Aug. 17 (UPI) — Ten years after mass-arrests in Toronto at the 2010 G20 economic summit, the Toronto Police Services Board will pay a $12.5 million (U.S.) settlement to members of a class-action lawsuit of 1,100 people who were arrested and held by police during protests.
Those arrested will be entitled to payments between $3,780 and $81,700 and their criminal records for the arrests will be expunged, according to the settlement.
“When these events happened many Canadians could not believe they happened in Canada. The settlement appears to fairly recognize through financial compensation, acknowledgements and reforms that they shouldn’t have happened and will never happen again,” Eric Gillespie, the lawyer leading the case, told CBC.
The agreement also commits to changing the way protesters are treated by the Toronto police.
One of the claimants, Tommy Taylor, told the Toronto Star the settlement felt “surreal” after 10 years of legal negotiations.
Thousands protested when the G20 Economic Summit was held in Toronto in June of 2010. While most protesters were peaceful, at least four police cars were set on fire and police arrested hundreds of people.
At the time, Ontario Province Premier Dalton McGuinty admitted under questioning his government secretly gave police more authority to in the fortified zone where the summit was held, guarding a security fence around the perimeter that led to a “police vacuum,” investigators said.
Ninety-seven officers and 39 arrestees were injured, and at least 40 shops were vandalized, causing $500,000 worth of damage. Several officers were accused of excessive force and assault of protesters.
Lawsuit plaintiffs, led by Sherry Good, a 51-year-old office administrator, filed suit in 2010, but the courts only approved class-action status in 2016.
“I’m just an ordinary person. I’m not an organizer, I’m not an activist,” Good said in 2010. “I just feel that what happened to me and to hundreds of others was very wrong.”
Good and 250 others were netted by police in a technique known as “kettling” when they were encircled by a wall of police officers. Good and others were held in the rain for four hours with no access to food or toilets, the lawsuit alleged.