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Testimony #8 from the G-20–Reports from witnesses and subjects of police actions

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TEXT ON SCREEN: The following is testimony of people subject or witness to police actions during the Toronto G-20.

TAMMY M., G-20 DEMONSTRATOR: So I was arrested at Queen’s Park, at College and University, and it was June 26, 2010, between 6 and 7 p.m. I was protesting amongst other people, and I was swarmed by riot police, who then threw me on the ground. One of the riot police had put their foot on their head to push my head down and informed me that I was resisting arrest when I wasn’t. At this time I had already said to them, “I’m not resisting arrest. Please don’t hurt me.” There was a number of riot police that were taking my bag off me. Someone kicked me. Someone was holding my legs down. I had a few of them that were holding my arms, saying I was resisting arrest when I wasn’t. And then eventually they got my hands behind my back ’cause they asked me to; I put my hands behind my back. And they then put the zip ties on my hands, which were really tight. I was losing circulation in my hands. At this point, one of the riot police officers had pulled my hair and pulled me up off the ground by my hair. At this point a number of them had brought me over to the paddywagon and threw me up against the paddywagon. One of them said that I was getting ready to spit. I said, no, I’m not getting ready to spit. They said, “Put your hand on her mouth.” One riot officer said for me to stop moving my head. It was virtually impossible for me to stop moving my head, because he had my hair and he had my head looking up at the sky. The other riot police officer then put his hand over my mouth. And I told him I wasn’t going to spit. He told me to shut the fuck up. And a number of the—they kept saying that to me, they kept telling me to shut the fuck up. They told me that I was provoking the people, and I was trying to tell them I wasn’t. At this point, now, while they have my head pulled back and a glove over my mouth, they then searched me. It was a male officer that rubbed both my breasts and went down and rubbed my private parts and rubbed my other parts and all the way down my legs. And after that, they said that—they asked me if I wanted my bandanna cut off my head—hair, and I said, yes, please. And so at this point they were telling me not to move, because they were going to cut the bandanna from around my neck. At this point I have already urinated myself ’cause I was so scared. And now I’m thinking they have a knife and they’re going to have it around my neck and cut my bandanna off my head. And after that happened, they threw me into the paddywagon. Again, I couldn’t feel my hands, ’cause the circulation was cutting off ’cause they zip-tied it so tight. One of the officers did end up putting handcuffs on me. It was probably about half an hour or more before we were then escorted onto a Greyhound bus that brought us over to the detention center. And the Greyhound bus was [inaudible] was caged. It was an open cage for the men. And the front half was—the cages where seating two women at a time and locked up. We were then brought to the detention center, and then, from there, they took our pictures again to go with our property. We went and spoke to—I was told to speak to the staff sergeant in regards to my charges. So I was arrested and charged. I received charges for unlawful assembly and obstructing a peace officer. At this time, they had searched my bag, and they brought me into a cell which had no seating and no port-a-potty. And then, after I was escorted to do a strip search, which was conducted by two females, and they had informed me that I was going to be naked for the whole duration, which was fine, so at one point I was not naked at all, at one point in time. Eventually they brought me to a cell which did have a port-a-potty. And I was literally just there with one or two other women. I must’ve been in that cell for a couple of hours before I got my phone call. Now it’s about—at this time it’s about 10, 11 o’clock. None of us have eaten. None of us had any water. So we saw someone walking by with water. We requested water. It was another half an hour or so before we got water. Then I was fingerprinted. And when I was brought back, they asked to remove our shoes and our sweaters, and it was absolutely freezing in there. And I could tell that we were the first batch of protesters that they had arrested, ’cause the place was clean. I’m sorry. I just—. The place was clean. And we then were put into a different cell without our shoes, and they took the handcuffs off us. I did stay overnight because I was being arrested. I was in the cell with one other woman. We would barricade the bathroom so no one could see us, ’cause there was no doors on the port-a-potties. And we had to request for food again. We didn’t get food—probably, I think it was around 12 o’clock at night, 11:30, 12:00. But we had requested a number of times for food, which consisted of cheese sandwiches. And my cell sister, as I refer to her as, didn’t actually get food at all, ’cause she showed up after we had received food. I requested a sweater. I did get a sweater, but it took them hours to give me a sweater. I—because I had urinated myself ’cause I was so scared, I requested if I could get my pants, that I had brought an extra pair of pants with me, from my bag. I wasn’t allowed to. I asked for jogging pants; they told me they didn’t have any. I spent the night. I must’ve woken up at 6 o’clock in the morning, and I ended up going to the next cell next to us because we were all going to be brought to court. And I found out that some people were allowed to keep their hoodies, some people had jogging pants on, and some people had their shoes on. So I figured there were some inconsistencies here. We were eventually brought to the courthouse, where the bail officers then were making derogatory comments in regards to, oh, wow, look at this group of lookers that we have here. We all had green sweaters on to keep warm. So they’re like, “It’s like a sea of green.” We were put into a cell. There was a toilet combination with a sink and a fountain. And we told them we hadn’t had breakfast yet. It was 12 o’clock. We were told that we were going to be fed at the courthouse. We requested sandwiches. We didn’t get anything until 1:30. At this point, my bail hearing was supposed to be at 10:00. It was postponed until 2:00. At this time, they had taken me out of the cell and put the handcuffs around me and brought me to the court. I didn’t have an opportunity to speak to my duty counsel ahead of time to be informed of what the process was and actually even tell her my side. I was in the court in my pants that I had urinated in the day before, and I got the information of what was expected, what was going to happen during the hearing, while I was in the box, through a little rectangle hole. Then I was informed of my bail conditions. I was—they were trying to make it so that I would never protest again, which is against my human rights. And that was not going to happen, according to my duty counsel. And that was it. They set me free. I stayed there for an extra hour or two. They gave me my property. They kept my health card. They kept my birth certificate. They kept my “Housing is a right” banner. And I was set free. The whole thing was traumatic and scary, and I feel for all the other protesters out there, and I feel for all the innocent onlookers that were injured, the media that were injured, everyone that was injured, the children that were injured, because just my ordeal alone was so scary, to have so many people on top of me, telling me I was doing things that I wasn’t doing, and they were kicking me, and just having someone’s foot on my head to push my head down, and then replacing it with their hand and pulling me up by my hair on—my head hurt for days. I went to the hospital afterwards. I was told that there was no actual damage done. But my head did hurt for days afterwards. My wrists were swollen and sore because they did zip-tie my wrists so hard. I was losing circulation. My hands were tingling. I was scared. And trying to process—and I’m still trying to process a lot of what has happened to me. Knowing that the riot police were able to say that I said I was doing things that I wasn’t doing, that I was going to spit, that I was moving my head, that I was resisting arrest. And I think there must have been five riot police on me. I’m five-three and a half; I’m 103 pounds. There’s no way I could tackle that many police officers, or even one police officer, if it were to come to it, and I would never do that, because I’m not a violent protester—as they want to seem to make us out to be. I’m sorry. I just—it was very traumatizing and scary to experience that I have no rights and that I’m vulnerable as a woman, as a person, as an individual who was just speaking for people globally. And I feel that it’s unjust that it had to come to this—and it had to come to that. I have a court hearing on 23 August. Chances are the charges will be dropped, because they’re unjust causes, they’re unjust charges, and it’s not fair. And I do understand that there’s probably a number of—I would believe there’s probably a number of people that have been arrested with the same charges.

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