Statements Released About The Arrests!

FIERCE FABULOUS’ STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY:
(ASHTON WATERS)

Fierce and Fabulous is a community based collective that opposes all forms of oppression including that of the state. Our collective works together as a group and with other community organizations to provide queer events, workshops and entertainment for queer and trans folk. Fierce and Fabulous aims to supply resources and support to Guelph’s queer and trans community.

In regards to the incident that happened outside of the drag show held at Peter Clark Hall at the University of Guelph on March 6th, we feel there was absolutely no reason for the arrests that took place. These arrests should not have happened in the first place and there was certainly no reason for the police to brutalize the folks being arrested. All three of the folks who were arrested on March 6th sustained bruises and cuts on their wrists as a result of the handcuffs being excessively tight; one person suffered contusions to the forehead after repeatedly having their head smashed on the back of the police cruiser, and one person was badly bruised with documentation of these bruises over most of their torso and extremities.

The police have once again used their power and authority in a very heavy handed way as an outlet for their homophobia and transphobia. We see this abuse of authority happening not only with this homophobic/transphobic attack by the police in Guelph, but everywhere.
Just a few weeks ago, in San Antonio,  police officer Craig Nash arrested and then raped a trans womyn of colour. There had been previous complaints about his behavior from members of the public and yet this repulsive, disgusting attack had to happen before he faced any type of disciplinary action.
Making the connection between these recent arrests and not only the police brutality in Guelph but the police brutality that happens all the time in so many other places and all of the thousands of undocumented cases of police brutality against marginalized communities is important. It’s important because when we make these connections we are able to see how homophobic/transphobic police violence plays out for the queer/trans folk everywhere. These attacks are part of a larger struggle.
There have been previous reports of campus police brutality at the University of Guelph already. How many instances of police brutality will it take before the Campus Police in our own city are held accountable for their actions? Do we have to wait for it to take something incredibly horrible and traumatic before these people who abuse their positions of power to be held accountable? When we look at the brutality of these arrests, we see them as a warning sign. If the University fails to act now they are consciously choosing to fail to prevent further hate motivated assaults.

Fierce and Fabulous questions how one of the police officers was able to sustain their scratches and injuries on their back from tackling and arresting the three survivors. Of course we’d like to thank them for suggesting that these folks were able to defend themselves and overpower the police for even a moment, but unfortunately this is very untrue. Plus, isn’t their fancy uniform gear and bullet-proof vests supposed to prevent these types of minor injuries?

Fierce and Fabulous fully supports the three folks arrested and encourages folks to show their support as well. One small way could be checking out the Anti-Police Brutality Demo on March 20th outside Guelph City Hall at 3:30pm hosted by Sense of Security. Another could be sending emails of support to: fierce.n.fabulous1969@gmail.com or attending the following court dates: March 22 and April 19 (9:30am @ 36 Wyndham St. South). Or better yet, take action into your own hands.

ONE OF THE ARRESTED FOLKS’ STATEMENT:

I’m here to talk about the ways the police used excessive force during the arrests of me and my two co-accused.

Things started off fairly rough, when two of us were forcibly removed from the drag show at peter clark hall by members of the brass taps staff. They grabbed our t-shirts, and pushed and pulled us out the door. This was an illegal use of force. The brass taps aren’t legally aloud to forcibly remove anyone by touching them if they haven’t refused to comply with the request to leave the venue.

The three of us left the university center on our own accord. As we tried to make our way home, we were confronted with three, large, male campus police officers  They proceeded to tackle the person in our group that had not been kicked out into a rose bush. He sustained cuts from the thorns. As I approached to make sure he was alright, under the cop twice his size, I was thrown to the pavement and screamed at to stay away.Meanwhile, our other friend was forcefully thrown to the ground by another cop. The police officer threatened that he would pepper spray her in the eyes if she did not stay still, this was before she was given notice that she was under arrest or that she was being charged. The force of that arrest led to extensive bruising on her arms, and torso.

When the first two had been dragged to their feet, and towards the cop cars parked inside the U.C. bus loop, I tried again to make sure that the person who was tackled into a rose bush was o.k, by asking him if he was alright and trying to get close enough to hear his answer.

This is when the third cop threw me to the ground and I was also arrested.

At the squad cars, we were all treated roughly, from verbal threats like “you’d better cooperate because I’m not in the freaking mood’’ to physical violence. One person had their head smashed off the police car, these are the pictures of those cuts and the cuts he sustained from the handcuffs being extremely tight. *** We all had bruises from the handcuffs.

At the police station, I was verbally insulted, denied a blanket released to walk home alone at 4:30 in the morning.

I have been informed that the police forced one of the people who was arrested, who identifies as trans,  to remove his chest binder while two female police officers watched him. The police explained that he had to remove it because he was only aloud to wear one layer of clothing on his back. He had also asked the two police officers to leave the room while he took off his binder, they refused.  This was a massive invasion of privacy for him. interestingly enough, no one else who was arrested was forced to abide by this one layer rule. He was also told he was not allowed to have the handcuffs removed or even use a washroom until he was searched.

I think it is also completely inappropriate and disrespectful that in the statement released in the Guelph Mercury by university spokesperson  Chuck Cunningham and statement made by the campus police used the pronoun “she” while referring to this person even though they were well aware that he uses the pronoun “he”.

The way the police have treated us has been completely disrespectful and unprofessional. They have proven to lack any sort of understanding of how to deal with transgendered individuals. They were violent, and completely out of line. We and many members of the community are outraged.

While we have all been released, we have been given restrictive conditions that affect our lives every day. We have cerfews, we are not aloud to associate with one another and we are not aloud to consume any alcohol. For a group of close friends, who, before hand, would socailize and organize together, as well as support each other emotionally, this has been devastating

GRCGED’s STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY:

Almost a year to the day that seven students were confronted and forcefully detained by the University of Guelph Campus Police following College Royal Ball, three people leaving the Guelph Queer Equality’s (GQE’s) annual drag show, co-sponsored by the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity (GRCGED) were confronted and received injuries from the University of Guelph Campus Police during arrest. GRCGED is very concerned about this trend in “policing” at the University.
GRCGED supports the three people who received injuries during arrest and are deeply troubled by this use of force on our campus.
Queer and trans people have a long history of being harassed and assaulted by police and there is substantial mistrust of police in these communities. Something that highlights this is that there is an upcoming two-day conference about why people in the queer and trans communities do not report crime.
Although the specifics of the arrest have not been made public, it would not be surprising if, when confronted, young queer or trans people would try to avoid talking to police – even Campus Police. The Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity (GRCGED) supports Guelph Queer Equality (GQE) in encouraging anyone with any concerns who has not yet come forward to please do so. GQE is compiling information or concerns about the events that took place the evening of the drag show by contacting them at their office at UC 243 on the second floor of the University Centre, or email at them at gqe@uoguelph.ca. Guelph Queer Equality intends to pursue this issue through all possible avenues.
-30-
Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity
grcged@gmail.com

GRCGED – We are a student funded, collectively run resource centre for people of all or no genders.We advocate anti-oppression issues within a feminist framework, recognizing that issues of gendered
oppression consist of struggles against all systems of domination.
March 18, 2010

GUELPH QUEER EQUALITY STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY:
On the night of Guelph Queer Equality’s annual drag show, co-sponsored by the Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity, three individuals in attendance were asked to leave by Brass Taps security, and were then arrested by campus police, between midnight and 12:30am.

The coordinators of Guelph Queer Equality — many of whom witnessed the events that took place involving the Brass Taps staff, campus police, or both — would like to formally declare our full support for the three individuals, and express our extreme dismay with the actions of Brass Taps security and campus police. It is the opinion of Guelph Queer Equality that the behaviour of security and campus police ranged from general mismanagement of the situation to outright discrimination against the three individuals charged. Several coordinators and volunteers witnessed the arrest by the cops and were shocked and upset by the behaviour of campus police. It appeared to onlookers like nothing more than people in positions of power bullying members of the queer community, and a glaring example of the systemic forms of oppression that marginalized groups face in society.

Guelph Queer Equality strives to create safe events and works very hard to create an environment where those in attendance can feel as comfortable as possible. We have heard from both student and community members about several issues during the event, both in regards to the incident involving the three charged individuals, and also separate incidents involving Brass Taps staff. We at Guelph Queer Equality are sincerely apologetic to all event goers who had any experiences, or witnessed any interactions, at our drag show that made them feel unsafe or unwelcome.

We would encourage anyone with any concerns who has not yet come forward to please do so. Additionally, If you have any information that you can provide us about the events that took place that evening, we would also appreciate if you would be willing to speak with us. We encourage you to stop by our office at UC 243 on the second floor of the University Centre, or email at us at gqe@uoguelph.ca. Guelph Queer Equality intends to pursue this issue through all possible avenues, and any information that can be provided would be appreciated.

Once again, we would like to apologize to everyone at our event, especially the three charged individuals, that we were not able to create a safe space. We would like to thank all those in attendance, and our performers and volunteers, for helping us make this one of our most financially successful drag shows ever, allowing us to make a substantial donation to Out On The Shelf.  However, we are deeply saddened that this was not able to be a positive night for everyone.

–The GQE Coordinators


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One Response to “Statements Released About The Arrests!”

  1. […] Update from Fierce & Fabulous Krew on the 3 queer/trans folk arrested outside a drag show for ‘assault on a peace officer’.  Statement of solidarity here. […]

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