The province's police watchdog has concluded that officers did not use excessive force in the arrest of a 35-year-old man whose nose was broken at protests against the G20 summit in Toronto in June 2010.
Joseph Thomson was videoing police at Queen Street and Spadina Avenue on June 26, the main day of the protests, when his friend was arrested. He allegedly interfered and was taken into custody himself.
He alleged a group of officers beat him behind their lines.
The Special Investigations Unit, which probes all incidents in which police are accused of seriously injuring someone, looked into the case last year, interviewed eight police officers and a civilian, and decided not to lay charges. In January, after new video of the incident came to light, the SIU decided to re-open the file.
The agency tracked down and interviewed eight more officers from the Toronto Police Service, along with 22 RCMP officers from as far afield as Alberta and Newfoundland. Investigators also found another civilian, in British Columbia, who had been there at the time of the arrest. The RCMP also provided further photographs and videos of the incident. One officer was designated as a subject - or suspect - officer in the case.
In a statement detailing the SIU's findings, director Ian Scott wrote that the videos indicated police had the authority to arrest Mr. Thomson and use reasonable force, but there was no evidence they were responsible for his injuries.
“Mr. Thomson sustained a fracture to his nose immediately after his arrest, reportedly as a result of excessive force used by the police,” he said. “None of the photographs, videos or statements from the officers or civilian witnesses from either the original investigation or the re-opened one support this allegation.”
His lawyer, however, did not accept the conclusion, saying that some of the officers whom his client alleges beat him were never identified by the SIU.
“We're very disappointed in the decision,” said David Midanik. “The blue wall of silence has prevailed.”
Toronto police have maintained since the G20 that they have co-operated with SIU investigations.
Mr. Thomson faces several charges from that day, including obstructing police and causing a disturbance.
Two officers, constables Babak Andalib-Goortani and Glenn Weddell, have been charged in separate incidents related to the summit. In three other cases, the SIU opted not to lay charges.