Julia Croome – “I was there as a monitor for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. . . like many others, I was never given an opportunity to remove myself from the intersection”

I was among those detained and arrested at Queen and Spadina on Sunday, June 27, 2010. I am a lawyer practicing in the area of civil litigation, mainly in relation to environmental and planning law, and was there as a monitor for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). The CCLA monitors were tasked with taking notes as neutral observers in order to provide a record to evaluate possible Charter issues arising from the G20 protests. I was accompanied by two other monitors who, like me, were wearing the uniform white shirt and white cap with “Canadian Civil Liberties Association” stitched onto the back.

Like many others, I was never given an opportunity to remove myself from the intersection. If announcements were made, neither I nor the other two CCLA monitors heard them before we were surrounded on all sides by lines of riot police at approximately 6:10pm. I stood in the rain for approximately 2 hours. I was beckoned forward out of the crowd and my hands were restrained with zip ties behind my back. I waited in line with many others for about another 45 minutes. An arrest sheet was filled out by the officer in charge of me. My possessions were bagged. It is probably worth noting that the officer who had charge of me, who was from Niagara, was inclined to release me, upon being informed of my circumstances, but did not seem to think that he could do so. I was cuffed with my hands to the front of my body and put in the back of a court services van with 5 other women. By this stage I had told two officers about the reason for my presence at the intersection.

There were approximately 6-7 men on the other side of the vehicle. The door was closed and we sat for about 20 minutes, before the van began to move. Although we assumed that we would be taken to the detention center at Eastern Avenue it became clear, after driving on a highway for more that 15 minutes, that we were being taken somewhere else. We did not know where. The drive lasted approximately 30-45 minutes. We stopped and sat for 5-10 more minutes. An officer opened the back of the truck to check the spelling of my name as it was not clear from the arrest sheet. I let this officer know that several of the women needed a washroom. He promised to come back. Another officer returned and took one of those women out of the truck. I asked him where we were. He simply answered 43 Division. He came back several minutes later to remove another woman, and at this point informed us that we were in Scarborough. Women were removed one by one. When I was taken from the truck I was walked to another room where I was told that I was being released unconditionally. I was then walked through the station, uncuffed, and my belongings returned to me. I asked to use a phone as my cell phone had died and was told that there was not one available, and that I would have to walk to the nearest intersection – Morningside and Lawrence – to find one. We were all told to leave the premises promptly or that we would be charged with something else. It was now full dark (approximately 10:30pm) and I could not see the closest intersection from outside the station. Consequently, myself and three others hailed a cab passing by the station which we took back downtown. The fare was split three ways, as one of us did not have any cash or debit/credit.

This chronology is as factual as possible. The above is a simplified outline of the events as they happened, drawn from notes that I took at the time, and a recollection that I wrote down immediately upon my return home on Sunday night. I am supporting an immediate public inquiry because as we move away from the events of last week it may become increasingly easy to let go of our sense that what happened was not in keeping with the rights and freedoms that we associate with Canada, particularly given the messaging by the Toronto police and some others. I know that I did not recognize Canada in the events that I experienced.

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