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Leussink Farms Justice Campaign

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October 5th update. 

Hello Everyone,

Sorry I’m a bit late posting an update. Been a busy week for me. We are still in full blast harvesting. Thankful for the good harvesting weather we have been having, unlike last year we had snow already in September. Great news as some of you may have heard already from the news the boys charges have been dropped. We are so very thankful!!! God is good!!! Unfortunately we aren’t quite finished yet. We will still be fighting a wrongfully suspended license for Jeremia, charges for impounding the tractor, cost of repairs to the tractor, and cost of a rental tractor to continue harvest while the other tractor is in the shop getting repairs. As a few of you have asked where the leftover money will go, we want to pay it forward to someone else or others in need, so we have chosen to re-donate the money to another or various charities depending what will be leftover. We are open to suggestions so if you know of anyone else in need or have any suggestions on a Charity please email me and let me know. We once again want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone for your support wether it was verbal or financial.

Thank you so very much from the whole Leussink family.

This is our story which took place the evening of July 31, 2020

It is with great distress, disappointment and shock I write this letter to you. My family and I are farmers we hay, run cattle, and custom farm. As everyone knows the weather in Alberta has been unstable with regular downpours. This has been devastating for many farmers who were unable to even plant their crops this year. Recently the sky finally cleared and farmers all over rushed to the fields to try and put up as much hay as they can while the sun shines. It is during this rush that an incident occurred which was shocking to us and many other farmers but brought to light what seems to be an issue.

A few days of good weather mean late nights, and very little sleep going from one field to the next. When it comes to farming there is no time to waste while the sun shines. This is just what my brother Jeremia had been doing when he was brutally attacked, and arrested by Sheriffs. So, his day began on the farm up early in the morning he drove out to the Olds area to bale a field of hay. It was evening by the time he finished, He then headed for the next field near Didsbury. He came to an intersection on the 2A highway with 312A and there was a long line of cars with officers up ahead. The field he needed to go into was on the turn across the road. So not knowing what was going on but with no time to waste he drove into the ditch to cross into the field. A lot of fields don't even have approaches and you have to drive into the ditch to get into them anyway. Officers immediately came running after him and surrounded him. Jeremia stops and they come to the tractor he opens the door so they can talk to him. They tell him to shut off the tractor and demand he blow into a breathalyzer. Not even knowing what a breathalyzer was he told them no I'm in a hurry. He explained to them that he was working in the field right there and that he was on a tight schedule and did not have time to spare, and he asked them why he had to blow in that thing. Rather than explain it to him they shouted at him, it was the law, and that he was under arrest for refusal. They did not even ask him to step out of the tractor but instead officers began grabbing him and pulling from both sides of the tractor through the double doors as though trying to stretch him. An officer punched him in the face and the neck, he felt another officer kick him. They aggressively dragged him out of the tractor, laid him flat on the road and proceeded to handcuff him. He was bleeding from the mouth and nose from being punched and was starting to become dizzy. He had been out in the fields all week and had very little sleep and only a bite to eat for breakfast on this particular day.
Jeremia is an 18-year-old farm boy who is homeschooled and still in school. He does not drink, and anyone with sense could tell he had not been drinking the moment the tractor door was opened. He never goes to parties. He has no criminal record or previous encounters with the police. He does not even have a driver’s license yet and has never been in a check stop before. He has shared interests in the family farm and custom farming business. But here we have 5 sheriffs and peace officers jumping on him as though he were a hardened criminal.

The story goes on.
They took off his shoes and searched him, went through his parents’ phone which they had given him to use while working. Then, with only one shoe on and a puddle of blood on the highway and in the tractor, they marched him to the cop car. At this point he no longer felt any pain because he had gone into a state of shock. He was dizzy, tired and stressed, and had little idea what was going on. EMS came and cleaned the blood off him, then had him sign a paper saying he was okay when he did not even know if he was okay. The sheriffs put him into the back of the car still handcuffed. They made him sit in there for hours with no air-conditioning or even an open window, handcuffed, on one of the hottest days we have had in a while. It was hot in the car, but they never offered him water even after he told them he had not had anything to eat since breakfast.

Jeremia repeatedly begged to phone home to tell his parents what had happened, but they refused to let him. Finally, after enough begging one of the officers phoned home to tell us what had happened and to come pick up the tractor.
We drove out to the scene to pick up Jeremia and the tractor. When we arrived at least seven or eight, maybe more, police cars arrived with us as though we were dangerous criminals with weapons. They had just finished towing the tractor up onto a tow truck deck and told us we could not pick it up anymore and they were impounding it. This is after they were told on the phone multiple times, as well as told by Jeremia, and also told there is a sticker on the tractor saying, DO NOT TOW THESE TRACTORS. You cannot tow a Fendt tractor without wrecking the transmission. They ignored all these warnings and proceeded to tow the tractor. Keep in mind they also decided to impound the tractor after we told them we, and other farmers we work for, had hay down and the tractor was essential to get the hay up before rains came again. They did not care. When one of my other brothers, Dominic tried to see if the tractor was okay after being towed and to back it off the truck seeing as they had no right to impound it they also arrested him. Both brothers where charged with criminal offences.

After months of unstable weather and rain every day we finally have a few days of nice weather. We and other farmers need our equipment. Without our equipment, it will mean a loss of thousands of acres of crop. As farmers this is our source of income. We don't have a job to back us up when we can't make payments. It could mean the loss of our business and even the very land which has been passed down from father to son. This is what we face and those who are supposed to keep the peace and protect us, those who are supposed to serve 'we the people' disregard this in their arrogance of authority. Instead their attitudes treated our livelihood with contempt and derision when we had done nothing wrong. What happened to "good public servants"? Is there no longer justice in this country? This is not something I expected to see in Canada, let alone Alberta. They beat up and bullied a hardworking young man, and in their attitudes ridiculed our desperation to get our hay off dry.

A day later one of the sheriffs phoned and said someone higher up had told him we could take back the tractor. So first they say we can pick up the tractor then we arrive to pick it up they say we can't, then a day later they realize they were in the wrong and say we can come pick up the tractor. Their senselessness in handling the situation only resulted in more stress, little sleep and the loss of thousands from crop ruination. A day had made all the difference. Our hay was rained on and farmers who were relying on us to help them had to rush to find someone else short notice. The tractor was damaged from the towing and now we only have more stress and trouble trying to figure out who will pay for fixing it. At the busiest and most difficult time of the year for farmers we had a weekend of trouble easily avoidable if these sheriffs had any sense. There are already lots of people suffering losses because of the Covid crisis, Ourselves included, with low cattle prices and higher food costs which affect everyone. The bad weather only adds to the burden for farmers. But they did not even take this into consideration. They treated us as though we were assumed criminals. This also happening while other places in the world are in an uproar because of cop brutality.

When this story was passed around other stories trickled back to us of peace officers, sheriffs and RCMP abusing their authority particularly in the case of forcing people to blow in a breathalyzer when they are obviously not drunk. Yes, in light of this event we are now aware of the law that was passed where officers can force you to blow into a breathalyzer for no reason. Which is completely unreasonable, and against our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This law amongst so many other laws is against our very own Constitution Act that protects the rights of Canadian citizens and ensures the future of the country that we love and respect. When you ask people who immigrated to Canada and have come here to enjoy our country and start a farm and or family “Why Canada” they say and I quote, “Because Canada is a free country, where we come from we have no control over anything anymore, there are too many laws and rules which make it very difficult to farm and raise a family.” Well Canada is not falling very far behind, we are becoming a bureaucratic country and until we the people, the citizens of Canada wake up and start fighting back we will be in the loss of our very own freedoms. Stories like this should not be continuing to happen. If nothing is done, if we do not fight, the same thing will happen again, and again to hard working Albertans who are struggling to make a living in these difficult times and do not need the added stress of a harassing police force when trying to go about their daily business.

We are a big family farm, and we want justice, not only for ourselves but for many others dealing with or who have gone through a similar situation. 

So we are asking for help to cover lawyer fees as my brothers are just starting out in life and do not have much money saved up. And any cost associated with the incident including tractor repairs. Any help would be very much appreciated. 

Whatever money is left over will be donated to some charitable organizations of the families choice. 

Thanks from the Sister of Jeremia, Maria Leussink And the rest of the Family. 


Maria Leussink
Sundre, AB

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