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Activist Communique: G20 Police Officer in Court Today to Face Assault Charge Towards Activist Dorian Barton

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Toronto Police Constable Glenn Weddell faces his first day in court today on charges stemming from the G20 Summit demonstrations of June 2010. 

Weddell – the first police officer to face trial stemming from activist complaints of excessive force and assault – has been charged with assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm when he arrested activist Dorian Barton.

Barton takes the stand for the first time today and is being represented by the law firm Ruby & Shiller.

The suit revolves around Constable Weddell allegedly beating Barton on June 26, 2010, as he was arrested while demonstrating against the G20 Summit at Queen's Park.

Queen's Park had been established as the official G20 free speech/protest zone prior to the Summit but was the site of a major altercation with police.

Barton was arrested -- and allegedly beaten by police -- before being taken to the Eastern Avenue Detention Centre where he was held for a total of thirty hours.

At first, it was Barton who was charged with obstructing a police officer and unlawful demonstration, but these charges were one of the first to be dropped at an August 23, 2010 court appearance.

Among the injuries Barton alleged he sustained at the hands of the Toronto police were a shattered upper right arm. He did receive some medical attention during his incarceration at the Eastern Avenue Detention Centre, though he had to wait for hours in excruciating pain from that broken arm.

Evidence presented against the officer include two video tapes showing Barton’s arrest.

At first, the provincial Special Investigations Unit (SIU) failed to investigate Barton’s allegations of abuse – twice –  citing a “lack of evidence”, which prompted the public to submit video and photographic evidence of Barton on the ground but no images of him being struck – though the images of Barton are partially blocked by a line of police in riot gear.

Other witnesses have testified to the SIU that Barton was struck with a riot shield and then hit with a baton after he fell to the ground.

In his defence, Weddell's lawyer, Peter Brauti, stated at court today that the only contact Weddell had with Barton was to help him up after he tripped.

This is a judge-only trail that is expected to last less than a week.

More to come.

 

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