Watchdog to Investigate ‘Reported Serious Injury’ After Mounted Police Knock Down Protesters in Ottawa

Andrew Chen
By Andrew Chen
February 20Canadashare
Watchdog to Investigate ‘Reported Serious Injury’ After Mounted Police Knock Down Protesters in Ottawa
A mounted police horse unit pushes back protesters during a protest against COVID-19 mandates in Ottawa, Canada, on Feb. 18, 2022. (Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images)

An Ontario police oversight agency said it is investigating two cases of police operations during the protest against COVID-19 mandates in the nation’s capital on Feb. 18 and 19, including one incident where a civilian was seriously injured.

In a news release issued Feb. 20, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said a 49-year-old woman “has a reported serious injury” following an “interaction” with a Toronto Police Service officer on a horse at roughly 5:14 p.m. on Feb. 18 on Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue in Ottawa.

Police advanced on protesters on Feb. 18, in some cases knocking people down. Videos circulating on social media show police on horseback riding through a crowd of protesters, and as onlookers scream, two people are seen getting knocked to the ground by the horses, including a woman with a walker. A man can be heard in the video saying, “They just trampled that lady.”

The OPS had initially said on Feb. 18 that it wasn’t aware of any injuries after the incident.

“We hear your concern for people on the ground after the horses dispersed a crowd. Anyone who fell got up and walked away. We’re unaware of any injuries. A bicycle was thrown at the horse further down the line and caused the horse to trip. The horse was uninjured.”

The SIU said it is also investigating an incident involving officers of the Vancouver Police Department, who “discharged Anti-Riot Weapon Enfields (less-lethal firearms) at individuals in the area of Sparks Street and Bank Street” in downtown Ottawa at around 7:18 p.m. on Feb. 19. “No injuries have been reported at this time,” said the SIU, a civilian agency that’s independent of any police service, regarding this second incident.

The agency said six investigators and two forensic investigators have been assigned to these cases.

In response, the OPS said in a post on Twitter on Feb. 20 that “we respect the oversight process and will always fully cooperate.”

The incidents came after police escalated their operation against the protesters in Ottawa on Feb. 18, making over 100 arrests on that day and towing over 20 vehicles. Mounted police and officers on foot advanced on the protesters, while horses knocked down protesters in some instances.

The demonstrations began with a protest by truckers opposed to the federal government’s vaccine mandate requiring truck drivers crossing back into Canada from the United States to be fully vaccinated if they wish to avoid a 14-day quarantine upon re-entry. It soon grew to become a national movement—and then a worldwide phenomenon—as large convoys of trucks converged in Ottawa to stage a protest on Jan. 29, with many supporters from around the world joining in to call for an end to all COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.

On Feb. 20, the OPS threatened that police will “actively look to identify” anyone participating in the protest in Ottawa and “follow up with financial sanctions and criminal charges.”

At a press conference in the afternoon on Feb. 20, the OPS said the federal government’s Emergencies Act has helped it to successfully carry out its operations.

In another Twitter post on Feb. 20, the OPS said 191 arrests have been made and 79 vehicles have been towed.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to add more details about the incidents.

From The Epoch Times

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