Police investigating video of incident at Kitchener, Ont. restaurant
A video that appears to show a man with a service dog being forcibly removed from a Kitchener restaurant is now at the centre of a police investigation.
“It still feels rather surreal,” said Justin Leckie. “I never thought I would have to go through something like that.”
He said he was wrongfully removed from Milton’s Restaurant, along with his service dog Epi, around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“I resisted because I said ‘No, I haven’t done anything wrong.’”
Leckie said he was seated when two men approached him, demanding to see his service dog’s certification.
“I don’t just show my papers to anybody,” said Leckie. “She helps me with general anxiety, panic attacks, depression, that type of thing.”
According to the Ontario government’s website, guide dogs and service animals must be allowed to stay with their owners in restaurants, grocery stores, and taxis.
He said that despite holding the papers in his hand, he was told to leave and that he was trespassing by a man who he says later identified himself as the owner of the restaurant.
“They weren’t having any of it,” he said. “They said if you don’t get up right now we’re dragging you out right now. And they did.”
Alex Roy and Trinity Wojcik captured the altercation, which lasted more than four minutes, on video.
“As soon as they started to grab his jacket and his coat, put his hands on him, that’s when we started videotaping,” says Wojcik.
They later called the Waterloo Regional Police Service to step in.
“Standing there and just witnessing it, it was really difficult to watch and process,” says Wojcik.
Milton’s Restaurant has declined to comment on the matter.
Police confirmed they are aware of the video and are investigating the circumstances around it.
“Terrible for us to be in the moment,” says Roy. “But we just want justice for the man and make sure he’s OK.”
Leckie says he wants justice too, hoping no one will have to go through what he did.