When the rights of the people may be suspended for special occasions, do the people truly have any rights at all?
A G20 incident caught on video that shows a York Regional Police officer telling a protester he is no longer in Canada and has no civil rights is under investigation.
The video shows several activists standing outside of the G20 security perimeter at King St. W. and University Ave. on June 27 while their bags are searched by a group of police officers. The mood is pleasant until a young man in a black T-shirt and cap refuses to hand over his backpack.
Just outside the St. Andrew subway station, a male York Regional Police officer wraps one arm around the protester and tells him: “You don’t get a choice, get moving.”
“Why are you grabbing me, man?” says the unidentified protester, who in another G20 video gives a brief monologue about animal rights. “I didn’t do anything.”
The officer’s badge number, 815, is clearly visible in the video. The officer with that number, Sgt. Mark Charlebois, said in an email that he would love to speak but couldn’t because the matter was before the Ontario Independent Police Review Director.
“If I was sensitive, I would likely be crying all the time with the comments about me,” he said.
No one from the OIPRD was available to comment.
York police media officer Sgt. Gary Phillips said the incident was the subject of a citizen’s complaint.
In the video, a woman’s voice from behind the camera points out that the protesters are not within 5 metres of the cordoned-off zone — the area in which Torontonians were led to believe, erroneously, that they could legally be searched by police officers at whim.
The male protester insists that, as a Canadian, he has the right to refuse the search. But the officer disagrees.
“This ain’t Canada right now,” he says.
Read the rest at The Toronto Star.