Police beat journalist at G-20 summit in Toronto

A freelance journalist was beaten by police on June 26, 2010, as he was covering a demonstration related to the G-20 summit of world leaders in Toronto. Jesse Rosenfeld, a contributor to the opinion section of the Guardian online, later said in a press conference that Canadian police authorities attacked him after recognizing him as a “loud-mouthed kid” from previous demonstrations, and after noticing that the press credentials hanging around his neck did not include an official Canadian pass to cover the summit.

Rosenfeld said police struck him in the stomach and back as they forced him to the ground. The journalist, who has several years experience covering stories including in Israel and Palestinian territory, said he did not resist, but that the attacking officers yelled out as they were beating him, “Why are you resisting arrest?”

Police moved in on what, according to other reporters, were nonviolent demonstrators and journalists in front of the Novotel Hotel on the Esplanade waterfront area of Toronto. Another prominent Canadian journalist said he saw police beat Rosenfeld.

“The journalist identified himself as working for the Guardian,” tweeted Steve Paikin, a well-known Canadian journalist and host of TVO’s “The Agenda” public affairs program, according to CBS News. “He talked too much and pissed the police off. Two officers held him. A third punched him in the stomach. Totally unnecessary. The man collapsed. Then a third officer drove his elbow into the man’s back.”

The voicemail box for press queries at the Integrated Security Unit for the G-20 summit in Toronto was full when CPJ tried to reach the office. A Canadian Embassy spokeswoman in Washington declined to comment.