YOANNOU email@example.com_county.london.london_free_press 2008-07-03 published
Victim remembered as hard-working, generous
By Ashley HOUSE, Sun Media, Thurs., July 3, 2008
Simcoe -- Friends and family of Jeffrey MARREEL say there was so much more to him than his drug addiction and criminal record.
"He had a heart of gold," said his mother, Margaret MARREEL.
Delhi native Jeffrey MARREEL, 36, collapsed and died after being Tasered by Norfolk Ontario Provincial Police in Fisher's Glen on June 23. Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is probing the case.
Like most little boys, MARREEL was a handful, Margaret said.
She used to work in the tobacco fields in Aylmer when MARREEL was young.
"It was the summer that song The Streak was popular," she recalled.
"And sure enough you'd see Jeff, he was only two years old or so, but he'd be running through the tobacco field naked. I'd find a sock here, a sock there, his shorts over there. He was a handful."
Friends still can't believe he's gone.
"We've been Friends for 20 years," said Ron MUDFORD, who met MARREEL in high school. "We did everything together, camping, concerts, living together. He was a great guy and my best friend. It's like losing a brother."
Those close to him describe him as hard-working, compassionate and generous.
"He'd stay with me for awhile, trying to get away from the drugs," MUDFORD said, adding MARREEL was ashamed of his habit and would be clean for months before something would trigger him to use again. "I never had to ask him for grocery money or rent because he just gave it to me."
Margaret remembers her son's generosity following a house fire in Delhi, years ago.
"The guy came out of the house without any shoes on and Jeff went and gave him a pair of his," she said. "That was Jeff. Anything you needed, he was right there with it. You moving? He was helping."
The Special Investigations Unit has assigned 13 officers to the case. They continue to interview witnesses: and Friends this week.
"Civilian witnesses: who have come forward as a result of the appeal of local media… have contributed to the investigation," said Special Investigations Unit spokesperson John YOANNOU.
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YOANNOU firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-06-25 published
Ontario man wonders why his son was tasered
'We're killing too many of them… I don't want other parents to go through what I'm going through right now,' he says
By Caroline ALPHONSO, Page A5
The father of an Ontario man who died in police custody after being hit by a stun gun says he is angry that a taser was used on his son.
"I'm mad… Did they have to use that taser thing?" NoŽl MARREEL asked yesterday. His 36-year-old son, Jeffrey, died following a confrontation with police near Simcoe, Ontario, on Monday.
"I heard that 21 other Canadians died by a taser. What's going on? Somebody has to look into this. We're killing too many of them and we're going to kill some more. I don't want other parents to go through what I'm going through right now."
Jeffrey MARREEL died in hospital two hours after the Ontario Provincial Police responded to a call from a resident that an unwanted man was causing a disturbance at a beach hamlet in Norfolk County in southwestern Ontario.
Mr. MARREEL said his son was likely on drugs when police approached him on Monday morning. Jeffrey MARREEL had a history of drug use and was especially downtrodden after he broke up with his girlfriend last month and then lost his job at a flower nursery two weeks ago, his father said.
On Monday morning, Jeffrey was about 26 kilometres from his family home, which is in Delhi, Ontario He was seen loitering in the small, quiet hamlet of Fishers Glen. A resident who didn't want his name used said a neighbour saw Mr. MARREEL carrying a piece of metal down the road. When asked what he wanted, Mr. MARREEL looked like he was threatening with the piece of metal, so the neighbour called police, the resident said.
Police said they found a "combative male" on the street and used the taser to subdue him. Mr. MARREEL collapsed on arrival at the Simcoe police detachment. He died in hospital.
An autopsy performed yesterday was unable to determine the cause of death, and further forensic tests are being done.
But Mr. MARREEL blames the taser for leading to his son's death.
The use of the stun gun has come under scrutiny since Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, 40, was seen last fall on amateur video screaming and writhing on the floor at Vancouver airport after he was tasered by Mounties. His death and the public outrage that quickly followed prompted a national debate on the use of the stun guns and sparked several probes. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said last week that it would curb the use of tasers in the face of mounting public pressure. Arizona-based manufacturer Taser International has maintained that the weapon itself is not lethal.
It is unclear how many times Mr. MARREEL was hit by the stun gun. Because he died in police custody, Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is looking into his death. Spokesman John YOANNOU said details of Jeffrey's death, including his state of mind at the time of the incident, would likely come out during the investigation.
All that has remained of Monday morning's incident is a blood stain on the pavement, circled with red spray paint.
Residents of the hamlet, meanwhile, are wondering why people high on drugs are often finding their way into their community. One resident said there have been other incidents. "I want something done because of past problems we've had," the resident said. "People we don't even know are coming at all hours of the night."
NoŽl MARREEL, too, is looking for answers. He last saw his son on Sunday when he stopped by the family home. The younger Mr. MARREEL didn't stay long. He drifted between his home and staying with Friends.
The father said his son had been in trouble with the law before. "He was not an easy child. He's been on drugs off and on since he was 16. You name it, I think he's tried them," he said. "He'd be good for a while and the downward spiral would start. Then he'd be going to jail and I would be bailing him out."
Mr. MARREEL said his son saw a psychiatrist once and checked himself into a drug rehabilitation centre a couple of times. "It never took. Every time something would happen, something negative, he would be on a downward spiral. He couldn't take negativity at all. If something went wrong, he would do drugs."
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