G20 police illegally arrested journalists, used gay slur
Two Toronto police sergeants face disciplinary hearings after a watchdog agency found they illegally arrested two alternative media journalists during the 2010 G20 summit and that one officer hurled homophobic slurs.
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director report on the incident, obtained by CBC News, found that Sgt. Michael Ferry and Sgt. Douglas Rose had “no reasonable grounds” to arrest colleagues Ryan Mitchell and Lisa Walter.
However, a further allegation that one of the officers threatened to sexually assault one of the journalists with his baton had “insufficient evidence” to bear it out, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director found.
In the case of Mitchell, the review found that the officers used excessive force in his arrest. But it couldn’t substantiate Mitchell’s allegation that during his arrest, an officer said: “I’m going to love shoving this baton up your ass.”
In the case of Walter, while the review said there was not enough evidence to substantiate that excessive force was used against her, it did conclude that Rose was involved in “discreditable conduct” for using “profane, abusive or insulting language.”
Walter had alleged that Rose called her a ‘f–king dyke” and a “douchebag.” Walter also had alleged that after she was arrested, Rose said: “We were assuming you are a lady because of your credentials, but how do we know you are a woman? You look like a guy. I will start calling you Mr.”
Mitchell and Walter were arrested on Sunday, June 27, 2010, after police ordered alternative press journalists to clear off Toronto’s Bloor Street. It was midway through the G20 weekend, and a Toronto deputy police chief had just issued instructions to “take back the streets” following a Saturday that saw violent rampages, vandalism and a police cruiser set on fire.