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News :: Human Rights
Toronto police brutality
07 Jul 2005
Toronto police brutality
To whom it may concern:
Thu Jun 30 15:07:13 2005
To whom it may concern:
my name is amir ebrahimnia. i am the owner of babylon
martini & musique boutique at 553 church street in downtown toronto.
we are a well-known, award winning establishment with an
international reputation as one of the finest martini bars in north
america. on saturday june 25th of 2005 my family and i were brutally
assaulted and humilliated by a handful of city public and peace
my intent with the following story is to get the truth to
my patrons and everyone who has shown such support for us. i need to set
the record straight. i think it is important for the truth to be
told. here is my full statement on the events leading to my arrest
on saturday, june 25th, 2005. i was at work, behind the third
floor bar, when approached by a staff member and told of a confrontation
on the first floor. i quickly left my post and ran downstairs to find my
father surrounded by 6 or 7 plain- clothed gentlemen and and a woman. the
gentlemen were all large, over 6 ft. tall and were, on average, all 300
lbs. each. the woman was about 5'4 , small figure, short dark hair.
as i approached the gathering and quickly realized my father was being
ridiculed and insulted for his accent.
there were two men hassling him and arguing with him, while the others approached me.
That's when the argument started. they asked me to close the bar; i asked them why. they
stated i was over-crowded. i argued with them on the facts and they did
not want to accept my concerns. i agreed to close the bar. they asked me
to start up on the 3rd floor and move it down. i went to the 3rd floor,
turned on the lights from behind the bar, i then approached the dj booth
and cut the music. i then had to tell my clientele why they were being
asked to leave. i told them, how i had been in business for 11 years.
i told them how 9 out of those 11 years we had never had a problem such
as the one right now. and i told them this would probably be the last
time my business would be open. and with everything happening right now,
there would be no way i could afford to open up again. they had
destroyed us. the customers listened and we shook hands. good-byes were
said and the room was cleared. i then continued to the second floor where
i did the exact same thing. lights, music, goodbyes.
As i was finishing up with the second floor, there were 5 of the mentioned
gentlemen observing my actions to inform my costumers of what was
actually happening. as i walked by them to head for first floor, one of
the officers elbowed me. they started arguing with me again. one of them
tried to tell me what a fool i was making of myself, while another
gentleman pretended not to understand my accent. in reality, i don't
really have an accent - as anyone who knows me is aware. my parents
do. another gentleman called me an idiot several times and said how i
wouldn't be in this situation if i wasn't an idiot. the back-and-forth
insults continued. one officer started pushing me. i told him not to
touch me, he asked what i would do about it? another officer continued to
call me an idiot as another shoved me. my mother (60 years of age)
started to scream why? why are you doing this to us??
They told her to shut up as they continued to push and insult me. she
came forward to help me and they grabbed her and man-handled her. she
fell ill to the ground; i panicked and asked everyone to calm down. they
wouldn't back up.they reached for my mom, not to help her but to hold her
out of the way.
My father came up and joined the confrontation. up until this point, there
were no physical contact between any of us and the officers.
As a matter of fact, up until this point, no badge was
shown by the ladies and gentlemen in question. i made them aware of this
fact at this point. that's when one officer pulled out his badge as he
started laughing; are you happy now? boy, now you're really
fucked another officer turned to me and said: i will
make it my life-long hard-on to fuck you, my friend, as he chuckled
and turned around. we took my mother downstairs to the first floor
and laid her down on the couch. she was having difficulty breathing. i
approached two officers by the front door and asked them for help, and to
call 911. one chuckled, while the other one gave me a look as if i
wasn't speaking her language, and said; you have a telephone. you
I ran behind the bar and dialed 911. i spoke to the
911 operator, gave my name & address and was explaining her condition
- when again, the officers entered the property to my twelve o'clock and
tried to force my parents out of our property. they went for my mother
and that's when i threw a martini shaker at the wall to my three o'clock,
yelling at them to leave us alone. by this point, the bar had been
cleared of all customers. there was only myself, my mother, father
and 3 bartenders. there was absolutely no reason for them to still be on
my property. the bar was shut down. they were not helping an emergency.
they were not serving or protecting anyone. this was their time
for sweet payback. all the back-and-forth name-calling upstairs and
making them feel small in front of customers. along with the obvious
knowledge of dealing with minorities. these officers felt it would be
appropriate to attack us.
I was brutally attacked by what seemed to be all of them. they ran
behind the bar where i was still on the phone
with 911, and as i screamed for help the phone dropped and i was
pummelled to the ground. i was continuously punched in the face, kicked
in the ribs, and twisted. i thought at first that they wanted to arrest
me, so i loosened my arm for them to handcuff. instead, my arms
were stretched out so i would be out of fetal position while i was
viciously assaulted. one officer grabbed me by the hair and started
smashing my head on the tile floor while another officer was smashing my
neck, face, shoulders, and knees with his boot, pounding it down on my
face, neck and shoulder. they said things like, you had to be a
fucking smartass didn't you. , we're so gonna fuck you up. oh
boy, your gonna wish you were dead when we're through with you.
They kept on saying stop resisting arrest while i wasn't resisting
arrest. when i realized they wanted more than to arrest me, is when i
tightened up. i really didn't know what to do anymore. i thought
somebody was going to die - either my mother on the couch or me getting
pummeled by 8 huge 300lbs gorillas who were very much enjoying the
festivities. i could feel them enjoying it. i could hear what they were
saying. and yes, i do speak amp; feel in english. i repeatedly
asked them to stop. i told them i wasn't resisting. please don't
hurt me. i begged them to stop, but they all wanted to get a punch
or a kick in. finally, when it ended, they hand-cuffed me and took me
out to the police car waiting outside.
The police car took me off, pulled over on gloucester street,
stopped the vehicle and read me my rights.
they asked me if i understood; i said yes. i asked the officers to
loosen my cuffs because they were on too tight and were cutting my
circulation, they told me the cuffs would come off when we got to the
station. we got to the 51 division police station and had to sit and wait
for a good 30 minutes for the door to open so the police car could enter
the garage bay. the officers driving the vehicle felt sorry for me and
loosened the cuffs. to the officers' observation, my hands were white,
cold and clammy. i entered the station, where i was taken to a room
and strip-searched. they made me take off my clothes and turn everything
inside out. i was then asked to lift my scrotum and then my leg. all
dressed up again, i was taken to an interview room/cell. i could feel the
air conditioner was turned up. i can only assume on purpose.
After 2 hours in holding, i was visited by one of the officers who
had assaulted me earlier. he read the charges against me: 1 count;
obstruct peace officer C.C. 129(a) 1 count; assault with weapon C.C.
267(a) 1 count; resisting or obstructing public or peace officer C.C.
129(a) i was asked if i understood. i said yes. he told me i had to
appear for finger-printing and picture-taking and to hear the court date.
i was asked to sign several papers. one of which was included that i
had refused to make my phone call. being that it wasn't true, i refused
to sign this particular form. they did not seem to mind. they had
their fun already. it was all back to procedure again for our
officers of peace. i was free to go. though severely injured, i did not
seem to feel the pain till the next day. i went to my parents' house to
check up on my mother.
She was still in shock, kept crying and screaming. my father was in no better
shape but we were being strong to make sure
she's ok. my mother wouldn't say anything. she just kept shaking and
crying and cursing this country to hell. neither one of us has
slept in 4 days. we close our eyes and see saturday night. i find myself
fighting in bed. cursing and swearing at my imaginary 51 div. officers. i
am bruised from head to toe, but that will heal. what will not heal is
being humiliated. being insulted and beaten by the men who patrol not
only my place of work, but also my neighborhood of residence.
My father, who is a very well-known and well-respected iranian businessman
being treated like a monkey. one officer in question, the female officer
with the short dark hair to be exact, would tell him to stand aside and
point to a specific spot for him to stand. he would do so. she then told
him not there. there. as they pointed to across the room. he'd go stand
there. they'd again point in the opposite direction of the room. not
there! here! several times until finally they kicked him in the ass and
tossed him out of our own property. they chuckled. they made fun of him.
they ridiculed us. when they got us all out of the property, they
took all the bottled liquor and dumped all the bottled beer from the
fridges down the sink. they left the fridge doors open . to make sure the
fridge compressors would burn out. tables and chairs thrown around.
glasses broken on purpose. they ransacked the bar completely making sure
it would be impossible to open up. ever. we have been made examples of.
they wanted to show what they could do, the power they hold, and
they assumed there would be nothing we could do about it.
The next day, (pride sunday), the pain started to kick in and the swelling became
obvious. i was at home, on alexander street, as i found myself having
difficulty breathing. i dialed 911 at noon. the 911 operator asked me
the regular questions, address, what was wrong, and how did it happen. i
answered her questions and she informed me the ambulance would be here
shortly and for me to leave my door open. by this point i couldn't walk.
both my legs and ankles were trampled. nothing broken. just a lot
of excruciating pain. my head injuries were worsening, i was nauseous
and the vision in my right eye was blurry. going in and out
of consciousness. my left shoulder felt dislocated and my right
elbow wasn't in much better shape. i waited and waited for hours.
At 2:30pm i received a phone call from a sargeant from 51
division asking me if i called for an ambulance. i told them i had called
911 2 hours ago. she informed me an ambulance could not be sent to me
unless accompanied by a 51 division officer escort. i asked her why, she
stated because of the nature of my injuries. i told her i needed an
ambulance and under the circumstances, i did not want the presence of a
51 division officer. she told me, no ambulance then? i
insisted i needed medical help. they refused to send an ambulance with
out an officer. yet they wouldn't say they are refusing me. just that it
would have to be with an officer. i asked for 52 division; they refused.
it had to be 51 division. i turned her down. again, i called 911 for the
second time at 3:00pm. they sounded scared to send an unaccompanied
paramedic team to my location. i had been charged with assaulting a
police officer. i was considered dangerous.
i asked them several times; are you refusing me medical attention? they said no.
again i asked for an ambulance but without saying no, again they gave me
the run around. not without a police officer. or so do
you want an ambulance? over and over again... do you want
an ambulance? yes i do. but i don't want a 51 div. officer!
bring the swat team for all i care! i don't want 51 div. anywhere near
me! i want an ambulance! not without 51 div. officer ;
do you want an ambulance? the broken record continued. i
dialed 911 five times on sunday, and finally i agreed to the 51
division patrol to accompany the paramedics. the ambulance arrived at
7:30 pm. there were no officers. i was taken to st. michaels
hospital and examined. nothing broken. lots of shock to my body. visible
bruises to my face, ankles, knees, ribs, elbows and shoulder. i had my
x-rays taken. the doctor suggested i go right away to the police station
and report the assault. he spoke to someone at 52 division and they were
expecting me with a forensics officer to photograph the
I am very happy to say that the way i was treated at 52
division was the difference of night and day from their counterpart peace
officers at 51 division. they felt bad for what had happened. the
forensics officer whom examined me, felt so bad he apologized for the
wrong some police do. he has been a cop for over 25 years and it made him
sick to see this kind of behavior. he even joked and said; no
offence, but i couldn't see you beating up anyone. he's
right. i'm 5'6 and weigh 138 lbs. all said and done.
Still remains the humiliation. this is not why we immigrated to your country.
this is not why we contributed to your canada. this is not what we left
our homelands for. we are not your slaves. we are not yours to do with as
you please. just because someone doesn't speak your language, it doesn't
make them a baboon. we did not commit such a crime to be treated like
animals. we were over-crowded. the city of toronto invites
millions of people to come celebrate a gay event on a gay street with 4
blocks in length. there are about 20 licensed establishments that have to
cater to the invited. the beer gardens close at 11:00pm. and liquor
license is extended till 4:00 am to only selected establishments. where
do you expect the crowd to go after 11:00pm?
Why is it, we never see the police or the inspectors all year sometimes,
but always on gay pride? how is this not systematic? while the beer gardens are in
operation, there is no business for us. yet the inspectors NEVER show up
before 11:30pm. they enjoy giving the crowd half an hour do disperse to
the bars before they come in with their sticks.
Those are the facts. as ugly as it may be. again, i'd like to thank you all. our
costumers were our family and friends. the neighborhood has brought us
nothing but the joy we have experienced in the past 11 years. my family
and i have learned a lot from the village and it has made us better
people. it was an honor to serve you. thank you all for taking the
time to read this statement.
If you'd like to help us, please email the toronto chief of police and
the alcohol and gaming commission of ontario
with your voice. we need all the help we can get and your voices are
stronger than anything else. their emails are: chief of police
bill blair: officeofthechief (at) torontopolice.on.ca alcohol and gaming
commission of ontario: Licensing (at) agco.on.ca
i wish you all a wonderful canada day. kind regards,
babylon martini amp; musique boutique
amir (at) technofunk.ca
This work is in the public domain