Earlier during this week one of Toronto’s most prolific professional protesters got into trouble with the police. He was stopped while allegedly running a red light on his bike- when asked for his identification he responded saying “who are you!”. This, of course, didn’t work out very well- moments later he was in handcuffs. His name is Davin Ouilet (a.k.a. Davyn Calfchild) and he’s a well known cop baiter who often gets racist towards the police.
In Ouilet’s version of the story, the police threatened to kill him and his family if he was ever seen protesting in front of the 14 Division police station- this may or may not be true. Davin has told some tall tales in the past, and has already made conflicting statements about having been beaten that day- later admitting that he wasn’t.
A rally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. And, despite the activist community’s outspokenness against racism, many of Ontario’s biggest activist stars showed-up in solidarity. It didn’t take more than a few minutes before things got ugly. There were clashes with the police, a few hundred drivers were inconvenienced (by a group of 20-30 people) and one unfortunate person had their windshield smashed.
When the protesters arrived at Toronto Police Service headquarters there were about 15-20 cops there to protect the building. About half an hour into the show, indigenous protester Gary Wassaykeesic decided to climb on top of a monument and start waving his flag. He was surrounded by cops a few moments later and asked to come down. He ignored them and stayed up until the cops climbed up and pulled him down. Meanwhile, people in the crowd began yelling at and abusing the police.
Wassaykeesic is currently on bail for mischief and breaking & entering at the Swamp Line 9 protest. One would think that someone who’s on bail would be arrested at this point- but, unfortunately, this was not the case. Perhaps the cops didn’t have the right intelligence, or perhaps they were afraid of starting a riot. It’s hard to tell but, there were less than 30 protesters at the time. Either way if they were scared of this crowd, or if they didn’t have the right information- we should all be concerned about the current state of the Toronto Police Service.
Something unusual happened when the protesters began marching down the street. At most protests the bike cops will follow, help guide traffic, and protect the general public- but, yesterday, they didn’t. Instead, they only had one unmarked vehicle that stayed well behind the rabble.
Considering the people who made up the crowd, this was quite puzzling. Let’s have a quick look at some of the more prominent people who attended:
Gary Wassaykeesic: (Swamp Line 9)
As mentioned, Gary is currently on bail for his activities at Swamp Line 9. He’s spent much of his life in jail/prison, and unabashedly exclaims he’s happy to go back.
Patricia “Trish” Mills: (Toronto Media Co-Op, Swamp Line 9)
Trish mills is currently on bail for her part in the Swamp Line 9 protest. A couple weeks later she was part of a disruption in a courtroom and was charged with another crime. Mills was removed from another courtroom last week after being caught illegally taping court proceedings.
Sigrid Kneve: (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Swamp Line 9)
Kneve was arrested for mischief at Swamp Line 9 and is currently on bail. She’s a member of the Ontario Coalition Against poverty- the organization that brought Toronto the Queen’s Park Riot.
Mike Roy, Bailey Lamon & Daniel Beaudoin: (Ontario Common Front)
These three had their house raided by police at the end of June and were charged with vandalism and possession of drugs. They later came to public attention after being featured on Ezra Levant’s show on Sun News as Swamp Line “know nothings”. All three are currently out on bail.
Sayed Hussan: (No One Is Illegal, Ontario Common Front, Swamp Line 9)
Hussan is the leader of the Toronto chapter of No One Is Illegal- likely the most pro-violence left activist organisation in Canada. He was arrested during the G20, but was let off after a plea bargain that saw a number of anarchists sentenced to prison.
Dave Vasey: (Occupy Toronto, Ontario Common Front, Swamp Line 9)
Vasey was the leader of Occupy Toronto, worked on the Swamp Line 9 occupation, and a member of the Union led Ontario Common Front. He was the first person arrested during the G20 when he was caught examining weaknesses in the fence.
When a crowd like this gathers for a militant rally, one would think that the police would be there to protect the public. But, in this case, they weren’t- and members of the public were subsequently attacked.
As the small crowd marched down busy streets and blocked intersections they became increasingly more hostile towards people in their cars. When a jeep was stuck in the middle of the intersection at College & Yonge and tried to move out, the protesters came up to the driver and began yelling out abuse. Wassaykeesic came up to him, lightly hit the top of the jeep’s roof, and told the driver he was going to get the police. The driver looked a bit scared.
As they continued south on Yonge street the protesters tried to block both sides of the road, but there weren’t enough of them to accomplish that. Then, as they blocked the intersection of Yonge & Dundas, a couple more cars were stuck in the middle. The protesters then attacked the drivers, one who tried to slowly drive through was attacked when Dee Shanger of Occupy Toronto hit the side window with his palm. The driver stopped, Your Humble Narrator got his business card. He said he was astounded there were no police present.
The crowd then marched to the intersection of Dundas & University where they repeated their performance- intimidating three different cars this time. One of the drivers tried to slowly move forward- she was rewarded for this by having her front windshield smashed.
The unmarked police car was about 200 feet away from the crowd at the time- and, despite the fact that motorists were being visibly intimidated, they just sat in their car and did nothing. After the window was smashed, I went up to the unmarked car and told the police they need to go protect the driver. It took repeating myself three times before he actually listened and took action. Meanwhile, there’s a woman inside of their car half scared to death. A couple minutes later a marked police car arrived, and an arrest was made.
The rabble next marched a couple blocks West towards the 52 Division police station- still without police escort. When they arrived there they were met by a group of cops who setup their bikes to protect the station. The protesters gathered, yelled insults at the cops, and waved around doughnuts on fishing strings. Many tried to argue their way inside of the station, but the police were having none of it. Like they did at headquarters, the cops did a great job of protecting their own building.
About an hour later 22 remaining protesters headed off West on Dundas. The bike cops stayed at 52 division and, despite what had just happened, there were no police officers assigned to keep the peace. The people of Toronto were left to fend for their own against a hostile and angry rabble of miscreants.
Drivers who got too close were still subjected to abuse from the crowd. Eventually, as they arrived at the spot where Sammy Yatim was shot there was a very long line of traffic, including 5 streetcars, stuck behind them. Several bystanders spoke out in disgust that such a small crowd could be allowed to interrupt the city. Eventually, the protesters let the line of streetcars go by- one spoke to Your Humble Narrator and explained this was evidence of their benevolent behaviour. Hardly.
When the protesters arrived at the 14 Division police station they were met by a group of bike cops who were setup to protect the building. Once again, the rabble began yelling abuse at the cops and waving around doughnuts. The crowd (now about 18 people) blocked the whole street and the police let them do as they wish.
It became clear at this moment that the only reason for the police presence yesterday was to protect police stations from the protesters- the general public were left to fend for themselves. Why was this allowed to happen?
Speaking privately, a number of cops have stated that the morale of the the Toronto Police Service is approaching an all time low. Policing has become politicised since the G20 and front line cops are getting little to no support. Officers are now afraid to do anything to stop the protesters out of fear that they could be subjected to disciplinary actions.
On Sunday the police were instructed by their superiors to stay in the background and to be out of site as much as possible. Most of the cops who were assigned to the protest know very well that there were dangerous people present, and weren’t surprised that the rabble ended up getting violent. But, they were handcuffed by the political policing of their superiors (and, presumably, the politicians behind them).
As things stand today, we need to understand that (in their current state) there is nothing that cops on the streets can do to protect the people of Toronto from this threat. We live in an age of political policing- certain groups of people are allowed to do whatever they damn well please. Average, law abiding, residents of Toronto are left with little to no protection.
It appears that what happened in Caledonia has now come to Toronto. It’s time for ordinary citizens to stand up against this madness and say enough is enough! The Pan-Am games will be coming to Toronto soon – if this behaviour is allowed to continue to escalate – 2015 could make the G20 look peaceful. Police Chief Bill Blair has some explaining to do.
Police media liasons were not available for comment today, a follow-up story will be written once they have been contacted. Until then, here’s the video of Sunday’s mayhem: