Three protestors charged and released by Toronto police after statues covered in paint

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Three protestors charged and released by Toronto police after statues covered in paint's Profile


A trio of activists detained by Toronto police have all been released, according to a lawyer claiming to represent one of them.

Saron Gebresellassi tweeted around 3 a.m. Sunday that the last person had finally been released.

Around that same time, a Twitter account associated with Toronto’s Black Lives Matter movement posted a video showing marchers celebrating outside Toronto police’s 52 Division.

The marchers had gathered outside the police station late on Saturday, calling for police to free the activists.

Police say they arrested 35-year-old Daniel Gooch, 47-year-old Danielle Smith and 35-year-old Jenna Reid on Saturday at Queen’s Park, seizing multiple tubs of paint from their van.

A statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – Canada’s first prime minister – was covered in paint, as was a nearby statue of Egerton Ryerson – a public education activist.  Both historical figures have come under fire over alleged roles in the formation of Canada’s residential school system.

The three – all from Toronto – face three counts each of mischief under $5000, as well as one count each of conspiracy to commit a summary offence.

In their initial statement at 5:30 p.m., Toronto police claimed to have already released Gooch and Smith.  Four hours later, they corrected their earlier statement, saying all three were still under their custody.  This was allegedly because the three hadn’t yet signed their release forms.

However, police responded to allegations that they had denied medication to one of the arrestees.  Instead, they say they worked with the person’s family to bring them their meds.  It is not clear as to which arrestee they were referring to.

Toronto police have received criticism from at least two city councilors – Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam.  Both have previously called for the city’s police budget to be lowered by 10 per cent.

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