On Friday, George Horton became the only person convicted of assaulting an officer during the chaotic weekend of the G20 in Toronto.
A judge determined that he should spend 10 months in jail.
The victim? A police cruiser’s door.
While the cruiser was unable to deliver a victim impact statement, an officer who was inside of the car said he felt his life was in danger. He had been hit on the head, through Horton was not accused of that attack.
Full disclosure 1: I have, a few times, kicked the door of a car. While never a police car’s door, there have been a few instances in Toronto where a car has come close enough to taking my life that my only reaction is to scream and let my foot loose upon a car door. One time in particular I believe I used my foot to close someone’s door as I was biking past it along University Avenue. While I don’t advise people to kick other peoples’ car doors, I don’t think it’s a crime that warrants jail time.
Full disclosure 2: a police officer knocked me to the ground about two hours before Horton kicked the door of a cruiser. He raised his shield upon my arm while I was cowering in a corner of a window at Queen and John Sts. and he hit me repeatedly until I collapsed. Despite being able to say exactly where the officer was in the police line, at what intersection, at what time exactly, the OIPRD said that I didn’t have enough evidence to be able to ID him.
“What did he look like?”
“A ‘roid-raging meat head. White. Frightening.”
“No, you’ll have to be more specific. What kind of uniform did he have?”
“Well, I thought it was kind of weird to see someone wearing a vintage Princess Patricias Light Infantry Military uniform decorated with rainbows and Banksy images, but I’m pretty sure that. Or, what all the other cops wearing.”
“Sorry, we can’t help you. For all we know, the hospital records of your bruises could have been caused by your friends when they pulled you out of the crowd.”
“I don’t bruise easily”
“Yes, but we don’t know that”
*Nora walks out, kicks police station door.*
The hypocrisy is astounding.
Forget the fact that the policies promoted by the leaders of the G20 nations wreak havoc on people around the world and can be tied both directly and indirectly to the deaths of many, many people.
Forget the fact that the police that weekend beat, assaulted, harassed, intimidated, arrested, detained, starved, kettled and pissed off thousands of Torontonians and our friends who came in solidarity.
Forget the fact that no one has been held accountable for what happened that weekend.
Forget the fact that the $1 billion spent on that weekend could have quadrupled the money available for First Nations higher education through the post-secondary student support program, for example.
Forget the fact that organizers remain in jail for organizing for that weekend.
Forget the fact that police stood back while businesses had windows smashed to justify a campaign of mass arrest the day after.
Forget the fact that KICKING A CAR ISN’T AN INDICTABLE OFFENSE.
Forget all of that. Because, when the world’s most powerful and rich men come to town, logic and reason are thrown under a bus. Repression and injustice comes out in force. You will lose your rights. You will lose your freedoms and civil liberties.
I don’t know Horton. Unlike some of the others who have done/are doing jail time who I’ve had the opportunity to organize with, I’ve never met Horton.
But if the G20 taught me anything, its that state injustice radicalizes people.
A population of people radicalized through experiencing direct state injustice isn’t going to be good for the powers who seek to oppress us.
Indeed, as I’ve written previously, no justice, no peace actually means something.
I’m struggling to pull together something to say about this that isn’t totally hopeless because, I admit, this has deeply depressed me.
So, here it goes: Don’t kick cars.
Our organizing and our movements have to be more sophisticated than that if we’re going to be the force that creates change.
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