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Markham crossing guard, 70, roughed up by off-duty officer, witnesses say

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Oct 11th, 2018

The daughter of a Markham crossing guard said an off-duty Toronto police officer roughed him up on Tuesday morning — and her father was the one who ended up in custody.

Safra Najeemudeen said her father Muhammad Hameed was helping children cross the street near Mount Joy Public School, close to Bur Oak Avenue and Markham Road, around 8:15 a.m. when a driver failed to stop and proceeded through the intersection.

Hameed, 70, reportedly tapped the car with his stop sign as it passed him.

According to witnesses, the passenger, an off-duty Toronto police officer, got out of the car. They said he flashed his badge, grabbed Hameed by his reflective vest, and pushed him against the car.

The officer reportedly told Hameed he was arresting him for mischief.

“I could see it in my father’s face he was very distraught,” Najeemudeen said, who arrived at the scene at that point.

“I could see he was so stressed.”

The officer allegedly held Hameed against the car, which the officer’s son had been driving, until York Regional Police officers arrived around 8:30 a.m.

“When the police came, instead of the officer who assaulted him getting charged … they immediately come and start handcuffing him,” Najeemudeen said.

“For everyone looking it was very confusing, like why is he getting arrested when he is not the person who did the assault?”

Police removed the handcuffs before putting Hameed in the back of a cruiser. He then passed out and officers took him to a local hospital.

They released him from custody without charges.

Toronto police spokeswoman Caroline de Kloet confirmed the officer who first detained Hameed is part of the force.

York regional police are investigating, but wouldn’t say whether charges are pending against the officer. His son won’t be charged as no York officers witnessed him failing to stop at the crossing.

“We know that many members of our community are upset about … what they were seeing,” said Const. Laura Nicolle. “We want to make sure that our community knows that we take that incredibly seriously and we are listening.

“We’re going to be going through this very, very carefully and making sure that we have a full understanding of … what happened and determine what offence took place here and who’s responsible for that.”

Parents of students at Mount Joy gathered on Wednesday to show their support for Hameed.

“He loves this job,” Najeemudeen said. “That’s his passion.”

“If you get arrested for doing your job, then how do you do your job?”

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