On November 15, 2018 my son Dante Newman went to our local grocery store at Freshco located at 561 Sherbourne Street and on his way out the grocery store he was ambushed by the Toronto Police 51 Division.
The police physically threw him on the floor and pressed his knees into his back handcuffed him to a point where he lost circulation in his fingers causing his wrists to be bruised and sore.
As well the trauma that he endured and the emotional effect this terrible ambush has caused my son has left him in a deep depression and a fear to go outside.
The police literally pushed a gun in his face which is the root of his fear and accused him of being a suspect in a homicide investigation.
My son Dante recently graduated from high school and is inspiring to become a welder and has taken courses at George Brown to go towards graduating as a welder just like his grandfather.
Dante works the night shifts at McDonald's at 345 Bloor Street East and as well works during the days at the Pickle Barrel at Yonge and Eglinton.
Dante has never been in trouble with the law and received an award from the Outward Bound Canada Program for his contribution to his school and his community.
As well he completed a summer job placement program through Tropicana where he worked at the Toyota located on Eglinton Ave East.
When he attended Highland Heights Public school in Scarborough he was chosen out of all the students at his school to attend the Tim Horton's summer camp because of his kind and gentle nature.
I have spoken with his manager Anton Borrila at McDonald's (416-967-1081) and have shared with him Dante's traumatic experience on November 15, 2018 and he is willing to provide a written and a verbal character witness for my son as Dante has been a well loved employee at the restaurant for three years.
Dante was also an Air Cadet at 631 Sentinel and was promoted to Corporal as well in 2013.
My son did not deserve to be randomly humiliated and assaulted in the grocery store that we attend and to have a gun brutally into his face because he looked like a murder suspect.
The 51 division did not respect us when we called to lodge a complaint at their wrong doings and literally laughed at us and disconnected the call.
The Freshco grocery store is refusing to allow us to obtain the video footage of this whole incident that took place in the store.
We are seeking counselling as he is extremely shaken up by the trauma that the Toronto police force unleashed upon him yesterday..
Due to his character and ambitious nature there are many in the community who are extremely concerned not only for my son's safety however for how easily it was for a weapon to be drawn on someone who abides wholeheartedly by the law and is a shining light in his community and loved by many around him.
Had my son reacted in a different way on November 15, 2018 the outcome could have been volatile in which I am grateful for however my son has to go through the healing process simply because he supposedly resembled a murder suspect.
I have been writing to the mayor of Toronto Mr. John Tory, I have tried to contact the Chief of Police Mr. Saunders however they fail to return my messages that I have been sending.
So often people remain silent when they are abused by those who are in authority to protect and to serve. The first reason being that no one will listen, and the second for fear of the same action being repeated.
My son is a good young man who has made me proud since the day that he was born most describe him as a light in the community, his teachers describe him as a pleasure and have went above and beyond to plan his future.
Recently this year he went through the trauma of losing his father to stage four lung cancer and was starting to come to terms with his death.
I am hoping that this story will not go on deaf ears am not saying that had my son been a young person who has encounters with the law the tragedy that befell him would have been deserved am sending a message that violence can not eradicate violence and that every citizen has a right to be dealt with as a human being and not a wild animal.
While this story will eventually fade out the emotional scars that were rendered to my son will remain and it will be a long road to recovery.
Dante is definitely not the same young man that he was when he left home on November 15, 2018 to buy juice and enjoy a chocolate bar.
My name is Vanessa St Louis and I live in downtown Toronto my phone number is 437 991 8367 and I am speaking for my son and serving as the voice for the voiceless.
Vanessa St Louis.