Toronto’s beloved dancing crossing guard suspended for being in a music video

May 15, 2014

Toronto’s undoubtedly a city of characters: Downtown-dwellers love to celebrate the unicycle guy. Annex residents know that a Dance Cave night isn’t complete without a cameo from the dude in pajamas. And those of us who live in Brockton Village love few characters more than Kathleen Byers, the 65-year-old best known as the dancing crossing guard.

The fun-loving Byers, in fact, was so beloved that west-end indie rock outfit Born Ruffians made her the star of their video for “Oh Cecilia.” As a tribute to Byers, the video’s wonderful.

Yesterday, however, a sad bit of news emerged: “Oh Cecilia” might’ve cost Byers her job, after Global News announced that the crossing guard had suspended her without pay. The reason?

“The allegations are [that] you wore your police-issued equipment for a purpose other than prescribed in the Toronto Police Service rules and procedures,” Byers said, reading the notice the police served.” In other words: She lost her job because she wore her uniform in a Born Ruffians video.

In the story issued by Global News, many of the area’s residents—us included—were dismayed to hear that Byers was gone. At times, residents said, the crossing was left unattended.

Born Ruffians, naturally, felt terrible about the situation. The band, in a series of tweets, says they weren’t aware that they were breaking any rules with the “Oh Cecilia” video. And we believe them.

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The band, it should be noted, didn’t condemn the police. While most punx might be quick to yell “ACAB!,” the band says the police were simply serving those who complained about the video.

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Then, it was revealed that Byers eventually quit over the struggle, even if she loved the job.

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Of course, many also showed support for both the band and Byers.

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We’re with Abraham, here—Byers brought a lot of colour (and safety) to the neighbourhood. We’ll keep you updated on any new developments, but until then, Born Ruffians summed up the situation best with this tweet.

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