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OPP reviewing interaction between officer, protesters outside Trudeau event

The Ontario Provincial Police has launched a review after one of its officers was recorded vocally supporting — and possibly helping — protesters outside an event with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week.

In a video posted online, the officer is seen interacting with protesters in Alliston, Ont., about an hour and 45 minutes north of Toronto. Trudeau, members of his cabinet and government officials were visiting the region at the time for a multi-billion dollar electric vehicle investment announcement.

The now widely seen footage shows one of the protesters asking which entrance the prime minister is using.

The officer points off-screen and says, “He came in this way.”

‘I’m on board with you guys,’ officer says

He then asks the protester recording to do him a favour.

“I’m on board with you guys,” the officer says. “But just no profanity.”

WATCH: OPP officer says he’s ‘on board’ with protesters at Trudeau event 

OPP officer says he’s ‘on board’ with protesters at Trudeau event

3 hours ago

Duration 1:23

The Ontario Provincial Police says it’s reviewing this video, which shows a questionable interaction between an OPP officer and protesters in Alliston, Ont. this week.

The officer then says he took issue with another protester in the group calling Deputy Prime Minister Chrytia Freeland a sexist slur and threatening to beat up an OPP officer.

“There’s 6,000 of us employed on the OPP. I’m pretty sure not all 6,000 voted for Trudeau,” says the officer.

The protester then mentions what he calls the “catch-and-release” bail system — a term used by critics of the justice system to describe offenders being released into the community who then re-offend.

“Officers getting shot for guys that are already out on violent crimes,” says the protester, likely referring to the 2022 death of OPP officer Greg Pierzchala. One of his alleged killers was out on bail and under a lifetime ban on owning a firearm.

In response, the officer calls it “ridiculous.”

In a statement posted online, the OPP said it’s reviewing the matter and taking it seriously.

“This video has raised concerns about professionalism and depicts opinions that are not in line with the OPP’s values,” says the statement.

“The OPP also recognizes the rights of the general public, local residents and elected officials to a safe environment.” 

CBC reached out to the union representing OPP members for comment and has tried to contact the officer in the video. 

Former chief says police need to be neutral

Former Ottawa Police chief Charles Bordeleau called the interaction “inappropriate.”

“I can see clearly what the officer is trying to do here on the video. He’s trying to establish and build a relationship with the demonstrator in order to obtain compliance on the profanity issue,” he said.

“But he does so at the expense of his own credibility and also [is] no longer being neutral by expressing his own opinions.”

Police officers need to show neutrality in order to keep the peace, Bordeleau added.

“If you start showing favours to one particular side or another side, that may escalate issues,” he said. 

Bordeleau, now a senior adviser with StrategyCorp, said he suspects the OPP also will look into whether the officer compromised operational information.

“Now, I don’t know if it was obvious where the PM went in or out, but he also disclosed the fact where the PM actually drove in,” he said. “So I think the OPP will look at that from an operational perspective. Is he disclosing sensitive information?”

WATCH: Trudeau asked to comment on OPP officer

Trudeau questioned about a police officer potentially revealing his location to protesters

7 hours ago

Duration 2:26

The prime minister weighs in after a video surfaced of an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer in Alliston, Ont. guiding protesters to his location.

In a statement, the RCMP, which is responsible for protecting the prime minister at all times, said it “continuously” reviews its protective measures and practices.

“For security reasons, the RCMP doesn’t comment on specifics when it comes to security measures afforded to the prime minister, nor on potential ongoing investigations led by other law enforcement agencies,” the RCMP said in a statement provided to CBC News.

Trudeau also wouldn’t comment on security matters when asked about the video Friday 

“The ability to throw out insults at the person, the prime minister, is something that is protected here in Canada and is really important for people to be able to express themselves. That’s really key,” he added.

“At the same time, however, politicians need to be very, very careful that they don’t feed into divisions amongst Canadians, polarizations or conspiracy theories.”

Policing at protests under scrutiny

Police officers have faced allegations in recent years of being sympathetic toward certain protesters, including participants in the the 2022 self-stylized “Freedom Convoy” that gridlocked downtown Ottawa and some border points for weeks.

The Ottawa Police Service came under fire after intelligence documents tabled at the ensuing public inquiry showed the police initially characterized the “Freedom Convoy” protest as “organic” and “middle class.”

“At the time of writing, there is no critical intelligence to suggest any sort of violent actions or concerns for violence,” one of the intelligence documents says.

Testifying under oath at the inquiry, Keith Wilson, a lawyer who represented convoy organizers, confirmed organizers were receiving “a steady stream” of leaks from “sympathetic”police officers.

Recently, some pro-Palestinian groups have alleged Toronto Police officers enforce rules selectively at organized protests. 

The police service has pushed back against the suggestion that it employs a double standard.

“We recognize the vast majority of people showing up are there for a cause, and to speak up and be heard,” Toronto Police Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue said at a news conference this month.

“However, there are individuals consistently involved in the protests who act as agitators and who are becoming increasingly confrontational and violent.”

WATCH: Former RCMP deputy commissioner says video of OPP officer is ‘deeply troubling’ 

Former RCMP deputy commissioner says video of OPP officer at protest is ‘deeply troubling’

39 minutes ago

Duration 8:21

The Ontario Provincial Police is reviewing the conduct of one of its officers in response to a video showing a questionable interaction between an OPP officer and protesters in Alliston, Ont. this week. Former RCMP deputy commissioner Pierre-Yves Bourduas tells Power & Politics that the content of the video is ‘deeply troubling’ and far from what Canadians expect.

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