Altercation at Toronto demonstration leaves 7 officers injured, 2 arrested

An altercation at a Toronto demonstration left seven officers injured — including four who were sent to hospital, police say. 

Two people have been arrested, police say, but there’s no word on what charges they may face.

The incident occurred during the Bana on the Block protest, a peaceful march to help support the Black-owned businesses on Eglinton Avenue West in a neighbourhood known as “Little Jamaica,” which has seen a significant decline in sales due to the ongoing Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction by Metrolinx and the pandemic shutdowns. 

Saturday’s rally was organized by two groups called Reclaim Rebuild Eg West and Black Urbanism TO. Demonstrators marched along Eglinton Avenue West from Keele Street to Oakwood Avenue from about 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

At some point during the protest, Const. Edward Parks said several individuals who were not a part of the demonstration began to “engage in negative activity.”

“Officers attempted to engage and redirect these individuals, which did not occur,” he said. “[It] caused for two people to be arrested and during the altercation; approximately seven officers were injured.”

Parks said four of those officers were taken to hospital with minor injuries and have since been treated and released. 

However, several videos surfaced on social media last night showing the altercation.

In one video, dozens of police officers stand on a cordoned-off street. Another video shows a violent altercation between two individuals with several police officers, while a third video shows a man being arrested with several cops in the area.

Some captions linked to the videos indicate the man being arrested suffers from mental health issues, although this has not been confirmed. A caption linked to the altercation also says the man was Tasered by police three times. However, police could not confirm this or provide more information.

When asked about the videos, Parks said the investigation is still ongoing and police are still trying to confirm whether the individuals arrested were part of the peaceful protest. 

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