Testimony 3 from the G-20-Reports from witnesses and subjects of police actions
TEXT ON SCREEN: The following is testimony of people subject or witness to police actions during the Toronto G-20.
EMILY B., G-20 PROTESTER: I was arrested on June 26, Saturday, which was also my birthday. After several hours of peaceful protest and kind of wandering around the city, friends of mine and I went up to Queen’s Park in order to pick up our bicycles and go home to my house for my birthday dinner. About ten minutes after I got there, I was arrested by riot police. I feel this is significant merely because although I was uninjured (unlike many others), Queen’s Park was the designated protest zone, so the fact that I and many others were arrested there is completely unacceptable. The most significant part or—not significant, but—it is significant, but the event that really underlines, underscores my experience in the detention center was the last containment cell that I was put into. There were five girls in about a 6 x 6 cage. I had been given a sandwich, but the other girls around me had not been given any food, and we kept demanding to have some food and some water. Officers walking by—a higher concentration of officers in this area than previously—they ignored us outright. Finally, an officer came over with some water, passed some styrofoam cups to me, took the water bottle, and I put a cup up to the cage—the, you know, small squares—and he poured it in as I held them, and I passed them around. One of the girls that I was with said to us, “Is anyone else’s lips burning? My lip is burning.” And soon afterwards I, you know, bit my nail and noticed that my tongue and my lips were burning as well. I didn’t really clue in to this until, a few moments later, I looked up, and one of the girls that I was with was tearing because she had put her finger in her eye and ended up, essentially, putting pepper spray in her eye. That’s when we realized that the splotches all over the cage and all over the wall behind us, it was actually pepper spray. We don’t know who, but somebody was pepper sprayed inside this tiny 6 x 6 foot cage. I asked officers, as they went by, who was pepper sprayed in here and why were they pepper sprayed. They insisted that nobody was ever pepper sprayed in this cage. We kept having to ask for more water, more water to flush her eye out. They were not responsive, were just really lazy about it, ended up squirting water through the cage, you know, soaking half of me—I was only wearing a T-shirt, and it was freezing. And when he squirted it through, it hit her in the eye and ended up spreading it into her other eye and spreading it all over her face. It was just lazy and it was disrespectful. We kept demanding to—. Understand that if you’re not demanding something, they’re not going to listen to you. It’s not that we’re belligerent people; it’s just that if we weren’t demanding it, it was never going to happen. We kept demanding to be put into another cage that was right across the way that was empty. They said, no, it’s empty for a reason, I’m sure. I don’t know. Maybe about two hours later they did move us into this cage, not because of the pepper spray but because the lock was broken. Surely by this point in time our clothes and our hands were covered in pepper spray. When we were finally moved to go to court services, I pointed out to other officers, anyone that I saw, I said very calmly, just so you know, this is the cage that we were in. See how small it is? See that it is covered in pepper spray? This woman got pepper spray in her eye because of it. One of the female officers replied, yeah, well, that’s where it’s supposed to go, and some other infuriating comments from there.
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