Five people who say they were injured during the city-ordered clearance of a camp in Lamport Stadium Park have filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Toronto, the Toronto Police Services Board and several individual officers.
At a press conference on Monday, his attorney David Shellnutt joined three plaintiffs to discuss the violence that occurred in July and their joint statement of claim.
The lawsuit alleges mental anguish, human rights violations and assault by Toronto police against camp supporters, Shellnutt told reporters.
“We are here today because our city leadership chose the clear and costly and violent militarized camps over actual leadership to get us out of this housing crisis,” he said.
Ollie D’Agostino, who said they were at Lamport Stadium that day as a supporter of the advocacy group Campampment Support Network, recounted that a baton-wielding officer struck him in the face. D’Agostino said they live in the area, but the stadium clearance has left them feeling unsafe in the community and fearful to leave the house.
“My life for months has been full of flashbacks, nightmares and fear,” D’Agostino said.
Skyler Williams of Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation said she was at Lamport Stadium in support of the indigenous peoples living in the city’s camps. Indigenous people make up about half of Toronto’s homeless population, Williams said. “These are the brothers and sisters who have been stolen from our nations.”
Like D’Agostino, Williams said an officer also hit him in the face with a baton after he tried to help someone off the ground. Williams required five stitches near the eye and had a hole in her lip, she said.
Calla Moya, a dancer who attended the stadium clearing together with the Camp Support Network, said that a group of police officers threw her to the ground. Moya hit her head and was taken to the hospital by ambulance, where she was diagnosed with a concussion, she said. She continues to suffer from concussion symptoms.
“I have a serious injury that I fear will affect me for the rest of my life,” Moya said.
The city, the Toronto Police Services Board and some individual officers will have 30 days to respond, Shellnutt said.
The accusations have yet to be proven in court. The Star has reached out to the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Police Services Board and the city to comment on the lawsuit.
The eviction of residents at a camp on the Lamport Stadium grounds in July quickly turned into chaos, with at least 100 police officers pushing their way through a crowd that had built barricades around the remaining stores and knocked down metal fences that workers had built for operation.
The protesters who held each other’s arms were thrown to the ground and numerous people were immobilized and arrested. At least two women were dragged across the ground, in one case prompting an officer to yell at his colleagues to pick them up.
The city spent nearly $ 2 million to remove the homeless from three large park camps this summer, clear debris and erect fences, according to a report released last month.
The report details the final costs for applying trespassing notices to people setting up tents at Trinity Bellwoods Park, Alexandra Park and Lamport Stadium.
The financial breakdown included money for city and private security, Toronto police, fire and paramedics, debris removal and personal protective equipment. That total came to $ 840,127, and the Trinity Bellwoods app was responsible for nearly half of that total. It cost the city $ 223,388 to remove camp at Lamport Stadium Park in July.
The report notes that after the cleanup, city staff had to take “unprecedented steps” to clean and repair the three parks to allow for general use by the public. That cost – $ 792,668 – included the removal of 30 tons of debris and 25 tons of contaminated grass, soil and sand, according to the city report.
The first campsite cleared by the city was at Trinity Bellwoods Park on June 22, with hundreds of police and security officers clashing with protesters. The day culminated with police in tactical gear forcing protesters and the remaining media out of the fenced-off southern camp in the early afternoon.