John Booth was woken at 4 am this morning to find police pointing a gun in his face. He was handcuffed and brought outside. Thirty minutes later police apologize to him. Booth is the upstairs neighbour of some G20 protesters, but he lives in a separate unit with his wife and six month old child.
“You hear all this stuff in the news about this one billion dollars' worth of security which is supposed to protect the public - well I am a great example of an innocent by-stander who has been violated despite this very claim. And this is allegedly our tax payers dollars at work“ Booth told the Toronto Media Co-op. “The police didn't actually figure out that there are two apartments and that we are completely separate from downstairs”
Booth explained what happened to him in a written complaint which he has submitted to police.
“I was awoken to four police officers in my bedroom ... the officer in charge ... was pointing a handgun at me and asked me my name and who else was in the house,” he wrote. “They repeatedly said they had a search warrant and arrest warrant for me. At no point did they produce this warrant to prove my name was on it and I suspect they were lying. “
“They woke up my wife and child upstairs while searching our apartment. They repeatedly asked me my connection to the people living in the downstairs apartment and I explained we are simply tenants living in the same building but our connection does not go further than that”
“After searching the entire premises, they decided it was appropriate to handcuff me and charge me with 'conspiracy to commit mischief' - they did not explain why I was being charged” read the complaint. “I sat in front of my house, tightly bound in handcuffs for 30 minutes, while the 8-10 officers discussed and awaited the paddy wagon. Then after discussion, they took me aside, apologized and uncuffed me, stating I was mistakenly arrested.”
Asked how he felt about the police complaint system Booth explained that “you would like to think that in our democratic society one can hold the powers-that-be to account in a situation like the one we were in. But I am pretty cynical when it comes to the police that there is going to be any meaningful accountability
Police not only entered Booths apartment, but also the apartment of his downstairs neighbours, who were providing billeting for several activists from out of town.
“Police refused to show the warrant” said Niki Thorne who lives in the downstairs apartment. "They were kicking people out of bed, kicking people awake".
Four people from the downstairs apartment were put in handcuffs. Three of these people were eventually released but a fourth was taken away in a paddy wagon.