Hamilton Police Beat and Bloody Wrong Man in Botched Drug Raid

Hamilton’s police chief admits they got the wrong apartment and the wrong man when officers burst into the home of an unsuspecting refugee from Myanmar who was left terrified and bloodied.

Heavily armed officers were looking for an alleged cocaine dealer who lives in a different unit in the same apartment building as 58-year-old Po La Hay and his two adult children.

Hay was home around 9 p.m. Tuesday readying things for work the next day at a garden centre when he claims police broke down his door and aimed guns at his head.

“I didn’t even have a chance to say any words,” he said through interpreter Lerwah Lobo.

Terrified, Hay collapsed to the ground. Officers handcuffed him and asked if he was the man listed on their warrant, he said. When he said, “No, my name is Po La,” Hay claims officers smashed his face on the floor and began kicking him. He was scared to move, believing they might be robbers despite the uniforms.

Telling the story, Hay smiles politely and shakes a little. He has stitches above his left eye, a bruised and bloodied nose and red marks along his back and side. He said one rib is broken and he will have to return to doctors for more tests. He looks less than 100 pounds.

“Our officers attended an address to apprehend a party wanted for trafficking narcotics,” said Chief Glenn De Caire. “The person we wanted was in the apartment next door. All the right investigative steps were taken and in the end, it was wrong … We accept responsibility.”

De Caire said he met yesterday with members of Hay’s family and apologized. He also offered the services of counsellors and to meet again with the whole family.

Hay said he is too scared to meet with police and his only concern is lost wages for time off work.

When asked about Hay’s injuries, De Caire told The Spectator he would not comment, saying only that a complaint has been filed with the Ontario Independent Police Review Director (OPIRD) — an arms-length agency created seven months ago by the Attorney General. It is staffed entirely by civilians and is meant to keep police accountable for their actions.

But in a later statement, De Caire acknowledged that “during the process of securing the residence, a resident of the home was injured. Officers on the scene called for an ambulance and the resident was taken to hospital.”

OPIRD “has carriage of the complaint now,” said De Caire. Neither the chief nor OPIRD would say who laid the complaint. The next step is for OPIRD to determine if the complaint has merit, and if so, an investigation will begin that could result in a public hearing and discipline.

Hay’s 23-year-old son, Say Blut, was in bed and was handcuffed after police knocked on his door. Another man, 21-year-old Panar Noo, was in the bathroom and alleges police handcuffed him, kicked him and dragged him downstairs.

While Hay says he was being kicked and punched, another team of officers arrived and one yelled “stop, stop.” The officers did. They didn’t apologize, he said. But a couple tried to wash some of the blood from his face.

The alleged cocaine dealer police were supposed to arrest that night was a 35-year-old whose name is not remotely similar to Po La Hay, according to a copy of the search warrant obtained by The Spectator. The apartment unit listed on the warrant is Hay’s.

Police confirm that the intended target was later arrested. He faces two charges of trafficking.

A Hamilton detective constable got a “telewarrant” (done after hours and by phone) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday from a justice of the peace in Newmarket. The warrant permitted officers to seize “cocaine, scales, money, cellphone, debt list, packaging and documents.”

For Hay and members of the Karen community, the botched arrest threatens their trust of police. The Karen people are a persecuted ethnic group in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Hay and his family, like most Karen people, was forced into a refugee camp by authorities. This treatment has resulted in common mistrust of police.

While in the camp, Hay’s wife died of malaria in 1994. He managed to flee to Thailand with his son and daughter, Ba Blut, now 19. The family became successful refugee claimants to Canada in 2006.

There are about 300 Karen refugees in Hamilton. Most have been here for about three years.

Madina Wasuge, executive director of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, called the botched arrest disturbing. “People flee situations that are dangerous and when they come to Canada, the first thing they are expecting is to be safe,” she said, adding the actions nullify all the work her organization and others have done.

Fellow Karen and Hay’s friend La Pa said her community feels isolated and scared since this incident.

“When we came to Canada, the first people we met were the police and they said you are safe,” she said.

Now this incident is giving her flashbacks to her home country.

The raid on Hay’s home came at the end of a two-week project by the vice and drug unit intended to target street level drug traffickers. Yesterday, just hours before Hay’s family met with the chief, police issued a media release praising the “aggressive enforcement initiative” which also involved members of the BEAR (Break, Enter, Auto theft and Robbery) Unit, Guns and Weapons Enforcement Unit, the Intelligence Unit, the Emergency Response Unit and Uniform Patrol.

De Caire touted the good work of his officers “overall” and the “number of drugs taken off the streets that will not make it into the hands of children.”

Most of the activity took place in the downtown core, with 49 arrests made, 100 charges laid and $1.2 million in drugs seized including cocaine, crack, marijuana, oxycodone and the largest seizure ever of crystal methamphetamine.

– Article from The Hamilton Spectator.



  1. Anonymous on

    I live in California and I can tell you the tyranny is increasing everywhere, not only where you live, you see they have stripped us of our human rights, and now apparently we are property to the government, please go to: infowars.com and listen to Alex Jones also to help with the government persecution you should try Roy Masters at fhu.com both these men and many more understand what is happening all over america and the world, the new world order needs a police state while they got rid of the constitution, soon they will be able to strip you of your american citizenship, they are working on that law.
    we have lost our freedom and according to the eugenics plan by the new world order the world population will be reduced to 500 million, people all across america are having to go into exile because of the tyranny being instituted, who would have thought that persecution would take place in america against people who believe in freedom.

  2. Anonymous on

    we have allowed our government to become our owners. individually we have become sheep.
    foundationofhumanunderstanding.com and prisonplanet.com
    taxcann 2010

  3. moldy on

    shoot the dog anyway! I guess this guy came to Canada for freedom? Ha ha

    Ironic as hell, coming from Myamar the most dreadful place on earth then gets his head kicked in by local police. What a joke!

  4. Anonymous on

    Where police can beak into anybody’s home and assault them and then just say oops wrong address. I think a lot of people need to start calling in tips on cops’ houses being drug houses. We’ll see how they respond to those community complaints. That’s apparently all you have to do to get anybody’s home raided. They don’t need any actual evidence or anything. I saw a big chunk of hash on Harper’s coffee table an hour ago. Better hit the place.

  5. DiamondInDaRuff on

    another story about police brutality……and I thought only this happens to me…I just can not believe I am reading ANOTHER story about the same embarrassing behavior…just some where else instead of the U.S this time….and you Canadians really want to walk down the path that we have been MADE to walk down…tighten the laws against the cannabis users…so that…what….we can all read and experience first hand more brutality and for what….here in Boca Raton, Florida you are not allowed to cross neighborhood streets to get from one side to the other…and God help you if you are crossing the street to get to your neighbor, a registered nurse, who has come to take you to the ER….why aren’t you on the sidewalk? cause I have to go to the emergency room(tears and all people)you are told…..everybody says they have to go to the emergency room…no really, she is here to take me to the ER, my daughter is being taken there by ambulance…..if your kid has been taken to the ER by ambulance (from her school for possible cardiac arrest) you are told, well if your kid is in the ER, well they are in good hands….you’re told to stand there and turn around, you do as you are told….then you are assaulted….a half deaf individual I am……who now has to be on round the clock morphin because of the injuries sustained from this bullshit…took away my ability to walk, sit, stand, lay down, work, and lost my new volunteer position at the local hospital because of this……. this over zealous human did not ask if I needed assistance, he did not care what I said, so I do not know why he bothered to ask in the first place what I was doing…he treated me like I was lying to him, totally verbally assaulted me…the whole time, my mind is trying to absorb the fact that I had gotten a call basically telling me my daughter might be dying….so this is what he did…at the end of the day, I lied about not one thing….my daughter was taken to the ER from her school for possible cardiac arrest…..and I DID need to get there for something called “medical consent”..like DA!!!!… …the charges that are being brought against me: failure to use the sidewalk and resist arrest w/o violence…I am no officer, but I do believe that if you are crossing the street and you are not in a crosswalk(which is what I did), that that is actually “jaywalking” and as far as the arrest w/o violence….I was not told I was under arrest, I never resisted, never tried to get away from this officer, I basically kissed his ass…and this is what I got…the good girl….so…now I am moving from this sick place…I do not want people like this around my children….I am a disabled(not by birth) mother trying to raise three kids…..another disabled person, I know of, told me she was walking home from the grocery store and was crossing the street to go home and was told she had to go back and stay on the sidewalk, she was not allowed to cross the street….in April, after my van got repaired this same officer when I came out of my street(the same place where I was assaulted) was there with his car parked in the middle of the street, with his right hand on his revolver, was making four or five elementary school kids sit on the sidewalk……please take my word on this that you do not want tougher laws there by you on cannabis…..too many people getting beat up for NOTHING…..I am proof that this don’t do drug crap is nothing but that crap!!!If you don’t want me doing the drugs, then why are you the cause for me needing them then……I was so happy to be walking, riding the buses, and yes, trying to work again (and not needing pain meds)…guess me and my daughtera are not supposed to eat, or better yet, I am not allowed to work, not allowed to be drug free……FUCKED UP…just plain fucked up….I can not wait for Florida to be a faint memory…teach me about horses and steer…teach me about forests, bears, wolves, but don’t try to teach me about Florida anymore……too many crooked humans here…..sorry to vent my frustrations out on you all readers here but this story just hit the nerve especially since I am still pumping morphin in my body everyday around the clock since January 26, 2010 because of what happened here….incidents like this should be looked at as an embarrassmnet on law enforcement and they should not be able to sweep their behavior under the rug because they are wearing a badge….I have personally met over my lifetime, an incredible amount of professional law enforcemnent personnel and so I hold this particular human accountable for his actions…I hold no grudges against any law enforcement establishments however, I hope they realize bad behavior is bad behavior regardless of a badge or not…

  6. Anonymous on

    Cops are scum, plain and simple. They CHOOSE what information to believe, and they CHOOSE what laws to enforce, and they CHOOSE who they attack and victimize. They people deserve not only to lose their pathetic “jobs” but they should also be charged and imprisoned for assaulting the man. This “drug war” is the epitome of human evil. I don’t care what anyone says, COPS ARE SCUM.

    This is the last time I’m going to attempt to comment. If your “spam filter” rejects my comment, you can all quite frankly go to hell. Why implement commenting if you’ve basically enabling POLICING of comments on your own site based on NOTHING? I am really sick of this shit, so if I don’t see my comment this time, you’ve lost a reader for good.

  7. Withheld by request on

    Goddamn ALL those rotten, cocksucking police. They’re all nothing more than a gang of evil, mercenary, ignorant thugs. You have to be a natural-born complete asshole to earn your living by beating and shooting people. If one of my kids said he wants to become a cop I would kick him out of the house, disown him and never speak to him again.

  8. Matt on

    Fucking monsters. Absolute scum. Is it the same in Canada where 99% of pigs come straight out of the military like the US? These sick fuckers get a kick out of this type of shit. Militarization of police threatens freedom in all Western nations.


  9. Anonymous on

    Just wait until the Senate BILL S-10 (old BILL C-15) becomes law with mandatory minimum sentences (MMS) for pot. The cops will shooting kids over POT because they will view pot crimes more “serious” since will have a tougher sentence with S-10 even though its THEM who have been the main force selling and promoting following the policies and laws of the completely FAILED US WAR ON DRUGS with their tougher sentences (MMS) that not only FILL prisons but increases the chaos, violence and gangs.

  10. one12alpha on

    I agree. This is just one of many examples of how we’ve trained our police as of lately. It seem like every time this happens we allow the brass of the police force to brush it off as an “isolated incident”. As if this is the first time its happened, and that we should all be surprised.

    There should be someone there to make sure the service of the warrant goes smoothly and within the law…the problem? That person, too, would eventually become as crooked as the kops he’s watching. Then he’d just be anotherm over paid government employee, with no purpose to the society he supposedly serves.

    What astonishes me, is this “Tele-warrant”. What the hell is this? I know its Canada, but that’s inappropriate. The judge NEEDS to see the evidence and hear testimony supported by oath. And when a warrent is issued and happens upon the “wrong guy” there needs to be punishment for violations of privacy, and false witness under oath.

  11. Anonymous on

    There should be a few cops losing there jobs, oh ya they don’t just a slap on the wrist and they well laugh about it getting drunk at a bar and drive home. This is the way it goes in Canada.
    They kick the living crap out of him ,does it matter if he is a drug dealer or not. It shows that they go in a beat you up and if you are a drug dealer they just say you resisted an arrest and they get away with it. Now what are they going to do .If I was hay I would take them for every penny they got,but they will make some kind of excuse you watch an see.
    They should not be allowed to enter any house with a warrant unless there is a third party to witness it to make sure things are done by the law which that was not.
    This police brutality is getting way out of hand.

  12. UncleBob100 on

    Kops are an armed gang. If “guns” are illegal…why are they allowed to carry them and brutalize innocent citizens?

  13. Anonymous on

    another example of how grossly incompetent and disgustingly violent police are