Police in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario have apologized to a man they believed to be dangerous after his daughter drew a picture of him shooting a gun at bad guys.
In February, Jessie Sansone, 26, was arrested at his four-year-old daughter Nevaeh’s school for possession of a firearm. A teacher believed there might be firearms at the child’s home because she drew a picture of her father shooting bad guys.
The young father of four was later strip-searched while police scoured his home for firearms. They did find a small plastic toy gun that fires plastic pellets.
“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,” said Chief Matt Torigian.
“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.”
The apology wasn’t enough for Sansone.
“I am a forgiving person, but this isn’t just about me,” he told Sun News. “It’s not just my own family. This was a whole system that crashed down on us, and it was all because of a four-year-old’s drawing,” he said. “They could have just talked with me instead. This can’t be allowed to happen to my neighbour, to another family.”
Sansone is talking to a new lawyer. The school board and social services have not issued an apology to the family.
- By Emily Olesen