By Ava Baccari Now Magazine April 14, 2011
On trial for his actions during the G20 summit last June, Ryan Rainville
told an Old City Hall courtroom Tuesday that he hadn’t originally intended
to inflict damage on property during the fateful march Saturday, June 26.
Rainville, who has roots in the Saskatchewan’s Sakimay Nation but lives in
Waterloo, was one of the eight people included on the infamous most wanted
list Toronto Police released following the G20 and is facing charges of
obstructing a peace officer and assault.
A self-described anarchist, Rainville was one of only six people who were
spent three months at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton following
his arrest in August and is alleged to be part of the group of protestors
who dressed in black clothing and employed Black Bloc tactics during the
riots that erupted at the summit, smashing windows and attacking police
Dressed in a collared shirt and sporting a grown-out Mohawk hairstyle,
Rainville testified that on the Saturday in question he saw a man lunge on
the windshield of a police car parked near Queen and Spadina. Rainville
approached the vehicle, he said, and made two strikes against the
passenger’s side of the windshield with a flagpole he had been handed when
he joined the march at Dundas and University.
Speaking to a courtroom packed with supporters who made several outbursts
throughout the proceedings, Rainville said that when he noticed the bright
yellow jacket of the officer inside the car he pulled away from the
vehicle and slipped back into the sea of protestors continuing east
towards Bay Street. He claimed that if he had known there was someone
inside the car he wouldn’t have attacked it, explaining that he ensured
two cruisers he attacked later in the day were empty.
As Rainville moved with the crowd heading south on Bay, he said he picked
up a hammer that was lodged in a broken window at the BMO Bank of Montreal
on King and plunged it into the emergency lights and rear window of police
vehicle parked at the intersection. He then says he smashed the windshield
of an unmarked police car nearby.
As his mother watched intently from the front row of the courtroom,
occasionally locking eyes with her son in the witness stand, the
soft-spoken Rainville told the court that he’s not opposed to acts of
vandalism as a form of protest “as long as no harm is done to human or
Crown Attorney Elizabeth Nadeau passed photos around the courtroom of a
man dressed in grey track pants, with a black bag slung over his back and
a red flag draping his shoulders, hovering near a police vehicle. The same
man is pictured smashing the rear window of another cruiser parked near
King and Bay streets.
Det. William McGarry, part of the G20 Investigative Unit, identified the
man as Rainville, using separate photos of him taken at events during the
week leading up the G20.
McGarry played video footage showing attacks made on three separate police
vehicles with the man identified as Rainville engaging in destruction at
each scene. In most of the photos, the man conceals his face with a black
Staff Sgt. Graham Queen, the officer in the first vehicle Rainville
allegedly attacked at Queen and Spadina, testified that he was trailing
the largely peaceful throng of 10, 000 protestors when he noticed the flow
of the crowd heading west along Queen Street sharply turning back. When he
jumped into his squad car to pull back and create more space for the
fast-approaching protestors, he said three men dressed in black, their
faces covered, swarmed the parked vehicle.
One pounced on the windshield, Queen testified, causing it to partially
collapse, as the officer slunk low in his seat. Shards of shattered glass
rained down as two men, one of them allegedly Rainville, smashed the side
windows with wooden poles. Queen says he was struck on the head as another
man hollowed out the driver’s side window.
A member of the Toronto police force for 23 years, Queen said the
experience was the “most frightened I’ve ever been as a police officer.
There was nowhere for me to go. I felt trapped.”
He put out a distress call and within minutes, officers on foot patrol
rushed to the vehicle, and one reached in to pull Queen out of the smashed
car. He recalled the crowd quickly drawing near and chanting “Who’s
streets? Our streets!” while hurling rocks, apples, and what he believed
to be urine at the baton-wielding officers.
The trial resumes May 31.
Apr 14, 2011 at 12:07 AM