REPORTING · 11th November 2013
EDITED November 11, 2013
Today, November 11, 2013, I had the livin’ shit scared outta me. I do not scare easily.
At 1 am in the morning on an all but deserted street a female RCMP officer who had harassed me earlier continued the effort into the late night/early morning hours.
Suddenly, after she called for back up when I confronted her and again asked for her name and badge number, which she continually refused to provide, I was surrounded by three RCMP cruisers and at least 3 officers without any witnesses.
I asked them all to step out of their vehicles so they would all be recorded. The female officer had requested I turn off the video camera. I refused and then advised I also had another person following me, indicating he was recording our interaction from a distance.
I bless my quick thinking for that.
Presently my nerves are a bit on edge and as I hear vehicle outside I peak through the blinds and see 9 out of 10 times, RCMP cruisers pass by. Maybe their station is near.
In every small community I have lived I have never seen this much activity on a quiet night.
Earlier in the day this same officer who refused to identify herself, and still I do not know who she is (though if I take the time to get a screen shot of the video I am presently uploading, I may discover it), stopped a man from Chase who visited our Sensible BC converted Greyhound Coach we call the Cannabus. He signed the petition and as he went to drive away she turned on her lights and interrogated him as to what he was doing with the bus.
When I arrived to talk to him about her interrogation she turned on me asking if I had permission to be parked where I was parked. She had no complaints, did not know who owned the land and could not offer any reasonable explanation to her superior when he questioned her motives. He even laughed when she suggested the nearby Church wouldn’t appreciate us parked where we were.
I have just arrived back in the bus. I have turned off the lights and am typing in the dark.
I do not think I will be able to sleep tonight.
At 1 am I heard noises and talking outside behind the bus. I thought it was people coming out of the bar and went out the door around the front and was caught in the headlights of two RCMP police cruisers. I quickly retreated into the bus and grabbed my video camera only to just be able to catch them racing away up the street.
I saw where they turned left and decided to go and confront them to discover why we were being harrased.
As I got closer, at least 5 blocks up, I saw one cruiser leave. Then a second. I thought I had missed my opportunity. But I continued on and saw it was a Tim Hortons. I decided to go get a coffee and engage in a conversation with the staff there and ask about the officers who I had expected had gone through the Drive Thru window.
I was surprised to see the female officer who had confronted our petition signer and myself earlier in the day standing slightly behind the counter engaged in a conversation with a Tim Hortons employee.
I walked directly up to her and asked her why she was parked behind the bus and what her name was.
My video camera was still running and was running ever since I began walking away from the bus.
I recorded everything.
Watch a six minute version here.
I only turned off the camera for two split seconds. The first moment after I grabbed the camera and thought I missed them behind the bus, then I turned it on again when I saw them racing away up the street. Then I turned it on and kept it on for the next 20 minutes or so. My walk up the street, into Tim Hortons, the interaction and my leaving followed by the intense interaction all the way back to the bus. I expressed exactly how I felt.
You can see for yourself the intense threat I was under. This female officer had at least two male officers for back up and had asked me to stop recording. When she did that I stated my friend was also recording from a distance.
I am glad I said that.
Watch the earlier interaction which precipitated all of this here.
Here is all I wrote about it then; On November 10, 2013 a Hope RCMP Officer harassed and attempted to intimidate a citizen who just left the Cannabus after signing the Sensible BC Initiative Petition. The officer then attempted to intimidate the Canvassers and the owner of the Cannabus and then she even refused to identify herself.
The video speaks for itself as to her attitude and intimidation - this one is only a couple minutes long.
I still do not know her name.
Cooked their own goose
Comment by Beatnuck on 12th November 2013
It appears that there may be a strong case to be made out that Hope has far too many police officers. Tax payers should be outraged at this waste of taxpayer's dollars. How sad that Public Safety is no longer the priority of these public servants. If they want to become politicians, they should be on the Conservative Party payroll, not the public purse.
Remember the cop in Victoria who was disciplined for supporting "the cause." How is THIS any different???
Are HOPE Citizens Allowing RCMP to be Bullies?
Comment by MWPR on 11th November 2013
What you are suggesting is all of us should allow Officers who exert overt aggressive and antagonistic behaviour to be allowed to get away with it completely unchallenged.
The Citizens of Hope who support this behaviour are acting cowardly. On November 11 every year we honour those who died standing against governments who allowed and encouraged their military and officers to do these exact same things and act in the same manner unchallenged.
All I did was follow up on a threat perpetrated by this officer on us.
First she took an offensive, rather aggressive action against us, as to where the Bus was parked. She acted as if she had a complaint. And then after her superior laughed at her she stated she was certain the Church would not want us there.
She took this action and made this statement without any foundation or any cause. And in fact the Church welcomed us, supported what we were doing and first thing in the morning one JW member knocked on the door and offered support for the petition.
However that night she and another parked behind the bus making such a commotion I was raised to go check. When I went to get the video camera they raced away.
So you are saying we should let this behaviour go unchecked?
Not a chance in my books. This is exactly the type of officer who would pick up a hitch hiker on Highway 16 and make them disappear. Just like they did in Saskatoon to Neil Stonechild.
Why is the town of Hope filled with such cowards and police who can get away with being bullies? Maybe the police can get away with being bullies because the town is filled with so many cowards.
Please folks, your children and our future depend on each and everyone of us exposing these criminals for what they are.
It is why we remember our soldiers as we did on the day I was critiqued for doing exactly the same thing.
This female officer needs her badge pulled and an example made of her offensive behaviour.
Nothing else will suffice. No officer should be allowed to be such a brute.
This is not yellow Journalism or fabrication, it is exposing the truth, being brave to do the right thing even under threat of harm. I was frightened to be sure. She had her hand on her gun almost the entire time and the third officer got out of the car and had his lights and body positioned such that I could not see him or tell how fast he was coming towards me.
I was caught in a triangulation purposefully set up for a beating. it is why I advised I had another recording and why I left immediately.
But more to the point, after I left Tim's, why did they chase me down.
Her opening was "you wanted to talk to me?" after she had me in a quiet dark spot surround with her hand on her gun. Still not providing her name and demanding I turn off my recording device.
I may have been frightened but I am not a coward and I do not and never will accept such offensive behaviour from an officer who is supposed to serve and protect.
Comment by SWFB on 11th November 2013
Why did you follow the RCMP to Timmy's? When the officer is talking to an employee you interrupt them and continue to follow the officer to the door. She called back up because that's procedure when a person is obviously confronting them in an aggressive manner.
If you are truly afraid what the police may do, why walk across Hope at 1 am by yourself to get the exact footage you wanted? This is gotcha journalism at it's worst. Follow the cop, confront, blame, but be scared because that makes good copy.
All you accomplished was to unite this town against you and the cause you support. If you doubt that email me and I will show you the facebook conversations going on right now.
Sorry buddy, you were wrong. Nothing else to say but good luck with your "journalism" career if this is what you do. TMZ would be ashamed.
Yes, the original video is now private by sensible request
Comment by MWPR on 11th November 2013
Thanks for the comment Maggie Jo - As you can see the comments on what I control are still here. On the Video from "You Tube"- the Sensible BC Campaign Managers requested we take this down.
I argued but they felt it was not in good taste for them to be associated. They deleted it from their system and all those comments were lost as well. Even one where the officer was named. I however maintain control of our You Tube channel and did set this video to private.
I edited the interaction so it would be easier to watch and be much more concise. I also included more content for the beginning and the end. this will stay live.
There are comments for and against, critiquing and supporting. As you know this has been the story for seven years and is simply human nature.
I stand my ground and so do you.
As long as we do not attack each other, all is good.
In this RCMP interaction I believe my actions were entirely appropriate and necessary as many others would or could be taken advantage of by such an officer.
We deserve an apology from the force.
Where'd the comments disappear to???
Comment by maggie jo Johnson on 11th November 2013
When peeps on YouTube started providing their input on the video on YouTube today...with some indicating that Merv was the one instigating/harassing the RCMP instead of what he was claiming had occurred... suddenly he has edited this post AND now the original comments on the YouTube video commentary line from viewers are no longer viewable as it has been marked 'private video' so all those comments from people who were stating that Merv was the instigator instead...are no longer viewable. And then there's the same video available but with all the previous comments not noted. Interesting. Merv is always accusing the RCMP of hiding things. Who's hiding things now???
Who harrased who? & askng an officers name is harrasment?
Comment by MWPR on 11th November 2013
And how/ By asking for her name and badge number? That is harassment? And when her superior laughed at her for antagonizing us as to our parking spot? I was harassing her then too? But then the Jehovah Witnesses came to the bus and expressed their support. So really, don't be foolish. This officer is not worth of the badge.
And further, did you note how her hand was almost always on her gun? And when the third cruiser pulled around to surround me (remember I had left long ago and was walking home alone, having left the RCMP back at Tims) that officer also got out of his car and move slightly towards me into the cover of his headlights. I only asked why the intimidation and what were their names. Their commanding officer is a very nice man who just recently transferred down from Kitimat. I am certain he will be taking action against this provocative behaviour.
If you had been reporting on police brutality for seven years you too might have been concerned for your own personal safety. The original video was uploaded late last night primarily for security. More importantly, if you watched the first encounter where this female officer harassed a signer of the petition, she approached me after she was done with the guy and then challenged our presence. I was not the aggressor, she came to me. Then she stated she was certain the church wouldn't like us in their parking lot - the church and bar are next to each other at the corner of 6th Ave and Old Hope Princeton Way. Today the Jehovah Witnesses came to the bus and expressed their support. But again to the point of aggression, after she again refused to provide her identity, and after she called for "back up" I left and walked away back towards the bus and then three cops drove up and surrounded me. She then again approached me asking "what are you afraid of - why don't you turn off the camera" Yeah right!. This was not me wasting the CMP time it was them exerting unreasonable coercive tactics to create a situation I refused to accept only. I will not cower from bullies, never have, never will. But also I do not want to end up dead like Ian Bush or brain damaged from an RCMP induced come like Robert Wright. Someone has to stand up for what is right.
Merv Ritchie in Hope.. not cool..
Comment by Art Folden on 11th November 2013
While I certainly am in favour of the Sensible BC petition etc., it appears to me that Merv Ritchie is NOT a very good example of a reasonable approach to dealing with the RCMP in this incident recorded in Hope. In fact it appears more like he was the one harassing and stalking the RCMP member involved. He certainly has NOT portrayed the Sensible BC campaign in a good light.