Shawn Melo is covered in cuts and bruises and is sporting a broken elbow after being involved in an altercation at one of his son’s hockey games in Whitby, Ont., last week.
“I was running for my life, to be honest,” Melo says.
He says he was attacked by 10 to 12 young men, around the age of 18, while standing outside the Iroquois Park Sports Centre after being asked to leave.
“Basically, they just swarmed me,” says Melo. “And I repeated, ‘Back up, back up, let the police come,’ and things like that, and they just continued to chase me.”
When the police did arrive, the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) handcuffed Melo and charged him with assault and causing a disturbance by fighting.
Video provided to Global News by Melo shows what he claims is a large group affiliated with the Whitby team attacking him outside the sports complex.
He is punched, tripped and kicked while on the ground. This all happens after he was asked to leave the game due to a previous altercation inside between Melo and a young hockey player.
“The report was that the individual grabbed the player as he was exiting the ice surface,” says DRPS director of corporate communications Chris Bovie. “This individual grabbed the player and shoved him to the ground, which caused others to intervene and created this fracas that kind of spilled out into outside of the arena.”
Melo says the video tells a different story from the charges.
“They charged me with assault, by pushing, inside. And they also charged me with causing a disturbance by fighting, outside,” says Melo. “Well, the video states and shows clearly that I was not fighting.”
Bovie says he was unaware of the videos, and that Durham police were not aware of any injuries to Melo.
Melo claims he has already provided the videos and some pictures to police.
He hopes the videos will lead to police dropping some, if not all, of the charges against him.
“I can’t say much about the inside, but what happened in there or what didn’t happen in there does not warrant what happened to me,” Melo says. “It just really doesn’t.”
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) finals take place this upcoming weekend, and the Kingston Canadians are playing.
Melo says he hopes to attend to watch his son play, but is currently banned from attending any arena in Durham Region by the DRPS.
He has been in contact with the Crown to remove that condition for the upcoming weekend.
Melo also wants there to be a police presence at the event, to avoid a repeat of something like this.
The DRPS says the investigation into these events is ongoing.