An off-duty Toronto police officer who detained a crossing guard in Markham earlier this month won’t be charged, according to York Regional Police (YRP).
Investigators said around 8 a.m. on Oct. 9, an SUV approached the intersection of Bur Oak Avenue and Williamson Road, near Mount Joy Public School, and stopped partly within the crosswalk.
They said no one — including children reportedly crossing the street at the time — was in any danger.
The crossing guard, 70-year-old Mohamed Hameed, then hit the SUV with his stop sign and caused some damage, according to police. Hameed said he was only trying to safeguard the children.
“Infractions witnessed by crossing guards must happen frequently enough that they are provided with specific instructions forbidding them from striking vehicles with their stop signs, which is in the best interest of everyone’s safety,” police said in a news release on Monday.
Witnesses allege the off-duty officer, who was a passenger in the SUV, got out, flashed his badge and grabbed Hammed by his reflective vest. The officer pushed Hameed against the car and arrested him for mischief.
“A police officer in the province of Ontario has the legal authority to make an arrest upon witnessing a criminal offence,” YRP said.
“Officers have other options available to them as well, including contacting the local police agency, however in this case the officer made the decision to identify himself and make the arrest, which is within his authority to do.”
YRP officers arrived soon after and continued the arrest, taking Hameed into custody.
He passed out in the back of their cruiser, and officers took him to a local hospital as a precaution. They released him without charges.
“In addition to the lengthy investigative actions taken, investigators consulted with the Crown who determined that it was not in the public interest to proceed or prosecute in regards to the mischief (charge), therefore no charges are being laid at this time,” YRP said.
Police said resolving the damage done to the SUV is now a civil matter and may involve Hameed’s employer, the City of Markham.
Hameed told CityNews he’s not satisfied with the investigation.
“I don’t think it was conducted fairly — not at all,” he said. “I got the raw end of the (deal).
“What about all the other things in that incident: the officer grabbing me, assaulting me, pushing me to the car and York Regional Police coming to the scene and handcuffing me … It’s a big humiliation.”
Police said they interviewed 27 people and reviewed video from several sources.