[Hpn] Fwd: Media reports of OCAP arrests
Mon, 24 Jul 2000 09:58:52 -0700 (PDT)
Here is a further update on the OCAP arrests. Corrections and words in
parentheses are mine.
> Here are reports from the Toronto Star and the
> Canadian Press July 22 and 23 about the arrests
> of OCAP members on July 21, 2000.
> Added below are accounts of John Clarke's comments
> when he was released from Toronto's Don Jail on
> July 22, 8:15 pm, by two OCAP supporters.
> The details in these media reports are not 100% accurate,
> but they are close enough that I will not take the
> time to make corrections.
> OCAP Allies are holding a fundraiser for OCAP
> at Club 360 at 328 Queen St. on the evening of
> Saturday, Aug. 26. Contact Professor David McNally
> of York University at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Bob Olsen.........
> Toronto Star
> July 22, 2000
> Clarke arrested over riot at Queen's Park
> Police, protesters were hurt at last month's demo
> By Elvira Cordileone and Harold Levy
> Toronto Star Staff Reporters
> Ontario Coalition Against Poverty head John Clarke and three
> other activists have been charged in connection with a
> homelessness demonstration that turned violent last month at
> Queen's Park.
> The activists, charged yesterday, are in custody pending
> a bail hearing today at Old City Hall.
> In a written statement, Toronto police Chief Julian
> Fantino said the investigation into events at Queen's
> Park June 15 has led to charges against 32 people.
> Most of the arrests took place during the riot.
> ``We are still paying the price for damage caused in the
> riot,'' said Fantino, listing injuries to officers and
> horses, and damage to police equipment and to the
> legislative building.
> News reports at the time said dozens of people -
> demonstrators and police - were injured in the melee.
>``Although I fully support citizens' rights to participate
> in lawful protest, I will not under any circumstance
> tolerate or ignore unlawful activities, especially those
> that jeopardize public safety or officer safety,'' wrote
> ``So far (the police are) picking off activists for sure,
>''said Robert Kellerman, Clarke's lawyer.
> ``But whether they have any evidence is something else.''
> He questioned why Clarke, 46, was arrested riding his
> bicycle when arrangements could have been made for his
> ``I think there is a tendency in this province to try to
> criminalize anyone who organizes the poor and points the
> finger at the homelessness and the suffering that's going
> on,'' he added. ``So the trick is to sort of say these
> people are criminals.''
> At a hastily called news conference at police headquarters
> on College St., Sergeant Jim Muscat conceded the charges
> are geared toward the organizers of the protest. He said
> there may be more arrests.
> Clarke is the only one of the four also charged with
> counselling to commit an indictable offence, a charge that
> carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
> He is also charged with participating in a riot, failing
> to comply with recognizance and failing to comply with a
> probation order.
> In a sworn affidavit used to obtain a search warrant,
> Detective Steve Irwin, (Irwin is an idiot) of the Toronto police
> unit, said he saw the demonstrators circle around Clarke,
> who addressed the crowd through a loudspeaker.
> Irwin said he then saw the demonstrators put masks, bandanas
> and goggles on their faces before they approached the metal
> barricades at the entrance to the Legislature, shouting.
> ``I then observed numerous projectiles being hurled from the
> crowd of demonstrators in the direction of the uniform police
> officers inside the barricades and in front of the Legislature
> building,'' he said.
> Gaetan Heroux, 45, is charged with participating in a riot,
> two counts of assaulting a police officer, obstructing a peace
> officer and failure to comply with a recognizance.
> Stefan Pilipa, 24, is charged with participating in a riot
> and failing to comply with a recognizance.
> Patricia Lilley, 27, is charged with participating in a riot
> and possession of dangerous weapons.
> Sarah Vance, an organizer and member of the coalition,
> expressed no surprise at the arrests.
> ``This is a typical situation. We had made our legal
> arrangements beforehand.
> ``Cops will use whatever means they have to obstruct our
> ability to do our work. I think the police's job is to target
> organizations like OCAP, to make it as difficult as possible
> for public dissent to continue,'' said Vance.
> Megaly San Martin, a worker with Parkdale Community Legal
> Services and one of the activists jailed during the riot,
> said police are using the latest arrests to intimidate
> people who have been supporters of the coalition and others
> who have been critical of police conduct during the
> ``It's a scary thing,'' said San Martin.
> Jul 22, 21:18 EDT
> Anti-poverty activists released on bail
> From Canadian Press
> The head of an anti-poverty group and two other activists
> charged in last month's violent protest at the Ontario
> legislature were released on bail Saturday under strict
> John Clarke, chief organizer for the Ontario Coalition
> Against Poverty, was charged Friday with leading the June
> Clarke, who was arrested Friday while riding his bicycle,
> faces four charges, including participating in a riot and
> counselling to commit an indictable offence. He was ordered
> released on $2,000 bail.
> Gaetan Heroux, 45, and Stefan Pilipa 24, who were also
> charged Friday, were released after the hearing.
> Strict conditions ban the three men from having contact
> with anyone in the anti-poverty group.
> The court also ruled the activists can't take part in any
> demonstrations and must stay away from the legislature.
> A fourth person arrested, Patricia Lilley, 27, was released
> prior to the bail hearing.
> Jeff House, the group's lawyer, said he will fight to
> overturn the bail conditions.
> ''The conditions are unconstitutional,'' said House.
> ''The idea that they can't go to Queen's Park . . . seem to
> me to be overboard to say the least.'
> About 100(200) of Clarke's supporters gathered at the courthouse
> for Saturday's hearing, including union leaders from the York
> University Faculty Association, the Canadian Union of Postal
> Workers and the Canadian Auto Workers.
> After the hearing, Heroux said he would abide by the
> conditions placed on his release but told reporters the
> restrictions would not stop anti-poverty activists from
> fighting homelessness.
> ''If you turn your cameras away from me right now you will
> find thousands of people living and dying on these streets,''
> he said.
> ''And you will not stop us from speaking about that.''
> While Heroux and Pilipa were freed once the necessary
> paperwork was completed, Clarke was kept in jail until
> Saturday evening.
> Const. Steve Irwin said Clarke was transported to a provincial
> jail when it became apparent that his wife was not available
> to sign his surety.
> ''He was available to be released, but he needs to have
> someone sign his surety, and also a justice of the peace has
> to be present,'' Irwin said earlier in the day.
> When Clarke was finally released, he told reporters the
> arrests would not deter activists from continuing their work.
> ''I don't think anybody who is involved in the fight against
> poverty intends to stop fighting against poverty,'' he said.
> ''The three individuals that have been arrested certainly are
> not the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and that
> organziation is going to continue even in the short term.''
> Investigators have now charged 32 people with various crimes
> connected to the bloody demonstration against homelessness.
> The June 15 clash left dozens of demonstrators injured, while
> police said 42 officers were harmed, as well as six police
> horses, one of which was stabbed.
> House said his clients will all plead ''absolutely not
> guilty,'' to the charges.
> ''They were at a protest, the protest became violent, they
> had nothing to do with the violence,'' he said.
> ''My clients did nothing wrong whatsoever.''
> Clarke is to be back in court on Wednesday.
> The fierce hour-long protest erupted when a delegation from
> the crowd of anti-poverty demonstrators, union supporters and
> homeless people demanded to address the legislature, a
> privilege only occasionally granted to foreign heads of state.
> Police have been conducting an investigation into the melee
> and have seized photographs and videotapes collected by media
> organizations that reported on it.
> Several media groups are planning to challenge the police
> warrants in court.
> The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty represents the homeless
> in Toronto and has battled police and politicians almost
> constantly throughout its 11-year history.
> Clarke, who turned to professional activism in 1982 when he
> was laid off from a factory job in London, Ont., has been
> known to all but justify the violence of his group's protests.
> Clarke has also advocated 'squatting,' when homeless people
> break into abandoned buildings and essentially take up residence.
> Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman has called the protest organizer a
> ''thug'' and his followers ''professional bums.''
> Toronto Star July 23, 2000
> Three accused in riot freed on bail
> But angry lawyer calls strict curbs unconstitutional
> By Heather Greenwood, Toronto Star Staff Reporter
> Three men arrested in connection with a riot at Queen's Park were
> ordered released on bail yesterday morning at Old City Hall court.
> But strict conditions imposed on the three members of the Ontario
> Coalition Against Poverty by the court are unconstitutional, their
> lawyer Jeff House says.
> ``I was glad to see that they were all released, but I have some
> deep concerns about the conditions,'' House said. ``They're
> particularly related to police perceptions that OCAP is a
> Almost a dozen conditions imposed by justice of the peace Don
> Begley include that the three men not go within 500 metres of
> Queen's Park, not go within 50 metres of Allan Gardens, not
> participate in protests, demonstrations or marches, and stay away
> from members of OCAP and each other.
> House told the court he intends to take the issue to a higher
> court within the next two weeks.
> OCAP head John Clarke, 46, was arrested Friday as he rode his
> bicycle in Toronto. He was charged with counselling to commit an
> indictable offence, participating in a riot, failing to comply
> with a recognizance and failing to comply with a probation order.
> Also arrested were three OCAP activists.
> Gaetan Héroux, 45, is charged with participating in a riot, two
> counts of assaulting a police officer, obstructing a peace officer
> and failure to comply with a recognizance.
> Stefan Pilipa, 24, is charged with participating in a riot and
> failing to comply with a recognizance.
> Patricia Lilley, 27, is charged with participating in a riot and
> possession of dangerous weapons. Lilley was released Friday, but
> Clarke, Pilipa and Héroux were held in jail overnight.
> Before noon yesterday, both Pilipa and Héroux were released on
> $5,000 bail each, to a small applauding crowd outside the courthouse.
> The two spoke separately to reporters - to avoid breaching their
> conditions - pledging their commitment to the fight against poverty.
> They then headed off in different directions.
> But in a ``dirty trick,'' Clarke was sent back to jail despite his
> wife, Deborah Phelps, arriving alongside sureties for his
> co-accused yesterday morning to pay his $2,000 bail, House said.
> More than eight hours later, a weary-looking Clarke was released.
> ``An obstacle has been placed in our way, but we'll be challenging
> that,'' he said, referring to the bail conditions. ``I was in jail
> for less than two days; if my spirit is broken on that basis then
> I might as well give up.
> ``We have to pay some attention in the next short period of time
> to addressing these conditions and getting them removed,'' he
> continued, ``and then we'll move on with what we need to do.''
> Crown Attorney Vincent Paris told the court that nine police horses
> were attacked, six were stabbed or injured and two officers were
> physically assaulted by Héroux as protesters acted under the
> guidance of the three men.
> Paint found at Pilipa's house and on a shirt owned by Héroux after
> their arrests are ``consistent with that thrown at the riot,''
> Paris added.
> But House said the three men will plead not guilty to the charges.
> ``They were at a protest and the protest became violent,'' House
> said. ``The fact that someone has paint on his shirt and the fact
> that the colour is the same as that at a demonstration, what does
> that prove? Nothing,'' House said.
> About 150(200) people gathered at the courthouse yesterday, chanting
> solidarity songs, condemning police action during the riot and
> holding signs and banners that read ``Hands off OCAP organizers''
> and ``Homelessness is a national disaster.''
> Scores of police officers on bicycles, motorcycles, horses, in
> cruisers and on foot were also on hand in anticipation of a repeat
> of the June 15 riot.
> But Toronto police Sergeant Jim Muscat said that yesterday's
> protest was peaceful and only one arrest was made.
> ``The Toronto Police Service respect the right of any particular
> group to demonstrate, but at the same time there is an onus and
> responsibility on the part of the demonstrators,'' he said. ``We
> ask that demonstrations be conducted in a peaceful manner.''
> To date, more than 30 people have been arrested in connection
> with the riot.
> OCAP organizers say a fundraising benefit for members injured in
> the riot is planned at Club 360 at 328 Queen St. on Aug. 26.
>Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 22:49:27 -0400
>From: email@example.com (Paul Kellogg)
>Subject: John Clarke's release
>You asked me to e-mail you what I heard when John Clarke was
>released (July 22, 8:15 pm). Here's a short account.
>The situation, as you know, was absurd. One of the conditions
>of his release was that he not associate with members of OCAP.
>So the OCAP people at the Don Jail could not actually go up and
>greet him when he was eleased.
>As someone who is not an OCAP member, I was able to be present
>when he talked to the press. I did not have a tape recorder.
>The following is as I remember it.
>He was asked how his time in jail had affected his commitment
>to fight against poverty.
>He replied that a short period in jail was nothing compared to
>the battles faced by the poor in Ontario. He also said that in
>jail, he discovered many people who supported OCAP. Terrible
>overcrowding and bad conditions made many of the inmates very
>sympathetic to OCAP. There were, he said, even a few sympathetic
>A reporter asked him about the conditions of his arrest, and
>whether that angered him. (He was not given the opportunity to
>turn himself in, but was stopped and arrested while cycling over
>the Bloor Viaduct).
>He replied that his personal situation was not the point. The
>point was, the ongoing attempt by the police to criminalize the
>fight against poverty, to intimidate and harass activists, to
>send out a message to those who wanted to stand up and fight.
>Many reporters tried to press him on what affect his bail
>conditions would have on the work of OCAP. Clarke said that OCAP
>lawyers were be pursuing the matter in the court, but regardless
>of the legal intimidation, the fight against poverty would
>continue, and that OCAP would continue to be a part of that fight.
>There were a few other small points raised, but the paragraphs
>above, I think capture, the key parts of what Clarke said.
>Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 22:53:00 -0400
>From: Bill Fitzpatrick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>CC: CLC_LO@listbot.com, email@example.com, LABOR-L@YorkU.CA,
>firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, YORKPIRG@YORKU.CA
>Subject: john clarke released - a brief account of his imprisonment
>i spoke with john as we drove back to his home. he spoke of his
>treatment in the don jail and the support that he received from
>some of the guards. he spoke of the horrendous conditions in the
>don in which 3 people were confined to a cell, 2 on bunks and one
>on a floor board. the prisoners were locked down for 12 hours
>when first detained at the don jail he was held with a group of
>52 prisoners. they held, what sounded like, a large group
>discussion with john explaining why he was incarcerated and other
>prisoners conveying why they were incarcerated and the conditions
>they are forced to endure within the don jail. the prisoners were
>supportive of the efforts of ocap and cheered john when he parted.
>they asked him not to forget them and the accounts that they
>conveyed to him about the conditions within the jail.
>it is important to note that john's extended incarceration was very
>uncommon and speaks to the pettiness of the police and the judicial
>system in their belief that this would somehow deter or intimidate
>him. john should have been granted bail and released yesterday.
>after today's bail hearing a judge, apparently 'forgot' to sign his
>release papers and as a result john was transferred back to the don
>to be held until they could be signed. ocap's legal advisors
>indicated that usually people are released (with bail as small as
>$2000)shortly after their bail hearing and the papers are then
>signed on monday. generally people are not held in custody. the
>fact that john was held appears to be purely political.
>ocap will be meeting monday at 6pm in the basement of the parkdale
>library. unfortunately, at this point, john, gaetan, stefan and pj
>will not be able to attend due to the conditions of their bail but
>i encourage the rest of us to attend.
> Bob Olsen, Toronto firstname.lastname@example.org
> Freedom is participation in power
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