This is what a Charter Violation Feels like – the Illegal Police Raid on 429 Brunswick

This weekend my house was illegally raided on the pretense of investigating a report of a break and enter. The original break and enter report was probably real – two couchsurfers we were hosting came back to our house and instead of phoning me as I had instructed, climbed through a window. The police arrived with eight cruisers and rifles drawn, questioned the two couchsurfers inside and arrested them for breaking and entering. The couchsurfers explained that they were staying with Tristan and gave the cops my phone number. The police attempted to phone me – once, and did not leave a voicemail.
Rather than continuing to try to get ahold of me, they barged in the back door three hours later when the house was full of the couchsurfers and other people we had invited over for dinner. They claimed they did not need a warrant to search the house because they were investigating a break and enter (they did not make it clear whether it was the same call they had investigated earlier when they arrested two couch surfers). Myself and others continually asserted we did not consent to their presence on the property or in the house, and that we did not consent to any searches. A friend was on the phone with a legal office the entire time they were in the house.
I was able to prove to them that I had a right to be in the house, that I lived there, and that it was a co-operative house and that we had invited the guests to be there. Luckily all of the bedroom doors were locked, so they were only able to search common areas. They did not question me about whether there had been a break and enter, or whether I was missing anything.
It feels incredibly violating to have had the house illegally searched. We live in a world of false-security, and incidents like this break that illusion down. I felt uncomfortable in the house on Sunday, so I went to Kensington Market and met up with some friends. The neighborhood is crawling with unmarked police cars (mostly rentals); it feels like a police state. But at the end of the day I went home – where else is there to go? Home is still home, even when it doesn’t feel safe anymore. Today luckily, it feels safer – there is more distance between the event and the present. I’m less worried that every minivan that drives by is full of police. But it gives me perhaps the slightest intuition of what it would be like to live in a real police state – one where people are under constant intimidation; where home is still home, even if it never feels safe.
I will be pursuing a police complaint over the illegal search of the house. It’s only through making it a hassle after the fact that the police will restrain themselves from violating basic rights.

9 thoughts on “This is what a Charter Violation Feels like – the Illegal Police Raid on 429 Brunswick

  1. I feel so much anger and sadness when reading this, having lived in your house for a bit and knowing how innocent and caring everyone there is. I can only try to imagine how frustrating and depressing this must be for you. I hope (and I’m confident) that you will continue to stand up against all those unbelievable wrongdoings.

    My solidarity from overseas!

  2. Dunno what to say about this, in the wider context of the depressing events of the last five days, but I wanted to say I’m sorry to hear it and I hope you’re doing OK.

  3. If this is what you consider a “police raid”, we’ve got it very good indeed in Canada.

    Still, I don’t understand why they don’t hold the G20 in an undisclosed location. Why bother with all the hassle? It’s not like there’s spinoff industry like the Olympics.

  4. The police entered and searched my house. That’s why its a raid. It’s illegal because they didn’t have a warrant in Canada you need a warrant to enter and search a private residence. If you don’t consider that a “police raid”, you live in a strange country.

  5. Sorry dude, the police don’t need a warrant to *enter*, since they were apprehending a suspect, and they don’t always need a warrant to *search*, particularly when it’s not feasible to obtain one, like when it’s late at night.

  6. The police were not apprehending a suspect. And, in Canada the police always do need a warrant to search – and it’s always feasible to obtain one.

  7. And, to enter a house with the purpose of apprehending a suspect, the police actually do require a warrant.

  8. Well, best of luck to you guys. I hope you do file that complaint with the police and get some answers.

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