Three G20 protesters who filed claims against Toronto police have settled their lawsuits out of court after receiving unspecified payments, their lawyer announced Thursday.
Nikos Kapetaneas, Caitlin Morgan and Anna Grychtchenko were subjected to “police brutality” at the G20 protests in 2010, lawyer Davin Charney told reporters outside Toronto police headquarters on College Street. Mr. Kapetaneas and Ms. Grychtchenko also filed complaints with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). The complaints were upheld upon review.
Each of the three sought $25,000 in damages in Toronto Small Claims Court. Mr. Charney said the amount they settled for was confidential, but was “an amount that all of us are happy with.”
“It’s difficult for people to go ahead with a trial,” Mr. Charney said. “It’s very stressful, it’s time-consuming, and this settlement gives a sense of closure so that people can move on and put this difficult episode behind them.”
Mr. Kapetaneas and Ms. Morgan said police attacked a peaceful group sitting on the grass by University Avenue north of College Street. A YouTube video shows a Toronto police officer kicking Mr. Kapetaneas in the back of the head.
“In no other situation is it acceptable for someone to kick someone in the back of the head while they’re sitting down, so it was that level of disregard for my own personal safety and my own personal health that really spurred this on,” Mr. Kapetaneas said.
An OIPRD investigation found that Constable Oliver Simpson, who was not wearing a badge at the time, was found to have used excessive force against Mr. Kapetaneas.
His girlfriend, Ms. Morgan, said she was kicked in the torso by the same officer and was in pain for three weeks.
“As a woman, it’s the place you least want to get kicked,” she said. “It gave me a lot of concern because afterward it was a period of three weeks to about a month that I was just in incredible agony.”
Ms. Grychtchenko claimed that while she was participating in a G20 protest on the south side of Queen’s Park, she was assaulted and falsely arrested after officers told her group to disperse. She said she was running away when she was pulled back by her knapsack.
“I was actually screaming in a huddled position, ‘I’m not refusing arrest,’” she said. “The officer came by and punched me in the face, which had a double effect of me hitting the ground and him punching me.”
According to her claim, Ms. Grychtchenko was taken to a temporary detention centre and was in police custody for 28 hours.
“I had a mild concussion and no medical attention for over 20 hours,” she said.
A photo show Ms. Grychtchenko suffered a black eye and multiple bruises to her face.
The OIPRD found constable Matthew McCartney to have used excessive force against Ms. Grychtchenko.
“Them paying me off means that they did something wrong,” Ms. Grychtchenko said. “If they feel that they didn’t do anything wrong, they would’ve brushed me off and told me to go to court.”
Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said the settlements do not involve any admission of liability.
“We settle cases from time to time, we do it where we think it is the appropriate thing to do, other cases we don’t, we make a decision based on the facts of each case,” Mr. Pugash said.
All three plaintiffs said that they were happy with the eventual outcome of the settlement.
“I feel like the officers have been held accountable and we can move on with our lives,” Mr. Kapetaneas said.
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