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Sorry, Wrong Number
May 11, 2009 permalink
Police raided the wrong address and seized the children. When they found their error, the police apologized, but child protectors would not return the children. Since identifying information is removed, there is no way to verify the story from AFRA.
From Canada- (Note- All names, including the advocate's with-held because of definite risk of retribution)
CPS screws up, Police goon squad attacks wrong family, Police interrogators terrorize parents, kids still in Foster Care
May 8, 2009
Some months back we were involved in a case of similar mistaken identity. For obvious reasons we cannot disclose names and specific details, as the powers that be would come down on us like a ton of bricks. However, the case went something like this...
A report from a bonafide medical practitioner, alleged that a child was being repeatedly abused and neglected, according to medical tests he conducted, at the behest of the school, when the boy was brought in, after suffering a severe injury, during recess.
However, the CPS caseworker that took down the information transposed the address number. She then summoned police and they engaged emergency services. The EMS team, (our version of SWAT), several police officers, and this caseworker stormed the wrong address. They grabbed the husband/father, who was having a quiet dinner with his family, at the table, and pinned him to the floor yelling, "Freeze! Don't Move!". At this point the police escorted both children from the home to a waiting police car, while the wife/mother was held face to the kitchen wall. The entire family was in shock and traumatized by the event. None the less, authorities seemed to care less.
After both children were placed in foster care and both parents escorted to the police station, the wife/mother was placed in one interrogation room, the father in another. The parents were in shock. They had just been invaded by heavily armed men, their home damaged from storm trouper tactics, and now found themselves in dank, drab, poorly lit, odour-drenched rooms facing police officers who were far less than cordial.
The, "interviewing", (interrogation), officers tried to convince the wife/mother that she didn't have to protect her abusive/neglectful husband, the children's father, and that she could be charged as a co-conspirator in the alleged abuse, together with separate charges against her, for failing to properly provide for the children and being neglectful. The woman fell into deep depression, as she knew nothing of what they were talking about.
In the other interrogation room, the lead, "interviewer", (interrogator), used techniques that, in itself, bordered on abuse and assault. He grabbed the father/husband, by the shirt, threw him against the wall, pinned him there while he attacked him with a barrage of insults and condemnations. The husband/father began weeping, as he was oblivious as to why these officers were so vile towards him.
After hours of this kind of torture and abuse, the police finally contacted the health professional and discovered the error. At this point the officer turned to the husband/father and said, "Sorry about that Sir, I was just doing my job". The husband/father turned to the detective and said, "Is this how you do your job, threatening, lying, yelling and calling me every dirty name under the sun?" The officer just shrugged and said, "Well, we thought you were guilty!" The husband/father simply said, "Yeah well, I think you're a jerk, fella!"
The wife/mother was also released by the detectives and the officers that interrogated her also apologized for their behavior, demeanor, and attitude. However the damage had already been done. Like accusing the parents of murder, when a young child is found dead, these folks were traumatized by their home invasion, then treated like dirt, then humiliated and terrorized for hours, during police, "Interviews", (interrogations).
But unlike the folks at the police station the CPS agency was a little bit less than apologetic. To cover up their mistake, error, poor judgment, and lack of proper investigation, they claimed they still had concerns about the parents' conduct, with respect to their children. They continue to claim there are sufficient grounds and reason to believe the parents may be suspected of improperly raising their children.
It's been some months now. The children are still in foster care. There have been several Family Court hearings, without resolve, and the family continues to be decimated and devastated by this travesty. The police were honest enough to at least admit an error had been made, and apologized for the mishap. However, the caseworkers at the CPS agency were not so forthcoming.
Inevitably, they attended the correct home, charged that father/husband with child abuse, child endangerment and neglect. That mother was convinced to bring charges against her husband and provided much needed evidence and testimony to convict that father/husband of his criminal ways.
But what, if any reparations and redress will be provided to the first family they terrorized?
Will they ever get their children back?
Will the record of allegations against them ever be expunged?
Will they continue to have what the CPS calls "a history" with this family?
And what about the children?
Will the Family Court now finally realize the caseworker made a mistake, and release the children back into the care and custody of the parents?
And what provision will be made to help these children overcome the terrorism they faced, at the hands of people who shot first, shot again, shot some more... then decided to ask a question or two?
Worst part of all is that this was not the first time that something like this has happened, and it probably won't be the last. Without proper civilian oversight committees to oversee and hold accountable, those authorities will continue unabated and unchallenged, to exceed their authority.
There was, is now, nor ever will be any civility, decency, respect, and no attention to the laws that should govern us, one and all.
Addendum: Further research has determined that this story comes from a trustworthy reporter, and that it is an Ontario case.
Addendum: Efforts to reach this family through the reporter have failed. This is a case in which the family could benefit greatly from contact with advocates. If you are the family, or know the family, please get in touch with John Dunn email [ afterfostercare at hotmail.com ] or Dufferin VOCA [ rtmq at fixcas.com ].
The way I see it, is that since the children are already being kept, the family has to speak out and bring their story out. They can not sit in fear of retaliation. They are already being retaliated against and their silence allows for that to continue.
Please encourage the family to contact me so I can talk to them if you are able to. The family should write to their worker and ask what child protection concerns the agency has so they can work on resolving the issues and toward closing their file.
Then it is up to the CAS to respond in writing, or if any calls from the CAS come in, let them go to the machine first, get the message and record calls to the CAS at any time but to always ask what child-protection concerns they have so that they can work on resolving them.
If the CAS does not respond, they can go to the media or to me and I can go to the media.
Also the CAS MUST bring the case to court within five days of apprehending the children or the case can be thrown out. It is in the CFSA. Five days no matter what.
The Foster Care Council of Canada