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Homeless man alleges Sudbury police took him on a 'starlight tour'

11/21/2014 10:39 EST | Updated 01/21/2015 05:59 EST
A Sudbury researcher says a recent study has turned up some disturbing stories about alleged police mistreatment of homeless people.

Carol Kauppi with Laurentian University said in one extreme case, a man claims to have been taken on a "starlight tour" by Sudbury police.

That's a euphemism for when police pick someone up and dump them at the city limit—with a warning not to come back.

A formerly homeless man named George Stephen described his experience in a video on the Poverty and Homelessness Migration group's website.

Kauppi said Stephen's story is heart-rending.

“People have said they found it very disturbing because he was left there on the side of the road ... Highway 144, in a severe thunderstorm.”

On mobile? Watch the video here.

Stephen said he was in jail at the time.

“So they told me, if we get [you] out of jail, and drive you within city limits, are you going to go home? I didn't have a home. I said, ‘okay.’ I just wanted to get the hell out of jail, right?”

Sudbury police say Stephen's story doesn't add up.

Staff Sergeant Karrie Burke says Sudbury officers wouldn't have visited Stephen in jail. And without details like a date and other information, she said police can't comment on the claims.

Kauppi, who is also the director of the group Poverty and Homelessness Migration at Laurentian University, said about 30 homeless people in Sudbury talked about incidents they say took place in the city and around the province.

Kauppi said it's been more than 15 years since Saskatoon teenager Neil Stonechild died of exposure after he was taken on a starlight tour.

“It is surprising to know this is still happening. It happened to several of our participants, as recently as 2009.”

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