The following news story is extreme, even for notoriously gun-hating Canada. Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:
According to media articles, the Mr. Sansone was released without being charged later the same day he was arrested:
Kitchener man arrested, strip-searched, after daughter draws picture of a gun
A Kitchener man says he was arrested and subjected to a strip search after his daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.
Jessie Sansone, 26, was taken into custody when he went to pick up his three children from Forest Hills public school on Wednesday.
His wife and their 15-month-old child were waiting for them at home.
Sansone said he was taken to the principal’s office, where police officers were waiting. His children were taken in by Family and Children’s Services, and he was taken to a police station in handcuffs.
Then, Sansone said, police went to his home and searched it.
Kitchener Police have not responded to requests for comment.
In a published report, the school says they notified the authorities because they were concerned children in the home had access to a gun.
Sansone told CityNews he was subjected to a strip search while in custody. Several hours later, he was released. No charges were laid and no gun was found in the home.
Sansone added that the allegations were especially hurtful because he had worked with the principal in the past. Sansone, who is a certified personal support worker and life-issues coach, often works at Kitchener schools, including Forest Hills.
Sansone admitted he was convicted of assault and attempted burglary five years ago, but he has never faced weapons charges.
What do you think — does this man’s record give the authorities probable cause to arrest him for what his daughter drew in that picture?
I couldn’t find many articles about this story in the media. But the SUN TV reporters weren’t the only ones outraged about the incident. Matt Gurney, writing for The National Post, had some choice words:
Even in a country with gun laws as warped as Canada’s, the story of Jessie Sansone is still mindboggling.
Sansone, 26, is a father of three and Kitchener, Ont., resident. As a younger man, he admits getting into trouble with the law, but claims to have lived clean for years. He’s now a certified personal support worker, husband and father of three. He was even reportedly offered a job at the very same school where this bizarre story begins. On Wednesday, Sansone arrived at his children’s’ school to pick them up. He was asked to step inside and meet with the principal. In the principal’s office, Sansone was met by three Waterloo Regional Police officers and immediately arrested. He was taken to a nearby station, strip searched and locked in a cell. His wife was also summoned to the station, and their children taken by Family and Children’s Services. At no point were they told why this was happening. It was not until officers had told Sansone that he’d be held in custody overnight before a bail hearing in the morning that his lawyer was finally able to tell Sansone that he had been arrested for possession of a firearm.
After hours in custody, during which time Sansone understandably became alarmed, he was suddenly released, without charges or conditions. A detective with the Waterloo Regional Police service apologized to Sansone, and explained that the entire sequence of events had been set in motion because a teacher at the school became alarmed when his four-year-old daughter drew a gun and said the picture was of her father. The teacher then noticed Family Services, who decided that the police needed to be involved, telling the police that they had reason to believe that there was a gun in Sansone’s home that his children had access to. That is what led Waterloo’s finest to bust Sansone in front of the entire school, strip him naked, confine him in a cell, bring his wife to a police station and take away their children.
That sounds bad, but it’s actually worse even than that. The drawing that set all this off was a drawing of Sansone being a good guy — according to what his daughter told her kindergarten teacher, the picture was off her daddy using a gun against “bad guys and monsters.” Protecting her, in other words. It was essentially a comic strip with her father in the role of the hero. Good Lord! We’d better call in the SWAT team, quick!
Everyone involved in this debacle would obviously concede that it shouldn’t have gone this way. But as long as every party involved in wronging Sansone and his family continue to claim that they did everything correctly and by the book, they are essentially admitting that given a comparable situation on some other occasion, another innocent man or woman is going to be arrested, stripped, thrown into a cell and have their kids removed from them. That’s not acceptable. It’s long been the case that gun owners, or even rumoured potential gun owners, are viewed as threats to society by default in this country. But Sansone’s experience is not about general cultural sentiment, but established procedures used by civil servants. The schools, Family Services and police all owe Sansone, his wife and their children an apology, and owe every citizen a commitment that they will never again act so rashly.