By John Mather
A second-year student is considering legal action against Ryerson Security, alleging that two officers used excessive force when they slammed his head against the pavement on Monday night. Security arrested Zeeshan Qamar around 7:40 p.m. when management at the Ram in the Rye asked him to leave for harassing staff. Outside, two security guards approached him, and, Qamar alleges one hit his leg, while the other repeatedly hit his head against the pavement.
Qamar, a business management student from Pakistan, believes security used too much force because of his skin colour.
“It takes a lot to break this nose,” he said outside Toronto General Hospital early Tuesday morning while he waited for doctors to attend to his broken nose and give him five stitches.
“For the first time in my life, I felt I was being discriminated against.” He said he did nothing to provoke the arrest.
After handcuffing Qamar, officers took him back to the Security office on Bond Street, where police, who did not lay any charges, escorted him into an ambulance.
Qamar said this is the second time he has been roughed up by security. In the winter term last year, he was restrained after fighting in Pitman Hall.
Earlier that same day, he was denied entry to the Ram because his hand was bleeding. he was then banned from the pub until September 2007.
Unlike that previous incident, Qamar said he was not drunk on Monday night, noting he shared a pitcher of beer and two Coronas with a friend.
“If I had been drunk that night, they would have put me in jail,” he said, adding he has visited the drunk tank before. One Ram staff member, who didn’t want to be identified, said Qamar was belligerent and yelling at staff.
However, Qamar said the tension began when he approached a waitress and asked for her number.
Mike Verticchio, acting general manager of the Student Campus Centre, didn’t witness the event but said it is unlikely Qamar was asked to leave simply for asking for a server’s phone number.
Verticchio said he spoke with the on-duty manager that night, adding the staff “responded according to the book.” Security Manager Lawrence Robinson couldn’t comment on the specific incident but said it is rare for a person to be injured during an arrest unless he is resisting.
He said anyone who is upset with security can file a complaint with his office, Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services (DHPS) or Toronto Police.
As for charges being laid against security officers, he said that is entirely up to police. Qamar met with VP Administration Linda Grayson on Monday.
He is also filing a complaint at DHPS today. As of press time, Ryerson Security had raised other accusations against Qamar. The Eyeopener is continuing to investigate the story.