Last Saturday night, 24-year-old Moses Demian was arrested in a plaza in Toronto’s east end (under the auspices of the ludicrously named Reopening Ontario Act). The arrest was captured on video, and the footage is disturbing, thanks to the rough treatment Demian received at the hands of some police officers.
But what happened just a few days later makes the arrest of Demian a truly heartbreaking story: namely, the young man died on Monday by apparent suicide.
Apparently, Saturday’s scuffle began when Demian allegedly called an officer a “pig.” Smartphone video footage also shows a police officer remarking: “You’re under arrest for obstructing a police officer” and added: “I asked for your ID and you told me to go f— myself.”
As the dialogue continues, the officer also says: “You are not supposed to be out right now, bud.”
But why would he say this? There is no curfew in Toronto (at least not yet). In fact, it appears that Demian was merely trying to purchase some bubble tea.
And then came shocking news on Monday, when the Toronto Police Service noted that Demian had taken his own life.
Here is the media release issued by the TPS:
On Saturday, January 2, 2021, at approximately 9:40 p.m., the Toronto Police Service received calls from the public reporting a large gathering of individuals in the area of Midland Avenue and Finch Avenue East. Officers arrived to find a gathering of approximately 50 people and cars gathered in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act. Some members of this large gathering refused to disperse and did not comply with the officers’ orders, resulting in one person being criminally charged with Obstruct Police.
During the arrest, the person stated they were in crisis. Officers responded immediately by taking the person to the hospital. The person was assessed by a doctor and released by the hospital to his family. The person had no further contact with the Toronto Police. Since then, we have learned the person died at their home in Durham Region on Monday, January 4, 2021. Given this is a non-criminal matter which took place outside the jurisdiction of Toronto, we will not comment. The service offers condolences to the family.
But so many questions remain.
We tried to get some answers on Tuesday evening, at a vigil for Demian at the plaza where the arrest took place.
Some of the people attending the vigil said they were eyewitnesses to the Saturday night takedown of Demian, and they claim that they saw Demian punched in the face by a police officer prior to his arrest.
As well, some say Demian — whose mother is a parking enforcement officer and whose sister is a Toronto police officer — felt humiliated by the video, and he asked the person who posted it on social media to take it down. Allegedly, the poster wanted $50,000 to do so, and given that Demian could not pay that amount, the video remained posted.
What happened to Moses Demian is a baffling, horrible and tragic story, that for some inexplicable reason, most in the mainstream media seem uninterested in telling. In the days ahead, Demian’s family deserves answers, and they deserve some transparency as to what really happened in that plaza last Saturday night.
Surely that is not too much to ask…