Victoria, BC – After reflecting on claims and comments made about officers’ actions at a protest in the 1800-block of Blanshard Street that led to 13 arrests on January 22nd, Chief Del Manak prepared remarks to set the record straight.
Chief Manak’s prepared remarks are below.
I’m Chief Del Manak of the Victoria Police Department.
I wanted to provide you with an update about the media and social media coverage following the arrest of protesters last Wednesday. There is a lot of misinformation being shared online about the protests, especially about the actions of the Victoria Police officers.
First and foremost it’s important to know that the Victoria Police were acting in the lawful execution of their duties.
In an effort to correct the record, I want to repeat these key facts:
- The arrested protesters were not youth. In fact, the ages of those arrested ranged from 18 to 66, with an average age of 30. These are adults under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Canada Youth Justice Act.
- Protesters were not denied medical care – according to their own observer, a protestor who complained of a medical issue was offered our police medic immediately. When they declined, officers arranged for paramedics, who saw them within 30 minutes. This protestor decided to stay and not leave the protest.
- According to their own observer, outside of a 46-minute period where police were establishing an inner perimeter and restricting access to the building, protestors had access to food and water for the full 15 hours during which the protesters had occupied the building.
- “Blood” splattered on the floor, as shown in some photos online and claimed to be from an injured protestor, was actually red dye that was spilled by protesters; and
- Protestors are claiming that there were multiple injuries. I can tell you that we take this very seriously, and no one requested or accepted offers to be seen by paramedics while they were being processed at the Victoria Police Department Jail facility.
- Now here’s something you may not have heard:
- Our officers experienced verbal and physical abuse in the course of executing their lawful duties.
- There was active resistance, obstruction and in getting in the way of police doing their job.
- Our officers were pushed, kicked and subjected to race-based verbal attacks.
- Our officers maintained professionalism and restraint in carrying out duties under very difficult circumstances.
We’ve been notified that there have been complaints made to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, the OPCC. If the OPCC orders an investigation, we will, of course, cooperate fully so that the facts surrounding this event can be known to everyone.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my perspective on this important issue.