By Jeff Parkinson
On April 21st 2012, Mark Vandermaas attempted to walk down the municipal road known as Surrey Street in Caledonia Ontario; he was assaulted by Mohawk “Warrior” Ken Green. Taking decisive action the OPP commander on the scene, Zupanic had Vandermaas arrested within seconds.
Yes it was Vandermaas, the victim of a crime who was immediately arrested, handcuffed, and placed in a little steel cage in a paddy wagon where he would remain for the next 2 hours. What was Mr. Green charged with you may ask. Nothing. Why? Because in Ontario race based policing is alive and kicking.
Zupanic followed this with directions to his officers. Arrest anyone on the non-Native side of the police line If they move one step. Not the Natives who were free to roam the line making threats and trying to provoke the peaceful residents and activists.
Minutes later, Jeff Parkinson of CANACE attempted to very politely ask officers on the scene for their badge numbers which they have a legal obligation to provide as he has done perhaps a dozen times before, but when he got to Zupanic he was arrested.
He was taken away by 2 OPP officers, searched, handcuffed, and put in a tiny steel cage in the paddy wagon where he sat for approximately 2 hours.
Both men were then taken against their will to the nearby town of Cayuga where Vandermaas was released, but Parkinson was put in a small holding cell with a concrete “bed”, a leaky, rusty, filthy steel toilet, & dead bugs on the floor.
What crime did I commit to warrant being held for over 4 hours? I asked an officer a straightforward question and refused to accept his non answer. He called it “breach of the peace” but no court anywhere would uphold such a bold faced lie.
There were 0 Natives in my vicinity at the time, I could not have been more polite if I tried, & he had a legal obligation to provide the information I was asking for which he ignored. He also had an obligation to release me the moment the so called “breach of the peace” was prevented but he didn’t do that either as Vandermaas was released 2 hours before I was & long after the event itself had concluded.
It was nothing more than a weak attempt to intimidate us into accepting the will of a bully who was hell bent on enforcing race based policing on our side of the protest.
I have at times been quite critical of the OPP, but I must admit after years in this battle I’ve gained respect for most of the front line officers that I see on a regular basis.
What’s that old saying about a few bad apples?