Bait Police Cars on Queen Near Spadina
This is my little story from the G20:
I arrived at Queen's Park around 1pm. Unfortunately it was raining, but most people were in good spirits and there was even free hot food, fruit and juice. We marched, in what resembled a parade, South down University to Queen St and then West until we got to Spadina.
There was a very large police presence the entire time as we walked down this designated route. The protest by this point was very peaceful. I did not witness any nefarious activities by protesters or police. The protesters did not attempt to cross any of the police lines or barriers and the police were all just standing there, maintaining their positions.
When we arrived at Queen and Spadina, they were sending people North on Spadina. They were not letting people go South on Spadina and there was a large police presence maintaining a line at that intersection. I sat and chatted with some friends on Spadina, just North of Queen. We even got a slice of pizza. After a while, the protest seemed to be dispersing. At some point, the police at the intersection of Queen and Spadina moved south, allowing protesters to go a few blocks South on Spadina. There were still a bunch of people standing around, but not a whole lot was going on.
This video shows what the atmosphere was like at the time (note the police car at the end of this video is not the bait car, since this car was sitting West of Spadina and the bait cars were just East of Spadina)
Everyone I had come with had decided to go home, but I heard some commotion around the corner and figured I would go check it out. This commotion had been going on for some time, and it was certainly noticeable, but it didn't sound like anything too crazy was going on. You could hear police sirens and people yelling, but nothing too out of the ordinary for that day. The protesters were always peaceful, but they were constantly yelling various slogans and being loud in general. There were also plenty of police driving around with their sirens on as well. There were still plenty of people around and no one was freaking out, so i knew that this commotion wasn't anything major. But people were talking about police cars getting damaged, so I went over to have a look.
As I approached the crowd of people, I could hear the police siren and see the flashing lights and figured that some police were at the scene already. When I arrived at the crowd, I was surprised to see no police around and I saw two police cars that had been vandalized and had their windows broken out. There was one car on the North side of the street that was damaged, but people were not paying much attention to it. But there was a crowd forming, surrounding the police car on the South side of Queen st. The reason everyone was crowded around this car was because there was a drugged out hippie in the front seat on the police car with blond dreadlocks and red paint on parts of his hair, face and body. I thought it might have been blood at first, but when i looked closely it just looked like paint to me.
I turned on my camera and started filming this first video. This video was shot at 4:47pm.
The drugged out hippie in the front seat was yelling stuff through the speaker, but you couldn't really understand what he was saying. He was also smoking a joint. Pretty much everyone around was just taking pictures. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed. We were all just kind of laughing at this fool in the police car. I figured it was only a matter of time before police arrived to arrest this guy. There had been so many police in the area the entire day, that I figured this guy was pretty stupid for smoking a joint in a cop car and playing with the siren and yelling through the speaker. I thought to myself that he must be on drugs or something. He also wasn't causing any damage to the cars from what I could see. So it was pretty harmless I suppose. All the damage to the cars occurred before I arrived. But as you can see from the video, this was hardly the scene of a violent street riot, the way some television stations spun it.
In this next video i shot, i climbed up on a bit of a ledge to get a better view. I looked both ways, up and down the street, wondering where the heck the police were. This guy was being so loud, I figured that some cop would hear this and come over to check it out. All the people in this video are just peaceful normal people. They all just came to have a look at what was going on and take pictures for their facebook or whatever. There would have been no reason for police to fear this crowd.
This video was shot at 4:53pm.
In this next video people are starting to realize that something's not right here. Police had still not arrived and this car was just sitting here in the middle of the street. There were no cops anywhere that I could see. This is obviously totally bazaar because there were so many police in the downtown core all day, and now there were none. It was the drugged out hippie who was playing with the siren. I remarked to a guy next to me how this guy would even know where the siren button is located in a police car. But then i figured that if you sat in the front seat for long enough, you could probably figure it out.
Someone remarked that the drugged out hippie had been on acid all day, and I replied "that would make sense" given the way he was acting. Before I started shooting this video, the black guy in the white hooded sweatshirt was making fun of the hippie with dreadlocks, claiming that he was only trying to draw attention to himself and "get on MTV" or something like that. I found it pretty funny, because after the drugged out hippie got out of the car, the black guy with the white hooded sweatshirt got in.
An informed protester next to me questioned whether or not these were even real police cars because he said he had been there for around half an hour and police had not arrived. He predicted that footage of these police cars would be on the nightly news and would be used to justify the $1.2 dollars and the whole event. I replied "I believe it man". Another protester was being more vocal and yelling to everyone that they were going to put this on the news and it was a setup. I told the guy next to me "that guy is definitely right". This other informed protester continued to make his case to the crowd that these cars were planted here on purpose for us to destroy. As he was saying this, the black guy in the front seat of the police car tries to start a fire in the passenger seat. The drugged out hippie guy came over and put it out and kicked the black kid out of the car. It looked like the two were about to get into a fight, but they did not.
A girl wrote on the police car (in what looked like washable finger paint) "this car is bait, aka "a prop"". The black guy and the drugged out hippie looked like they made peace with each other.
This video was shot at 4:57
In this last video, it was pretty clear to many people around that this was a setup. You can hear a guy yelling "you're being set up" and calling the police car a "media prop".
This video was shot at 5:03pm
Shortly after I shot this last video clip, I decided to start walking East down Queen St. I had been there for maybe around 20 minutes in total and I got board of watching this drugged out hippie fool around with the cop car. It was obvious by that point that there were not any police coming to arrest this guy or clear their broken cars out of the way. So I did not really see the point in hanging around there any longer. Many of us realized they were bait cars and there was no one really vandalizing it or doing much of anything, and this drugged out hippie guy was starting to get pretty annoying, so I left the scene.
Someone uploaded this video onto youtube. It shows the drugged out hippie guy doing a strip dance on top of the car, which occurred sometime after i left the scene.
In this video that someone posted on youtube, the bait car on the South side of Queen got set on fire.
In this next video, we finally see some police arrive to the scene. They arrest the drugged out hippie guy. The person who uploaded this youtube video said that it was filmed around 6:15pm.
Here is another video of that same car burning. A protester made a funny joke by saying "Why are you guys burning the evidence? Why did you light your own cars on fire?" Even though he said it in a joking manner, he was also obviously convinced that these were bait cars planted there by police, and joked about the very real possibility that the police set their own car on fire.