Review by Toronto Police Services Board is Expected to Conclude by March, 2012, August 12, 2011 Toronto Deputy Police Chief Tony Warr Defends Actions of Police During G20 (June, 2010), July 29, 2011 Judge Rules that Man Arrested at G20 Should Have Been Provided Counsel, July 23, 2011 Twenty One (21) Month Sentence for Man Who Set G20 Police Vehicle Ablaze, July 22, 2011 G20 Investigator Wants Law to Ban Disguises After 17 Suspects Unidentified, July 21, 2011 Toronto Police Chief Blair’s Report on the G20 is Deferred, June 25, 2011 G20 Summit Toronto – First Anniversary (June 26 & 27, 2011), June 18, 2011 Harper Falls Short on Toronto Businesses’ G20 Claims, June 10, 2011 G20 – Final Public Hearing for the Toronto Police’s Civilian Review, June 10, 2011 G20 – Another Arrest, June 7, 2011 G20 Update – Who Assaulted Adam? Nooobody!, June 1, 2011 Ottawa Police Enjoy Their Share of the G20 Money Pie, McGuinty to Scrap the Secret G20 Law (1939 Public Works Protection Act), March 31, 2011 The “G20 Bump” Translates into a 60% Increase of Toronto Police Making the 2010 Sunshine List, March 19, 2011 Harper Screws Toronto’s Businesses, March 18, 2011 New G20 Lawsuits Launched Against Toronto Police Board, December 7, 2010 Ontario Umbudsman André Marin Delivers Report on G20 “Caught in the Act”, August 8, 2010 G20 Litigation, August 1, 2010 Damage$ Flowing from Charter Breaches

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Five Toronto police officers should be charged with using unnecessary force against protester Adam Nobody during the G20 summit 19 months ago, an independent police review says.

Adam Nobody is arrested by Toronto police during the G20 Summit on Toronto on June 26, 2010. Photo by John Bridge

The 174-page report by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) is based on interviews with a dozen police witnesses, the five officers involved, five civilian witnesses and Nobody himself.

The allegation that Consts. Michael Adams, Babak Andalib-Goortani, Geoffrey Fardell, David Donaldson and Oliver Simpson used unnecessary force “is substantiated and is of a serious nature,” the report says.

It’s the first time that several of the officers involved in the high-profile Nobody case have been named.

When cases are deemed “serious” by the OIPRD, which probes matters of police misconduct, legislation requires the chief of police to charge the officers under the Police Services Act and order a disciplinary hearing. A hearing officer, like a judge, considers whether there’s merit to the evidence.

Penalties for officers facing misconduct range from reprimand to dismissal.

Police spokesman Mark Pugash confirmed Friday that police received a copy of the report. “We don’t discuss the conduct of internal investigations, but we work very closely and very effectively with the OIPRD,” he said, adding they just received the report and there are as yet no notices of hearing.

Usually, charges must be laid within six months of the incident. In this case, the police services board would have to approve an extension before officers can be charged and a hearing ordered.

Adam Nobody was injured (broken nose and right cheekbone) during the G20 in Toronto on June 26, 2010

A source told the Star Friday the board has granted Police Chief Bill Blair the right to lay charges.

Nobody suffered a broken nose and right cheekbone in the takedown at Queen’s Park on June 26, 2010.

An earlier probe by the Special Investigations Unit resulted in a charge of assault with a weapon against Andalib-Goortani.

When asked Friday whether the OIPRD’s report could prompt the police watchdog to reopen Nobody’s case for a third time, SIU spokeswoman Monica Hudon said it is currently being reviewed.

“It fills me with confidence again in the system,” said Nobody, referring to many of the report’s conclusions. He added there was also some “not great news.”

The OIPRD report describes police facing a “sea of black” coming toward them with bottles they suspected were filled with feces or urine. Reports of swarming anarchist Black Bloc demonstrators, who had earlier damaged buildings and torched police cars, jacked up tensions, the report said.

Other charges against the officers did not stand up, the police review body said. Accusations by Nobody of a second assault, where he was allegedly taken behind a police van and repeatedly kicked, were dismissed.

“Those were the guys who really, really upset me,” said the 28-year-old stage builder.

The report also declared there was reasonable cause to arrest Nobody, who it said threatened to kick in the heads of police officers and was carrying a water bottle that could be considered a potential weapon.

“I’m not a violent person . . . I don’t kick people’s heads in nor do I threaten to kick people’s heads in,” he said, adding the bottle was filled with whisky and water.

The report also revealed that one of the officers, Const. Michael Adams, had been involved seven weeks before the summit in another Toronto incident. Junior Manon, 18, died after he tried to escape police at a traffic stop and was taken to the ground.

The SIUcleared Adams of misconduct in Manon’s death. A coroner’s inquest is still investigating that incident.

The OIPRD report exonerated Sgt. Lynn Hughes and Const. Daniel Lowe of charges of using unreasonable force and acting in a disorderly manner.

Officer Michael Adams was already subject of ongoing Fatality Probe

The OIPRD report also reveals an intriguing twist that’s raising questions about Toronto police supervision. Adams, an officer accused of using unnecessary force on Nobody, was involved in a police takedown May 5, 2010 – just seven weeks earlier – in which 18-year-old Junior Manon was fleeing police on foot when he was tackled and died from what a pathologist determined was “positional asphyxia.”

The SIU cleared Adams of any wrongdoing in Manon’s death, which is currently the subject of a coroners’ inquest in Toronto.

Nobody questions why Adams was on the frontlines of the G20 arrest squads when he was still the subject of two mandatory investigations — one by the SIU and a second done internally by Toronto police.

“He shouldn’t have been out there if he’s still under investigation,” Nobody said. “For something as serious as a death? Like, how many cops were in Toronto that day, thousands? You needed one more who’s being investigated? I think it’s careless of his supervising officers, and all the way up the ladder.”

Toronto’s police chief declined a request to comment on either the OIPRD report or the fact Adams was allowed to remain on frontline duty during the G20, given the probes into Manon’s death.

The constable’s lawyer noted his client had not been charged with anything when he was called on to work the G20.

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