rabble.ca exclusive: Toronto managers allegedly assault homeless man

On July 9, 2009, a press conference was held outside the Seaton House shelter in Toronto regarding an incident involving Brian DuBourdieu, who is currently homeless, and five city managers at Seaton House.

On June 24th, 2009, Brian DuBourdieu went to The Seaton House men's shelter in downtown Toronto to get something to eat and a night's sleep. Instead, he ended up spending the night in the emergency room of St.Mike's hospital.

The assault took place after Mr. DuBourdieu asked for something to eat from the city management who are staffing the shelter during the current strike. Despite his serious allergy to peanut butter, he was told by the managers that that was all there was to eat, after which a sandwich was thrown at him. Upset and angry, Mr. DuBourdieu threw the sandwich back at the manager, kicked a steel door (causing no damage), turned and walked away.

That is when the five city managers, who were working as replacements for the striking staff, allegedly attacked Mr. DuBourdieu, tackled him to the ground and kicked him repeatedly. Mr. DuBourdieu was then assisted to the hospital by a friend, where he was treated for his injuries, including torn cartilage and ligaments in his knee. There is a strong likelihood he will need surgery to repair the damage to his leg caused by the repeated kicks.

The shelter system has been in crisis for a long time and sending in untrained managers to work in shelters does not help matters. Shelters are overcrowded, have insufficient food and are infested with mice and bedbugs says Gaetan Heroux from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. "The shelter system desperately needs more funding and more beds, especially now when we expect an increase in homelessness.

"We call on the City of Toronto to apologize to Mr. DuBourdieu, return his missing property, make restitution towards him, lift the ban against him at Seaton House, and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again," said OCAP reprisentative Gaetan Heroux. "We also demand that the police lay charges against the managers involved in the assault."

Press Conference Speakers:
Brian DuBourdieu
Gaetan Heroux, OCAP
Mike Leitold, Lawyer

Filmed by Mike Yam.

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