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CAS Sends Goons for Dunn

October 2, 2010 permalink

When John Dunn took brochures to a CAS promotion in an Ottawa mall, CAS sicced the mall security staff on him. In reading the story, bear in mind that Mr Dunn is not a muscle-bound heavyweight.



Dunn Tackled in Place D'Orleans Mall by Security Guard at CAS Event

The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa held an event today (October 2nd, 2010) where they -- in an attempt to recruit more foster parents as per the brochures they were distributing to the public -- broke a Guinness World Record for the most people singing a song together (Stand By Me).

John Dunn, the executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada attended the public event, and intended to hand out brochures to those who attended to let them know about the Foster Care Council of Canada and to let the public know about a group called the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Society Members (OACASM) for anyone who might be interested in advocating for transparency and accountability of Children's Aid Societies through a membership with their local CAS.

After handing out a couple of brochures to individuals, (about two) Dunn placed some on benches and on the top of a disposal unit for people to pickup as they passed if they so chose, then he stood near the stage which was setup for the event to watch and hand out more brochures to anyone who would accept them.

However, before he could do so, within a couple of minutes, Dunn was approached by a mall security guard who told him not to distribute the brochures to people and gave him back the ones she had retrieved.

Dunn agreed with the guard not to hand any more flyers to individuals and continued to watch the event when he was pleasantly greeted by France Clost, the communications officer of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa. Dunn responded with a hello and then she began to ask Dunn why he felt he had to come to their events like this and asked him "don't you think trying to get foster parents for kids is a good thing?". Dunn responded that of course he does, but that all he is dong is trying to let people know about his group and that he is not protesting the event.

She asked Dunn why he does not simply talk to the Society about his concerns and he told her that he attempted several times over the years to meet with the Society's executive director Barbara MacKinnon only to be refused without any explanation several times other than for the Board to say in letters that there is no appeal procedure available for such matters and that the Society considers the matter closed. Clost offered that Dunn could meet with her to discuss his concerns to which he accepted and Clost went on her way.

Standing beside the growing crowd, Dunn watched as the time came for everyone to sing together. Once the song was finished, everyone cheered loudly, including Dunn who knowing he could no longer use his flyers to distribute to individuals, decided to celebrate the Guinness record breaking event by tossing the no longer useful brochures up into the air like confetti.

The brochures flew up into the sky and floated down gently making the event look spectacular like new years eve. Having done so, Dunn began to walk away. He deposited a couple more brochures on benches on the way out when he noticed he was being followed by three or four security guards.

Dunn became worried for his safety having seen security guards punching people in the face while pinned to the floor in the past, so he decided to run and try to get out of the Mall to safety.

The Guards all converged on him and one tackled him to the ground in a headlock. Dunn then threw his last handful of brochures up into the air in a bid to let people know why he was being tackled.

After a few seconds, the guards all surrounding Dunn on the floor slowly began to stand up and Dunn (not struggling what so ever) agreed to get up slowly so as not to cause a scene. The security guard who was holding Dunn in a headlock began to slowly let go of Dunn, until he was completely free. Dunn stood up, calmly and another security guard asked Dunn to pickup the brochures, to which he agreed to do because he was not trying to cause any problems.

Dunn collected the brochures from the floor, and the security guards asked him to leave the building. Dunn calmly agreed to this request and began to leave escorted by two others.

A supportive citizen appeared and accompanied Dunn to the door of the mall where Dunn thanked the citizen, gave the citizen a hug and was further escorted off the property by a single security guard to the Ottawa Bus Transit station.

The security guard said "we both accomplished our missions, you got your message out, and I escorted you off the property". Dunn thanked him and proceeded to board the bus and head home.

It is unfortunate that former foster children have such a hard time when it comes to trying to advocate for transparency and accountability of Children's Aid Societies in Ontario.

NOTE: When Dunn was asked by people if he was hurt by the security guard and if the guard over reacted etc.. Dunn's answer was as follows:

I have to admit that me running may have caused him concern that not knowing me at all, I could have been "up to something" because I was running kind of "toward" the crowd but that is where the door was (I was heading to the open path around the crowd of course) As for the headlock etc..

I was really impressed with this guys professionalism. I am even going to write a letter of commendation to him because he really and honestly did not use too much force, he did not tighten his arm around my neck at all. He kept his arm loose, but in a solid shape. I had about an inch of space around my neck by the feel of it at all times. if I struggled he might have tightened but I think he was only acting in the best interests of the public and was not being a bad guy or abusive of his authority.

Because I stayed still and calm, told him calmly that I have no criminal record, I am not at all violent, and only wanted to hand out my flyers, he realized I was not a threat and every five seconds or so would lighten his grip while telling me he was going to let me up etc.. so I am not upset at all. He handled the situation as professionally as he possibly could have. I was not hurt at all.

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Source: Foster Care News, John Dunn

Addendum: Here is a YouTube video of the event from which John Dunn was excluded, with a local copy (flv). Watch for flying brochures starting at 2:25. (Barbara MacKinnon cameo).