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Letter to the Chronicle Herald Editor

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

I've copied and pasted a "letter to the editor" meant for the Chronicle Herald from a concerned citizen.

Dear Editor:

I want to thank you for your coverage of yesterday’s brutal and disgraceful - and very possibly unlawful – eviction of Occupy Nova Scotia. As I know all too well what it is like to be the victim of an unlawful eviction, I decided to go to the Halifax police station to await the release of the 14 men and women arrested on Friday. I picked up a copy of the Herald on the way home. As this shameful action will doubtless be recalled on Remembrance Day for years to come, I thought the following might be a matter of interest for your readers.

As your report indicates, HRM police took into custody at the Gottingen Street detachment sometime around 3:30 pm on Friday, charging each with “obstruction of justice”. Hearing they would be released around 11 pm, I went to the station that evening and waited quietly outside with about 25 others, among them the family of an 18 year old from New Glasgow. No journalists were present.

But 11 pm came and went, and still no one was released. Police apparently “processed” the arrestees one at a time. They insisted that they were not processing the ONS arrestees any slower than usual. However, they did not begin releasing them until around 1:30 am – and in ones and twos, about every hour. As for the speed of processing, another man (not part of ONS), was released after being charged for for cocaine possession and held for about an hour.

Also, police initially said they would be holding the two minors in the group, homeless boys aged 16 and 17, overnight. After we had a chance to assure them the boys would have a place to sleep at St. Andrews church, they were released, but not until around 3:30 am. By the time I left at 4 am, two were still in custody, including the only American in the group, who was the only one forced to pay a bail, which police set at $500. The other had been in direct communication with HRM police since the start of the occupation, Oct. 15, and had become a frequent subject of interviews by local media.

The Herald article mentioned that protesters complained about police punching peaceful protesters in the face and lifting them from the ground using chokeholds. I was told the same by many ONS participants during the course of the evening, in disturbing detail - yet also said “None appeared to be injured.” I find it hard to believe that your reporters did not take the trouble to find out that some of those punches and chokeholds were used on young girls, whose necks are now bruised quite badly. It is also perplexing that your reporters apparently missed the fact that protesters had occasion to call EMS was called to the scene to treat at least two people for injuries caused by police using excessive force. One was the 18 year old female, who was apparently hit in the chest hard enough to cause difficulty breathing and bruising. I believe she was one of the three your article described as being dragged through the mud.

The other protester treated by EMS is a tall 230 pound man, known to police for his daily video posts – which include a friendly interview with the mayor during the first week of the occupation. Others recorded this man being tackled by police;. He only recalls waking up in the paddy wagon. EMS found that he had an injured wrist, two sprained or dislocated shoulders, a dislocated jaw, and a concussion, among others. Multiple witnesses say neither she nor the man injured taunted or assaulted police or actively resisted arrest. The public doesn’t have to take their word for it; they can decide for themselves with the aid of audio interviews of the arrestees on the media co-op website and videos of the event posted there and elsewhere. Two of the other protesters also say they heard and saw one cop taunting the injured man, calling him “Candy-ass”, etc., in an attempt to get him to attack him - doubtless so that further criminal charges could be laid. The man resisted the temptation, thankfully.

Each protester arrested was told they would not be released until they signed a statement that appears to bind them to “conditions” banning them from every public park in HRM. And most of them say they were not read their rights at the time of arrest; only a few said they were read once they were in custody at the police station. The homeless boys have no idea when and how they will get their belongings back.

I am too tired to continue, but I believe the public would be very dismayed by the full details of the heavy-handed forced eviction of these people – who the mayor so brazenly implied are not part of the general public.

I believe most Haligonians are by now aware that ONS occupiers scrupulously kept their end of the bargain. On Nov. 11, we learned that the mayor never had any intention of honoring his word - which he changed from day to day. I now know that HRM police went much further than that, so that Kyle Buott’s words apply universally.

I hope that residents of Halifax give serious thought to these things before making their minds up about ONS – and about Mayor Peter Kelly.

Francesca Rogier


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905 words


thank you

Thank you for doing this! Thank you for making this public. Spread the word to others, as I shall try as well!

Sue the police

I hope someone documented the injuries with pictures and hospital records and I call on some civl rights attorneys to get involved and sue the police and city for use of excessve force. What is this society coming to when police take on powers that they should never have, stepping on the constitution and treating citizens like animals?

Was this letter published in

Was this letter published in the Herald?

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