Kelowna’s Mounties don’t have to wait long for a do-over.
A group plans a peaceful protest in support of Black Lives Matter, George Floyd and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women causes on Friday at Stuart Park beginning at noon.
It wouldn’t surprise any of us here if RSVPs have suddenly doubled given what happened Tuesday.
Just a couple of days ago, video leaked showing Kelowna Mounties struggling to make an arrest.
The short video shows two officers struggling to restrain a man at a downtown parking lot. A third Mountie arrives on the scene. He bolts from his vehicle and jumps at the suspect.
The officer appears to grab at the man’s hair with one hand while with the other he immediately begins to throw repeated punches.
The video ends when a vehicle stops in front of the camera.
It seems rather straightforward: the cop was in full-on attack mode likely from witnessing his colleagues in a fight for their safety.
We get it. Policing is a stressful, dangerous profession and we sincerely applaud their professionalism almost all other times.
But, the thing is, given what’s going on around the world today, that’s just not good enough.
The explanation from police made it much, much worse. Police say we don’t get the complete picture from the 12 seconds of video.
“I recognize that the tactics seen in this video are shocking to many people. Anytime an officer is required to apply a use of force option during an arrest it can appear disturbing,” Supt. Brent Mundle said at a hastily called news conference Tuesday.
We say that’s a cop out.
If this man had a long rap sheet, or if he’d been terrorizing downtown Kelowna all day, then we might understand the reaction.
Instead, we’re told nothing of the history of this arrest. Context is king here, and we suggest they didn’t tell media of the man’s history with police because he may not have had one.
If that’s not true, then please enlighten the public.
But Mundle had to rather sheepishly admit to reporters there likely wouldn’t have been a press conference if the video didn’t exist. That’s a shameful truth of our society, and it will change quickly so the Mounties had better adjust (we’re all carrying cameras these days).
Perhaps Mundle needs to re-read our pages over the past week. Major cities around the world are literally on fire over the video of Floyd’s death.
Floyd is the black man who died during an arrest when a white officer leaned his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis. His last words were reportedly “I can’t breathe.”
Those three words were said to be the last words of other black men killed in police custody in recent years — one in France, another in Australia and Eric Garner in New York.
Bottled-up frustrations have exploded: people are angry at historically white institutions dictating what minorities can do, and they’re probably mad because they’ve lost jobs due to COVID-19.
They see racial, political and social chasms, and they’ve taken to the streets in protest.
If RCMP headquarters — who likely approved or wrote Mundle’s speech — don’t see the connection, then they need some serious counselling with Canada’s minorities.
The really frustrating thing is, hours after Mundle ended his press conference, another video leaked of an RCMP arrest gone bad.
This time, Mounties opened a car door to knock down a man in the streets of Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
The Mounties have long been accused of a para-military approach to policing and communications, and that seems to be the case again.
It would go a long, long way if on Friday the Mounties showed up at Stuart Park, listened to our activists and promised to be better.
— Managing Editor David Trifunov