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Charge dropped against man Windsor police accused of organizing Ambassador Bridge blockade

Police cleared vehicles from a blockade of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, though a number of protesters remained at the border crossing at that time. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Police cleared vehicles from a blockade of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, though a number of protesters remained at the border crossing at that time. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Although a charge against a Windsor, Ont., man accused of organizing the Ambassador Bridge blockade in February 2022 has been dropped, William Laframboise tells CBC News he would have preferred to go to trial to prove his innocence.

A single charge of mischief to property against Laframboise was withdrawn on March 6. It's the end of a nearly two-year legal battle for the 42-year-old.

"I'm a little let down I didn't get my day in court," said Laframboise. "But in reality, I'm just happy it's done and dealt with."

In July 2022, Windsor police charged both Laframboise and Nycole Dicredico with mischief and said in a news release that the two were organizers of the Ambassador Bridge blockade. Both denied those allegations from the beginning.

Dicredico's charges were dropped in November of 2023.

In August of 2023, two others charged in connection to the blockade in Windsor also had those matters withdrawn.

Laframboise wonders why it took 20 months for the Crown Attorney's office to drop his charge.

"There was no new evidence for them to change their mind, so it was all there from the very beginning. So if they realized it now that I didn't play the part, right at the very beginning they already knew that as well. So they just wasted court time," said Laframboise, who estimates he attended upwards of 20 court appearances.

"The whole thing was a joke. They knew they didn't have the evidence. I kept pointing it out," he said.

The recent blockade at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., which attaches to Michigan and cost millions of dollars in lost revenue
The recent blockade at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., which attaches to Michigan and cost millions of dollars in lost revenue

The 2022 blockade at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., is shown in a file photo. (Mike Evans/CBC)

Back on Feb. 7, 2022, large numbers of people arrived in Windsor and blocked traffic around the Ambassador Bridge as a way to protest government COVID-19 measures in place at the time.

Police from across Canada mobilized and moved people out on Feb. 13. The six-day blockade stopped the movement of goods and people at North America's busiest land border crossing.

Transport Canada said the blockade halted $3.9 billion in trade activity at the Ambassador Bridge, a public inquiry heard in November of 2022.

Now that Laframboise's charges have been withdrawn, he said it doesn't necessarily mean the legal issues are done.

He estimates he spent thousands of dollars defending himself throughout this process and is searching for a lawyer to help recoup those losses. Laframboise also said the ordeal has taken a toll on him mentally.

Laframboise worries about crossing the border even though charges are dropped

But the trucker also worries about how it will affect his employment and his ability to cross the border with his name being attached to this ever since the charge from Windsor police.

"Even though I'm not charged now, it still shows up [on Google.] At any point in time now, when I go to cross the border, I could be turned around at any time," said Laframboise. "So for my future as a truck driver, I risk never able to cross the border again."

The Windsor Police Service didn't respond to questions about the charges being dropped.

Laframboise said he recently reached out to the Democracy Fund to help with his case. The charity helps defend peoples' constitutional rights and assisted Laframboise in getting his case thrown out.

"As soon as they came on to the case, within three days, they called me saying you're charges are going to be dropped," Laframboise. "Which just tells me the court system is so rigged because the whole time I'm telling them you have no chance of conviction, you have no evidence, I was proving them wrong the whole way."