After police detain and arrest a group of people opposed to the G20 outside their convergence space, supporters and neighbors gather around. One woman is blowing bubbles when she is confronted by a Toronto police officer. He threatens to arrest her if she doesn't stop the bubbles, she stops, then moments later is arrested and sent to the detention center as part of a rapid 'kettling' operation.
See link at top of page for the full story on that day's events in Parkdale.
Shot by Nazrul Islam and produced by Jesse Freeston.
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'Officer Bubbles' video goes viral around the world
A YouTube video of a woman blowing bubbles at Toronto Police officers during the G20 is getting world wide attention.
The video, called “Booked for Bubbles?” and posted by therealnews.com, includes one officer stating in no uncertain terms he’ll arrest Courtney Winkels if she keeps blowing bubbles at him and a fellow officer.
In the video posted on YouTube, the officer told Winkels, if the bubble touches him, she’ll be arrested for assault.
“Do you understand me?” he asked.
“Bubbles?” Winkels asked.
“Yes, that’s right, it’s a deliberate act on your behalf, I’m going to arrest you,” the cop replies. “You either knock it off with those bubbles. If you touch me with that bubble you’re going into custody.”
In what the video describes as “moments later,” “Bubble Girl” is shown getting arrested.
The video, filmed by Nazrul Islam, was even featured on FoxNews this week followed by a lively debate around whether or not you can get arrested for blowing bubbles at police officers.
Toronto Police spokesman Meaghan Gray declined to comment on the video.
Gray said the force hasn’t been commenting on individual photos and videos from the G20.
She pointed out with any photo or video it is hard to establish the context an event takes place in.
In a statement to the Sun, Winkels stressed she wasn’t arrested for blowing bubbles.
“The fact is that the bubbles had nothing to do with my arrest,” she said. “The reason I was arrested is because I was wearing a backpack and had a lawyer’s phone number written on my arm. This number was given out by lawyers, and they advised us to have it written somewhere on our bodies.”
The 20-year-old was a volunteer street medic at the G20 and said she “wasn’t even protesting.”
“My medical supplies were taken and suggested they could be used as evidence for my charge,” she said.
Court records show she is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mischief over $5,000.
Winkels said she was talking to another officer when “Officer Bubbles” came over and angrily told her to put her bubbles away.
“I was having a conversation with the female officer,” she said. “She asked me my name, and I preferred not to give it. If she had asked me to identify myself to the police, I would have shown them my ID which I was carrying in my pocket, however, she was talking to me person to person, not officer to civilian.”
Winkels asked the female officer if her bubbles were bothering her.
“She laughed and shrugged her shoulders, which I perceived as a ‘No big deal!’” she said. “After this point, Officer Bubbles stormed over and said what he said on the video.”
Winkels said she put the bubbles away and the officer went away.
She was later swept up with others when arrests were made at Queen St. W. and Noble St. in Parkdale.
“I was not ‘blowing them in his face’ or being rude, I was simply trying to keep the mood of the crowd light, as I figure happy people are less likely to start a violent outbreak,” Winkels said. “There was no way I could have blown them in his face because, as I said, he was nowhere near me when I was blowing them, until he came over to talk to me. He was standing roughly 20 or 30 feet away, and nowhere near the range of the bubbles.”
Winkels said she feels she was not treated fairly during the G20.
“I was denied many of my civil and human rights, and this whole situation has been blown out of proportion, no pun intended,” she said.
- With files from Sam Pazzano