American sentenced to 4-month jail term for role in G20 vandalism

Putting his budding career as an architect on hold, Ohio-native Quinn McCormic, 27, flew to Toronto from Germany this week to enter a guilty plea for his role in the 2010 G20 riots.

McCormic is the last person to face trial for damages caused when dozens of black bloc vandals rampaged through the streets of Toronto during the June 26 to 27 international summit, smashing windows, looting stores, and torching police cars.

McCormic looked sombre as the Crown listed the charges against him: three counts of mischief over $5,000 and disguise with intent. McCormic, who arrived in court with a cheque totaling nearly $50,000 for the damages he was accused of inflicting, pleaded guilty to all charges.

McCormic co-operated with authorities from the start. Upon being served an extradition notice in February 2013, he voluntarily flew from Boston to Toronto, where he was arrested by police. Released on bail, he moved to Stuttgart, Germany eight months ago to take up a position with an architectural firm. His German girlfriend, as well as his father, mother, and step-father, accompanied him in court on Tuesday. McCormic and his family, who appeared visibly distraught throughout the proceedings, all declined to comment for this story.

Prosecutors and the defence alike characterized McCormic as a naïve young man caught up in the adrenaline and chaos of the G20 Summit. Travelling to Toronto alone via Boston and Montreal, he met up with a group of would-be demonstrators on an organized bus trip, the court heard. One of them documented their journey with a digital camera. That camera would prove to be McCormic’s undoing.

Discovered on the ground by Toronto police in the aftermath of the riots, the camera showed McCormic and several associates both in and out of disguise. The photographer, who remains unknown, documented McCormic’s role in smashing windows at the Toronto Police Museum and the CIBC at College and Bay Sts. CCTV footage obtained by the Crown also showed McCormic hurling an object at the Winners store at College and Yonge St. In these images, McCormic, clad head-to-toe in black, wears a distinctive grey and green backpack, his glasses peeking above a dark bandana.

According to court documents, those damages totaled $48,347.45. McCormic’s attorney, Seth Weinstein, claimed that his client began raising these funds shortly after being indicted. He said McCormic had no criminal record.

McCormic was sentenced to four months in prison, less nine days as credit for the six he spent while being detained by immigration in February. He was also ordered to pay restitution to Winners, CIBC, and the Toronto Police Museum. The fact McCormic showed remorse by raising the money in advance, Justice Michael Dambrot said, was a major factor in his meting out what he deemed to be a lenient sentence. McCormic is one of more than 40 people, including four other Americans, who were convicted for their roles in the G20 riots.

McCormic’s attorney said his client will not be appealing the judge’s decision.

“He’s very remorseful and he’s accepting of responsibility,” Weinstein said shortly after the decision was read. “But at the same time, he doesn’t want these events to define him as a person, because, as the court heard, he has a remarkable future ahead of him and that’s what he wants to focus on.”

Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux, who led the police G20 investigation, was pleased to with the results.

“It’s the most substantial restitution order that we’ve seen,” he said outside the courtroom. “It took four years to prosecute all the [G20] offenders and it’s time to move on now to other investigations.”

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