2021-10-02 00:34:01 British Columbia Judge Ends Protest Injunction at Fairy Creek

British Columbia Judge Ends Protest Injunction at Fairy Creek

The Supreme Court of British Columbia refused to extend an injunction against protests in and around Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island this week. However, the rejection had nothing to do with logging or the protesters’ actions.

Instead, Justice Douglas W. Thompson denied the logging company’s request due to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s conduct while enforcing the injunction, delivering a stinging rebuke to the national police force.

In an email, Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto, said, “I have never heard of anything like it.” “I am not aware of any case in which police misconduct was cited as a reason to terminate such an injunction.”

While Justice Thompson determined that the logging company seeking to have the injunction extended was suffering “irreparable harm” as a result of the protests, he also stated that the Mounties’ actions in enforcing it “have resulted in serious and substantial infringements of civil liberties.”

The mounted police did not respond right away. Bill Blair’s office, the public safety minister, declined to comment.

Fairy Creek became a focal point of protests after the New Democratic Party of Premier John Horgan, in the protesters’ opinion, backtracked on a promise he made during last year’s provincial election to protect old growth forests.

While old growth logging was suspended in some areas of the province, the lumber company Teal-Jones continued logging in and around Fairy Creek until June. The company was logging in collaboration with the three First Nations whose lands included the Fairy Creek forests.

The Mounties arrived in large numbers at the protests, and arrests began to increase after the logging company, which declared this week that “it is a myth that old growth in the area is at risk,” was granted an injunction in April against protesters’ efforts to halt its work.

In his decision, Justice Thompson described some protesters’ actions as “examples of the escalation in illegality,” such as digging deep trenches in roads or dangling from wooden tripods up to 30 feet high. However, he concluded that they were not the norm.

“The videos and other evidence show that they are disciplined and patient adherents to nonviolent disobedience standards,” he wrote. “There have only been a few deviations from that standard.”

Justice Thompson, on the other hand, found that the Mounties repeatedly eroded “the court’s reputational capital” while enforcing the injunction.

He chastised the Mounties’ leadership in particular for ordering officers to remove their names and all other identification from their uniforms. The police told the judge that it was a necessary step to protect them and their families from online harassment.

Justice Thomson wrote that the move was inappropriate for anyone in a position of authority, including judges, because anonymity makes it virtually impossible for citizens to successfully file complaints about police misconduct.

He wrote, “We identify ourselves.” “Accountability necessitates it.”

As of Sept. 24, the R.C.M.P.’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission had received 230 complaints about police actions at Fairy Creek. It is looking into 93 of them.

Despite a national directive prohibiting the practice, the majority of the officers at the protest wore “thin blue line” patches on their uniforms. According to Justice Thompson, an Indigenous woman stated in an affidavit that people in her community saw the patches, which typically overlay the line on a Canadian flag, as “symbolic of the history of R.C.M.P. involvement in enforcing policies that resulted in the genocide of Indigenous peoples.” Similar patches and flags in the United States have evolved from being a symbol of support for police to a symbol of opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Justice Thompson also discovered that, despite an earlier court order, police officers continued to interfere with journalists covering the protests.

The decision of Justice Thompson is not the Mounties’ first rebuke in recent years, which includes the force’s handling of other protests. And, according to Robert Gordon, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, it is unlikely to be the last. He is also skeptical that the embarrassment it causes the force will result in significant change.

“Almost 20 years ago, there was a series of incidents and reports and boxes full of recommendations about changing the R.C.M.P.,” Professor Gordon, a former British police officer, told me. “The bottom line is that the R.C.M.P. regards itself as the last word in Canadian policing and is reluctant and highly resistant to engaging in any kind of change other than superficial band-aiding.”

Source link

Other News

Subscribe to our World NEWS Letter

British Columbia Judge Ends Protest Injunction at Fairy Creek