Officers pictured at the Gidimt’en checkpoint on Jan. 7, 2019. Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach is calling for an independent review of police action following the RCMP’s dismantling of the Gidimt’en checkpoint on Jan. 7, 2019. (Canadian Press photo)

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP calling for independent review of RCMP action at Gidimt’en

Bachrach wants the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission to conduct a review of RCMP action

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach is calling for an independent review of police action following an incendiary report by The Guardian about the RCMP’s dismantling of the Gidimt’en checkpoint on Jan. 7, 2019.

The call from Bachrach comes after notes from an RCMP strategy session on the raid were allegedly obtained and published by the U.K.-based newspaper.

In a Facebook post Dec. 20, Bachrach reacted to The Guardian’s unconfirmed reporting that the RCMP was arguing for actions such as “lethal overwatch” (a term denoting sniper presence) being required for the deployment.

The Guardian also alleged officers were given approval to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” in their removal of the Gidimt’en checkpoint, which was erected in 2018 by members of the Wet’suwet’en nation and their supporters.

A separate document also allegedly references an officer’s opinion that arrests would be necessary for “sterilizing the site” while another noted while the Wet’suwet’en had firearms for hunting there was no indication they would use them against the RCMP.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 14 people in northern B.C. over anti-LNG pipeline protest

The checkpoint is one of multiple sites meant to restrict access to Coastal GasLink (CGL) workers and their proposed 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline.

On Jan. 7, 2019, armed RCMP officers made their way to the checkpoint to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court injunction, took apart the gate and arrested 14 people in the process.

All 14 arrested individuals subsequently had their charges dismissed.

In a statement issued Dec. 21, the RCMP said it had requested the documents from The Guardian, but was denied.

“As such, we cannot verify the validity of the statements made in the article or of the documents themselves,” a spokesperson said. “Similarly, we have not had the opportunity to determine in what context any of the alleged statements may have been made or by whom.”

The statement said several phrases mentioned in the article “are not generally used by the RCMP during operational planning.”

Today, Dwayne McDonald, RCMP assistant commissioner specifically addressed the term “lethal overwatch.”

“Most concerning is the reference to lethal overwatch, which from a RCMP perspective and indeed police forces around the world, relates to an observation position taken by armed police officers, to ensure police and public safety,” he said.

In the Dec. 20 Facebook post, Bachrach said he found the Guardian article hard to read.

“To learn that in its planning the RCMP encouraged violence against people who are our friends and neighbours is heartbreaking and deeply troubling,” he wrote.

“Instructions such as ‘sanitize the area’ and ‘use as much violence as you want’ are not appropriate.”

Bachrach said he is calling on the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) to conduct an independent review of the RCMP’s planning and actions related to the Jan. 7, 2019 incident to determine whether they were consistent with Canadian law enforcement standards.

“I, and many of my constituents, find these reports disturbing. The fact that the word violence was used and seemingly encouraged is frankly troubling,” he told The Interior News.

“An independent review will be able to help Canadians understand whether Canadian law enforcement standards were upheld.”

READ MORE: RCMP begin to clear Indigenous pipeline protest camps

The request from Bachrach comes more than two months after a request from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en demanding Forests Minister Doug Donaldson issue a cease-and-desist order to CGL’s 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline due to the “ongoing destruction of Wet’suwet’en cultural heritage and archaeological sites, and non-compliance with Wet’suwet’en and BC Provincial law.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Protesters block entrance to government building in support of Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Unist’ot’en requesting Environmental Assessment Office withhold CGL construction permits

The camp says CGL never mentioned healing centre in report to Environmental Assessment Office

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Most Read