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article image$45m class action suit launched against G20 police

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By Stephanie Dearing     Aug 6, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - Hers is not the face of the "typical" protester as presented by police and mainstream media. She's no black-clad anarchist, nor a university student.
The woman who launched a class action lawsuit against the Toronto Police Services and the Attorney General of Canada is, according to the Notice of Action, a 51 year old office administrator named Sherry B. Good. She shared her G20 story in early July, posting it on G20 Inquiry. Good maintains that she has lost her trust in police after being detained on June 27th.
Good describes herself as "... an ordinary person, not an activist." She was motivated, she said, to participate after learning about the heavy policing that was put into place for the conference. Good wrote "... I had no intention of protesting the G20 until I heard about the police trying to intimidate people into not exercising their democratic rights by obtaining sound cannons, rubber bullets and the new “law” that gave them the right of search and seizure within five metres of the security fence. I felt it was my responsibility to protect my rights and the rights of all Canadians by not being intimidated by the police threats and going out on the streets to demonstrate. I went to Queen’s Park on Saturday to join the labour-organized march with my friend M33 (almost 60)."
Good and a friend experienced alleged threats and intimidation from the police on June 27th, Good wrote. She and her friend were heading home Sunday after a series of unpleasant interactions with the police when they were caught up in a group of protesters. Good said they had no choice but to go with the protesters because the police were forcing the protesters to travel west. When the hundreds of protesters had reached Queen and Spadina streets, the police boxed everyone in. Good said "... With no warning, no one telling us to disperse, nothing, we were literally surrounded by hundreds of police in riot gear. The police at the south end said if you wanted to leave to go north but you couldn’t. There were more police in riot gear to stop you.
At first we sat down and chanted (the “worst” chant was “You’re sexy, you’re cute – take off your riot suit”). We sang the national anthem (we had no idea what was happening on the other corner of Queen Street where the police attacked after the singing of the national anthem). The police continued to slowly close in on us. Each time we would stand with our hands in the air or flash peace signs. No one had any idea why we were being detained. And, of course, we were given no information.
And then the rain started. It poured and poured."
Good said the police were arresting people from the penned-in crowd. The majority of the crowd was held for hours, until suddenly police announced the protesters were free to go.
Good concluded her post saying she was afraid of the police, and she expressed that sentiment during the press conference Friday morning.
During the press conference, which was announced Thursday, lawyer Murray Klippenstein said "This lawsuit will seek to bring about the facts, to establish accountability and to reaffirm our freedoms." The lawsuit means to affirm the "fundamental civil rights" of the protesters and others who attended to observe protests during the G20 conference.
Eric Gillespie and Basil Alexander are also working as legal counsels on the case. The suit names the Attorney General of Canada because the office has jurisdiction over the RCMP.
There are three different inquiries to be held into G20 actions. One is an internal police inquiry, the second is one called by the Toronto Police Services Board. The third inquiry, announced by Ontario's Ombudsman Andre Marin, will examine how the Province of Ontario handled the special security legislation the province put into place just before the G20 conference. The federal government has resisted holding an inquiry, said CBC News last month.
In related news, the Toronto Police released five new photographs of people the police are seeking, related to damages caused during the G20 protest. The Toronto Police say they have now arrested 17 people in connection with the damages caused during the protest, which included the burning of two police cars. The public has cooperated very well with the police, submitting 20,000 photographs to police.
Police ask that anyone with information on the people denoted in the photographs to contact the G20 Investigative Team at 416−808−0650, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
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