Your Options for Taking Post-G20 Legal Action: Resources and Videos

Thank you to everyone who attended the Public Info Session on post-G20 Legal Options held on August 8th. We were, as always, inspired by your energy and commitment! For those of you who weren't able to attend, or who missed some of the information, we've posted video links to the different presentations so that you can get some of the basics on bringing a human rights complaint, about the class action that's been launched, about bringing a small claims civil suits against the cops, and about the police complaints process. A short write-up on bringing criminal charges against the police, known in legalese as a private prosecution, is now available here. Please remember that this is all offered as legal information only - this is NOT legal advice and is not tailored to your individual situation. A handy summary of legal strategies is available as a PDF.

Read more for all the details and links...

Video links (and see our Resources and Links sections for further info on some of these topics):

Human Rights Part 1 of 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPzALLar658
Human Rights Part 2 of 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ARiMs4x3Oo
A guide to human rights and the G20 is available as a PDF.

Class Action Part 1 of 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUV9Z6kBUeg
Class Action Part 2 of 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8PkhmakYFg
Class Action Part 3 of 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2QU88tjndM
Join or get more info on the G20 class action here: http://www.g20classaction.ca/

Suing the Police in Small Claims Court Part 1 of 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCXyINOtKEY
Suing the Police in Small Claims Court Part 2 of 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vcSR7rPO5A
Suing the Police in Small Claims Court Part 3 of 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCQQsj2_2SY

Police Complaints Part 1 of 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxKVce_Fzgg
Police Complaints Part 2 of 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0aWnkeKx2A

Other follow-up:

If you have outstanding criminal charges, the 247 committee has been struck to offer you logistical support, on August 23rd and beyond. For the 23rd they are working to organize billeting, rides, media and general support (food, outreach, and resource referrals). Their email address is 247.g20@gmail.com. The MDC's Summit Legal Support Project team will also be there on the 23rd, so please stop by and update us on your situation and contact info so that we're able to continue to legal support and referrals. Many of us will be wearing the orange Legal Observer hats so that we're recognizable.

If you're from Quebec, and you haven't done so already, you may wish to get in touch with our friends at the CLAC, who are working hard to organize and support political and legal action in Quebec around the G20. Their website address is http://www.clac2010.net/

Finally, if you're in need or in want of some psychosocial support, please contact the peer to peer support for activists collective at peertopeersupportforactivists@gmail.com, who will find someone for you to talk to. A counselling and trauma resource guide prepared by Harmony Counselling and Coaching, which includes the names and contact information for people who can assist in locating the support you need is attached as a PDF.

As for the MDC's Summit Legal Support Project, we’re continuing to work to provide legal support to those affected by the G20. In particularly, if you’re interested in workshops around small claims actions against the police, in a criminal defence self-representation workshop, or anything of this nature, please be in touch.

Finally, here is a "to-do list" for anyone who may have grounds for a lawsuit or a complaint, or who witnessed a potential complaint, and who has not yet consulted with a lawyer about it:

1) Write down everything that you remember about what happened, and when and where it happened, while it is still fresh in your mind.

- These notes should be made on your own, based on your own memory. Have support of friends or the psycho-social support team (peertopeersupportforactivists@gmail.com) nearby as this process could be triggering.
- Date the document and on the top of each page write “Confidential: for my lawyers eyes only”. This may help to keep the information confidential between you and your lawyer.
- For most people, it's easiest to go chronologically. Be as precise as possible regarding dates, times, places, etc.
- Write down the names and contact information for any witnesses you know of.
- Write down any details you have about the police officer(s) involved – badge number (or the absence of any visible badge number), helmet number, name, police force, description of uniform, and any other identifying information – and what the officer(s) did.
- Be sure to keep copies of any video/audio/photo evidence with dates, times and locations. Again, mark it as “for my lawyers eyes only” if it is footage that you don't want made public.
- If possible, include the impact the events had on you. If you are injured or traumatized, this is important to document, along with medical records, counselling appointments, time off from work, etc.
- Keep at least one hard copy only in a safe place to show only to your legal counsel. DO NOT send us details of your case, of your actions or other's actions, and DO NOT send your personal documentation to us.

2) Public Testimonials

- You might want to write or speak publicly about your experiences, but it is important if you do to be more general than when you’re documenting the events for your lawyer (as described above) because anything you say in public can be used in court later. And lawyers for the other side will check to see if you’ve been consistent in all your descriptions.
- Also remember that your statements can be used in regards to other people’s legal claims, so keep that in mind when describing events where other people were involved as well.

3) If you were physically injured or traumatized by what happened to you, or feel unsure about the effects of any trauma you might have experienced:
- see a doctor right away if you haven’t yet;
- take photographs or videos of any visible injuries; and
- write down a list and description of the physical and mental injuries you sustained.

4) Keep a record of all out-of-pocket costs, no matter how trivial (e.g., taxi fare, TTC fare, or vehicle mileage for getting home from the detention centre, getting to or from court, or getting to or from a doctor’s or lawyer’s office; pain medication or wound dressings; uninsured therapy costs, lawyers’ fees, etc.). Keep all receipts.

5) Write down a detailed list of all property that was lost or damaged (clothing, bicycles, backpacks, personal belongings, etc.).

6) Keep track of any employment or other income you have lost as a result of being wrongly detained or as a result of your physical or mental injuries arising from the incident.

7) If you would like to be contacted in the future concerning possible legal options, email your contact information to MDC at lawunionMDC (at) gmail.com