Courtesy of Jeremy Russell

Charges pending: Peaceful protest turned violent Sunday in Red Deer

RCMP investigating incidents

RCMP say they will have to conduct a thorough investigation before laying charges, despite an online video that shows one man assaulting another during an anti-racism protest in Red Deer on Sunday.

“Like always, there is more to the video. We have to do a complete investigation before laying any charges,” said Supt. Gerald Grobmeier, officer in charge of Red Deer RCMP.

“We haven’t laid any charges, because we need the victim to come forward. We need witness statements and we need to know who the perpetrator is.”

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He said the apparent assault took place before officers arrived on scene Sunday afternoon.

“As demonstrators were setting up for the event, and prior to RCMP ariving for their planned attendance, a disturbance occurred between two separate demonstration groups, resulting in one man allegedly assaulting another,” he said.

“Had we been there, we would’ve taken action. We certainly would’ve separated the groups, which we had to do several times throughout the protest demonstration.”

At the protest, officers spoke with the victim of the alleged assault, and invited the individual to come to the station, said Grobmeier.

“At this time, the person has not done so. We are still waiting on that.”

Grobmeier said police could not conduct a full investigation at the rally, because officers were busy trying to maintain peace.

Police said there was one restraining order issued at the event.

Approximately nine police cars and about 16 officers were at the afternoon rally at Rotary Recreation Park on Sunday.

Grobmeier said there have been three other anti-racism protests in the city, and there haven’t been any issues.

“This escalated very quickly,” he said. “I’m certainly disappointed.”

Mayor Tara Veer denounced racism and acts of violence Tuesday afternoon.

“We share the public’s very strong concerns regarding the escalated protests that occurred in our city this past weekend,” said Veer.

“We denounce the behaviour that is circulating on the video.”

She said the city recognizes that social tensions are extremely high across the country as a result of many factors: the pandemic, economy and political polarity, to name a few.

Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said Tuesday that those who opposed the anti-racism demonstrators were part of a travelling protest.

“It’s not limited to Red Deer and there have been protests in other cities and future ones are also planned,” he said.

“Meaning what happened in Red Deer and the people behind it are not necessarily all from Red Deer,” said Madu.

Anyone with information, including identifying those who were being violent, is encouraged to contact the Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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