With the hardening of the police response to vibrant civil protest in the last decade, Canada has witnessed an unprecedented display of unlawful arrests, excessive use of force and civilian punishment for expression of democratically protected political expression.
For example, in the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto approximately 1,000 civilians were arrested in one weekend, in many cases without charge and in several instances protesters were beaten and mistreated. While the G20 Summit is a stark example of the exaggeration of police response to civil protest, unprovoked arrests, disproportionate use of force and/or police antagonism of protesters continues to cast a serious chill upon public rights of free speech, assembly and political dissent.
Police accountability for the use of force during arrests and in restraining suspects in police custody in Canada has also been the subject of public scrutiny in numerous cases including those of: Abdirahman Abdi (2016), Phuong Na (Tony) Du (2014); Sammy Yatim (2013), Stacy Bonds (2008) and Robert Dziekanski (2007) to name a few examples.
Conscious of this systemic context, we assist persons charged with: