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Toronto police officer charged with assault in alleged G20 protester beating

A Toronto police officer has been charged with assault in relation to the arrest and alleged beating of a G20 protester.

Constable Babak Andalib-Goortani was charged Tuesday with assault with a weapon, the Special Investigations Unit announced in a statement.

Video footage shows protester Adam Nobody being taken to the ground and arrested at Queen's Park on June 26. Mr. Nobody suffered a broken nose and shattered cheek.

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The SIU reopened its probe of Mr. Nobody's alleged beating in late November after the footage became a lightning rod for controversy.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair pointed to a gap in the tape, alleging the video had been "doctored to create a certain impression" and referred to Mr. Nobody as "a violent, armed offender" in a radio interview. Then, John Bridge, a 36-year-old Torontonian who works as a Web designer for a bank, identified himself as the video's shooter and challenged Chief Blair's contentions.

In a sworn affidavit, he said he videoed officers chasing Mr. Nobody, then briefly turned off the camera, fearing he had to run from police. After a few seconds, he flicked it back on and captured the rest of the incident, he said. He also gave the SIU his original footage.

Mr. Nobody's lawyers demanded the case be revisited on the basis that Chief Blair had besmirched their client's reputation by suggesting he was a criminal. In fact, charges against him had been withdrawn due to a lack of evidence and prosecutors said police did not have reasonable grounds to arrest him. His lawyers also questioned why the officers in the video had not been identified.

The SIU agreed in late November to have another look at the case. In addition to Mr. Bridge's video, the SIU received two additional videos of the incident.

Two weeks ago, the Toronto Police Service provided the SIU with the names of 15 officers who may have been in the area or involved in arresting Mr. Nobody. SIU investigators found that three may have injured Mr. Nobody.

The SIU said a witness officer identified Constable Andalib-Goortani from video footage.

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Constable Andalib-Goortani is to appear in court on Jan. 24.

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