On September 12, the Ministry of Children and Families abducted the granddaughter of hemp activist Talisman, in retaliation for information given by him to Cannabis Culture Magazine. During the abduction, Talisman and his family were beaten by police. Last Spring, Talisman called Cannabis Culture Magazine to tell us that a friend, Michelle Olding, had lost her child to the Ministry of Children and Families for admitting that she smoked cannabis (see CC#27).
According to Talisman, it was about noon when social worker Kim McLeod came to his door, and asked Saldana Elliott, the baby’s mother, to come down to the office and “fill out some forms.” Talisman immediately sensed something amiss. On their way to the car, says Talisman, he tried to slow them down by telling the mother she had forgotten something. When that didn’t work, he pleaded with her not to get in the car. But McLeod was already on her cell phone calling for police back up, which arrived immediately. At least five officers in four separate vehicles eventually crowded the scene.
“By the time I got over to the car, there were police walking up behind me,” reported Talisman. “I asked one of them if I were under arrest, and he said, ‘No’ and I said, ‘Great. I have nothing to say to you.’ Then, at my urgings, the baby and the mother came out of thecar, and the social worker started running and was going to tackle her.”
According to Talisman and other witnesses, that’s when the violence began. Talisman’s son and the baby’s father, Eli Elliott, stepped between the social worker and his girlfriend, and an officer tried to stop him. He moved to strike Eli from behind when Talisman yelled out in his son’s defense.
“That actually deterred the officer,” says Talisman, “because he stopped in full swing. Next I had an officer creeping up behind me, and I scooted away. Then I turned to see that the officer had my son in some kind of headlock and was beating on him. That’s when I started shouting ‘Witnesses! Witnesses! Police brutality! Look what they are doing to my son!’ and the balconies started filling with people.”
From the balconies, multiple witnesses watched as Police Constable Klaussen pepper sprayed a docile Talisman in attempt to shut him up. Klaussen then pulled out a telescoping metal baton and began to beat the indignant grandfather, who ran toward the building, was corralled against the doors by a police car that nearly ran him over, and then was beaten some more.
“We were out on the balcony before everything started,” says neighbour Shamus Billings. “Talis stayed at least six feet away from the officer at all times. The officer would take a step forward, and Talis would take a step back. Talis had his hands down to his side or behind his back at all times. The police started all the violence.”
Meanwhile, attests Billings, another male officer, Constable Desjardins pulled a baton and began beating the baby’s mother, while yet another punched the father, Eli, in the face. Eli was holding the baby when the officer assaulted him.
“Eli didn’t use any force,” said Billings, “except for pushing a cop away after being punched in the face when he had the baby in his arms. Eli also kicked out the window of the police car after he was put into it so that he could shout for medical attention.”
Meanwhile, fifteen to twenty balconies filled with onlookers, who rained coffee cups down on the blood-hungry, baby-thieving pigs. Talisman was still against the doors receiving a beating from officers when Billings ran down to the lobby.
“I saw Talis against the door, cuffed,” reported a shocked Billings, “while Constable Brown held the door closed so that no one could get out and hit him repeatedly with a baton. Two cops stood over him watching. I was screaming and yelling on the other side of the door, but they ignored me until I hit the window with my fist.”
Talisman and Eli were put in jail for 24 hours although, according to Talisman, neither were formally charged or read their rights before being thrown behind bars. Talisman says he was refused medical attention four times during his stay behind bars. The mother and baby have since been removed to the Cowachin Lake Foster Home. Talisman was released on condition that he not see his granddaughter. He and his son will appear in court together on September 26 and 28 respectively, on charges of resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer.
* Talisman: (250) 746-7250