Queen’s student says Kingston Police neglected to press charges in assault

Student tells The Journal about difficulty receiving support after March incident 

Lauren said the interaction with Kingston Police was strange to her.
Journal File Photo

According to one Queen’s student, the Kingston Police don’t always press charges when students are assaulted downtown, The Journal has learned.

Lauren* said she was walking in downtown Kingston at the corner of Princess and Division Streets on March 2 when she saw a man downtown harassing a woman and her dog. Lauren said the man appeared to be under the influence of a substance “in a really bad kind of way.”

“He just wasn’t leaving her alone, and nobody was really helping her,” she said. “I was really concerned for her safety, so I went over and pretended to know her to try to get her out of the situation and away from him.”

After the woman managed to walk away, Lauren said she was left on the same side of the street as the man. At this point, she said the man started yelling at Lauren before trying to punch and chase her.

“I was trying to get out of the situation, I was trying to run away,” she said. “Another guy came up to help me, [but] the guy that was trying to assault me at this point had walked away.”

Lauren called 911 to report the incident. After saying someone had tried to assault her, the dispatch only asked for Lauren’s name, phone number, and where the incident took place before telling Lauren she would get a phone call from Kingston Police later on to give a statement.

“I don’t really know how police protocol works, but it struck me as odd that they didn’t ask me for any details,” she said. 

Kingston Police did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Lauren said she ended up calling the Kingston Police five hours after the incident took place because she didn’t receive a phone call from them. After identifying herself as a Queen’s student and expressing concerns to the dispatch at the Kingston Police Headquarters, Lauren said the dispatcher informed her that Kingston Police weren’t able to do much to rectify the situation and asked her “what do you want from us?”

Though she was eventually successful in convincing the dispatcher to put her in contact with a police officer, Lauren said she found their interaction strange.

“I was trying to give him details about the man that tried to assault me and [he] was really just asking me for details about myself,” she said. “It seemed like he was trying more to make small talk than actually get down to the situation.”

Lauren said the police officer then suggested he meet her at her home to speak more about the issue. Upon arriving at Lauren’s house, she said the officer was not wearing a mask.

When Lauren gave the officer more details on the story and further explained the man had attempted to assault her, the officer told her the police were “really busy” that day, and that Kingston Police “only has so many officers on call.” According to Lauren, the police officer tried to reassure her by telling her that not all people that call 911 are able to get help.

“He said ‘Oh, there’s lots of drug addicts in Kingston. They’re not usually aggressive so we don’t usually take cases like this seriously. This sort of thing happens all the time. Just yesterday one of the drug addicts punched a guy and we did arrest him but we had to let him go. They do this kind of thing all the time, where they’re on drugs, they don’t mean any harm,’” Lauren said. “He told me that they couldn’t help every single person that calls 911, we’re always busy.”

*Name has been changed for safety reasons.


All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.