Battlefords RCMP Deny Facebook Allegations Of Bad Treatment Of Native Woman

Battlefords RCMP respond to allegations against an unnamed officer posted on Facebook. (CBC)

Battlefords RCMP respond to allegations against an unnamed officer posted on Facebook. (CBC)

CBC News, Posted: Nov 13, 2015

Mounties issue news release giving their own version of events

Allegations on Facebook against RCMP over an incident in North Battleford have prompted the Mounties to issue a news release contradicting the allegations, and giving their own version of events.

The allegations appeared on the Facebook page of a closed group called North Battleford Uncensored Boots and Salutes.

The Facebook post accuses an RCMP officer of callous behaviour towards “an elderly native woman” found in distress by the side of the road on Carlton Trail Wednesday evening.

Two young men were apparently already on the scene, trying to help the woman, when the officer arrived.

According to the Facebook post, the men were trying to get the woman medical help, while the officer told them she would be taken to the detachment in the back of the police cruiser and spend the night in the “drunk tank”.

The Facebook account said the men refused to leave until an ambulance arrived and took the woman to hospital.

RCMP say officer tried to help

In a release issued at 6:30 p.m. CST Friday, the RCMP said the officer asked the woman if she was able to get inside the police vehicle so she could warm up.

The RCMP also said the officer called EMS for the woman, after which one of the men told her they had already called EMS.

“At no point on November 11, 2015 was this adult female in RCMP custody or cells”, the RCMP said in their release.

And while the Facebook post reported the woman’s ankles and legs were bound together by torn strips of cloth, the RCMP said the woman had “bandages on her legs from a pre-existing medical condition.”

It also said it takes all complaints about the actions of its members very seriously, and asked anyone who witnessed the incident or has information about it to contact the Battlefords detachment.

No one with the RCMP was available to comment further Friday evening.

City councillor looks into matter

The CBC attempted to contact the author of the Facebook post and the two men, without success.

However, city councillor Ray Fox said he had contacted the RCMP to look into the matter, just as the Mounties were preparing to issue their statement.

Fox told the CBC he thought it was unusual for the RCMP to put out a release in response to a Facebook post.

He said he knows the woman, and that she was still in hospital as of Friday afternoon.

Fox described her as someone with a “sad, sad history”, “the epitome of a street person” with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and a victim of violence.

He said people including himself had tried to help her, but “she’s unreachable almost”.

Fox also remarked that it would have been better if people had waited until the facts came out before passing judgement and posting on Facebook, saying “it’s being fuelled by almost a paranoia”.