An elderly Canadian man was arrested and handcuffed Sunday by Ottawa police after honking his horn in support of Freedom Convoy truckers demonstrating against COVID-19 mandates. The man’s family alleges that the arrest was aggressive.
He’s just 4-foot-10,” said his son Steve. “He wouldn’t hurt anybody.”
“I find it disgusting,” expressed Gerald, another of his sons. “There was no need to be so rough with him.”
Gerry Charlebois is a 78-year-old father of four, grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather of four, and ended up with bruises after demonstrating his support for the Canadian truckers who were part of the “Freedom Convoy.”
The truckers began protesting against strict vaccination requirements and have been driving through Ottawa to dismantle all COVID-19 mandates imposed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The city’s mayor, Jim Watson, declared a state of emergency and ordered police officers to arrest anyone who wants to assist the truckers, for example with fuel and food.
Charlebois, who claimed to be vaccinated and to have gone out of curiosity to the protest area, told the Canadian media, Toronto Sun, that he was “very sore” from the cuts and bruises on his arms, hands, shoulder and knee, which he suffered during the arrest.
“I meant no harm,” Charlebois, a great-grandfather of four children and grandfather of 11, told the Canadian newspaper. “I just gave the trucker a thumbs-up and a honk.”
The footage was captured on video by a resident who approached to ask the cop why he was berating the elderly man.
“It’s an offense — it’s an offense to beep your horn. It is,” replied the officer, who, after an exchange of words with Charlebois, pinned him against the van to handcuff him.
When the man who was filming saw that they had handcuffed the old man to take him into custody, began shouting at the cops that this was communism. “It’s communism. You don’t have to show anything. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
The old man’s arrest came a day before an Ontario Superior Court judge temporarily banned honking horns for 10 days in response to a lawsuit by a 21-year-old downtown resident upset about protests that began Jan. 29.
“ATTENTION PROTESTERS: @OttawaPolice will enforce an order prohibiting anyone from using air horns or train horns for any street north of Hwy 417 until February 16th, 2022 or any other date set by the Court,” Ottawa Police said Monday on Twitter.
Charlebois admitted he cursed the officer, but said he supports law enforcement. “I was upset with him,” he claimed. While he ultimately did not remain under arrest, he did receive a $118 fine.
Although the demonstrations have been peaceful and there have only been blockades of traffic or access to the capital, the truckers charge that they are being maligned and accused of violence.
“I’m downright disgusted by the press and the way they have covered the convoy,” truck driver Brigitte Belton told Fox News, assuring that the convoy protesters are hardworking people and want to continue working.
As for the vaccine mandate, she said she is not against it, but questions the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, so she decided not to get vaccinated and feels that people should be free to decide whether or not to get it.