After three investigations, seven photos, more than a dozen witnesses and a public relations battle, the province's police watchdog has charged a Toronto officer with beating pastry-maker Dorian Barton at the G20 protests nearly a year ago.
Constable Glenn Weddell of 11 division in the city's west end will make his first court appearance July 21.
The SIU has apparently known Const. Weddell's identity since January, but Director Ian Scott said the Toronto Police Service did not turn over enough information to charge him until three weeks ago.
"As a result of information provided by the TPS after May 26, 2011, the SIU conducted three further interviews of TPS members. On the basis of information received in those interviews, and in conjunction with information gathered in the prior investigations, there are now reasonable grounds to believe that [Const. Weddell]committed the offence of assault causing bodily harm," Director Ian Scott said in a statement Friday.
Mr. Barton, 30, said he went to College Street and University Avenue with a friend on the afternoon of June 26, the primary day of protests, just to see what was going on. When he turned to take a photograph of officers on horseback, he said he was bowled over by an officer with a riot shield, hauled across the pavement by his arms and taken to a temporary detention centre on Eastern Avenue.
He suffered a broken arm, a black eye and several bruises. He said police laughed at him when he asked for medical attention and had to wait several hours before he was taken to hospital to have his arm treated.
The SIU finished its first investigation in November, saying it was unable to identify any officers allegedly responsible for Mr. Barton's injuries. Two months later, a witness came forward with photos and the SIU re-opened the investigation. After examining the photos, Toronto police provided the SIU with Const. Weddell's name, along with those of 11 other officers who may have been in the area at the time of the arrest.
However, none those officers would identify Const. Weddell as having been there. Mr. Scott closed the case a second time and accused police of refusing to turn over the name of the person who had been able to figure out Const. Weddell's identity from looking at the photo.
Police, for their part, maintained the SIU had not been specific enough in its request for information. The force gave the SIU the name of the employee who had identified Const. Weddell and Mr. Scott re-opened the case yet again.
To complicate things further, the Toronto Star obtained and published Const. Weddell's name Friday morning, less than a day before he was charged.
Const. Weddell is the second officer to face criminal charges in relation to the G20. In December, the SIU charged Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani with roughing up Adam Nobody. He was later charged by the force itself with beating a woman with his baton.
Both cases involved a war of words between police and the SIU in the media and numerous officers who were unable or unwilling to identify the policeman at the centre of the case. In Mr. Nobody's case, just one officer came forward to finger Const. Andalib-Goortani.
Meanwhile, NDP members of Parliament joined Toronto small-business owners Friday afternoon outside a downtown bar to voice their dismay at the slow pace at which the Harper government is dealing with calls for compensation arising from the summit.
Roughly 300 businesses, including the landmark Horseshoe Tavern on Queen Street, have filed claims seeking compensation for the thousands of dollars' worth of damage and lost business.
With a report from Tim Appleby