Witness video captures violent takedown of elderly Black couple at GTA hospital

An aged Black couple are alleging that Durham Regional Police and workers at an Ajax, Ont., hospital assaulted and abused them throughout a fall 2018 confrontation, after which tried to suppress video of the incident by way of threats of arrest and authorized motion.

Livingston Jeffers accompanied his spouse, Pamelia, to the emergency room at Lakeridge Well being Ajax Pickering Hospital on the night of Oct. 30, 2018, as a result of she was vomiting and affected by insomnia.

However by the wee hours of the morning, each had been admitted to the hospital east of Toronto on psychological well being grounds, with a bloodied Livingston Jeffers additionally receiving therapy for cuts and abrasions after a wrestle with two law enforcement officials that noticed him obtain various blows to the top. 

“You see your grandfather arrested, in handcuffs, with trauma to the top, bruises, bleeding—unconscious together with his head again on a chair,” mentioned Trequan Jeffers, the couple’s 22-year-old grandson. “This must cease. It actually must cease. My grandparents want justice. We’d like justice.”

At a socially distanced information convention Monday, the couple’s attorneys launched two movies of the melee that occurred simply outdoors the hospital entrance after workers, after which police, tried to cease the couple from leaving the ability.

One, shot on a cellphone by a witness, captures two law enforcement officials restraining and punching Jeffers, now 70, as he lay on the rain-soaked tarmac shouting “homicide,” whereas his 69-year-old spouse cries and resists the makes an attempt of workers to convey her again inside. A nurse and a safety guard are heard warning the witness that filming is illegitimate as a result of it “violates affected person confidentiality.”

WATCH | A video recorded by a witness reveals a part of the altercation:

Cellular phone video captured by a witness reveals a part of the altercation between two Durham law enforcement officials and Livingston Jeffers. 0:33

Corey Rainford, the 22-year-old man who witnessed the start of the incident and shot the 33-second video, mentioned that he was shocked by the extent of power police used in opposition to Livingston Jeffers.

And he and his buddy, Kaitlyn Wilson-McLean, informed the identical story a couple of hospital staffer and a Durham Police officer later approaching them contained in the emergency room and forcing Rainford to delete the video whereas they watched. 

“A police officer and one of many nurses pulled me off to the aspect, within the … entranceway and threatened that if I am not going to delete the video in entrance of them, I’ll be arrested and charged,” mentioned Rainford. 

Video shared

A “scared” Rainford complied, however had already launched himself to Trequan Jeffers, who had arrived a couple of minutes earlier to test on his grandparents, and shared the video with him. 

The second video, pieced collectively from a number of hospital safety cameras, lasts for a number of minutes. It reveals a nurse following the couple outdoors, the place she is rapidly joined by a safety guard, a physician after which the Durham officers who have been parked on the close by ambulance bay on an unrelated name.

The video of the confrontation is grainy and shot from a distance, making it unattainable to see precisely how issues turned bodily. However the wrestle between Jeffers and the police seems to go on for at the least one other minute after the cellphone video ends and all however one witness, a nurse, returns inside.

WATCH | Surveillance video from the hospital:

Surveillance video from Lakeridge Well being Ajax and Pickering Hospital reveals altercation between Livingston and Pamelia Jeffers, Durham police and hospital workers early on Oct. 31, 2018 5:34

In accordance with a Might 2020 report ready by Ontario’s Workplace of the Unbiased Police Overview Director (OIPRD), it was throughout this era that Jeffers put his hand on one of many officer’s weapons and tried to take away it from its holster — an act that was witnessed by the close by nurse.

One of many Durham officers was carrying an energetic physique cam on the time, as a part of a pilot challenge, and the audio apparently captures him warning his associate concerning the try and take his weapon. The second officer reacted by delivering what the report describes as “4 elbow strikes” to Jeffers’s head, knocking him unconscious. 

Constables cleared by investigator

The surface investigator, a former York Regional Police officer, cleared each Durham constables of allegations of arrest with out trigger and extra use of power, ruling that their actions have been justified.

One of many constables sustained scratches to his face within the wrestle, and Jeffers was arrested on fees of assault and attempting to disarm an officer, however the matter was later dropped, partially as a result of the officers did not learn Jeffers his rights. 

The attorneys for the couple have requested for, however have but to obtain the physique cam video. And the Durham Regional Police Service is refusing to launch it to the media. 

In an announcement issued Monday, the power mentioned it is not going to touch upon the case due to ongoing civil litigation. The Jefferses filed swimsuit final November searching for a complete of $1.6 million from the police and hospital — and a newly filed request by the household for a overview of the OIPRD choice. 

In an announcement to CBC Information, Lakeridge Well being mentioned it is not going to discuss “particular person affected person experiences” due to privateness issues, however that it “strives to supply wonderful affected person care to all members of our neighborhood.”

Faisal Kutty, who represents the Jefferses, mentioned he has severe issues concerning the investigative report, noting that neither Rainford, nor Wilson-McLean, have been interviewed. (They have been apparently contacted in March, however did not obtain a response to their request to delay a face-to-face assembly over issues about COVID-19.)

“We do not suppose the overview was correctly executed,” he mentioned. “The investigator is definitely doing the job of defending the cops, probably not on the lookout for fact and justice. And in order that’s why we are actually attempting to ask for a overview.”

Livingston and Pamelia Jeffers are suing Durham Regional Police and Lakeridge Well being Ajax Pickering Hospital after a violent altercation with two law enforcement officials outdoors the hospital in October 2018. (Submitted by Jeffers household)

The Jefferses themselves didn’t attend Monday’s information convention. Kutty mentioned that they’re nonetheless affected by the psychological fallout of that night, and have been fearful that the police would possibly present up.

On the information convention, Kutty’s co-counsel, Kalim Khan, drew parallels between his shoppers’ expertise and the latest killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, and the violent arrest of Chief Adam Allan by Alberta RCMP in March

Kutty contends that the couple are additionally victims of systemic racism and implicit bias on the a part of the police and the hospital, components that noticed them handled as threats moderately than individuals in want of help.

Advised they may go residence for evening

Nobody, Kutty mentioned, disputes that a physician informed the Jefferses that it was all proper for them to go residence for the evening and return the following day — unaware that certainly one of his colleagues was about to begin making ready the paperwork to have Pamelia Jeffers assessed on psychological well being grounds. 

Livingston Jeffers had a earlier run-in with police. In 2007, he was convicted for mischief and counselling homicide close to a collection of difficult-to-decipher posters that he put up round Scarborough after shedding his condominium in a financial institution foreclosures. The decision was later unanimously overturned by the Ontario Courtroom of Attraction.

“What we have to know, what we have to resolve as a society is — even when someone is mentally sick, is that this the way you deal with them?” Kutty mentioned. “You are taking them down violently, when in response to the witness, they have been leaving?”

He mentioned the Jefferses, along with the compensation, are searching for an apology from the police and hospital and a promise of change. In addition they need to see necessary coaching on de-escalating disputes and confrontations.

“When someone is allegedly affected by psychological well being points, they owe [them] an extra, further obligation of care to deal with them with compassion,” mentioned Kutty.

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