Ottawa police interim chief defends early stance toward freedom convoy

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) was on the right track at the time because the Freedom Convoy had been “very legal” and “peaceful” before arriving in Ottawa, its interim chief said Monday. rice field.

“Their actions are documented in the intelligence reports and reports we have obtained. [then] that they are highly lawful and do not engage in anti-social behavior; and [these were] OPS Interim Chief Steve Bell told the Public Order Emergency Committee.

“More than that, organizers often [OPP Project] According to Hendon’s report, their intention was to be legal and peaceful once they came to our city. ”

Bell, who was in charge of intelligence gathering and analysis for his organization before becoming interim chief on Feb. 15, said he assessed what information OPS had about the convoy and why the protests would not last long. was questioned by the Commission’s attorney, Frank Orr.

The Ontario Police Department (OPP) has produced and shared intelligence reports with OPS through the HENDON project since the early days of the convoy in January.

Given that some were driving from western Canada, that they had ample funds and that their demands would likely not be met, protesters assessed that they would remain in Ottawa for an extended period of time.

The Freedom Convoy and its associated protests and blockades across Canada called for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Bell, who was in charge of OPS information, told the commission that he did not remember receiving HENDON’s report before January 27, one day before the truck arrived in Ottawa.

Truckers and protesters arrived in Ottawa on January 28 and were kicked out over the weekend of February 18 after the Liberal government invoked the state of emergency law on February 14.

The commission considering the act’s invocation is currently in the public hearing stage.

“Expect a very large crowd”

Bell was asked by his attorney, Au, if he could assess that the protesters planned to stay longer given how far they had driven. “That’s the reasoning we make now,” he said.

Of the scale of the protests and their negative impact on Ottawa residents, he said, “There was nothing specific that it would happen in intelligence.”

Bell defended how his organization was aware of the convoy’s arrival and prepared as a result, but he acknowledged that he should have thought more about the potential for prolonged protests.

According to an intelligence agency assessment prepared by his subordinates and made public on January 28, the convoy is increasing its funding and “a truly organic grassroots event gaining momentum primarily from a broader population. It was said that it was.

“Expect very large crowds,” said the assessment.

One area missing from the report, Bell said, “is specifically about the fact that some members of the convoy may stay longer than we had planned.” said.

“I doubt there was enough information to substantiate the level of risk it created,” Bell said.

“Based on the information we had, there was no legal authority to deny the protesters their protest. All activity was lawful and peaceful, and there were no indications to the contrary.”

Noe Chartier


Noé Chartier is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Montreal. Twitter: @NChartierET Gettr: @nchartieret