Ontario, Canada — If you woke to find someone in your four-year-old daughter’s bedroom who refused to identify themselves to you or explain their presence in your house, what would you do? In the case of Cheryl Yurkowski — who lives in Ontario, Canada — you attempt to defend your child, your home, and yourself.
Cheryl’s ordeal began after having an argument with her husband and his mother at a restaurant. Tired from the disagreement and wishing to avoid further conflict with the intoxicated man, she left separately to go home and go to bed. Not realizing his wife had already arrived at home and was asleep, Cheryl’s husband began yelling on a phone call — but his raised voice concerned neighbors, who then summoned the Kawartha Lakes Police.
Cheryl explained what happened next, from her perspective, in a self-made video and subsequent interview with Larken Rose:
“I woke up to my four-year-old daughter crying in her room. I was wrapped in a blanket, and I went to go see why she was crying — and lo and behold, I walked right into a female police officer. She did not identify herself; and she was then sitting next to my child, touching her … hair. So I said, ‘Get out of my house. You have no warrant to be here. Who let you in? Nobody let you in. Get out — get the fuck away from my child; get the fuck out of my house.’”
Since Sergeant Janette Drew and Officer Mark Ryan Donaldson didn’t bother to identify themselves, Cheryl understandably acted as any mother would in such a situation — she went on the defensive. In an interview with Anti-Media, she described her immediate thoughts upon awakening to strangers in her home:
“What the fuck are they doing here? How did they get in? Why are they touching my child and asking her questions? Who called them?”
Cheryl readily admitted to using profanities to address the officers; but, instead of explaining to her why they were there in the first place — and acting as if she had no right to free speech, even in her own home — Drew took drastic measures.
“She then slammed me into the wall, in front of my four-year-old daughter, in my daughter’s room,” Cheryl recalled, adding she then flipped off the lights to try to avoid having her daughter witness violence against her mother. And violence there was.
After Cheryl was shoved into the wall, the physical altercation escalated — by the cops’ own doing. Drew, while attempting to arrest Cheryl for defending herself in her home, yanked the young mother’s arm out of its socket and slammed her to the ground. Drew then sat on her, forcing her bad arm behind her back — “She was squeezing so hard, that I heard my shoulder pop,” she explained — but would not let go despite Cheryl’s repeated requests through screams of pain.
With no choice left to defend herself from the searing pain, Cheryl bit the officer — who immediately released her grip — as she had been taught to do in self-defense courses.
But this seemed to enrage the officers, as Donaldson took Drew’s former position on top of Cheryl — wrapping his hands around her neck and choking her, to the point, she described, “my eyes were rolling in the back of my head. And I was gargling [sic] for air — and I almost went unconscious. So, they almost killed me — all in front of my four-year-old daughter who [had] crept up the stairs. She saw all of this — and that is the worst part about it,” she said, nearly in tears. “My daughter almost saw her mom get killed by police officers.”
Once the officers ultimately loaded Cheryl into the back of their squad car, hitting her head against the window in the process, Donaldson turned to face her with his fist aimed at her face, and as she explained, he said, “I will personally make sure you never see your fucking child again,” repeating the threat “three or four times.”
There are several telling details that should be highlighted in this incident. Cheryl emphasized in the interview with Anti-Media that she has “NO criminal record,” the officers came to her house to essentially ensure the safety of the residents, and the officers — not Cheryl — escalated the situation in their refusal to identify themselves or explain their presence in her home. Later, she explained, the officers lied about a number of details in the incident — and completely left out Donaldson’s nasty threats.
But perhaps the worst part about the whole ordeal is that Cheryl now faces charges for defending herself against unidentified-at-the-time strangers in her home — including threats to a ‘peace’ officer, resisting arrest, and assault causing bodily harm. She explained they’re seeking to lock her in jail both before and after trial — and she could end up spending three to five years behind bars.
Her next court date is set for Thursday the 28th, though she plans to ask for an adjournment, or extension, as she attempts to have the inexplicable charges thrown out. Cheryl has been fortunate to have her mother intervene on her daughter’s behalf to prevent her from being taken by child services.
Though what she endured could hardly be called an isolated incident, Cheryl still emphasized the need to defend yourself and your family from any act of aggression — and said she would do the same if presented with a similar situation. The police, after all, had been dispatched to check on people’s welfare in a domestic disturbance and nearly killed the person whose safety might have been at stake — all in front of a four-year-old little girl.
Anti-Media would like to thank Cheryl Yurkowski for taking time to discuss what happened to her.
This article is republished under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license