An elderly man was handcuffed and arrested in Ottawa for simply honking his car horn in support of demonstrators on Sunday, a day before a judge outlawed honking, as protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates continue in the Canadian capital.
A bystander filmed while two officers pulled over Gerry Charlebois, 78, for beeping his horn.
‘What did he do wrong?’ the bystander asked. ‘None of your f****** concern, man,’ one officer responded.
Officers went back and forth with onlookers and Charlebois. Eventually, an officer in a blue surgical mask grabbed Charlebois and tried to restrain him, bringing the vaccinated great-grandfather down to his knees in the middle of the street before handcuffing him against his van.
An Ontario Superior Court Justice temporarily banned honking and air horn blowing for 10 days on Monday, responding to a lawsuit from a downtown resident who measured the noise in her apartment at more than 80 decibels during the protests, which began on January 29.
The injunction was in response to a lawsuit by downtown resident Zexi Li, 21. Her lawyer, Paul Champ, said the level of noise measured in her apartment was akin to ‘having a lawnmower running in her living room, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,’ according to the Ottawa Citizen.
The $9.8 million class-action lawsuit is open to up to 6,000 downtown residents who live in or near the protest’s ‘red zone.’
The daily demonstrations, going on day 12, began as a protest against vaccine requirements for truckers who enter the country by land but has since expanded to call for the dismantling of nearly all COVID-related restrictions.
In the six-minute video (below), a bystander films two police officers before and after they arrested Gerry Charlebois, who was accused of honking the horn of his van in violation of a recent court ruling meant to quell the protests.
‘I meant no harm,’ Charlebois told the Toronto Sun in an interview Tuesday. ‘I just gave the trucker a thumbs-up and a honk.’
In the video, the bystander filming is heard criticizing the officer for following the ruling and encouraging Charlebois to not give out his information.
‘You don’t have to answer his questions, sir,’ he tells Charlebois. He then tells the officer, ‘You’re abusing old men.’
The officer and Charlebois then walk back toward the trunk of the van.
‘Because I tooted the horn,’ Charlebois begins.
‘That is why you’re pulled over,’ the officer states.
‘It’s called communism. It’s communism. You don’t have to show anything. You didn’t do anything wrong,’ the man behind the camera continues.
The officer tells the man recording that it’s an offense to beep the horn.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean granted a 10-day injunction the next day banning horn honking and air horn blowing.
‘The only purpose of this (horn blowing) is to bring attention to this protest,’ McLean said. ‘There’s no need for that anymore. The public is fully aware of what’s going on.’
As the officer waits for Charlebois to show his ID on Sunday, Charlebois turns around to walk away.
That’s when the officer grabs him by the arm and twists him, causing him to fall on one knee on the asphalt. He gets up and the officer presses him against his vehicle.
Charlebois is then walked back to the patrol car.
He was given a $118 ticket for ‘unnecessary noise,’ according to the Toronto Sun. While he wasn’t arrested, he sustained injuries to his arms, hands, shoulders and knees.
The bystander behind the camera yells, ‘They represent Trudaeu and the police chief, Sloly! That’s what they represent. Hate, division. You are not protecting and serving nobody.
‘This is b******. Communist f****** police,’ the man continues to yell.
‘I was in shock,’ Charlebois told the Toronto Sun. ‘When (the police) pulled me over, he told me I was in trouble for honking the horn.’
Charlebois said he drove to the area to look at the trucks and planned on parking his van and walking to Parliament Hill.
‘That’s why I put my wallet in the back of the van,’ he said. ‘I was hoping to go in there, but when I got there I saw all of the commotion. I decided it was too much so I just looked from the van and then started to head home.’
Though he was at the protest in support of other demonstrators, he says he’s fully vaccinated and plans to get his booster shot soon.
‘He’s just 4 foot 10,’ said his son Steve, who added that they may have to take his dad to the hospital for an X-ray for his shoulder.
‘He wouldn’t hurt anybody.’
Another son, Gerald, said: ‘They didn’t seem to arrest any of those big truckers like that.’
‘I find it disgusting. There was no need to be so rough with him,’ he added.