Toronto G20 Video Officer: This Ain’t Canada Right Now | A Right Is Not A Right If They Can Take It Away |

The Star
Nicole BauteStaff Reporter

A G20 incident caught on video that shows a York Regional Police officer telling a protester he is no longer in Canada and has no civil rights is under investigation.

The video shows several activists standing outside of the G20 security perimeter at King St. W. and University Ave. on June 27 while their bags are searched by a group of police officers. The mood is pleasant until a young man in a black T-shirt and cap refuses to hand over his backpack.

Just outside the St. Andrew subway station, a male York Regional Police officer wraps one arm around the protester and tells him: “You don’t get a choice, get moving.”

“Why are you grabbing me, man?” says the unidentified protester, who in another G20 video gives a brief monologue about animal rights. “I didn’t do anything.”

The officer’s badge number, 815, is clearly visible in the video. The officer with that number, Sgt. Mark Charlebois, said in an email that he would love to speak but couldn’t because the matter was before the Ontario Independent Police Review Director.

“If I was sensitive, I would likely be crying all the time with the comments about me,” he said.

No one from the OIPRD was available to comment.

York police media officer Sgt. Gary Phillips said the incident was the subject of a citizen’s complaint.

In the video, a woman’s voice from behind the camera points out that the protesters are not within 5 metres of the cordoned-off zone — the area in which Torontonians were led to believe, erroneously, that they could legally be searched by police officers at whim.

The male protester insists that, as a Canadian, he has the right to refuse the search. But the officer disagrees.

“This ain’t Canada right now,” he says.

While the crowd laughs in disbelief, the officer continues to tell the protester he has two choices: leave, or open his bag. The protester continues to refuse to do either. “I just don’t like to have my civil rights violated,” he says eventually.

“There is no civil rights here in this area,” the officer replies. “How many times do you gotta be told that?”

“I was upset that police officers could make those kinds of statements in a democracy,” says Derek Soberal, co-filmmaker of the film Toronto G20 Exposed, who re-posted the video on his YouTube site.

The video has been viewed more than 40,000 times.

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