A 70-year-old Markham crossing guard was detained by an off-duty Toronto police officer and arrested on allegations of mischief by York Region police after a dispute turned ugly Tuesday morning.
Police were called to the scene of “two men fighting” on the roadway outside the school at 281 Williamson Rd. in Markham at about 8:10 a.m. Tuesday,York Region police Const. Laura Nicolle said.
Crossing guard Mohamed Hameed was working near Mount Joy Public School when his daughter Fathima Najamudeen said a nearby witness noticed a vehicle “doing a rolling stop.”
“The vehicle started moving, while children were going across on the other side of the street,” Najamudeen said, speaking for her father Wednesday morning, since he was recovering at his home after suffering a medical emergency the day before.
She said her father banged on the vehicle with his stop sign to get it to stop so it wouldn’t go forward.
“When children are crossing, he told me, ‘my focus is just on the children, my worry is that the children are going to get run over by the vehicle.’ And children had already started crossing on the other side of the street,” Najamudeen said her father told her.
She said she heard from her dad that the vehicle then started again and rolled through the intersection where it stopped on the other side.
A man got out on the passenger side and came over “and grabbed my dad and then held him against his vehicle and wouldn’t let him go. He grabbed his wrist. He claimed he was a police officer. That’s what he told me,” said Najamudeen, who was at the scene by then.
The officer’s name has not been released.
“We can confirm that a Toronto police officer was involved,” said Toronto police spokesperson Caroline de Kloet. “The case is being investigated by York Regional Police.”
Toronto police didn’t respond to a request for a comment or further information about the off-duty police officer involved.
As the incident dragged on and witnesses watched the pair struggle, York Region police were called and arrived on the scene.
In spite of being asked by her to let her father go, Najamudeen said the off-duty officer refused to do so.
When officers arrived on scene, they arrested Hameed for mischief for allegedly “damaging a vehicle,” which Nicolle identified as a grey SUV.
She said following his arrest, more information was gathered, leading to Hameed being released without being charged.
“We are continuing to interview witnesses and are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed this incident and who have not yet spoken with police to come forward,” Nicolle said.
When asked why the other man was not arrested, Nicolle said police worked off the information made available to them at the time before re-evaluating.
“We have a number of different witnesses to interview,” she said, indicating they need more information before determining what occurred.
Najamudeen said when York Region police officers arrived, “the off-duty officer came forward, took out his wallet and stated his division to YRP. YRP then handcuffed my father and put him in the cruiser. I mentioned he could get a heart attack because I could see it in his face.”
Her father did pass out from the stress of the situation, but was revived.
After a visit to hospital to be checked out to make sure he was OK, Hameed was resting at home Wednesday.
“He’s doing good, he’s at home resting,” said Najamudeen.