Thursday, July 1, 2010

‘Weapons’ seized in G20 arrests not what they seem

Go to The Globe and Mail

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair during a Tuesday press conference in the lobby of police headquarters at 40 College St. in Toronto.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair during a Tuesday press conference in the lobby of police headquarters at 40 College St. in Toronto.
Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

by Jill Mahoney

Toronto Police staged a display of weaponry to demonstrate "the extent of the criminal conspiracy" among hard-line G20 protesters, but several of the items had nothing to do with the summit.

Facing criticism for their tactics, police invited journalists on Tuesday to view a range of weapons, from a machete and baseball bat to bear spray and crowbars.

Chief Bill Blair, who told reporters the items were evidence of the protesters' intent, singled out arrows covered in sports socks, which he said were designed to be dipped in a flammable liquid and set ablaze.

Police said arrows with cloth on the end were intended to be set on fire.
Police said arrows with cloth on the end were intended to be set on fire.
Jill Mahoney/The Globe and Mail

However, the arrows belong to Brian Barrett, a 25-year-old landscaper who was heading to a role-playing fantasy game when he was stopped at Union Station on Saturday morning. Police took his jousting gear but let Mr. Barrett go, saying it was a case of bad timing.

In addition to the arrows – which Mr. Barrett made safe for live-action role playing by cutting off the pointy ends and attaching a bit of pool noodle covered in socks – police displayed his metal body armour, foam shields and several clubs made of plastic tubing covered with foam and fabric.

Toronto Police display some of the items they say were seized during G20 summit protests over the weekend. 
Toronto Police display some of the items they say were seized during G20 summit protests over the weekend.
Jill Mahoney/The Globe and Mail

Mr. Barrett said he was "appalled" at the placement of his chain-mail beneath a machete. He regularly takes public transit from his Whitby, Ont., home to Centennial Park to play the game, called Amtgard, while wearing the 85-pound armour and is worried people will think: "Oh my God, that's one of the terrorists from G20."

Police also displayed a crossbow and chainsaw seized in an incident on Friday that they said had no ties to the summit. When asked, Chief Blair acknowledged they were unrelated, but said "everything else" had been confiscated from demonstrators.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/weapons-seized-in-g20-arrests-put-on-display/article1622761/

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