Emotional testimony highlights lost hope, stress and fear

by Gary McHale

Regional News - Nov. 25, 2009

Dave Brown spent two days last week testifying to the numerous examples of lawlessness that he and his family endured while OPP stationed nearby did nothing to help. Senior OPP officers are confirming in court the hundreds of examples where police either did not respond or refused to investigate various criminal behaviour.

What the court heard over those two days is of average citizens forced into a world of chaos while being abandoned by the OPP and the Ontario Government.

It is the story of lost hope, extreme stress and fear brought about by hundreds of examples of illegal behaviour including intimidation, threats, theft, trespassing, kidnapping, assaults, the ransacking of their home and the numerous fires near their home.

Dave stated, "I didn't know fear in my life until April 20, 2006", when he watched load after load of gravel dumped onto Argyle St. by the Baptist Church. Hundreds of tires were brought in and set on fire by the 6th Line. "A ridiculous amount of black smoke", he stated, as he saw smoke from other fires rising up in all directions.

"I was trapped", Dave told the court.

What followed for weeks was daily and nightly harassment by native protesters including repeated examples of death threats and threats to burn down his home. Repeated racial slurs, swearing, loud noises, fires on DCE and nearby grass fires as well as numerous nights where lights were shone into their home.

When they attempted to use their BBQ natives would stand a few feet away calling them "white bitches" shouting they were living on native land. Dave was humiliated one day while attempting to go home when he was stopped at the native barricade. A native youth used his super soaker to spray Dave and the inside of his car while other natives just laughed.

They received no mail, no garbage removal, and no school bus service which forced Dax to move away in order to attend school. Natives threatened to go to Dax's school and beat him up.

Dave watched as Dana cried to God, asking, "why my son can't live with me."

Dave stated, "I am embarrassed for many of the things I have done." "I lost hope, my mojo", he stated. He was afraid to go to sleep and came to believe the OPP would never help him. "What am I gonna do, call the police, I might as well call the Ghost Busters", Dave said.

Dave turned to cocaine to keep him awake and to alcohol to ease the pain.

"I was angry at my wife, my son, the police, the government, you [Dave's lawyer], the media and everyone" said Dave and "I don't know how to be a husband to Dana or a father to Dax."

On July 29, 2008 Dana collapsed at work from fatigue and stress and was taken to the hospital. Dave arrived to see her with wires on her chest and he thought he was about to lose his wife. He left "afraid he would freak out", called Insp. McLean and threatened to kill Dennis Brown [Crown lawyer]. McLean arrived at Dave's home and both got into a shouting match.

Insp. McLean had a heart attack on his drive home and Dave stated he went to Mrs. McLean and apologized to her.

In Sept. 2008 Dave became enraged by the natives near his property who told him they were going to "kick his ass". This time Dave got on Dax's dirt bike and drove onto DCE.  The OPP tried to calm him down then took him to the Hagersville Hospital. They then handcuffed him and took him to St. Joseph's Hospital for a three day psychological review. The doctor released him the next day.

Several times Dave broke down and cried on the stand while his lawyer waited for him to regain control. Both Dana and Dax broke down during Dave's testimony and other residents from Caledonia were seen crying and walking out of the courtroom.

There will be some who will find fault with Dave because of the use of cocaine, the drinking and the stories of having a loaded gun. The Crown stated, 'from time to time, Mr. Brown and Ms. Chatwell engaged in behaviour that provoked the protestors on the site and exacerbated an already difficult situation.'

However, this is Canada where the phrase 'Rule of Law' is contained within the preamble of our Constitution. This is not some banana republic where lawlessness and government corruption make it impossible to maintain law and order. The primary purpose of Government is to ensure the security of its people. Dave and Dana saw firsthand the collapse of social order and they have paid a great price because the OPP's willingness to sacrifice them for some greater political end.

Few of us would have fared any better.