Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nearly 100 Toronto officers to be disciplined over G20 summit conduct

Nearly 100 Toronto police officers will be disciplined for removing their name tags at the G20 summit, says the city’s police chief who also admitted charges were thrown out against roughly 100 people because the force failed to obtain appropriate arrest warrants.

Police Chief Bill Blair was called before the Commons public safety committee on Wednesday to explain his officers’ actions during the June summit which resulted in the arrest of more than 1,000 people.

Many of the people who confronted police over the tumultuous three-days of protests that closed down Toronto’s core said officers were not wearing badge numbers or name tags on their uniforms – allegations that were bolstered by photographs in the media.

“I have a rule in the Toronto Police Service, it’s my rule, it’s in accordance with the policy of my police services board, that our officers will wear their names displayed on their uniforms,” Chief Blair told the committee.

Faced with numerous complaints, the force launched an investigation and pored over 22,000 hours of closed-circuit videotape to identify “approximately 90” officers who were not wearing their name tags, said the Chief.

“Disciplinary processes have been initiated,” he said. When asked what kind of punishment would be handed out, Chief Blair said that has yet to be determined “but the discussion, I believe, is the loss of a day’s pay.” That would amount to about $300 for a first-class constable.

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said no G20-related disciplinary action has yet been taken.

“That’s currently being investigated right now, so discipline hasn’t been handed out ,” he said. “I’m aware that some of our officers – I can’t confirm the number – have been notified of an investigation in regards to the name-tag issue, so the officers are in the process of responding to that right now.”

When asked why an officer would remove his or her badge, the Chief said some of the name tags could have come off during scuffles with protesters but other officers were likely trying to hide their identities.


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