|G20 officer: 'This ain't Canada right now'
CBC News | January 21, 2011
A police oversight body is probing the comments of a police officer who was caught on YouTube telling a man who refused to be searched during the G20 summit, "This ain't Canada right now."
The video shows a verbal confrontation between Paul Figueiras and York Regional Police officers working summit duty in downtown Toronto, about a block from the security perimeter.
One officer tells Figueiras that police need to search his backpack, but he refuses.
"You haven't opened up your bag, so take off," the officer says to the man.
When the man refers to being in Canada, the officer replies: "This ain't Canada right now."
Figueiras told CBC News on Friday, "It certainly meant in that moment that this officer was saying to me, 'As far as I am concerned, you don't have civil rights,'"
He said at one point, the officer grabbed him and he had to back away.
"I was actually responding to him, saying, 'OK, well, I'm not going to open my backpack so I'm going to leave and that's actually when he assaulted me and said you don't get a choice."
Figueiras lodged a complaint last month with Ontario's Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
In a report last month, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin used the video as one example of how police brass spread confusion among officers on the street.
He said a misinterpretation of special provincial legislation led to police wrongly believing they had expanded powers.
University of Toronto law professor David Schneiderman said this false belief among police that they could search anyone they please led to widespread violations of civil liberties.
"There were various indications that the police officers here from various police forces, Toronto, York Regional police are identified, were exhibiting behaviour that was directly contrary to the constitutional rights of the people involved," said Schneiderman.
A spokesperson for the police oversight body investigating the incident said they don't comment during ongoing probes. York Region police also refused to comment.