Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Commander Says He Told Supervisors of Bystanders Caught in G20 'Kettling'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Commander Says He Told Supervisors of Bystanders Caught in G20 'Kettling'

Article excerpt

Police commander testifies at G20 hearing

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TORONTO - Command headquarters was informed that not everyone boxed in by officers at a Toronto G20 protest four years ago was a demonstrator, but no orders came to let passersby out, a police disciplinary hearing was told on Friday.

Retired Insp. Norn Miles told the internal inquiry into the actions of Supt. David (Mark) Fenton that after arriving to find hundreds of people trapped in the "kettling" area on June 27, 2010, he realized that many in the crowd didn't appear to be protesters.

Fenton -- the most senior officer charged in relation with mass arrests made during the G20 summit -- has pleaded not guilty to a total of five charges of unlawful arrest and discreditable conduct stemming from two kettling incidents that occurred over the summit weekend.

Miles was at one of those incidents, an on-the-ground-commander stationed behind a line of several hundred officers as increasingly heavy rains fell.

The former York Regional Police officer said he informed the major incident command centre there were bystanders amongst the 250 or so people boxed in on a Sunday.

"I said that not all these people are involved in the protest," he said.

A request to get the crowd out of the foul weather was also relayed to headquarters, but no response came, added Miles, an experienced public safety commander used to handling big crowds.

"I just said I want you to get some buses down here to get these people out of the rain."

Despite several radio messages and two phone calls to command, he was told only to "maintain the line" along the northern side of the intersection where the kettling occurred.

He didn't seek permission to release members of the crowd, which he described as "pretty passive" due to the thunderstorm and hemmed in by a police tactic he'd never seen before.

"It was abundantly clear I wasn't supposed to do that," he said, adding that no troublemakers were spotted in the mix. …

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