Toronto cops who removed their name-tags during the G20 to avoid identification will be docked a day's pay

About 90 cops will be docked a day's pay for illegally removing their nametags during the G20 crackdown in Toronto. Toronto police chief Bill Blair said that the officers removed their badges so that they couldn't be identified. This is part of a general pattern of illegal behavior during the Toronto G20, including arrests for violating a nonexitent law, extended detention in cuffs without adequate heating or toilet facilities, misleading press statements about seized weapons, and arresting a protestor who was blowing soap-bubbles.
Many of the people who confronted police over the tumultuous three-days of protests that closed down Toronto's core said officers were not wearing badge numbers or name tags on their uniforms - allegations that were bolstered by photographs in the media.

"I have a rule in the Toronto Police Service, it's my rule, it's in accordance with the policy of my police services board, that our officers will wear their names displayed on their uniforms," Chief Blair told the committee.

Faced with numerous complaints, the force launched an investigation and pored over 22,000 hours of closed-circuit videotape to identify "approximately 90" officers who were not wearing their name tags, said the Chief.

"Disciplinary processes have been initiated," he said. When asked what kind of punishment would be handed out, Chief Blair said that has yet to be determined "but the discussion, I believe, is the loss of a day's pay." That would amount to about $300 for a first-class constable.

Nearly 100 Toronto officers to be disciplined over G20 summit conduct (via Reddit)

(Image: G8 / G20 Toronto 2010 Riot Police on Yonge St., a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from chrishuggins's photostream)


  1. I have been thinking for some time that police in riot gear should be required to have their badge numbers stenciled large on their chest and backs for later identification. If they don’t dp anything illegal it won’t be an issue, and in general their badge numbers will only be known by their commanding officers.

    1. Some riot cops did have ‘different’ identification than the rest. Some had numbers on their helmets, and large possibly unit/group numbers on their backs. I’m not sure if the helmet number related to their badge number or not (I didn’t get close enough to find out), but even so, those helmets could be switched… And, of course, you couldn’t see them under their helmets anyway, so it wouldn’t always work…

      I wonder how many “I forgot it at home” excuses there will be…

  2. Strange the way the world changes. I doubt this sort of thing would have flown even during the height of the 1970 October Crisis.

    Nowadays, though? It seems to be everywhere.

    ~D. Walker

    1. Don’t you mean:

      “The world WILL be a better place”?

      …and isn’t that a line from a song,
      a song from the dark ages of long ago:

      Personally, I like to address Police Officers respectfully, and using their proper names – which is tough to do, when they are not wearing their name badges, which are, after all, an integral part of their uniforms.

      1. I was speaking from the vantage point of the future, looking back! Where all of the world’s police officers were terrified into showing basic common sense and empathy. All because the ultra-progressive Toronto PD decided to crack down hard on police corruption.

  3. That’s two magnitudes too low. No, that wouldn’t be too much for abusing police powers and, what’s that word they love to use- ah yes, conspiracy to violate civil rights.

  4. It doesn’t seem to go a lot further than lip service… I can imagine more brutal individuals willingly working the day for nothing as long as they can kick a few heads.

    At least it’s not a stonewall job, though… I seem to remember as much here in Melbourne a few years back.

  5. Christ, at least someone has stood up and, to some degree, said “this was wrong”. Granted, docking a day’s pay is a joke, but this has been SOP for the riot police in the UK for as long as I can remember and no-one gives a fuck.

  6. Those chuckleheads should be paraded publicly and displayed as the scofflaws they are. Zero-frickin-tolerance – instead of this wrist slap with a little nudge-nudge-wink-wink doin’ a helluva job crap. We are sick to death of OUR police being used as corporate goons – and equally sick of those cops who relish the role, hide behind their mantle of thuggery and declare war on bubbles and legal expressions of dissent. From a distance the antics of G20 in Toronto were dumbfounding and dismaying to most who watched – for those of us in the city itself it was a disgusting parade of federal misuse and corruption of our local police. A day’s pay. Bullshit. I want to respect the authorities who are in place to keep our civil society safe – it is impossible not to hold them all in contempt for the actions of the few who command them and allow them to abuse their positions of privilege and power. This ain’t over by a long shot. Unfortunately, I predict it will all get much worse before it gets better. Shame on the whole smug mess of those self satisfied bastards.

  7. ‘All those who refused to be identified will be punished… Who were they, again?’

    No one is going to be punished. I saw the cops hanging around a peaceful protest today and when I asked if the G20 had been precedent setting they denied that any violence against peaceful citizens took place. “What planet are you from?” was the question of disbelief from a toronto cop completely believed that nothing wrong happened that weekend.

    Freedom’s over… let’s… party?

  8. Does that include the overtime most of them were probably getting?

    Still, better than we can expect in the States.

  9. could be worse. In the U.S. protests I’ve witnessed, it isn’t uncommon for LEO to wear completely fake, non-referential TLA agency insignia. Especially at the infamous “they pepper sprayed babies” george bush II protest in Portland OR…Totally phony uniforms with ‘phony’ insignia on them…witnessed by many people as originating/transported from the former FBI headquarters ‘hidden’ in a fake bank near Stark St. btw: this location is now (and has been for a while) vacated by the FBI.

    keep on keepin’ on LEO. you got the guns, we got the fucking digicams.

  10. A day’s pay? If I were a dirty cop, I’d gladly hand over a days pay to make my transgressions anonymous. Bill Blair is as corrupt as they come. He is also the president of the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, which of late has taken to lobbying publicly with their support of policy that favours expanded police powers, even though the Chiefs are supposed to be apolitical. The CAPC has accepted donations or gifts from Taser International, and CGI, the company contracted to design and maintain the controversial long gun registry. Naturally, the CAPC went into overdrive in the press when the registry faced cancellation by Parliament this fall, defending it, and their corporate paymasters.

  11. So, am I correct in assuming that due to being falsely arrested, some of these protesters now have a photograph and fingerprint file (which may not have existed before) in the police database?

  12. Why would they want to hide their identities? What about their behavior was so offensive they had to worry they would be tracked down, and retribution exacted against them?

  13. Is it just me, or is it becoming a problem that people don’t want to be held accountable for immoral practices ‘in the workplace’, so to speak?

    1. “But I was just following orders!”

      That’s the motto of way too many crimes of authority. Blame immoral and unjust actions on superiors, deny having free will, et cetera. Not that often higher ups are totally in the wrong, but I find myself less and less able to listen to people try to justify what they do for “work” by taking accountability away from themselves.

  14. Your article states that the officers were docked pay for illegally removing their name tags. The removal of the name tags was a violation of internal protocol – not an illegal act.

  15. This smells to me. In light of similar stories having to do with large groups of police acting illegally, the most LIKELY explanation for what happened is that these cops were ORDERED to do the things they did and, realizing that they would probably be hung out to dry if identified by protesters with cameras, decided to remove their ID. Or their C.O. might even have suggested removing ID “off the record”. Really, what is more likely, 90 rogue cops independently decided, “Were gonna bust some heads and hide our ID to get away with it”, or “We’re screwed if we follow these orders, or fired if we don’t”? There is someone in charge of this that’s not getting the frying they deserve.

  16. Police pulling off their nametags on riot duty has been going on since at least just after Seattle.

    I was at a demonstration in Portland OR when Cheney came to town during Dubya’s first term. The whole Portland PD riot squad came out with name tags off then.

    The police departments know the officers are going out without nametags on the street. All the riot squad gear uses velcro to attach both name tags and badges. Both the nametages and the city badges come off. When there a big mess, nobody can even tell what department the police officers are from…

    …or if the guys in the black stormtrooper outfits even ARE police. Any idiot could buy riot gear and go beat the crap outta protesters at any demonstration. Nobody could stop them.

  17. 22,000 hours of research and investigation
    720 hours of punishment for the uncovered deeds

    A mind-boggling travesty on so many levels.

  18. hooooolllllddd up here…I can make 300 C-bucks a day beating up hippies?!

    That’s like..two grandes at Starbucks! Sign me up!

  19. Isn’t there one single cop on that force who stood there that day and thought; “Jeez, this isn’t what I signed on for.”? I would love to see one of them stand up for justice and demand that those on the force who overstepped their authority be held publicly and professionally accountable. Quaint idea, I know, but I can’t believe that every single cop there was in full support of the terrible decisions that were being made.

    1. And yet they let it happen.

      The thugs will get away with tarring all police officers with the thug brush until the 99.9% of decent officers of the law see them as criminals rather than as “brother officers”.

      Any decent police officer who witnesses a criminal assault by anyone, police or “civilian”, and allows it to happen, needs to turn in his badge until they’re ready to be a policeman.

  20. “Constable, I have received reports that during the G20 demonstrations you removed your identification badge. Do you have anything to say to that?”
    “Yes, sir. I’m very sorry, sir. It won’t happen again, sir.”
    “Constable, this kind of thing undermines public confidence not only in the police, but in the very basis of our society. I cannot overstress the seriousness of this matter.”
    “Yes, sir.”
    “My superiors have instructed me to hand out exemplary punishments to those guilty of this most grave offense. Constable – extend your wrist.”
    “Your wrist, constable.”
    “Very good sir.”
    “Thank you, constable. You may go now. And let that be a lesson to you!”

    1. How about a bill (or the equivalent) to the effect that any LEO who deliberately conceals their identity (eg removes numbers, covers face, etc), be legally deemed to be impersonating a police officer?

  21. I might be missing something here, but if they removed their name tags so they couldn’t be identified, how are they going to be identified to be punished?

  22. The only reason I can think of for removing thier name badge is they knew or at least had some intent of performing acts to civilians that they themselves knew were wrong. If you are ashamed or don’t want to be able to be identified for performing your duties as a police officer then you shouldn’t be one. Cowardly for sure.

  23. So…how long do people put up with things like this (and worse)? This is a relatively minor incident, but there seems to be a pattern wherein police abuse citizenry with varying degrees of violence or disregard for protocol, rules, or the law, and seem to rarely face significant sanction for it (unless they’re caught stealing or otherwise flagrantly committing illegal acts). Even then sometimes they get off with far less than an ordinary person would.

    They are increasingly militarized and increasingly see themselves as separate from the citizenry, charged with *controlling* us rather than the old “serve and protect” bit.

    What’s it take? Where’s the line? Will there have to be wholesale roundups and abuse, disappearances, perhaps even murder in the streets?

  24. How about firing their sleazy asses? You can’t swear to uphold the law by breaking it. If you can’t handle that then you shouldn’t be a cop. Go pump gas instead.

  25. Remember Kids: If your going to go beat down some hippies, first remove identification, that way their pot addled brains have even less chance of telling who you were afterward…

  26. Wow. I for for one am certainly placated, thanks for taking the time to construct such a convincing display of responsible self-governance.

  27. What were we protesting again?

    Who the hell knows anymore. If there was a coherent message behind any of this, the media certainly didn’t report it. Mission accomplished for the government: put thousands of riot police out there with gas marks, body armor, and itchy trigger fingers. When, not if, all hell breaks loose, the media covers the spectacle rather than the reason why all those people decided to go out in the first place.

    The other important reason for all of this is to dissuade ordinary middle class citizens and their families from attending a protest. It’s now widely understood that going out carries a significant risk of being kettled for hours, beaten, gassed, and/or arrested. This ensures that these movements never attain the critical mass it would take to make anyone pay attention.

  28. I just want to see if these cops are beaten near to death by masked hoods.

    If they will demand just that the goons be docked a day’s pay for using hoods.

  29. This just in…. Toronto cops to receive an extra day’s pay due to “administrative somethingorother” later on in that payroll year.

  30. Anybody stop to think they may have done this to protect themselves?

    The goons that were rioting are the ones that deserve your angst!

  31. The ONLY reason a police officer would hide their identity is if they were ashamed of what they were about to do, or they were planning on acting outside of the law. Either way, it’s unacceptable. The moment they hid their badges was the moment things got out of hand. Any other cops who let them get away with it are equally responsible.

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