G20 – Chair of Toronto Police Services Board concerned about G20 Photo’s (June, 2010)

Update: see previous posts – 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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An overhead view of one of 51 bullpens crowded with handcuffed persons, most of them never charged with a crime, over the G20 summit in 2010.

Alok Mukherjee, Chair of the Toronto Polices Services Board and President of the OAPSB is concerned about photo’s taken inside the G20 temporary jail on Eastern Avenue, used during the G20 in Toronto in June, 2010.

Mukherjee became vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Board in 2004 and has remained its’ chair since 2005 and was subsequently elected President of the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards.  Prior to those positions, he acted as the Acting Chief Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Photos depicting the cramped conditions inside the G20 temporary jail raise “alarm bells,” police services board chair Alok Mukherjee said Wednesday.

The Toronto Star has published the first images to emerge from inside the now-notorious prisoner processing centre during the June 2010 summit. The makeshift jail, housed in an unused film studio on Eastern Ave., held 885 of the 1,118 people arrested over the course of the G20 weekend.

The photograph was taken from video footage capturing the detention of Michael Puddy, then 31, who was cleared of his G20 charges in August. He and 27 other inmates can be seen inside a 3-by-6-metre cell with their hands bound by zip-ties.

“I think there are a number of issues that the images raise, particularly around the treatment of Mr. Puddy and the others,” Mukherjee said. “It rings alarm bells.”

Toronto, June 2010 - G20 on Toronto's Eastern Avenue

The Star’s photograph was the first Mukherjee had seen from inside the operational holding facility. He said the plan was for the G20 temporary jail to meet the same standards required of regular detention centres used by Toronto police.

“The intention was to treat people in the same way as they would be treated if they went to 52 Division or 31 Division or any other police facility,” he said. “The mystery is whether those plans were strictly followed and, if not, why not?”

Mukherjee declined to comment further on the issue because the detention centre is among the many aspects being probed by an independent civilian review of the G20 summit. The review, led by retired judge John Morden, is expected to be completed in March.

Since the G20 weekend, many accounts have emerged of inhumane conditions inside the detention centre, including overcrowding, open washrooms, routine strip searches and limited access to food, water or legal counsel.

Puddy was held at Eastern Ave. for 17 hours before being transferred to Maplehurst prison in Milton, where he was jailed another night. In August, a judge threw out his sole remaining charge of possessing a prohibited weapon, ruling Puddy’s arrest had been “completely without justification” and in violation of his Charter rights.

Eric Gillespie, one of two lawyers heading the $45 million G20 class-action suit, said the photograph confirms the many stories he has heard about the temporary jail. People who were detained there are included as plaintiffs in the class action.

G20 - June, 2010 - Toronto Police enforced Five-Metre Law that did not exist

Gillespie noted Puddy’s jail cell was already overcrowded at 12:25 a.m. on Sunday, June 27, before many arrestees had yet arrived. Approximately 450 people were arrested “Saturday evening into Sunday morning,” according to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair’s review of G20 policing.

A major concern is also the fact that all 28 inmates appear to have their hands zip-tied, despite being inside a cell, he said.

According to the United Nations’ “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners,” handcuffs “must not be applied for any longer time than is strictly necessary.”

But what the photograph fails to show are the collective experiences of those who were unlawfully detained at the G20 jail, Gillespie said.

“For most of the individuals in that image, there were 100,000 moments just like the moment captured in the picture, going on and on and on,” he said. “The evidence that will come forward through the legal process, I think, will build and add to what’s been captured in the photograph.”

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