Central Student Association Outraged by Conduct of Guelph Police

Monday, March 13, 2006

Written by CSA

On March 8th 2006, International Women's Day, Nicole Freeborn was sexually assaulted by a Guelph police officer at a Guelph Union of Tenants and Supporters (GUTS) protest at the Ontario Housing Rental Tribunal (OHRT).

Officer B. Welsh, Badge # 107, pinned Ms. Freeborn's arms behind her back, pushed his pelvis into her backside and asked "How do you like that?" before arresting her.

A witness to the incident yelled "You just assaulted my friend!" to which Officer B. Welsh replied "whatever". Other witnesses asked if Officer Welsh would "get away with this" to which another officer responded by smiling and shrugging.

"This type of behaviour from police officers that are meant to support and protect us is extremely appalling and unsettling," says Hannah Draper, Communications Commissioner at the Central Student Association (CSA).

"This type of behaviour also demonstrates that even on International Women's Day the institutions that we look to for safety and protection are an integral part of the continued oppression of women through sexualized violence."

"Sexual assault is about control and power, and the fact that a police officer would act this way towards a female arrestee is both despicable and a cause for grave concern about the systems in place to protect us," stated Erika Gates-Gasse, Local Affairs Commissioner at the CSA.

"The fact that this occurred on International Women's Day is beyond ironic, and clearly brings attention to the challenges that remain in assuring the safety and equality of all women."

The Central Student Association calls on Chief Davis to demonstrate his commitment to the safety and equality of women in this community by openly investigating the assault and punishing the assaulting officer to the full extent of the law.

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Please write, call, fax or email the Chief of Guelph Police, Robert Davis to let him know that you are outraged and that sexual assault will not be tolerated. His contact information is as follows:

15 Wyndham St S
Guelph, ON
N1H 4C6
Phone: 519.824.1212 x. 220
Fax: 519.822.0949

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