G20 Police Conviction Reminds Us Not to Repeat History
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G20 Police Conviction Reminds Us Not to Repeat History

Five years after the protests that saw over 1,000 Torontonians arrested, a delayed police conviction offers a poignant salve for a lingering scar.

Photo by Ryan Walker.

Yesterday morning, Police Superintendent Mark Fenton was convicted on two charges of exercising unlawful or unnecessary authority, and one charge of discreditable conduct in the June 2010 G20 summit. That weekend over five years ago saw 1,118 people arrested.

Torontoist was on the ground throughout the weekend to cover the protests and concordant escalation of police force. One of our reporters, Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy, was assaulted by a police officer; the officer’s baton left a large raised welt on her hip, and a lasting bruise on Bettencourt-McCarthy’s psyche. A police officer was acquitted on charges relating to the incident last September.

It was a frightening few days to be a young journalist in the city, and a generally disheartening weekend to be a Torontonian. For the roughly 50 per cent of the city’s population not born in Canada, myself included, the event posed the added potential threat of physical displacement. Upon hearing rumours of mass arrests likely for Sunday’s protests, I opted not to fulfill my weekend reporting duties that day in fear that doing so might compromise my legal status as an immigrant to Canada.

In proportion to the mass civil-liberties breach that the G20 has come to represent, yesterday’s conviction marks a small but significant victory. Here’s hoping we’ve learned from our mistakes.

(Torontoist’s original coverage of the 2010 summit can be found here.)