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Bell Tolls For Politely Tackled G20 Looter

There are lots of bad videos from Toronto streets during the G20. This, though, might be the best.
It’s just seventeen seconds long, but here’s what happens: in the midst of Saturday’s violence, a man holds his black hoodie up to his face and walks through the smashed window of the Bell store on Yonge Street south of College. He grabs a white box—presumably with a phone inside—and quickly heads back out. As he leaves, he knocks into a man in a brown t-shirt, and in a strange moment of courteousness, seems to half-apologize for the bump.
Then, a man in a light grey shirt grabs the man in the hoodie, wraps his arm around his neck, and wrestles him handily to the ground. After he does, the man in the grey t-shirt reaches across the man in the hoodie, grabs the box, and tosses it back into the store. (In the background, the man in the brown shirt, who seemed to be about to enter the store himself, apparently reconsiders.) The man in the grey t-shirt pulls the man in the hoodie up, then shoves him away.
The video, uploaded to YouTube yesterday (title: “Looter Gets Owned During G20 Toronto Riots”) was shot by Corey Surge, a local writer and director. “I had seen on the news that there was a large group of protesters making their way down Queen,” explains Surge, “so I hopped on my crappy Canadian Tire bike with my camera and thought I’d snap a few pics. What I ended up in the middle of was pretty shocking—definitely not something you’d expect in Canada, let alone the city you live in….It was overwhelming.”
“I just kept thinking that this is unlike anything I have seen before in person, unlike anything I’ve been a part of,” Surge continues. “I was also grateful that I had my dorky bike helmet on to protect myself from projectiles and glass.”
Surge says, too, that he wanted to do what the man in the grey t-shirt did: “As scrawny as I am, I’m quite squirrelly and my instinct was actually to interject.” A few minutes earlier, though, Surge watched as a man who’d tried to stop one rioter from breaking a window was “swarmed by no less than eight to ten other people,” so “self preservation, and fear of my mother and father’s scorn if they had to pick me up at the hospital (or jail), dictated I not put myself at risk against this mob.”
No such fears for the man in the grey t-shirt, though, whose identity for now remains unknown to Surge and us. (If you do know, email [UPDATE, JULY 1, 3:29 P.M.: He's Roger Reis, a banker who also happens to have a black belt. Here's Torontoist's interview with him.]


  • http://undefined thelemur

    Reverse looting.

  • http://undefined friend68

    That is a fantastically Canadian brand of street justice.

  • accozzaglia

    That is more the ticket. That is participatory citizenship even as one is demonstrating. Bravo.
    That was awesome. Is there any more of that out there in the interverses?

  • http://undefined lunarworks

    Good job!

  • http://undefined Craig C

    THIS looks more like my brand of Toronto. Go active citizens!

  • http://undefined rek

    He let the guy go, so this too falls short of the call for vigilantism from certain quarters.

  • http://undefined Miles Storey

    As awesome as that guy is it should have been a cop.
    It’s pathetic that with all the manpower at their disposal and the amount of money spent on security it was up to decent people to do something. There’s no excuse, this kind of vandalism was not a surprise, it should have been expected and planned for. Instead the police claimed to be “shocked” and officers were told to do nothing.

  • http://undefined rich1299

    I agree totally, it should have been a cop and the kid should have been arrested for looting. Its not the average citizen’s responsibility to police others, we aren’t trained for it and as individuals its very risky like the instance of the guy who tried to stop one vandal and was quickly surrounded by others demanding he be let go. If it had been a couple of cops doing that the others would have just run off, they’ve already shown themselves to be cowards by using disguises and their lack of will to actually confront the police directly. I can’t help but be left with the impression that the cops were told to avoid doing anything not so much to protest the fence since they never even got close but to try and justify the incredible budget for security.

  • http://undefined rich1299

    I want to know if any politician interfered in any way with the police and I want to know who gave the order for cops to allow the vandals to go on a rampage. That’s why I believe an inquiry is so badly needed, they spent an obscene amount on security yet didn’t bother to protect the city even though they had around 20,000 cops, that’s approximately 100 cops for every Black Bloc idiot. Then to use that to justify their denial or people’s civic rights on Sunday is just unbelievable, I expected much more from our Toronto cops, not from every one of them, I’ve known more people assaulted bad enough to need stitches by TO cops than by all others combined and no they weren’t criminals or violent, 2 were gay bashings, well 1 for sure another believed to be and 2 others were drunk and maybe mouthy but that’s no justification to assault them. However I did expect more from those in charge, mind you they turn a blind eye to all but property crimes by their cops so I guess its not surprising so many cops felt they could get away with beating peaceful protesters. The sad fact is I’m sure they will get away with it this time too and there will be no justice for their victims. Somehow people smashing windows doesn’t seem as bad to me as cops beating innocent peaceful protesters and no I don’t support vandalism or violence for political ends or for any reason at all.

  • http://undefined David

    Score one for the good guys!

  • http://undefined squab

    I agree with the guy yelling in the video. “YEEAAAHHHH!!!”

  • http://undefined erich214

    I disagree with the point of it should have been a cop.
    But I do not expect them to omni-present at everywhere and anytime and immediately come to the scene in a snap. Reaction is always slower than the instigator.
    As members of society, is it not our obligation to stop or report acts of crime when we see it? The police can’t do everything on their own, which is why we have crimestoppers hotline for leads and also acts such as this.
    Good to know that not everyone there sits by idly with their cameras and looks astonished.