OPP speaks out after Ontario cop recorded showing support for the trucker protest
Chaos at a major Detroit-Windsor border crossing dominated headlines this past weekend, police cracking down on the anti-vaccine mandate "freedom convoy" and its continued blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, a critical lifeline between Canada and the United States.
The demonstration came to a conclusion with just a couple dozen arrests, the bridge reopening to traffic late on Sunday.
But it appears not all of the police involved in bringing the protest to a close were on board with the crackdown, with a video emerging on Saturday that shows an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer openly voicing support for the protest.
In the video shared to TikTok, a passenger of a vehicle records an approaching officer, and the driver can be heard fielding a guess that external lights mounted to his truck were to blame for the traffic stop. The officer tells the vehicle's occupants, "you don't have to record me, I'm not going to give you a ticket."
The passenger then claims that they did nothing wrong, though the officer quickly corrects her, stating that they were driving around with flashing lights and it could land them a hefty fine.
But throughout the exchange, the officer shows he's an ally of the demonstrators. At first, it's through body language and conversation, with him casually chatting it up, asking if they were recording him for TikTok and joking that the app has ruined his life after downloading it for matters relating to an investigation.
After some friendly conversation, the cop warns the driver, "Don't run with your lights on," before making it crystal clear to the protesters that he's on their side.
"I get what you guys are doing. I support you guys 100 per cent," the cop says.
"I've been to Ottawa, a lot of us are. I've heard nothing but great things for our protest, everyone is very polite, very thankful, we just want to make sure that everybody's good, and when you've got these lights going you're causing a lot of confusion on the road," the officer says, before telling the protesters, "Wait 'til you get there."
This is OPP pretty much cheering these people on as they get to ‘Ottawa’.— Coalition Against More Surveillance (@CAMSOttawa) February 13, 2022
“Wait till you get there 😏”
“I get what you guys are doing”
“I support you guys 100%”
Cops are not here to keep people safe. /2 pic.twitter.com/t2w7feVrFl
The cop's allegiances made clear, the protesters then extended an invitation for the officer to join them at the demonstration. And while the officer declined, his reason for not attending had nothing to do with the illegality of the protest following the province's emergency orders. Nope; he couldn't come because he had housework to do.
This officer was so confident in his position that he cared not that he was being recorded and joked about TikTok. We have witnessed so many police taking selfies and protecting the very people holding the city hostage. How many others just didn't get caught. #OnPoli #Ottawa— cmacs (@Leafer1) February 14, 2022
As you can imagine, the OPP is not thrilled about one of their officers openly showing support for the demonstrators, saying the video "depicts opinions that are not in line with the OPP's values," and that the force "does not condone illegal activity." The matter is now being investigated by the OPP Professional Standards Unit.
For those asking, the matter has been brought to the attention of OPP Command and the OPP Professional Standards Unit has launched an internal conduct investigation into this matter. We cannot comment or speculate on the outcome of the investigation.— Ontario Provincial Police (@OPP_News) February 13, 2022
And while the OPP has spoken out condemning the cop's apparent stance, many aren't entirely convinced that appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
In other words he won't be Is fired or even disciplined— jozie white (@jozie_white) February 13, 2022
At least one commenter insists that the officer should face suspension without pay pending the outcome of the investigation, which is being countered with arguments of assumption of innocence and due process.
Suspended without pay is not going to happen. Last time I checked, people were deemed innocent until they were found guilty after due process.— Paul G. Brandon (@PaulGBrandon) February 14, 2022
Individual police officers' stances on vaccine mandates and lockdowns have been called into question many, many times during the pandemic, this video further eroding public confidence in police forces' ability to enforce restrictions and prevent protests from ballooning into major disruptions.
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