G20 protester making poster when cops tackled him, trial hears
TORONTO -- Seconds before he was tackled by police, allegedly hit several times and arrested at a G20 protest, a Toronto man was making a poster referencing a popular episode of a 1990s TV show, court heard Wednesday.
Adam Nobody, a 30-year-old stage hand, testified at the trial of a Toronto police officer he alleges used excessive force in arresting him.
Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani has pleaded not guilty to assault with a weapon.
Nobody, like hundreds of others, went to the lawn of the Ontario legislature on June 26, 2010, to check out the scene at the designated protest zone.
At times he verbally confronted police officers about some of their actions, he said, and at one point he was hit from behind as he was walking away.
When he was hit Nobody dropped a water bottle in which he had some Canadian Club rye whisky mixed with water and couldn't retrieve it from behind the line of police in riot gear, he said.
He estimated that he spent about five minutes arguing with them, asking for it back, but they refused, Nobody said.
Nobody then sat on the lawn chatting with a friend for about 20 minutes, he said, then decided he wanted more whisky so he left the legislature to go to a liquor store.
But the liquor store had been boarded up -- many stores had done so in anticipation or protest-related vandalism -- so Nobody went to the Beer Store to buy some beer and stopped at a convenience store to buy cigarettes and a neon yellow piece of bristol board, then headed back to the demonstration, he said.
Nobody had written "Let Donna graduate," in bubble letters on his bristol board, a reference to a popular episode of the TV show "Beverly Hills, 90210," in which Tori Spelling's character Donna Martin's graduation is in jeopardy because she got drunk at prom.
Nobody was partway through colouring in his bubble letters when he saw a line of riot police advancing, so he picked up his backpack full of beer and his bristol board and started walking away, he said.
"I look back and I see an officer running at me," Nobody said. "'Him, him, him. Get him,"' Nobody said he heard someone shout.
"(Then) someone dive tackles me," Nobody testified. "Someone gets me from behind, we roll on the ground, next thing I know there's a bunch of officers pulling my arms...I'm getting hit in the face."
On the video, about half a dozen police officers can be seen piled onto Nobody. One, alleged to be Andalib-Goortani, is seen holding onto his baton with both arms and making a thrusting motion toward Nobody, who was face-down on the ground.
A photograph of Nobody's bare torso was put into evidence and three welts can be seen on his side, below his rib cage and on his hip.
The police officers were screaming, "Give me your arms," and "Stop resisting," Nobody said.
But he wasn't resisting, he testified. In fact, he couldn't, as so many officers were piled on him and were holding both of his arms -- the only movement he could make was to move his head from side to side, Nobody testified.
Nobody is set to continue testifying Thursday, when he is expected to be cross-examined by defence lawyer Harry Black.