Here's proof that the police never seized a 9 mm from protesters on April 26
Among the otherwise-familiar laundry list of weapons seized from protesters at the April 26th anti-G8 protest - things like billiard balls, bricks, gas masks and Molotov cocktails - one item stood out like... well, a handgun.
At a press conference the next day, police claimed to have taken a 9 mm pistol from a protester near Peel metro, about two blocks from the actual march. Apparently, the protester in question was particularly frustrated: He fired off two or three shots from the metro station before being apprehended by police, along with two others nearby.
Without a single exception, every media outlet in the city took what police spokesperson André Durocher said at face value. "The sheer quantity of weapons shows our actions were not only justified, but necessary to avoid a threat to the public," Durocher said at the time.
La Presse, Le Devoir and the Gazette linked the gun to the anti-globalization protest. "The only protester still detained was a man arrested in Dorchester Square with a 9-millimetre pistol, allegedly used to fire shots in nearby Peel métro station earlier that evening," wrote the Gazette the following day.
However, the pistol in question was never displayed to journalists for good reason: It didn't exist. According to court documents obtained by Hour, the firearm seized that day was actually a .38-calibre revolver.
But there's more: The man arrested for possession of the weapon, Tyson Brent Standford, is well known to police because of his gang, not antiglobalization, ties. According to the Crown prosecutor in the case, a police anti-gang squad was following Standford the day he was arrested. And despite Durocher's claims to the contrary, Standford's own lawyer says his client has nothing to do with any protest.
"He wasn't implicated in any demonstration," lawyer Patrick Goulet told Hour.
Standford wasn't one of the 25 people arrested, ticketed and promptly released for threatening public security that day. Rather, he and two others were arrested separately and is still sitting in the Bordeaux jail awaiting trial. The two others arrested along with Standford were never charged.
For his part, Durocher says he wouldn't comment on these new revelations until he could substantiate them for himself. He did, however, back away slightly from the earlier reports that it was indeed a protester in possession of the gun.
"I didn't say he was a protester, I said he was arrested near the protest," Durocher said.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," says anti-police brutality activist Yves Manseau, when told of Standford's case. "The police are adolescents with guns, who can very easily manipulate public opinion. They say things, don't give proof, and the media doesn't investigate it. Even if it is proven wrong, it won't change public opinion."
Le Collectif Opposé à la Brutalité Policière (COBP) member said much the same: "This doesn't surprise me in the least."
Another police practice, largely ignored by the newspapers the following days, was captured on video on the evening of April 26. As police loaded up the 25 detainees into buses, they rummaged through several garbage cans in search of evidence. On one tape, a police officer dumps the contents of a garbage can onto the ground and sifts through the trash, placing certain items in an evidence pile nearby.
Videographer Eric Squire says that while he didn't see everything the police were sifting out, he is sure they removed things like water bottles as evidence.
According to police, this is a regular practice following demonstrations, a way of gathering evidence that would otherwise be thrown out with whatever else is in the trash.
Squire, however, sees it differently.
They are looking for evidence, but at the same time there will be all kinds of things like bottles that have nothing to do with the protest," Squire says. "There is no conclusive link between what's in the garbage and the protesters."
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