Black gloves. Raised visor. Moustache and goatee. Wielding baton.
Only this time, it’s not Adam Nobody or National Post photographer Colin O’Connor at the receiving end.
Blogger Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy says she was struck twice by that now infamous baton, swung by a badgeless, nameless officer who left a welt on her right hip.
Pictures, along with a written account and a link to a website titled G20justice.com were emailed to the Star by two readers.
The Star does not have a picture of the officer actually hitting Bettencourt-McCarthy, only with baton held high.
The Star does have a video of that same officer jabbing Nobody with a baton, and pictures of him taking down O’Connor. The officer’s identity has yet to be revealed.
Bettencourt-McCarthy recalled police charging the crowd at Queen’s Park on the afternoon of June 26, “dragging people down and beating individuals and dragging them behind barricades.
“I saw a few officers take down a man next to me . . . and they began beating him while he was in the fetal position on the ground.”
Then, she turned around and “I got hit from behind by an officer. He struck me twice. Then he turned, and I ran.”
The 23-year-old Torontoist blogger made a complaint to the RCMP and got a letter saying it was being looked into. “There hasn’t been a lot of progress in terms of justice,” she said.
In an interview Wednesday morning, Police Chief Bill Blair called the Star’s newly released videos and pictures “exceptionally helpful.”
By the afternoon, the chief said five officers had been identified as a result. Two were previously named by the Star, which ran pictures of them with their name tags on.
At press time, it was unclear whether the officer with the baton was one of the five.
The names will go to the Special Investigations Unit which gets “first crack” at looking into the matter, Blair said.
The independent police watchdog can now decide whether there are grounds for criminal charges.
“I’m quite prepared, and I think it’s going to be demonstrated, to hold my people responsible for their conduct,” said Blair.
In response to Ontario ombudsman André Marin’s biting criticism of the chief for not cooperating in his investigation of the controversial “five-metre law,” Blair said Marin’s mandate was to only look at how the legislation was passed and communicated by Queen’s Park.
Other reviews are currently looking at police conduct during the G20 “and we’re cooperating fully with all of those,” the chief said.
Lawyer Sunil Mathai said he and his client, Adam Nobody, were disappointed to hear Blair did not cooperate with the ombudsman.
“If leadership is picking and choosing which investigations to cooperate with, then there is no accountability coming from the top,” he said.
“It should not take two citizens and the Toronto Star to have to push this investigation forward.”
Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, echoed Blair’s sentiment that officers are duty-bound to report misconduct.
When asked whether he thinks recent events have eroded the public’s confidence in police, he said: “I think that everybody needs to keep in mind that this is a very narrow scope of policing in the city. The G20 was one event. It was a very dynamic and live weekend.
“These are photographs and images of an event but they don’t tell the whole story.”
McCormack said people should wait until a full investigation has been carried out.
For Bettencourt-McCarthy, who is from the U.S., it will be difficult for police to gain back her trust.
“Before the G20 I never had any negative image of the Canadian police,” she said.