07.07.2010 07:14 AM

G20: the worst story yet

If true, this is an absolute disgrace. It should concern every Canadian:

“As Sarah began pleading with them to give her father a little time and space to get up because he is an amputee, they began kicking and hitting him. One of the police officers used his knee to press Pruyn’s head down so hard on the ground, said Pruyn in an interview this July 4 with Niagara At Large, that his head was still hurting a week later.”


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    John says:

    It wasn’t “conservatives” smashing Yonge Street and destroying cop cars. Nope, that was the Liberal and NDP party base in action. So don’t try blaming Harper or Conservatives for the excesses of police trying to stop Liberal or NDP supporters from rioting.

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      Warren says:

      John, get off the pipe, dude.

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      Robin says:

      I think you’re half right John, especially the part about it not being ‘conservatives’ smashing Yonge St etc. Of course conservatives would not fight for freedom and stand up against tyranny. Instead, conservatives have this fetish of being told what to do with their lives by their political masters; they can’t think for themselves and need the powerful elite in the world to tell them how to conduct themselves: that’s why conservatives, and most likely yourself, stayed home. In this vein, conservatives are the most spineless and callous individuals one can find. It was the brave ones, the ones that have the balls to stand up to fascism that fought to ensure the state would not suspend any freedoms and liberties. I realize conservatives want to take these away, but that’s why you are only a minority.

      Even though you’re a conservative, I’d still fight and risk arrest and police/state brutality to fight for your freedom.

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        Raymond says:

        Conservatives say exactly the same thing about the nanny-state Liberals. I cannot recall the last time a Conservative PM enacted the War Measures Act, but I do recall the last time a Liberal PM did…you throw the term ‘fascism’ around far too readily.

        John’s point carries a certain degree of validity. I too would suggest that the majority of protesters subscribe to left-of-center ideals.

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      Michael Bussiere says:

      Yep, for sure John, Liberals, NDPers, Al-Qaeda (positive I saw bin Laden himself hurling a brick through the Shoe Company window and grabbing a pair of pumps). And don’t forget the IRA, 5-pin bowlers, anybody who has used the medicare system (i.e. everybody) at some time in their lives, single mums, AGO members, hybrid car owners, Jays fans, women, gays, every god-forsaken fringe nut group, and my 92-year old grandmother who still wishes Trudeau were PM. Smashy-smashy, idiot!!

      PS FYI delusional paranoia is treatable.

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      Troy says:

      You are probably already aware of this John but it bears repeating. As soon as your opponents resort to the ad hominem you have won the argument. Great job.

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    JH says:

    I get the hate Harper stuff – even if it is over the top, but this was the McGinty government – not the Feds. Just a little balance please, otherwise this kind of partisanship destroys any case that you’re trying to make. In the minds of many an investigation of the police tactics is justified, including mine. The above doesn’t help get you there.

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    Hillary says:

    I read this article in this morning’s Post. I think a story like this has nothing to do with party politics (ahem, John). It’s just sad, so very sad and frustrating. It’s sad because I am not surprised anymore to hear something like this could happen within the “free-speech” area, and frustrating because there will never be a true reckoning for the individual police officers who arrested this man. It will likely be forgotten due to a general feeling of apathy in Canada about these incidents.

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      Cath says:

      Well written Hillary. I agree with you.

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      PolyGon says:

      Good point Hillary – Harper, Chretien, or Elisa McDonough could have been in charge, but these kinds of abuses don’t *come* from the top. There’s an institutionalised problem here – not necessarily in the “police” (a.k.a. The Man) generally, but certainly in squads that manage security for summits like this. Vancouver’s APEC, Toronto’s, London’s, or Genoa’s G8 or G20… we?ve seen thuggery and organised violence against demonstrators in each case.

      That said, if/when things go wrong, and demands for an inquiry begin to grow, that’s when the political leadership needs to step forward and introduce one. Will we get that now, or will this be Harper’s “pepper on my plate” moment?

      An inquiry’s essential to clear the names of the accused, to set the record straight on who authorized what, to separate the tall-tales of abuse from the evidenced ones, and to demonstrate that, basically, “we’re a free country that respects freedom of expression and assembly, and in aim of securing that, we will punish any nutbars or vandals with surgical precision, rather than swinging our batons through a street full of grannies.”

      If political leadership can’t stand up for this, we’ve got a problem.

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      james smith says:

      While I tend to agree with you, I do note police / military without adult supervision tends to happen when folks with a similar POV to our present PM are in charge. I would speculate it has to do with the GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT- COPS CAN DO NO WRONG concept that tends to be part of a conservative POV. Ironic if one contrasts opinion from the Post on the GD-20 & their so-called free speech position.
      I would put it to you the difference between a liberal & conservative response can be illustrated not just by this GD-20 experience but contrast responses by provincial governments to Ipperwash & the situation outside Brantford today. Better yet look at what happened after a military screw-up in Somalia & the ongoing Afghan inquiry. Under a liberal Liberal administration the public reined in an out of control military, now under a conservative Conservative administration, they have attempted to bury an issue by claiming critics are terrorists or national security is at stake.
      I hope that the apathy that you feel might get translated into getting (more) involved in action that helps all of us see the back of this person who is presently the PM.

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    CQ says:

    I wonder whether the cops involved in this case were local or brought in from another region. I can’t see any officers ever maintaining their employment within the Greater Toronto Area given that unacceptably hostile attitude. Someone at the detention centre needed to do a better job of clearing out the innocent-looking right from the initial round-ups*
    *An older amputee or a deaf person with hands tied behind probably would certainly qualify. An unaccredited “freelance journalist”, or a perimeter fence & police imitating (unknown) overseas comedian not so much.

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    Blair Shumlich says:

    Ugh, this story is quite disgusting if it is true. I have to say, that it makes me very frustrated to read this kind of thing as I tend to be on the pro-police side of this whole debacle. Police state crap aside, I don’t know how other humans treat other humans with indecency in general.

    I’m asking a lot of questions of these individual stories, however. Just as a general rule, I wonder how many of them are true, and how many of them are false–an attempt to discredit government and the state. Not only were a lot of the protesters opposed to the government and the such, there were admittedly people there trying to stir things up. Certainly a lot of the stories are true, but I wouldn’t be shocked if a lot of these stories are fabricated in an attempt to discredit the police further. I’m not saying that all the stories are false, but I would like to see the review that Warren has been advocating for, if only just to clear up the truth/lies here.

    I think one of the most important things which can be done here though is to remember that CERTAIN officers arrested this man, not all. I wish that both sides, pro-police and pro-protesters, would stop painting the other side as though it was some large, uniform mass. Each side was composed of individuals–real people. Certain police members were certainly violent–I’d say it has less to do with being bad people and more to do with overreacting to stress, but I’m also more pro-police–but that shouldn’t reflect on every officer. Some of them were well behaved, but sadly we don’t hear that story. Why? I’d venture to say that the majority of people out there who wanted to film things weren’t really “pro-police” to begin with, and once the violence started there becomes an “us vs. them” mentality.
    Has anyone seen this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKx_SIgFS4I I’d guess very few have. Just when you read these horrifying stories try really hard not to paint the entire force with the same brush you paint the few individuals with. Some are good!

    I’d also like to put up this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fhGneV6rQg&feature=related) as it shows some irritating protestors trying (I think) to piss off the police, or at the very least being smug. As you can see, the police weren’t being bad, and there were a lot of protesters who were being asses. Sure, that wasn’t violent, but it was still trying to antagonize the police on some level–I’d have clubbed those guys down but I just don’t like hippies. However, these police showed restraint, and didn’t do anything to the protesters at all. Remember, not all the police were bad people!

    Sorry for the rant, I just feel compelled to defend the police on some level. I feel like those few officers who misbehaved have turned the whole political left against all of the police, much like those few violent protesters turned the whole political right against every protester. Since I’m a loudmouth, and I identify with the political left I like trying to remind them (and the political right) that not every officer was bad.

    Sorry for poor grammar or any incoherence, in a rush before work.

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    Tim from Alberta says:

    Free speech and the right to protest,being our right is a given.The right to parade,to disrupt,to damage,to hurt,to cause pain to the general populace,all in the name of your pet peeve,project or political agenda,is not.
    Too often we see protesters smiling and gloating at the idea of disrupting the day to day lives of the rest of us.Then they squeal when we get angry and stop them……….
    They(most protesters) want it both ways……

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      Robin says:

      Hi Tim,

      Outside Alberta, most don’t bend over and take it from their political masters.



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        Blair S says:

        This moral superiority is one of the many things which divides Canada.

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          Shaun says:

          Sorry Blair, what divides Canada, particularly Alberta from the ROC, are things like a Conservative Premier saying “Let the Eastern bastards freeze.”

          Oh, and let’s not forget how someone advocated building a ‘firewall’ around Alberta to separate it from the rest of Canada.

          So, it’s really not moral superiority doing the work, more like unbridled tyrants that are dividing Canada. Besides, fighting for freedom and individual liberty has a moral claim. There is no moral legitimacy in arbitrarily constraining individual autonomy and freedom. Tim from Alberta’s judgment of protesters fails to live up to any moral standard. But like true conservatives, feel free to unload any generalization you think of that would justify suspending the rights and freedoms. I can say with certainty about conservatives, to quote your beloved GWB: “They [conservatives] hate us for our freedom.”

          For Tim, Blair and Kevin: LOSE!

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        Kevin says:


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    billybud says:

    I find the reporting of this a little suspicious a week after fact.

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    scanner says:

    Interesting how the stories are coming out not from the “reporters” at the mainstream media, but from small papers, blogs and alternate sources. Of course the mainstream media were all around the Fake Lake having Hors d’?uvre and sparkling wine, their stories having been taken care of by the G20 press officers (so kind). If there were a newspaper or radio station left in Toronto [sic] they might have scooped this story. Here’s one I just read that will have international repercussions. Really, the way to boost tourism guys.
    As bad as Pruyn’s story is, I think Lacy’s experience is worse, and I believe the story of the 17 year old girl who Lacy mentions in her story is worse yet, from some internet rumours I’ve heard. I hope it comes out if she has the strength to tell it and I hope she is surrounded by strong friends.

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    Jason Cherniak says:

    I agree with your sentiments, Warren, but I find it completely unbelievable.

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      Dennis says:

      Wow, not even “somewhat unbelievable”, but “completely unbelievable”.

      Details please.

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      Namesake says:

      What — that he got arrested by the G20-Goons? The oh-so-Liberal Nat’l Post unearthed a photo of his take-d… er, -up.


      Or that they took away his leg & classified it as a weapon after he “got smart” with them by complaining that he couldn’t get up on his own with his hands cuffed behind him?

      Or that cops could be cruel? What a sheltered world you must live in.

      What would possess this farmer (which was how he lost his leg) to lie about all this & subject himself to the inevitable calumny & character assassination & humiliation from now on wherever he goes?

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        Namesake says:

        oh, & BTW: the psychology of the situation really isn’t so unbelievable. The cops took his initial hesitation to “hop to it” when they approached & ordered them to disperse as evidence that he was an activist. Then the daughter contradicted that bu pointing out that it was prosthetic that was slowing him down, not defiance. A normal person would have felt a little sheepish then, and would have helped him up, and then apologized. But not an authoritarian prison guard type who was unwilling to lose face, who proceeded to arrest him, instead. Then when the man himself continued to be slow in getting up & even made him look stupid again by pointing out he couldn’t get up w/o the use of his now-handcuffed hands, the cop really blew a fuse & ripped the leg off. Cuz bullies don’t like it when people point out when they’re being slow or pig-headed.

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          Jason Cherniak says:

          Specificallly, the part that makes me question the story is:

          “Then they told him to get up and hop, and when he said he couldn?t, they dragged him across the pavement, tearing skin off his elbows , with his hands still tied behind his back.”

          Obviously (or maybe not), if it’s true then my current disbelief will make me enraged. However, I’m not one to take such stories at face value. I won’t apologize for that and I don’t feel bad about it at all. We SHOULD assume that such stories are exaggerated (at the least) based on experience thus far in TO.

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      Shaun says:

      Well, Jason, if you had any balls, you would have joined the rest of us at the protest. Had you done that, you would have seen things that one would think should not happen in Canada. Did you question the integrity of Steve Paikin and his story?

      What I find ‘completely unbelievable’ is that some people, in the comfort of their privileged positions, can dismiss the accounts of those that were actually there and then.

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        Jason Cherniak says:

        I don’t believe that your protest had any value that weekend. Why would I have joined it?

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    Dennis says:

    Warren, while this is indeed a terrible story, just last week you posted a story about a family of dentists whose home was invaded by police! I’ve also seen claims of women being strip-searched (and violated) by male police. While very bad, I’d say this is far from the worst story to emerge from this summit.

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    NCP says:

    So why doesn’t “Canada’s Best Premier” call some sort of inquiry….?

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    Iris Mclean says:

    Dalton’s comment today was quite something. He said that some television viewers were “traumatized” at the sight of burning police cars. What the hell is that about? Has he joined Team Harper along with Iggy? And yes, I am a Liberal, but it’s wearing thin.

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    aa says:

    Gee, what did he expect would happen — be given the right to “peacefully” gather”? John shouldn’t have been in the park in the first place, especially with a leg that that could easily be converted into a dangerous weapon. Harper Government attitute towards police supremacy, right or wrong, permitted the law enforcers to get away with whatever they wanted. Next time John should stay home and shut up or he will see how far they go.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I hope all Liberals will keep the leadership on its toes rather than smack them down. They are working at finalizing Vision Liberal. The sooner we see it, the better.

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    J. Coates says:

    An old friend of mine is a City of Calgary Constable. Her reserved comment was ” these idiots still have their jobs?”

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    smelter rat says:

    Dalton = FAIL


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    Cam says:

    “Never mind your name JUST GIVE US YOUR NUMBER
    mm, never mind your face JUST GIVE US YOUR CARD
    Mm, and we wanna know WHOSE WING ARE YOU UNDER.
    You better step to the right OR WE CAN MAKE IT HARD.”

    We’re looking more American every day.

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    curt says:

    two things:
    Did the demonstrtors have a parade permit issued by the City of Toronto?
    Was the man hopping mad at the police?

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    allegra fortissima says:

    “The liberal philosophy sets the highest value on the freedom of the individual, by which we mean the total individual, the individual as a member of society to which he is inextricably bound by his way of life, and by community of interest and culture. For a liberal, the individual represents an absolute personal value; the human person has a transcending social significance. Concern for the human person is thus at its most intense within the liberal mind. The tolerance of a liberal man is exemplary. It forbids him any action, or attitude, or omission, that might tend to jeopardize the rights of other individuals.
    … That, then, is the liberal responsibility. We are responsible for ensuring the opportunity to evolve in freedom. We are the instigators and the guardians of social evolution. We cannot rest content in benevolent contemplation of change. A passive liberal reclining on the cushions of the liberal tradition is as worthless and ineffective as any spiritless conservative.”

    (Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Liberal Policy Conference, 20 November 1970)

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    Tyler says:

    I’m not sure how so many of you are able to see this as a political issue. I’ve only ever voted Conservative (although I haven’t voted the past few elections) and think the police conduct was appalling. Chretien thought the APEC thing was funny. Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. McGuinty certainly doesn’t seem to care about the civil liberties issues here. Neither does Miller.

    There’s a different cleavage at play here, I think, between people who see no problem generally with the state exercising authority and people who think it should be limited. For as much as they deny it, the types of people who go into politics, be they Conservative, Liberal or NDP, are just fine with the state gradually increasing the power of the state. The federal Tories and federal Liberals like different kinds of state power, but it’s all state power, whether it’s more people in jails longer and enhanced police powers or more money taken by the state and more programs put into place. They all serve different interest groups that suck at the teat of government.

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      Steve says:

      Tyler —
      This is the smartest, most coherent and well-thought out thing I have read on this entire fiasco since it happened. Why, oh why, does this have to have anything whatsoever to do with politics, or political affiliation? These are our neighbours and countrymen, and whether you share their beliefs or not, nobody, regardless of political stripe, should be subjected to the kinds of things that happened on our streets that weekend.

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    Robbie says:

    Previous summits and international conferences have seen police abuses, but what is unsettling about Toronto G 20 is the blatant disregard by the current government for the findings from past public hearings and inquiries into matters of police abuses. The Liberals addressed APEC concerns with a public hearing; as a Conservative voter, I can only hope the present government will have the courage and political will to do the same. The fact that a disabled person can be so poorly treated by state agents is deeply disturbing and a poor reflection on all levels of government involved.
    Especially troublesome is that for at least 10 years, the RCMP and other police services have had access to these findings and recommendations; yet they continue to pewrmit abuses of power. Public safety planners either knew of these findings, and still let happen what happened at G 20, or they are grossly incompetent in communicating their message to front line officers. To whom much is given much is required.
    “The strip-searches of all female prisoners were not justified, were far too intrusive in the circumstances, and were neither reasonable nor necessary. They were inconsistent with the Charter and inappropriate to the circumstances.


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    Patrick Deberg says:

    I think this goes to the root of which political master we are to serve. This is why the left and centre must not fragment. With a minority government The cons are dismantling Canada bit by bit. They are incredibly smart in that they are taking advantage of Canada’s order and good govn sensability to advance the agenda. Insomuch as the left has “black bloc ” contingents the cons have them too. Think the cutting of brake lines in toronto of people with liberal signs on their lawns. This could of been a real horror story if it had not been discovered yet nothing to my knowledge has been done. A little while ago Warren expressed the need to unite the left as a stopgap and I now see this as inevitable if you want to reverse the trend that is creeping up. Even hard core cons are looking at G20 actions and seeing it as over the top.
    The world is getting harder and if you want to hold Canada as the standard we need to reclaim the centre with good policy that works for all Canadians. If we allow this to become a police state we all lose.

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    Wassup says:

    As a Conservative I think it’s high time we came together across the political spectrum to take back control of our Police Forces across Ontario. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are going to wear this G20 fiasco in the next election because they “took control” of funding the police from our municipal politicians. If the Liberals want to control the Police Services Boards in Ontario, they better get used to paying the price.

    Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have a completely out of control Police Services Board structure that has created a “Police-Industrial-Union Complex” in Ontario. Police Unions are untouchable. Municipal politicians who have to pay these spoiled Police members are forced to pay whatever “Dalton’s Police Services Boards” dictate

    Constables in Ontario earn more than 100% more in Salary & Pensions than police in nearby states like Ohio & Michigan. Our Police now routinely take home over $100,000 a year and retire early with gold plated pensions. The municipalities that have to pay these bills are unable to do anything as the “Police-Industrial-Union Complex” controls the entire negotiation process.

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    hugger says:

    Mr. K, a few thoughts. Something Liberals tend to do is talk themselves to death, and in our political spectrum it is best to follow the Conservatives lead on this. KISS principle.

    If the Liberal Party wants to be heard by the core element which supports Harper, then I suggest this. Turn the tide and hammer them with simplicity. Ex. Troops on the streets. Images of vested and helmeted Paramilitary carrying shields etc.

    Fight fear with fear.

    This is just one issue, and there are so many. If one can only step away a bit, you can see the target painted on their foreheads. I know I can.

    Now I could drone on and on with this line of thought, but I think I have conveyed the message I intended.

    Keep it simple.

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