|The 2010 G20 protests in Toronto turned ugly with Black Bloc thugs setting police cars on fire and causing other damage. (STAN BEHAL/QMI Agency)
TORONTO — In a chaotic courtroom scene with some of his supporters swearing at the judge and forcibly ejected, G20 protester George Horton was sentenced to 10 months in jail for attacking a police cruiser and assaulting an officer.
He is the first to be convicted and sentenced for attacking the police during the riots in downtown Toronto two years ago.
Ontario Court Justice Beverly Brown had harsh words for the 24-year-old Peterborough, Ont., photographer for his acts of wanton destruction and "hooliganism" on June 26, 2010, that included striking a cruiser while Staff Sgt. Graham Queen feared for his life inside.
"It is clear to me that this had a traumatic impact upon him," she said. "People cannot attack a cruiser with a vulnerable officer inside in an attempt to intimidate the police from carrying out their duties."
Brown criticized the masked protester for encouraging the rampant Black Bloc violence that weekend by also damaging a CBC vehicle, a Tim Hortons and another cruiser.
"He was on a mission. This was not an isolated act," Brown said.
"It was an affront to our sense of democracy and free speech to see a peaceful demonstration transformed into a rampage through downtown Toronto. It is an image we will not soon forget."
Several of Horton's supporters snickered through the hour-long sentencing with several ejected from the Old City Hall courtroom after they refused to be quiet and began swearing at Queen and then the judge herself.
Horton was led away in handcuffs to applause as he smiled and waved.