Montreal mom demands apology for police intervention at sons' lemonade stand

A mother in Montreal is upset with police officers for interfering at a children's lemonade stand and she's asking for an apology. As Global's Dan Spector reports, her two boys were raising money for multiple sclerosis.

A Montreal mother is demanding an apology from police, after officers intervened at a street side lemonade stand operated by her two young sons.

11-year-old Ness Partouche-Massa and 8-year-old Ariel Partouche-Massa have been working to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

For the second straight weekend, they were selling lemonade on the front lawn of their home on 14th Street in Roxboro.

“If we give a bunch of money to the charity, we can find the cure for multiple sclerosis,” Ness told Global News.

The cause is very close to the hearts of both boys, because their mother Ayana Massa was diagnosed with the degenerative disease in 2020. She relies on a walker and a wheelchair to get around.

“Every day is a fight, but having this kind of kids, how do I not fight for them?” Ayana said.

READ MORE: Lemonade stands pop up across Alberta in support of Edmonton children’s hospital

Their secret recipe has helped raise more than $1,500 dollars.

Things took an unfortunate and unexpected turn on Saturday, however.

“To have such a beautiful story turn into such a nightmare disaster like it did yesterday, I was shaking,” Ayana recounted on Sunday.

The mother says the boys were periodically using a megaphone to attract customers, and one angry man angrily approached them.

“He said, ‘you little mother-effers. I’m going to shut you down.’ So I told him to get the hell off my property. And he said, ‘I’m calling the police,'” she claims.

Minutes later, she says police arrived and told her the stand must be shut down.

READ MORE: City’s Caribbean community calling for meeting with Montreal police

“I tell him, ‘look, officer, give me a fine. I’ll pay the fine.’ He said, ‘oh I’m not giving you a fine. You think that because you’re in a wheelchair, you’re above the law,'” she said.

She says the officer threatened to arrest her, so she started recording.

“The guy had his hand on his holster telling me that I’m aggressive and I told him to get off my property. He refused,” she said of her interaction with an officer.

Three hours later, she says police left

“It ended with this sergeant telling me my kids are not allowed to have their megaphone and that they don’t want to have to come back here and arrest me,” she said.

Montreal police said they would not be in a position to comment on the case on Sunday, explaining more analysis would be needed before they issue any kind of statement.

Retired Montreal police officer André Durocher wondered if the mother unnecessarily escalated the situation. He says police will rarely put an end to lemonade sales without a permit.

“In that case, it’s not necessarily the action on your property, but the distraction or the problem it causes,” he explained.

The mother is demanding an apology from police.

Neighbours dropped by to show the boys support on Sunday as they sold lemonade without their megaphone.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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