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Occupy protester alleges police brutality during arrest

Angela Turvey was arrested Friday after clashing with police oputside 361 University Avenue courthouse where Occupy Toronto had tents erected. She was videotaping the police. She claims she was injured during the altercation with police.


Occupy Toronto saw some of its tensest moments over the weekend, clashing repeatedly with police after one woman alleged officers brutalized her.

Angela Turvey, 36, was arrested Friday as police evicted a small encampment from outside a courthouse on University Avenue. Part of her arrest was caught on camera: the video shows Ms. Turvey lying on her side as an officer tries to cuff her. She protests that she suffers from neck injuries and can't physically move her arms behind her back.

As the officer holds her down, she curses at police. Other protesters are shown moving in close before police back them up.

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After she was released on bail Saturday, Ms. Turvey told reporters police had broken her nose and orbital bone. Her face was puffy, covered in black and blue bruises and her eyebrow was closed with stitches.

"I am feeling very sore in the face, my left arm is a little numb. My right arm is really numb. And that's a result of being taken to the ground," she said outside Old City Hall court. "I was not resisting arrest."

She faces charges of obstructing police and assault with intent to resist arrest. Three other people were arrested at the same time as Ms. Turvey, also for obstructing police.

A police spokeswoman said Sunday she was not aware of any allegations in relation to Ms. Turvey's arrest.

On Friday night, protesters marched on 52 division police station on Dundas Street, a few blocks from the courthouse, demanding that charges against Ms. Turvey and her fellow protesters be dropped. One person was arrested as police tried to keep protesters off the street.

Demonstrations continued Saturday, with a crowd of about 100 people blocking Dundas Street outside the police station. That night, two more people were arrested. They were both charged with mischief interfering with property.

Several protesters will have bail hearings Monday.

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The weekend's events marked some of Occupy Toronto's tensest moments. The local offshoot of the international protest movement, which demands a more equitable distribution of wealth, started in October with an encampment of hundreds of tents in St. James Park. Police dismantled it after several weeks in a slow, careful operation that drew accolades from the public for avoiding the sort of ugly confrontations that have plagued such protests in the United States.

Since then, the Occupy movement has staged sporadic protests and set up camp for short periods of time outside court and at city hall, targeting the budget-cutting efforts of Mayor Rob Ford. On their radio show Sunday, Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, were asked about the case.

"We believe in demonstrations and if someone wants to go out and peacefully protest, God bless 'em," Doug Ford replied. "But if someone wants to break the law – and I'm not saying they did – if someone wants to camp out in front of somewhere they shouldn't, then they should move on."

So far, there has been no indication that the province's Special Investigations Unit, which probes deaths and serious injuries that happen in police custody, will look into Ms. Turvey's case.

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