Did police stand down during G20 black bloc action in Toronto?
During the recent G20 summit, in which laws were embellished and unrelated items were presented to the public as weapons, more than 700 protesters, journalists, tourists, and residents were detained but not charged in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. Detainees were placed in metal cages in a warehouse space, with "logistics" blamed for unsystemic distribution of water. In an open letter, Amnesty International has called for an investigation of policing tactics and detention conditions.
Arresting hundreds of people who have not broken the law poses the risk of a public outcry against the police, and some are accusing the G20 security forces of attemting to manage this risk by employing the "Miami Model". The Miami Model involves manipulating the media narrative to persuade the public that protesters as a whole pose a criminal threat.
Police sources have claimed that G20 security forces were told to do nothing during the hour-long downtown black bloc action. The optics of the black bloc action were subsequently used to characterize protesters as "terrorists" and justify the detainment of hundreds of people who had no connection with the black bloc action and had broken no laws.
Despite the G20 police admitting to misleading the public, no external investigations have been announced by any level of government. Allegations of deliberate police inaction pose a number of importants questions. If the police allowed the black bloc to destroy property, what was their rationale and who made the call? If, as critics suggest, the "Miami Model" was employed by the G20 forces, did they do so to create a pretext for broader police action intended to discourage future protest? Given the lack of criticism of the detainments by the two largest federal political parties, an external, independent investigation is needed to assure Canadians that this style of policing won't become the norm.
Photojournalist Joe Wenkoff details police inaction during the black bloc action.