Man shocked by arrest after daughter draws picture of gun at school
The Record (CA)
KITCHENER — A Kitchener father is upset that police arrested him at his children’s’ school Wednesday, hauled him down to the station and strip-searched him, all because his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.
“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Jessie Sansone, 26, said Thursday.
“I was in shock. This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school.”
The school principal, police and child welfare officials, however, all stand by their actions. They said they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.
“From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there’s guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child,” said Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children’s Services.
Waterloo Regional Police Insp. Kevin Thaler said there was a complaint from Forest Hills public school that “a firearm was in a residence and children had access to it. We had every concern, based on this information, that children were in danger.”
Their concern wasn’t based on the drawing alone, he said.
Neaveh, the child who made the drawing, also made comments about it that raised more flags.
Sansone thinks police overreacted. He didn’t find out until hours after his arrest what had actually sparked the incident.
He said he went to the school Wednesday afternoon to pick up his three children. He was summoned to the principal’s office where three police officers were waiting. They said he was being charged with possession of a firearm.
He was escorted from the school, handcuffed and put in the back of a cruiser.
At the same time, other police officers went to his home, where his wife and 15-month-old child were waiting for his return.
They made his wife come to the police station while the other three children were taken to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed.
“Nobody was given any explanation,” said his wife, Stephanie Squires. “I didn’t know why he was being arrested.
“He had absolutely no idea what this was even about. I just kept telling them. ‘You’re making a mistake.’ ”
At the police station, Sansone talked to a lawyer who said only that he was being charged with possession of a firearm, Sansone said.
He kept asking questions. He was given a blanket and told he would appear before a judge in the morning to post bail.
“I was getting pretty scared at that point,” Sansone said. “It seemed like I was actually being charged at this point.”
He was forced to remove his clothes for a full strip search.
Several hours later, a detective apologized and said he was being released with no charges, Sansone said.
The detective told him that his four-year-old daughter had drawn a picture of a man holding a gun. When a teacher asked her who the man was, the girl replied, “That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters.”...Toy Stephanie Squires holds the toy gun her daughter appears to have used as inspiration for her school drawing that led to her dad's arrest and strip search by police.http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/676150--man-shocked-by-arrest-after-daughter-draws-picture-of-gun-at-school