encampment tiny shelter toronto

Outrage after Toronto cops recorded harassing a homeless man living in mini-shelter

An audio recording allegedly depicting police officers taunting a homeless man living in a tiny shelter structure has been met with an outpouring of anger on social media, people outraged at the latest callous display of contempt for the marginalized by members of law enforcement.

Jordan Geldert-Hautala, a 45-year-old man who had been holed up in an ad-hoc shelter structure in Clarence Square Park for 17 days, is finally able to get out and stretch his legs after a police siege in an attempt to apprehend the man for minor bail offences committed out of province.

But during those two and a half weeks, Geldert-Hautala alleges to have endured harassment and taunting from Toronto Police officers, who he claims were looking to arrest him based on the outstanding warrants.

An audio clip posted to Twitter by Encampment Support Network Parkdale (ESN) offers just one instance of what went down.

An unidentified officer is recorded in the footage saying, "If he steps out and rushed back in there, we're allowed to come in and take him." One of the officers can then be heard saying "I don't see him staying in there for 6, 7, 8, 9 days," adding, "nobody's going to be bringing him food."

Geldert-Hautala was told by officers, "They're putting shifts on your box. 24/7 shifts. Waiting."

Geldert-Hautala described the ordeal to Global News, telling the outlet that he has "been suffering abuse from the police over the past 17 days," and during that time he has been "confined to my shelter with warrants they have no rights to pick me up on."

His charges would eventually be dropped on Wednesday afternoon, ending the stand-off, but the outrage persists on social media.

A spokesperson for the Toronto Police tells blogTO "We are aware there is a warrant from Quebec."

"Our officers have attempted to assist the man on a voluntary basis and they communicated with him, a social worker and his lawyer to help return him to Quebec to attend his charges and get them resolved. The individual agreed to a date of Wednesday, May 25 at 6 a.m."

The spokesperson contends that "officers attended and observed a group of protestors refusing to allow police in. Officers have only ever attempted to assist him with resolving the charges and while we have the authority to arrest the man, we will not be arresting him on the strength of the warrant."

As to the audio evidence of officers boasting that the man would not be provided with food, the spokesperson claims that "officers would not prevent someone from having access to necessities."

Lead photo by

Encampment Support Network Parkdale

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