Toronto

Toronto police say they 'regret that mistakes were made' in G20 mass arrests following major settlement

Two months after a $16.5-million settlement and 10 years after the dramatic mass arrests connected to the 2010 G20 summit, Toronto police have released a statement saying it regrets that "mistakes were made."

Statement comes 2 months after $16.5M settlement that included public acknowledgement by police

The statement follows a massive settlement in a class-action lawsuit over the arrests, reached in August. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Two months after a $16.5-million settlement and 10 years after the dramatic mass arrests connected to the 2010 G20 summit, Toronto police have released a statement saying they regret that "mistakes were made."

In a news release Monday, Toronto Police said that the weekend of June 26-27, 2010 represented "a security challenge unprecedented in Toronto's history."

"We understand and acknowledge that in attempting to preserve peace and safety during those two days, there were times when matters were not addressed in the way they should have been and many hundreds of member of the public were detained or arrested when they should not have been and were held in detention in conditions that were unacceptable," it continued.

"We regret that mistakes were made."

The statement follows a massive settlement in a class-action lawsuit over the arrests, reached in August.

The agreement — reached after a decade of court proceedings and negotiations between the Toronto Police Services Board and representatives for about 1,100 people arrested during the summit of world leaders — included a public acknowledgement by police about the situation as well as a commitment to changing how protests are policed in the future.

Those who were wrongfully arrested will also have their police records expunged.

Public demonstrations were organized to address issues like climate change, globalization and poverty. Thousands of protestors demonstrated peacefully, but some protests were accompanied by deliberate vandalism.

Police reacted by encircling large groups of hundreds of protestors in several locations in downtown Toronto with cordons of riot police, holding them for hours, and then transferring many of them to a temporary detention centre. 

The lawsuit was launched in 2010 by Sherry Good as the legal representative of approximately 1,100 class members. The Toronto Police Service initially objected to the class-action proceedings in court, and the class-action status was not finalized until November 2016.

On Monday, a court officially approved the entire settlement package, said Eric Gillespie, one of the lawyers representing protesters in the case.

Murray Klippenstein, who also represents members of the class action, said that includes some police training, respect for charter rights and the avoidance of the "kettling" mechanism, which had seen police box in people in certain areas in the city.

"The class representatives and many class members have constantly said this is not just about monetary compensation," said Klippenstein. "It's about other things, including this kind of acknowledgement by the police."

Good said she hopes nobody would be "kettled" in Toronto again.

"I'm very pleased they've acknowledged that they did wrongdoing and they are looking towards a future to not having a repeat of what happened 10 years ago," Good said.

"Reaching an agreement and an understanding of what worked and what did not work during that weekend are important developments that will help everyone move forward," the statement from police said. 

"We have and will continue to take meaningful steps, through our ongoing modernization process, to significantly enhance and improve our community engagement and all of our relationships to enable us to continue to keep our city safe for everyone."

With files from The Canadian Press

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