On November 24th, 2021 volunteers of the Hamilton Encampment Support Network and residents responded to a fire and an encampment tear down at JC Beemer Park. This resulted in the arrest of a Black disabled woman and her partner. In the following days (November 26th, 2021), another Black disabled woman was arrested at Beasley Park. In response to the arrest, a number of residents showed up at the Hamilton Police Central Station. Hamilton Police asked residents to leave and in the process, three Black youth were arrested violently as witnessed in this video. The events that occurred are now currently being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
On December 1st, 2021, Black organizations, Black-led organizations and Black residents in Hamilton released a collective message to support Black youth and housing advocates arrested. They made the following calls:
- We call Hamilton Police and the Prosecutors office to drop the charges laid against all six youth.
- We are calling on the Hamilton Police Service Board and/or the Attorney General to open a judicial inquiry into the actions of all Police officers present at JC Beemer Park on Nov 24th and at the Hamilton Police Central station on Nov 26th.
- We are calling on City Council to stop encampment evictions adversely affecting Black, Indigenous, and low-income residents.
Other community organizations supporting these calls include:
Afro Caribbean Faculty Association of McMaster (ACFAM)
Beasley Neighbourhood Association
Disability Justice Network of Ontario
Encampment Support Network – Parkdale
Equity Network Dundas
Everyone Rides Initiative
Filipinas of HamOnt
Hamilton Artists Inc
Hamilton Asian Alliance
Hamilton Bike Share
Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
Hamilton District Labor Council
Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council
Hamilton Students for Justice (HS4J)
Hamilton Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local (HWETL)
I Heart Hamilton
McMaster University – Office of Community Engagement
National Council of Canadian Muslims
OSSTF Toronto Teachers
Peel Regional Labour Council
Sex Worker Action Program of Hamilton (SWAP)
Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (WAHC)
Statements from Elected Officials
Matthew Green – MP Hamilton Centre
Rima Berns-McGown – MPP Beaches-East York
Councillor Nrinder Nann – Hamilton
Councillor Maureen Wilson – Hamilton