A couple of days after the G20 summit ended in Toronto, a story surfaced through journalist Amy Miller about female prisoners (arrested while peacefully protesting) being strip searched in the presence of male cops. We reported it here as did several other media outlets. Now, we can put at least two faces to the story: those of Maryse and Jacynthe Poisson.
The two 21-year-old students, twin sisters in fact, who also work with childred and marginalized people respectively, told La Presse how they were arrested while they slept in a gymnasium at the University of Toronto on the Sunday morning along with 200 other women. Apparently they had made the mistake of booking their transport to Toronto on a bus organized by the CLAC, something which is not a crime under any definition.
While in custody, they were strip-searched twice, one time with the door open, not given enough food and had their shoes, bras and Jacynthe’s glasses taken from them, none of which were returned upon their release almost 60 hours later. The Toronto Police also refused to return their IDs. At the end of the ordeal, after forcing the sisters to sign a document, a police officer, presumably either ignorant of what was going on or just on some sort of absurd adrenaline rush quipped: “next time, commit your crimes in Quebec!”
Just what crimes was he referring to? Protesting the G20? Can’t be that, that is every citizen’s right in a free democracy. Maybe he was referring to the crimes of depriving people of their human rights and sexual abuse (what else would you call an unwarranted strip-search). If so, he should have addressed his comments to the officers responsible for what happened to the sisters and not the protesters themselves.
This story, while a particularly appalling example of police oppression, is in no way an isolated incident. With countless stories of illegal arrest and detainment circulating and politicians and police officials acting like they did nothing wrong, it can’t be stressed enough that if you have a complaint related to G20 policing or know someone who does, this is the last day to file it. You can find out how to do so here: