“The results of this review have determined that Waterloo Regional Police officers acted in accordance with the law by arresting Mr. Sansone and made every effort to preserve his dignity and the safety of this community, however, the review also found that due to a miscommunication in the processing of Mr. Sansone, he was subjected to a Thorough Search instead of a less intrusive Frisk Search – an oversight which we regret. Deputy Chief Thomlison and I recently met with, and personally apologized to Mr. Sansone for the impact this has had on him and his family” – Waterloo, Ontario Regional Police Chief Matt Torigian, in a message released today.
The report also noted that 4-year-old Nevaeh believed that the gun she drew was real. Presumably she also thought the monsters she drew were real.
Sansone told the media today that he’s still planning to sue.
February 28, 2012:
A couple of updates, a clarification, and a bit of confusion:
Jessie Sansone has consulted with an attorney, with an eye toward a lawsuit. No big surprise here.
Kitchener officials involved in the affair are, for the most part, standing by their actions (or “sticking to their guns,” as the Calgary Sun put it).
It turns out the picture the girl drew was not simply of her father holding a gun, but her father holding a gun and fighting off the aforementioned “bad guys and monsters” — a pretty good indication that the drawing represented a child’s fantasy.
While it seems most logical that the girl’s name is actually Nevaeh — “Heaven” spelled backwards — local newspapers are all over the place on the spelling. We’ll stick the “Nevaeh” here until she produces her long-form birth certificate.
February 27, 2012:
Last Wednesday, in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada), 4-year-old Nevaeh Sansone drew a picture of her father holding a gun. Her teacher reported it to the principal, the principal reported it to the local police, and when her father, Jessie Sansone, came to pick her up, he was arrested, strip-searched and put into a cell — without explanation — and two of his other children who were with him at the time were taken into Family and Children’s Services custody.
Now, Sansone wasn’t arrested only because his kindergarten daughter drew a crayon picture of a gun — that would be silly. Waterloo Regional Police Inspector Kevin Thaler points out that there were additional concerns:
When Nevaeh’s teacher asked her about the drawing, the 4-year-old said “That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters.”
There is no indication that Jessie Sansone ever shot a bad guy. Or a monster.
And a search of Sanson’s home — conducted with his consent — found no guns.
Sansone was released a few hours after his arrest with an apology.
A spokesperson for Family and Children’s Services pointed out that the agency was obligated to investigate the school’s report — but of course there’s a difference between investigating a teacher’s suspicion and the police arresting, strip-searching and imprisoning a man.
Update: The gun Nevaeh drew does exist: it’s a toy.
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© 2012 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.