‘Return my bong’: Ontario man protests in underwear outside courthouses, police stations
A man from southern Ontario is resorting to some partial nudity to get his bong and medical marijuana back from local police.
Wearing nothing but socks, running shoes and a pair of brightly coloured briefs, 31-year-old Jeffrey Shaver has been sporadically protesting outside the Kitchener, Ont., courthouse and various police stations in the region for two weeks while smoking a bong.
Beside the Cambridge, Ont., man are usually two signs, reading “Return My Bong” and “Return My Marijuana.”
Shaver said he is a registered medical marijuana user but was arrested by Waterloo regional police in October for possession of marijuana.
“The police aren’t really familiar with the law, but they are charging you under it anyway,” Shaver said, adding that police seized about two grams of pot and a bong from him.
Shaver – who said he smokes pot to treat anxiety, depression and back pain – said initially he started smoking a bong, while fully clothed, outside police stations in the area in protest a few days after the arrest. He then took his protest to the regional courthouse in Kitchener and the police station nearby.
“I’ve been at the courthouse for the past four months or so, protesting – of course with clothes on – in the smoking section,” Shaver said. “My case hadn’t been getting traction.”
He then decided to strip down to his underwear two weeks ago to call more attention to his case.
“One of the good things about getting this attention is a lot of other medical marijuana patients have gotten a hold of me,” he said, adding that some of them are planning a group protest soon.
Shaver said he has also filed a complaint about his arrest with the Officer of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), which oversees all complaints about police in Ontario.
Waterloo regional police said in a statement that they are reviewing the circumstances of Shaver’s claim and have received the registered complaint from the OIPRD.
“The services will connect with Mr. Shaver upon conclusion of the review in an attempt to address his concerns and resolve the issue,” Insp. Mike Haffner said in an email. “We appreciate Mr. Shaver’s frustrations and want to assure him that his concerns are being looked at and will be addressed.”
Meanwhile, Shaver said he will continue his scantily clad protests until he gets his belongings back.
“I seem to be known for it now, so I don’t know, I may have to keep up appearances,” he said of protesting in his underwear. “I think so far I’m going to go with it and see how far it goes.”
© 2017 The Canadian Press