The Day I Got Arrested for Arson (and Maybe Terrorism?)

I was arrested on June 18th, 2010.

This is the photo the media used, taken from Facebook.

This is the photo the media used, taken from Facebook.

When I was arrested I was walking down St. Laurent Boulevard to take the bus to go to work.  Two plain clothes police officers stopped me on a corner and told me I was under arrest for arson against the RBC bank that had happened on May 18, 2010.

I was put into the back of a marked police car, and the uniformed officer inside drove to a side street, stopped the car, and read me my rights.

He asked me, “Do you want to speak to a lawyer?”

“Yes.”

He asked me, “Do you have anything that you want to say?”

“No. “

After he finished his paperwork, he drove to the police station on Elgin St.  I was taken into the police station, searched, and put in a holding cell.

I was left in the holding cell for a while, maybe 30 mins, or an hour, and then I was taken out to speak with a lawyer.  Eventually I talked to Ian Brown, who would be my lawyer for the case.  I told him that I had been arrested for arson to property, and that the police were talking about charging me with terrorism.

After talking to the lawyer, they take me back to the holding cell.  On the way back I see someone lying on their chest in a hazmat suit.  I think that it might be X, but I’m not sure.  I’m not sure if the police told me, or my lawyer did, but I know that Roger and X have been arrested, too, and that they’re in the holding cells.

I’m in the holding cell.  It’s cold.  I’m cold.  I’m hungry, scared, confused and tired.

An officer takes me to another part of the station to be interrogated by police detectives.

The first thing the detective says is that I don’t have to talk with him if I don’t want to.  I tell him that I don’t want to talk with him.  He tells me to take a seat.

He makes statements and asks questions on and off for the next 1 – 3 hours.  It’s hard to know then, and to remember now, how much time passed.  I keep repeating something like, “On the advice of my layer, I am not answering questions,” and, “I’m not answering questions, on the advice of my lawyer.”

He pretends that they already know exactly what happened and that my conviction is assured.

Eventually they take me back to the holding cells.

The holding cells are cold, the metal “bed” – strips of steel sort of like a thick plaid pattern – is cold, hard and designed to make it hard to sleep.  The only food is one cheese or ham sandwich per meal.  Fortunately, the police give me my medication, which helps me sleep.

The "beds" in the Ottawa police station holding cells are way worse than this.

The “beds” in the Ottawa police station holding cells are way worse than this.

In the morning I’m taken to a police van, and put inside with Roger and X.  Good times! Everyone is alright.

Innes is warmer, has better food (an actual meal), and the three of us are together.  We can talk.  Briefly, Innes seems like it’s not so bad.  Yes, it is a nicer cage.

I don’t think it’s an accident that the holding cells are so much worse than Innes.  I think the police keep the holding cells cold, hard and bleak in order to physically and psychologically break down people they have arrested and caged.  If people were kept in those conditions long-term people would suffer, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that people would die.

After a meal in the “waiting room” for people about to be processed, I am strip searched, processed and put in segregation.  The prison guards took my glasses, so I couldn’t see anything clearly.  The prison guards refused to give me my medication.

——————————————–

It’s not like conditions at Innes are good.  Major issues include overcrowding, inmate suicide, segregation, staff shortages, food issues and an increasing number of lockdowns.

In fact, conditions are so bad that the Provincial Liberal minister of Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi was pressured into creating an Ottawa Carleton Detention Center (Innes) Task Force.  The Task Force’s report was released publicly on June 1 and made 41 recommendations to improve conditions there.

(for the full report, follow this link: http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Corrections/OCDC_task_force.html)

 

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4 thoughts on “The Day I Got Arrested for Arson (and Maybe Terrorism?)

  1. Sorry you had to go through that. I know what it feels like. I spent 10-years in prison for a murder that I absolutely did not commit. I lost everything, my wife and sons. Also the chance of getting to know my sons. Lots of family and friends died, while I was in prison for those ten years.

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  2. Im sorry you had to go through this Matt. Repression is expected but still shocking. This month marks the 15th year anniversary for the EU-summit of 2001 where me and many more got a taste of that. I was lucky and didnt face any charges, friends of mine not so lucky…

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