Skip to main content

A large black police boot kicked the young woman in the head. Then it came to rest on her neck as she lay face down on the grass. Her hands were cuffed behind her back. Two police officers kicked her while others hit her with batons as she lay motionless.

This scene unfolded on a videotape yesterday before the jury at the trial of three men charged in connection with the 2000 riot at an antipoverty rally on the lawn of the Ontario Legislature.

While police say the woman was knocked down by police for obstructing the arrest of another demonstrator, defence lawyers suggested the video showed police brutality.

Story continues below advertisement

The jury viewed segments of several videos taken by police and Toronto television stations during the melee of June 15, 2000, that has become known as the Queen's Park riot.

One video showed a police officer knocking down a woman who did not appear to be part of the protesting crowd. The officer struck her in the back of the head with his forearm and continued on his way, without a backward glance to make sure she was not seriously injured.

Another police officer is seen grabbing a man by the back of his shirt and knocking him to the ground without provocation. This officer also failed to stop.

On trial for counselling people to riot is John Clarke, the main spokesman for the group that organized the protest, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. Two other OCAP members, Gaetan Heroux and Stefan Pilipa, are charged with participating in the riot.

While police sifted through videotapes looking for evidence of violence against officers, Mr. Heroux's lawyer, Bob Kellermann, yesterday questioned who was causing the violence. "Whose riot was this?" he said outside court.

He was one of three defence lawyers yesterday who grilled Detective Sergeant Richard Stubbings, who was head of the police intelligence unit when a peaceful demonstration turned ugly, with police in riot gear battling masked protesters. By the time demonstrators abandoned their attempt to address the legislature on the problems of the province's poor and homeless, at least 40 officers and six horses were injured, in addition to an unknown number of demonstrators.

The videos clearly show that police began to use force only after protesters knocked down two sets of metal barricades and began hurling stones, bricks, water bombs and other debris at them.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies