My Assault By Occupy Toronto’s Black Bloc (And the Toronto police’s slow response…)

Self-portrait after my assault...

Self-portrait after my assault…

It was about 11:30pm on June 23rd, shortly after I had finished filming my video of the seagulls at Fort York. I was walking through Bellevue Square beside Toronto’s Kensington Market when a friend asked me to join a conference call on Skype. My phone was acting strange, so I sat down on the wall beside the children’s playground and tried to get it working. Then, out of nowhere I was charged by a Black Bloc member of Occupy Toronto.

He smashed me over the head with his flagpole- a 5/8″ heavy wooden dowel with a black flag wrapped around it. I fell to the ground and he continued to hit me with it. He screamed out “so we’re anarcho-primitivists are we,” in reference to an article I’d written about the Black Bloc. Then, three of his friends came and joined him, kicking me while I was down on the ground.

If anything, they proved that I used the right language…

After about 2-4 minutes (it was hard for me to tell how long it lasted, I was in shock) they began to run away. Someone came to me and helped me find my glasses. I also found a pair of glasses of one of my assailants. Blood was pouring out of my head and my clothes were covered in it. Someone said they called 911, I did too. As I was walking away, a person who witnessed the attack mentioned that one of the Black Bloc people mentioned something about having a gun.

It took 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and another 10 minutes after when the police came to me. While waiting I went to the terrace of a nearby restaurant and asked them for some napkins to put on my head and stop the bleeding. The ambulance staff were friendly and helpful- they wrapped up my head and cleaned the blood off of my face and arms.

When the police arrived I told them my story, and they took the pair of glasses away. I mentioned to them how I knew who two of the people who attacked me were and would be able to provide them with pictures. I emailed the pictures to them the next day.

Adam (on the left) and Alex (on the right)

Two of my assailants were well-known to me. They were in the group of Black Bloc who attacked me earlier that day at the Casseroles march when Anglican priest Maggie Helwig walked-off consoling them after the attack (she’s a really messed-up priest.) Equally messed-up was how the Toronto Police who came to stop the attack didn’t arrest the people who assaulted me. Perhaps, had they done that, I may not have been assaulted later that evening.

It took about three hours waiting at the hospital before I got to see a doctor. My head had a large gash on it from the flagpole, I had bruises on my thighs, cuts on my arm, and a black eye. The screen for my phone was also smashed- apparently guerilla glass is not immune to being hit with a flagpole. I ended up going home with four staples in my head.

The police came to my house the day after to take pictures of my injuries, and that was the last time they reached out to me. Since then, I’ve been constantly trying to contact Detective Williams of the 14th division, most of the time without a response. I finally reached him two weeks after, he was entirely unhelpful, and left me feeling it would be impossible to get my case solved. He didn’t even have the same information I gave to the officers who came to the ambulance that night.

On July 10th I went to cover the Occupy Toronto/Anarchist rally against the police violence incident with Angela Turvey. I saw Adam at the rally, and went to one of the bike cops there and pointed him out. The officer called Detective Williams’ desk and told them I had identified Adam, Williams’ partner told him that they already knew Adam’s last name, and that they didn’t need to stop him. I also shared my picture of Alex with them and they said they would keep an eye out for him.

On one side I was happy they knew who Adam was, but on the other I was disturbed they didn’t detain him. But, I gave the police the benefit of doubt and didn’t complain. Ten days later I had heard nothing back from the police, so I called again yesterday and asked what was going on.

I was astounded to hear their response- “Detective Williams is on vacation, and you will have to wait until he returns.” I had an intense conversation with the sergeant who was taking calls for the detectives, explaining how it was unacceptable to leave me waiting, not knowing if they would be free again to attack me. I’m still very reluctant to go outside at night.

So, hear I am today, still waiting for a response from the police. I’ve provided them with Alex’s glasses, pictures of Adam & Alex, and an in-person identification of Adam- yet, I have been given no update on what is happening. I’ve been holding off on publishing this article with the hope that justice would be served. But, it appears, that when a detective is on vacation, justice also takes a holiday.

Occupy Toronto’s Black Bloc have crossed the line from simple vandalism to serious assault. The doctor who cared for me that night said that I was lucky my skull wasn’t cracked open- I could have been killed that night. There’s something wrong in Toronto if people can commit a crime like this and be left on the streets without any charges. It is bad enough they didn’t arrest the Black Bloc guys who they watched commit a minor assault on me- but is seriously disheartening to see such inaction for such a serious assault.

One has to ask why they are responding so slow. Was an informant involved, is assault not taken seriously any longer? I want to know the answer…


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