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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hamilton Police Services re: Clr. Green Complaint

We reached out to there Hamilton Police Services to invite them to comment on the issue we are covering with respect to Clr. Green's complaint. Accordingly, we received the following from the Hamilton Police Service:

We want the community to know that if and when they have a concern or a complaint about a member of our Service or our service delivery that we encourage people to use the OIPRD complaint process so that there can be an investigation. It is also important to know that we cannot provide any comment in order to ensure the integrity of that process. More information on the complaint process can be found here: ~https://hamiltonpolice.on.ca/how-to/file-complaint

Clr. Green's Complaint

Clr. Green was kind enough to provide a copy of the complaint he filed, based on his recent incident with Hamilton Police. The following is his complaint:

April 27, 2016

Hamilton Police Service
155 King William St
Box 1060, LCD1 Hamilton, ON L8N 4C1

RE: Hamilton Police Service Complaint Arbitrary Stop April 26, 2016

To whom it may concern:

On Tuesday April the 26th at approximately 3:15 pm I arrived at the bus stop located on the Eastbound/South side of Stinson St and Victoria Ave. waiting for the 5 Delaware bus to take me to my home a few blocks away.

Having underestimated the temperature outside I was dressed in dark blue sports blazer, light blue dress shirt and casual pants and decided to cross the street to stand beside the bridge adjacent to the Central Memorial Recreation centre in order to shield myself from the frigid wind and wait for the Eastbound 5 Delaware bus.

While reading emails on my phone, two Hamilton police squad cars exited the parking lot from Central Memorial School, turning left onto Stinson in the eastbound/north side of the street. The first officer driving squad car 725-1 stopped directly in front of me with his window rolled down.

The following conversation contained in this complaint is part of but not limited to the extent of the stop which felt like roughly 7 or 8 minutes in duration.

Having a relatively familiar relationship with Division 1 frontline officers my first thought was that he was going to say hello so to my surprise he began to arbitrarily question me in an intimidating tone asking, “what are you doing there?”

To which I replied, “checking my phone”.

He responded, “under a bridge?”

I replied, “out of the wind waiting for the bus”.

His line of questioning and tone became more agitated as cars began to line up behind him and he held up traffic.

He further asked, “where I was going?”

Recognizing the nature of his questioning and feeling harassed I believe I replied, “why does that matter?”

He responded, “the bus won’t be able to see you” thinking that I was waiting for the westbound bus when in fact I was waiting for the eastbound bus which I would have easily seen turning down the street off of Wellington St. South.

When I looked to his partner who was waiting behind him in a separate squad car, his partner said, “tell him he’s holding up traffic”. Which I relayed to the officer questioning me while the roughly 5 or so cars were left waiting.

The officer said, “they can wait”.

I asked him if he’d rather pull over to have this conversation to which he replied “no I’m good here”

He then asked me “are you from this City?”

To which I replied that “Yes I’m very much from this City and you?” He then asked me my name in an annoyed tone to which I replied “Matthew Green and what’s your name?

To which he replied “Officer REDACTED (spelling unknown) I believe it was at that time that he followed up with, “are you the City Councillor?” To which I did not answer and looked to his partner hoping the interaction would have ended and he would have continued along his way.

Perhaps recognizing that I was an elected official he proceeded to repeatedly ask me, “are you okay?”

To which I replied “are you okay?” I do not feel the interaction was caused by any particular concern for my wellbeing or safety. The conversation felt confrontational in nature and I was made to justify my existence in my own community. Nor do I believe it followed the proper Hamilton police protocols given the nature of the interaction.

This process of arbitrary stopping and questioning in public with cars lined up on the street waiting caused me embarrassment, frustration and anger. He repeatedly questioned my credibility, acting in an intimidating manner and continued to harass me even though it was clear I was not a suspect in any crime nor involved in criminal activity. I feel what he was doing was unlawful and unconstitutional.

This questioning was both arbitrary and agitating in nature and constitutes both harassment and intimidation as I was not under any investigation nor related to any criminal activity or events in the area.

Respectfully Submitted,

Matthew Green

Note: As per our site policy, only respectful comments will be published. 

Media Release: 41st Annual Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast

Hamilton, ON –April 28, 2016 – The sold out 41st Annual Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast will take place on Tuesday, May 3rd 2016 from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at LIUNA Station, 360 James Street North.

The Prayer Breakfast is an annual engagement, where our present and future leaders come together in the spirit of strengthening self and with the purpose of building and sustaining a healthy community that values respect and openness for all. The Prayer Breakfast Committee and the Office of the Mayor encourage people of all faiths and creeds to attend this Hamilton tradition of the community coming together to share a meal and be inspired by the life experiences, passions and talents of our local speakers.

Madeleine Levy, Chair of the Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast Committee believes, “This annual Breakfast celebrates faith, student voice from our area school boards, local musical artists and sharing of ideas and perspectives. For over 40 years, it has been a true catalyst to encourage participation in dialogue, foster mutual understanding and awareness about community and global issues, and develop relationships.”

The theme of the 2016 Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast is Words and Action ~ CommUNITY, fostering caring, peaceful and inclusive societies.

The keynote speaker for this exciting program is Lishai Peel, an award winning poet, creative consultant and community animator. Deeply committed to using spoken word as a tool for social change and community capacity building, Lishai facilitates spoken word/poetry writing and performance workshops with youth in schools all across Canada. Lishai utilizes culturally-sensitive, alternative education, arts based practices in her workshops, with a focus on confidence building and excavation of personal stories.

A truly inspirational morning showcasing creative artistry from our local schools and community with a powerful message of unity and building bridges of understanding and respect through dance, poetry, music and prayer.

We are pleased to invite the Media to join us for this moving and inspirational gathering and support Hamilton’s Vision, "To be the best place in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens, and provide diverse economic opportunities."

Media Release: Councillor Green Response to Arbitrary Stop by Hamilton Police

April 26, 2016 

Councillor Green Response to Arbitrary Stop by Hamilton Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—On Tuesday, April 26th Councillor Matthew Green was waiting for the bus to go home when two police cruisers stopped and one officer proceeded to engage in an arbitrary stop and questioning of Councillor Green.

“The truth is, this experience has been happening thousands of times throughout Ontario—it criminalizes innocent people, dehumanizing them and making them question their own place in their community. Although this is not the first time this has happened to me, this is the first time it has happened since being elected in 2014,” says Councillor Green.

Councillor Green submitted a formal complaint to the Hamilton Police Service on the morning of Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

“When residents call me to ask my advice on incidents revolving around racism or policing, I give them the same advice: officially file a complaint because not doing so allows people to continue to believe or suggest it doesn’t happen,” says Councillor Green.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Media Release

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR EISENBERGER ON RECENT RANDOM POLICE QUESTIONING OF COUNCILLOR GREEN

HAMILTON, ON April 27, 2016 –As this is a formal complaint, and as I am both mayor and a member of the Police Services Board, it would not be proper to comment while the matter is being investigated.

My position on carding in general is well-known: it is indiscriminate, targeted, street checks, without the suspicion of a crime. As far as I’m concerned this must not be practiced and it is proper that it be banned.

In October 2015, the Provincial government proposed draft regulations that have now been passed. As of January 2017, the new rules say police officers cannot randomly or arbitrarily stop and question citizens. Officers must also inform a citizen that a stop is voluntary and they have the right to walk away. They will also be required to provide a reason for the stop, documentation about it afterwards, and must inform citizens how to file a complaint or access information obtained during the stop.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mayor Firm in Keeping Poverty Reduction and Social Housing at the Forefront

Enjoy our Q/A with Mayor Eisenberger

The Hamiltonian: On the heels of your motion to earmark millions of dollars over 10 years to address poverty and social housing, it appears as though some councillors are reserving full support until such time that more definition is had on how that money will be spent. On that note, we acknowledge that you have provided some indications on how you might approach that question.

At the same time, recently, at least one city councillor resurrected the idea of building a tower by city hall to accommodate the consolidation of city staff, as well as potentially for other uses. Such an investment, would be significant despite leveraging what appears to be a hot real estate market. While recognizing that your motion to earmark millions of dollars to poverty reduction and social housing needs is bold, how will you navigate and protect this investment against competing ideas such as the tower idea, or anything else that might call upon significant investment? Or do you see the ability to run this investment alongside other calls for significant investments

Mayor Eisenberger: The investing in people initiative will not impact the property tax levy. $20 million to increase affordable housing will come from extending the payback term for existing City loans from the Future Fund from 2031 to 2036; and $3 million annually over 10 years for poverty reduction will come from the dividend uplift to the City resulting from the merger of Horizon Utilities Corporation and several other local utilities into the new entity provisionally called MergeCo.

Poverty comes with high costs to the health of individuals, communities, and the economy. Poverty costs federal and Ontario governments between $10.4 and $13.1 billion per year. Lost productivity costs add to this burden; “Federal and provincial governments across Canada lose between $8.6 billion and $13 billion in income tax revenue to poverty every year.”

The investing in people poverty reduction plan is over and above any project that we are currently doing or contemplate doing in the future. Once the commitment is approved by council other projects will have to look to different funding sources. The reduction or elimination of poverty needs to be and remain to be a priority.