On February 22, Jessie Sansone of Kitchener, Ontario, thought he was making a routine stop to pick up his children at the end of a school day. Instead, he found himself arrested, strip-searched, and thrown in jail. His wife was also taken into police custody, while his children were spirited away by child welfare agents.
Anyone observing this series of events would think Sansone had committed some horrific crime. In fact, he had done nothing even remotely illegal. The entire Sansone family was treated to this raw display of state power because four-year-old Neaveh Sansone had allegedly committed the unforgivable sin of drawing a picture of a gun at school.
Sansone, 26, showed up at Forest Hills Public School as usual Wednesday afternoon to pick up his three school-age children. He and his wife, Stephanie Squires, also have a 15-month-old and are expecting a fifth child in about four months.
When he arrived, he was summoned to the principal’s office where three police officers were waiting. They told him he was being charged with possession of a firearm. Then they escorted him from the building, handcuffed him, and took him by police cruiser to the station, where he was strip-searched. He was later told he would be held overnight and would have a bail hearing the next morning.
While this was going on, Squires was also being taken to the police station, and the three children Sansone had intended to take home were instead whisked off to Family and Children’s Services, where they were interviewed.
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