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Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

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Toronto police say it’s “impressive” that they didn’t have to arrest anyone after the Raptors’ historic win on Saturday night sent thousands of celebratory fans careening onto the streets.

The roar of fans cheering and chanting “We the North” and “Let’s go Raptors” flooded the downtown core after Canada’s sole NBA team earned a spot in the final for the first time in franchise history.

On social media, videos emerged of fans running into intersections and dancing on top of streetcars and buses, but on Sunday, police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante confirmed that not a single arrest was made.

“It’s impressive. It certainly is,” said Arrogante. “We’re amazed — police were there to keep the peace and that’s exactly what happened.”

The festivities ramped up shortly after 11 p.m. when the Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94, becoming the Eastern Conference champions and advancing to the NBA Finals.

Earlier in the day, fans lined up for hours to pack Jurassic Park, but a thunderstorm prompted Toronto police to post on Twitter that they wouldn’t open the fan zone on schedule because of safety concerns. The ban was lifted an hour later and Jurassic Park quickly overflowed with Raptors supporters who braved the rain to watch the game outside Scotiabank Arena.

There was a heavy police presence as some fans got rowdy, but officers say everyone managed to stay out of trouble as the celebrations continued.

Arrogante said officers were called to various spots around the city to assist with crowd control and directing traffic, but no one was arrested. She said she saw videos of fans dancing on streetcars but said there were no reported injuries, and in terms of arrests: “nothing came out of that,” she said.

“It turned out better than it could have,” said Arrogante.

She said police will be out again Thursday night when the Raptors play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 and she hopes fans will continue to have fun safely.

Arrogante said fans planning on drinking should get a designated driver or take public transit.

“We’re reminding anyone that is going to be celebrating or taking part in any events forthcoming of the playoffs, is to be respectful.”

Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press

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Liberals to reject Senate changes to solitary confinement bill

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OTTAWA — The Liberals are poised to reject the Senate’s amendments to a bill that aims to end the practice of solitary confinement.

The government’s response to the Senate’s package of amendments details why the Liberals won’t accept a key change requiring a judge to approve any decision to isolate a prisoner beyond 48 hours.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says in a letter to the Senate that such a change would increase the workload of provincial courts and require the appointment of new judges to compensate.

Sen. Kim Pate, a lifelong advocate for prisoners’ rights, disagrees.

She says the government is spending money on hiring external reviewers for solitary confinement decisions with dollars that could be used to hire more judges, who have greater expertise and independence.

Pate says the law would be unconstitutional if the Liberals pass the bill without the Senate’s amendments.

The Canadian Press


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Chief military judge’s court martial in limbo after deputy recuses himself

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OTTAWA — The court martial for Canada’s chief military judge is in limbo after the judge overseeing the trial, who happens to be deputy to the accused, agreed not to hear the case over conflict-of-interest concerns.

Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil also outlined the reasons why he felt the military’s other three sitting judges would not be able to preside over Col. Mario Dutil’s trial in an impartial manner.

That has left the fate of Dutil’s court martial, seen by some as a critical test for the military-justice system, up in the air.

Dutil was charged with eight counts in relation to allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and knowingly signed a travel claim for $927.60 that contained false information.

Four of the charges were dropped at the start of the court martial last week, where Dutil’s lawyer challenged d’Auteuil’s impartiality and asked the presiding judge to recuse himself. A publication ban on details of that portion of the hearing has since been lifted.

In agreeing to the request, d’Auteuil said it was reasonable to believe he would be biased because of his relationship to several witnesses — which he believed also applied to other military judges.

The Canadian Press

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