Sikh Raptors Fan Gets Roughed Up By Security At Toronto’s Air Canada Centre

Just when you think that everything is hunky-dory for Sikhs in Canada, you hear of an incident like this that makes your cringe. Here’s a first-hand account of an incident that took place at the Toronto Raptors game last Friday night.

Raptors.jpgMy brother, Gagandeep Singh Saluja and I, Simran Kaur Saluja attended a Raptors game at the Air Canada Centre on the night of Friday, January 30, 2009. I witnessed something which disturbed me tremendously. After a great night of getting two of the Raptors players to sign our jerseys and getting Jermaine ONeals wristband, my brother and I make our way out to see the post-game show.

He tells me he has to use the washroom. Entering a public washroom is not unlawful in any way. I witnessed many people entering and exiting the same washroom my brother wished to use. A security guard approached my brother, out of all people as he is a visible minority that stands out. The security guard told my brother to get out. For what reason? Well, let me describe my brother to you all. He is a third-year student studying Business Management at UTSC and a proud Sikh youth who wears his turban with pride and joyA huge Raptors fan as well. Gagan asks him for what while he tries to make his way to a stall and the security guard starts pushing him and saying You dont want to start with me! He then calls back-up. Gagan finds himself with 4 to 5 security guards on him trying to kick him out. Police officers get involved during this time and start tackling him.

I sensed something wrong while I was standing outside watching the post-game show. I was hesitant in terms of if I should check on my brother in the washroom but I thought it wouldnt be appropriate for me to do that. I decided to wait for him as I thought that the security guard had let him use the washroom. I wait for about 10 minutes for my brotherI was getting a bit edgy and started looking around for him. I had not seen anything.

Later, the security guard is out of breath and sweaty and attends to the location where I had seen him prior to the whole washroom catastrophe. I ask him Arent you the one who was in the washroom? He said yeah. He knew that I was there waiting for Gagan and after another 10 minutes he tells me, You might want to make your way out as to whoever you were with is being arrested. I race outside to find my brother without his turban on, in pain and suffering. When I saw his faceI dont know how to explain such regret. I keep thinking to myself had I gone into the washroom?! Maybe, just maybe they would not have used such force against him. I love my brother a whole lot and I never want to see him hurt. This whole ordeal that happened in Toronto, Canada out of all places is just sad.

A Facebook group has been set-up to raise awareness about what happened and hopefully track down some eye-witnesses.

I was told what happened in the washroom by several witnesses including a Social Worker. Many were saying that justice must be served and I agree; justice MUST be served. Make sure that this does not happen to any other citizen. My mission at this time is to get those who were witnesses of this whole ordeal to support my brother. I was stupid not to get the contact information of witnesses as I was in great shock. So if you or anyone you know came to the Air Canada Centre on the night of January 30, 2009 and witnessed such horrific unnecessary abuse in and around Gate 1 please contact me at [email protected]

We need witnesses to help prove the illegitimate use of force by the security officers. Invite your friends to this group and please lend a hand in putting a stop to racial profiling!

If you’re interested in letting ACC know about how you feel:

Please send your opinions and comments to the Air Canada Centre directly. They need to be aware of the situation and respond appropriately no matter how profiled or isolated of an inicident it may be.

While this is, of course, only side of the story but, given what Sikhs and visible minorities face regularly, I’m tempted to give Mr. Saluja the benefit of the doubt.

Were you at the game? Have you been singled-out for “special attention” at a public event like a sports match?


bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark
tabs-top


52 Responses to “Sikh Raptors Fan Gets Roughed Up By Security At Toronto’s Air Canada Centre”

  1. neil says:

    this seems fishy.why would they do this for no reason.i mean cmon,the acc staff is as good as it gets.so,for no reason they pick on this guy?.now people want to make it racial or assume its racial?………….you dont just start roughing somebody up for no reason.id like to hear the other side of the story before i pass judgement.

  2. Danny says:

    I know Gagan from UTSC, he wouldn't even hurt a fly. It's sad that this had happened to him.

  3. Danny says:

    I know Gagan from UTSC, he wouldn’t even hurt a fly. It’s sad that this had happened to him.

  4. […] Sikh Raptors Fan Gets Roughed Up By Security At Toronto’s Air Canada Centre – Just when you think that everything is hunky-dory for Sikhs in Canada, you hear of an incident like this that makes your cringe. Here’s a first-hand account of an incident that took place at the Toronto Raptors game last Friday night. […]

  5. neil says:

    this seems fishy.why would they do this for no reason.i mean cmon,the acc staff is as good as it gets.so,for no reason they pick on this guy?.now people want to make it racial or assume its racial?………….you dont just start roughing somebody up for no reason.id like to hear the other side of the story before i pass judgement.

  6. Haridner says:

    You must remeber the roots of West to understand there psyche.

    Many of them are from the Roman era Gladiators and violence comes naturally to them.

    'I am afraid to state that all of u will have to put up with it in case u decide to hang on.

  7. asdf says:

    racial profiling

  8. asdf says:

    racial profiling

  9. Jord says:

    Security guards are usually stupid. So, it might not be racial profiling or anything, although it could be. I got the shit kicked out of me at West Edmonton Mall by security for no reason, probably just cause security guards are juiced-up aggressive monkeys. And cops are no help cause they will immediately assume that the security guards were correct. I sat in cell, bleeding and concussed for several hours before they decided that the hospital might be the best place for me.

    I hope justice is done, but I bet Gagan won't find the cops, security guards, or the ACC very cooperative. More than likely, Gagan will be charged with something (that's what happened to me) because the police don't like to hurt anybody without having a documented reason ;)

  10. Jord says:

    Security guards are usually stupid. So, it might not be racial profiling or anything, although it could be. I got the shit kicked out of me at West Edmonton Mall by security for no reason, probably just cause security guards are juiced-up aggressive monkeys. And cops are no help cause they will immediately assume that the security guards were correct. I sat in cell, bleeding and concussed for several hours before they decided that the hospital might be the best place for me.

    I hope justice is done, but I bet Gagan won’t find the cops, security guards, or the ACC very cooperative. More than likely, Gagan will be charged with something (that’s what happened to me) because the police don’t like to hurt anybody without having a documented reason ;)

  11. Haridner says:

    You must remeber the roots of West to understand there psyche.

    Many of them are from the Roman era Gladiators and violence comes naturally to them.

    ‘I am afraid to state that all of u will have to put up with it in case u decide to hang on.

    • Haridner is slow says:

      That is the most ridiculous and moronic thing I've read online in a long time. Roman Era Gladiators? lol

      If that's the case, than with the same logic us Sikhs are what the West portrays any non-white to be – towel jockey muslim savages.

  12. Jeet Singh says:

    Some needs to contact the Sikh mps especially regarding this issue.. Gurbax Malhi and the mp from Mississauga need to be reached and this issue needs to be taken to the parliament. Im sure if there was legal complaint and investigation filed into this matter u can pull out security surveilence tapes. Even if u take out the footage its easily noticed. This news needs to go to the cp24 newsroom i know there are lot of desis working with cp24. These kinds of issues should not be hidden from the mass public of the GTA and canada as a whole.

  13. Jeet Singh says:

    Some needs to contact the Sikh mps especially regarding this issue.. Gurbax Malhi and the mp from Mississauga need to be reached and this issue needs to be taken to the parliament. Im sure if there was legal complaint and investigation filed into this matter u can pull out security surveilence tapes. Even if u take out the footage its easily noticed. This news needs to go to the cp24 newsroom i know there are lot of desis working with cp24. These kinds of issues should not be hidden from the mass public of the GTA and canada as a whole.

  14. […] Sikh Raptors Fan Gets Roughed Up By Security At Toronto’s Air Canada Centre […]

  15. SmartSikher says:

    Haridner, you wrote –

    "You must remeber the roots of West to understand there psyche.

    Many of them are from the Roman era Gladiators and violence comes naturally to them."

    Umm, are you forgetting the roots of Sikhs?!

  16. SmartSikher says:

    Haridner, you wrote –

    “You must remeber the roots of West to understand there psyche.

    Many of them are from the Roman era Gladiators and violence comes naturally to them.”

    Umm, are you forgetting the roots of Sikhs?!

  17. Jagmeet Singh says:

    I am turbaned sikh, I have been to ACC to see Raptor games several times and I had a very good experience with ACC staff/security people. I also saw the most popular super fan ( Nav Bhatia ) who also is a turbaned sikh ,getting lot of respect and love from ACC staff, players, security, fans. I am proud of all this experience.

    This might be a case of a aggressive security person and may be some miscommunication. We as sikhs should fairly hear the story from the security side before taking any action. Lets find a solution in a educated way and expose the sikhism in a positive way.

    I think we should approach Nav Bhatia for his experience with ACC staff. Since he has attended all the Raptor home games.

  18. Jagmeet Singh says:

    I am turbaned sikh, I have been to ACC to see Raptor games several times and I had a very good experience with ACC staff/security people. I also saw the most popular super fan ( Nav Bhatia ) who also is a turbaned sikh ,getting lot of respect and love from ACC staff, players, security, fans. I am proud of all this experience.
    This might be a case of a aggressive security person and may be some miscommunication. We as sikhs should fairly hear the story from the security side before taking any action. Lets find a solution in a educated way and expose the sikhism in a positive way.
    I think we should approach Nav Bhatia for his experience with ACC staff. Since he has attended all the Raptor home games.

  19. SURINDER KAUR says:

    I have attended many games at ACC with my family and I always had a very good experience. I have seen many other turbaned sikhs including Nav Bhatia enjoying the game.

    I am surprised that this can happen at ACC which holds sikh Baisakhi day game every year.

  20. SURINDER KAUR says:

    I have attended many games at ACC with my family and I always had a very good experience. I have seen many other turbaned sikhs including Nav Bhatia enjoying the game.

    I am surprised that this can happen at ACC which holds sikh Baisakhi day game every year.

  21. lee says:

    in usa and canada the police discriminate and see themselves as protectors of the country and its citerzerns. However the police are easily bribed and brainwashed and are not able to use personal discretion or professional judgments to protect all citerzerns. Many police officers in the past have been exposed as white supremists.

    unfortunatly in such "civilised"?? couintries where supposedly intelligent white people come from, many canadians and americans think that sikhs are an ancient religion, or simply indian or paki with nothink to offer.

    Sikhs are highly distinguished people and all share values of equality for all humans regardless of religion gender and race. Sikhism is not a missionary religion that has the aim to convert the world.

    more should be done to convey the profound values of sikhs and sikh culture to non sikhs.

    sikhs should also show their concern at this event and contact all officials to deal with thi sincident as quickly as possible

  22. lee says:

    in usa and canada the police discriminate and see themselves as protectors of the country and its citerzerns. However the police are easily bribed and brainwashed and are not able to use personal discretion or professional judgments to protect all citerzerns. Many police officers in the past have been exposed as white supremists.
    unfortunatly in such “civilised”?? couintries where supposedly intelligent white people come from, many canadians and americans think that sikhs are an ancient religion, or simply indian or paki with nothink to offer.

    Sikhs are highly distinguished people and all share values of equality for all humans regardless of religion gender and race. Sikhism is not a missionary religion that has the aim to convert the world.
    more should be done to convey the profound values of sikhs and sikh culture to non sikhs.

    sikhs should also show their concern at this event and contact all officials to deal with thi sincident as quickly as possible

  23. wudjab says:

    Now here's a case that is FIT for a Human Rights Complaing.

    If this gentleman was roughed up purely becuase he was wearing a turban, then that's unacceptable and the security guards should be taken to task.

  24. wudjab says:

    Now here’s a case that is FIT for a Human Rights Complaing.

    If this gentleman was roughed up purely becuase he was wearing a turban, then that’s unacceptable and the security guards should be taken to task.

  25. From Jagmeet Singh, Gagan's legal counsel:

    1) Gagandeep was specifically singled out. There were many other individuals using the same washroom.

    2) He was not given an opportunity to leave the washroom. If he was not supposed to be there then the security guards should have provided a warning for Gagandeep to leave.

    Instead:

    3) The security guards assaulted Gagandeep when they had no cause to do so.

    Furthermore his turban was knocked off during the unjustified assault adding insult to injury.

  26. From Jagmeet Singh, Gagan’s legal counsel:

    1) Gagandeep was specifically singled out. There were many other individuals using the same washroom.

    2) He was not given an opportunity to leave the washroom. If he was not supposed to be there then the security guards should have provided a warning for Gagandeep to leave.

    Instead:
    3) The security guards assaulted Gagandeep when they had no cause to do so.

    Furthermore his turban was knocked off during the unjustified assault adding insult to injury.

  27. Dr. Bikram Lamba says:

    I do not deleieve in kangroo justice, where all allgations are deemed to be honest andjustified. Before condemning security guards we must hear their side of story. I have yet to hear of a substantiated complaint of this nature, as most of such allegations after scrutiny are just motivated complaints. I would expect community leaders to do some introspections, so no frivolous complaints are made and legitimate grivances are aired

  28. Dr. Bikram Lamba says:

    I do not deleieve in kangroo justice, where all allgations are deemed to be honest andjustified. Before condemning security guards we must hear their side of story. I have yet to hear of a substantiated complaint of this nature, as most of such allegations after scrutiny are just motivated complaints. I would expect community leaders to do some introspections, so no frivolous complaints are made and legitimate grivances are aired

  29. sad sad day says:

    did any witnesses come forward??

  30. sad sad day says:

    did any witnesses come forward??

  31. UPDATE: PRESS RELEASE

    Jagmeet S. Dhaliwal of Dhaliwal Law, criminal defence counsel representing Gagandeep S. Saluja

    SUMMARY OF FACTS:

    Gagandeep’s sister Simran K. Saluja purchased tickets to a Raptor's game as a gift to celebrate Gagandeep’s 21st birthday. After the basketball game Gagandeep and Simran attended a post game reaction. Gagandeep left to use the washroom and was followed by a security guard. Other people were using the washroom, and there were a number of individuals exiting and entering the facilities. Gagandeep was approaching an unoccupied stall when the security guard told him to leave. Before giving Gagandeep an opportunity to leave, the security guard began pushing and shoving Gagandeep and called for backup. Approximately 4-5 security guards attended the scene and continued to push and shove Gagandeep. During this altercation Gagandeep's turban was knocked off. Once outside police officers attended and placed Gagandeep in a choke hold. He was then arrested, placed in handcuffs and charged under the Trespass to Property Act for the offences of fail to leave premises and engaging in a prohibited activity.

    OUR POSITION:

    Mr. Saluja did not commit any offence. Mr. Saluja vehemently maintains his innocence and as his defence counsel I will vigourously defend him against these false allegations. Mr. Saluja and his sister were ticket paying fans of the Raptors who were fully entitled to attend the game and other related events. The security guards and police officers had no legal justification to apply any force whatsoever to Gagandeep and in doing they committed an assault on his person. The actions of both the security guards and police officers were reprehensible and unjustified.

    GRIEVANCES:

    1) Gagandeep was singled out from the other individuals making use of the washroom.

    2) Gagandeep was not given an opportunity to leave after being instructed to do so.

    3) Security guards and police officers applied non consensual force to Gagandeep causing him injury.

    Jagmeet S. Dhaliwal B.Sc., LL.B.

    Barrister and Solicitor

    [email protected]

  32. UPDATE: PRESS RELEASE

    Jagmeet S. Dhaliwal of Dhaliwal Law, criminal defence counsel representing Gagandeep S. Saluja

    SUMMARY OF FACTS:
    Gagandeeps sister Simran K. Saluja purchased tickets to a Raptor’s game as a gift to celebrate Gagandeeps 21st birthday. After the basketball game Gagandeep and Simran attended a post game reaction. Gagandeep left to use the washroom and was followed by a security guard. Other people were using the washroom, and there were a number of individuals exiting and entering the facilities. Gagandeep was approaching an unoccupied stall when the security guard told him to leave. Before giving Gagandeep an opportunity to leave, the security guard began pushing and shoving Gagandeep and called for backup. Approximately 4-5 security guards attended the scene and continued to push and shove Gagandeep. During this altercation Gagandeep’s turban was knocked off. Once outside police officers attended and placed Gagandeep in a choke hold. He was then arrested, placed in handcuffs and charged under the Trespass to Property Act for the offences of fail to leave premises and engaging in a prohibited activity.

    OUR POSITION:
    Mr. Saluja did not commit any offence. Mr. Saluja vehemently maintains his innocence and as his defence counsel I will vigourously defend him against these false allegations. Mr. Saluja and his sister were ticket paying fans of the Raptors who were fully entitled to attend the game and other related events. The security guards and police officers had no legal justification to apply any force whatsoever to Gagandeep and in doing they committed an assault on his person. The actions of both the security guards and police officers were reprehensible and unjustified.

    GRIEVANCES:
    1) Gagandeep was singled out from the other individuals making use of the washroom.
    2) Gagandeep was not given an opportunity to leave after being instructed to do so.
    3) Security guards and police officers applied non consensual force to Gagandeep causing him injury.

    Jagmeet S. Dhaliwal B.Sc., LL.B.
    Barrister and Solicitor
    [email protected]

  33. Brother Sikh says:

    If there is an issue here, should it not be dealt with privately? Raise the issue with ACC Mgmt and determine if anyone was at fault here before trying to organise a protest???

    What are we in the 1900's here?? There are ways of addressing this with ACC Mgmt and determining if anyone is at fault here and if it's the ACC, I can assure you they will address the issue

  34. Brother Sikh says:

    If there is an issue here, should it not be dealt with privately? Raise the issue with ACC Mgmt and determine if anyone was at fault here before trying to organise a protest???

    What are we in the 1900’s here?? There are ways of addressing this with ACC Mgmt and determining if anyone is at fault here and if it’s the ACC, I can assure you they will address the issue

  35. Rosarch says:

    I know Gagandeep. I agree he's a very friendly person and gets along with everybody. I have to say though it was more likely a power tripping security guard with salient racist tendencies that could've done this. Not explicitly racist (by the coomments i've see ACC seems to be very accommodating to sikhs and other minorities, but what else could have the security guard singled out him for. I've seen this kind of attitude before from security guards, just another abuse of power…

  36. Rosarch says:

    I know Gagandeep. I agree he’s a very friendly person and gets along with everybody. I have to say though it was more likely a power tripping security guard with salient racist tendencies that could’ve done this. Not explicitly racist (by the coomments i’ve see ACC seems to be very accommodating to sikhs and other minorities, but what else could have the security guard singled out him for. I’ve seen this kind of attitude before from security guards, just another abuse of power…

  37. Raptors fan says:

    It looked like the guy was told not to enter the area where they're shooting the post game interviews, ignored this and pushed past security just so he could get on tv.

  38. Raptors fan says:

    It looked like the guy was told not to enter the area where they’re shooting the post game interviews, ignored this and pushed past security just so he could get on tv.

  39. Rosarch says:

    Because they were filming in the washroom, right?

  40. Rosarch says:

    Because they were filming in the washroom, right?

  41. Trident says:

    "Because they were filming in the washroom, right?"

    Lmao!

  42. Trident says:

    “Because they were filming in the washroom, right?”

    Lmao!

  43. Put an end to discri says:

    Because they were filming in the washroom and the guy wanted to get pushed around on camera right? That makes a lot of sense (can u sense the sarcasm)? Why did the security guard have to follow Gagandeep in? I remember my friend telling me about his incident at a store. A man refused to let him in because of his turban. He told him he may be a threat because he does not know if he is holding a bomb in his turban. It all starts from the one guy who started it…in Gagandeep's case, from what I read, it's the security guard that went into the bathroom with him. Like once he was in and others are in there too…just let the man take a leak, why does he have to use excessive force? He is probably going to use the excuse that he did not listen to leave even though he had the right to be there or he'll say he was a threat. I don't know how a brother who comes to a basketball game with his sister who wants to use the washroom is a threat to anyone? In my opinion, I think that the security guard was more of a threat to everyone.

  44. Put an end to discrimination says:

    Because they were filming in the washroom and the guy wanted to get pushed around on camera right? That makes a lot of sense (can u sense the sarcasm)? Why did the security guard have to follow Gagandeep in? I remember my friend telling me about his incident at a store. A man refused to let him in because of his turban. He told him he may be a threat because he does not know if he is holding a bomb in his turban. It all starts from the one guy who started it…in Gagandeep’s case, from what I read, it’s the security guard that went into the bathroom with him. Like once he was in and others are in there too…just let the man take a leak, why does he have to use excessive force? He is probably going to use the excuse that he did not listen to leave even though he had the right to be there or he’ll say he was a threat. I don’t know how a brother who comes to a basketball game with his sister who wants to use the washroom is a threat to anyone? In my opinion, I think that the security guard was more of a threat to everyone.

  45. Brampton Singh says:

    Interesting that non of the mainstream newspapers in Toronto covered this news. Hello Toronto Start…where are you?

  46. Brampton Singh says:

    Interesting that non of the mainstream newspapers in Toronto covered this news. Hello Toronto Start…where are you?

  47. Suckdeep singh says:

    bla bla bla racial this racial that. there's always 2 sides to a story. if you guys are used to it , then suck it up.

  48. Suckdeep singh says:

    bla bla bla racial this racial that. there’s always 2 sides to a story. if you guys are used to it , then suck it up.

  49. Rabz Styloo says:

    omgg..!!!dis iss soo disappointing 2 hear abt sch an incident that to in a big cultural country lik canada…becozz u c nw growing population of punjabiz or sikhs marks it as oder PUNJAB..!!!
    nd dis happening has jst left me in a great shock as i cud nva expect it 2 happen in sch a big multi cultuarl country.i hpe dis very act or issue is taken up to high authority nd people are made aware of does nd donts..!!!

Leave a Reply


We love hearing from our visitors, so please do leave your comments! No profanity, name calling, or discrimination, please - we try to keep The Langar Hall a clean, open, and hate-free zone. We reserve the right to edit or remove inappropriate comments.