EDMONTON – The Alberta RCMP would like to acknowledge online discussions that have taken place over the past weeks regarding a recent event in Red Deer. Our intent is to clarify our role at this event and to explain how a comment made by one of our officers was taken out of context.
On September 20, an anti-racism demonstration in Red Deer resulted in three assaults taking place.
The first assault occurred while organizers were arriving to set-up for the event. The RCMP were not yet on site at this time but were contacted, and upon arrival spoke to the victim.
The second assault took place during the event. The RCMP did not witness this assault but once police officers became aware of what had happened, they separated the parties, provided assistance to the victim, and identified the suspect. A video of the assault was then posted online with comments that police stood by and did nothing, which is incorrect. To clarify, once again, the police did not witness the incident but once we became aware of it, we took immediate action and an investigation was initiated.
While investigating the second assault, police became aware of a third assault. This incident remains under investigation.
When the September 20 Red Deer demonstration was posted on Twitter, video footage of comments made by S/Sgt. Chris Smiley were highlighted. We must be clear that the comments made by S/Sgt. Chris Smiley were widely misattributed to the Red Deer demonstration. S/Sgt. Smiley’s comments were made on September 10 in relation to events that took place in Ponoka. At both the Red Deer and Ponoka events, RCMP officers were focussed on ensuring the demonstrations could occur in a peaceful manner and addressing issues that interfered with this basic right.
It’s important to reiterate that all Albertans have the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration. The Alberta RCMP is a neutral party and we have a duty to ensure all Albertans’ rights are upheld. In the event of an unlawful act that threatens the physical safety of the demonstrators and the general public, the RCMP will take measured steps to ensure that those who unlawfully interfere with or threaten the safety of any person or property will be held accountable in accordance with the laws of Canada.
If you have a complaint about unlawful behaviour, we ask that you please contact your local detachment. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
The Alberta RCMP is proud to be Alberta’s Provincial Police Service and we are proud of our employees who devote their lives to Albertans each and every day. We have worked hard to build trusting, safe relationships with the communities that make Alberta strong. We are committed to being transparent and accountable.