Please read and sign this letter requesting that Crown Prosecutors drop all charges against the concerned citizens targeted by Hamilton police while supporting houseless Hamiltonians. Use the form at the bottom of this page to add your name!
Ontario Court of Justice
To Whom it May Concern:
Recently, Hamilton police have brought charges against citizens of Hamilton who have engaged in activism for the better good of humanity. Several young people associated with the Hamilton Encampment Support Network (HESN) have been charged by Hamilton Police Services for very minor violations. These folks are supporting people facing poverty and police oppression. HESN has engaged in feeding, clothing, and helping houseless people. Their actions included Kickstart by Freedom Camp, a protest encampment on the forecourt of City Hall that attracted houseless people who were provided a safe place to camp where they were fed and clothed by HESN. These young people effectively showed how the city should be treating our houseless citizens.
Racialized members of HESN are being targeted by police. Our courts are being used against these helpful citizens who are assisting destitute people. Two people were arrested trying to bear witness to an encampment teardown at JC Beemer Park. One supporter of HESN, a woman who uses a wheelchair, was charged with allegedly assaulting a police officer by rolling over an officer’s foot in the midst of a confusing interaction. Two others were charged in the peaceful protest at Beemer park. Three others were arrested in front of the HPS where police threw passive young Black youth to the pavement and piled on top of them. All those tackled and arrested were racialized people among a diverse group of people protesting the arrest of the first young woman arrested at Beemer. The conditions for their release after being charged prevented them from entering parks, the usual location of houseless encampments of people who were being assisted by HESN. These charges are due to the overzealous police response. The destitute encampment people are trying to survive in their best available shelter. Prosecuting the Black members of HESN should be seen as an indictment against the Hamilton police services. This is a wrong-headed and wasteful use of our courts.
We – the writers and signatories of this letter – encourage you to drop all charges against the six HESN supporters who have been targeted by HPS. We understand that this ability – and responsibility - now lays solely with the crown. We also understand that extensive precedent exists to allow the crown to withdraw charges that are not in the best interest of the public to pursue. Public concern and encouragement facilitated the dropping of charges against police officers, journalists, and houseless individuals who were over-ticketed.
Please respect the right to help and protect houseless encampment members and consider the better public good. Drop the charges against these members of HESN.
Signatories listed below
Signatories (so far)
Jim Quinn, PhD, Professor, McMaster University
Don McLean, Honourary Doctor of Laws; Hamilton Gallery of Distinction
Nathan Savelli, Master of Arts
Dr. Atif Kubursi, Emeritus Professor McMaster University
Ken Stone, Chair, Community Coalition Against Racism (Hamilton)
R.A. Frager, Professor Emerita, McMaster University
Ali Jones, BSW
Douglas Rich, Retired
Mike Wood, Chair- Hamilton Tenants in Unity
Leanne Grieves, NSERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, McMaster University
Arlene Slocombe, Executive Director - Water Watchers
Catherine Clase, Professor of Medicine, McMaster University
Dr. George Sorger
Maia De Graff
Susan Radford, BSc. BSW
Petra Matar, OAA
Souheil Benslimane, Abolitionist
Lorraine Green, Co-Chair, Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet GASP
Kayla Hagerty, B.A.
Kostyn Petrunick, B.A., M.A.
Lynn Bruulsema, JD Candidate
Meaghan Ross, Staff, Southern Ontario Human Rights and Equity Office
Shelley Stevens, B.A. M.Ed.
Sarah Perkins, OMP, M.OMSc, B.Sc, Co-Director of Flourish Therapy Practices
Naomi Ives Peak, MSW
Susie O'Brien, Professor, McMaster University
Mymoon Bhuiyan, Project Coordinator Mac Divest
Stephanie Springgay, Director School of the Arts McMaster
Alex Wagstaffe, PhD student McMaster University
Samantha Berlin, Business owner
Hannah van den Bosch, MA
Marika Brown, PhD Candidate & Instructor, McMaster University
Emily Scherzinger, Instructor, McMaster University
Linzey Corridon, PhD Researcher, McMaster University
Art Heidebrecht, Professor Emeritus, McMaster University
Elizabeth Ann Martin
Evelyn Fraser, Music Educator
Juliana Lachance, Artist
Sonia Persaud, Phd Candidate
Sarah Greenwood, Concerned citizen in Hamilton
Robyn Vardy, B.A. Social Psychology. M.A. Counselling Psychology
Ira Rabinovitch, Teacher at the TDSB
Melanie Robitaille, Program Manager CMCP
Ashley Theysen, B.Ed, B.Mus
Monica Theysen, Director "Sunday Supper with Friends
Laura Lee Andrew, Educator
linda sepp, A human who cares about others
Jenni Velichka, MSc, McMaster University
Mona Munim, Registered social worker
Alexe Bernier, BSc, MSW
madison mueller, social work student
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