Waterloo regional police have launched an investigation into a video that appears to show a man living with disabilities being aggressively kicked out of a Kitchener restaurant after an apparent dispute over his service dog.
“We can confirm we are aware of the video and members of our General Investigations Unit are currently investigating,” police told CityNews.
Police say the incident took place on Wednesday, November 10 at around 6:40 p.m. at Milton’s restaurant in the King Street East and Fairway Road South area.
A four-and-a-half-minute video of the incident was posted to Facebook on Wednesday by Jeff Roy who writes in the video description: “Just experienced this at the Milton’s restaurant in Kitchener Ontario. You see both owners refusing and throwing out this paying customers (sic) because they refused the service dog …”
CityNews has not been able to verify what transpired before the video starts, or what led the situation to escalate.
Jeff Roy’s brother, Alex, was also at the restaurant when the altercation got out of hand. He tried to intervene while his brother recorded the incident.
He blames the two men, who he said are the owners of the establishment, for escalating the situation.
“During the whole length of this altercation the customer is holding his papers in his right hand showing that it’s a legal service dog … and they just didn’t care,” he said.
CityNews has reached out to Milton’s restaurant but has not received a response.
The video begins with two men grabbing the customer near the doorway as his docile dog, donning a service vest, looks on.
“Leave me alone. Get off of me!” the customer screams.
“We asked you to leave a hundred times, buddy,” one of the men says.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, I have a service dog,” the customer cries in response. “You came up to me out of nowhere and I just asked you who you were.”
The men proceed to yell at him to leave, to which the customer replies: “I have her licence … I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Screengrab from a Facebook video showing a confrontation at a Kitchener restaurant on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Jeff Roy/Facebook
The verbal exchange continues, with the men repeatedly telling the customer he’s “trespassing” while the customer maintains they have no right to eject him.
Things get physical again when one of the men lunges at the customer and grabs his jacket.
“Stop touching him,” a female patron at the restaurant can be heard pleading. “Leave him alone!”
The customer is then thrown to the ground and the two men start pulling at his legs, trying to drag him. They stop when the female patron objects to their actions.
“Well, we want him out of here,” one of the men tells the patron, who replies: “He’s got a service dog, you can’t kick someone out for having a service dog.”
A woman who claims she’s the customer’s aunt, commented on the Facebook video, saying: “This is my nephew. He has Asperger’s, OCD and anxiety. I am sick …”
When another person asked how he’s doing after the incident, she says he’s “very shaken up. He was stuttering and heart racing. He has marks and bruises everywhere.”
Alex Roy confirms how frightened the customer appeared.
“He was terrified,” he said. “He was really scared throughout the whole process, and we felt terribly.
“His body language, he was trying to create separation the whole time. He didn’t want to fight. He literally wanted to get to his dog and figure out what was going on. I definitely think it was the owners who were the aggressors for sure.”
Police say their investigation is ongoing.