RCMP set to start any moment here. Will be tweeting what happens in this thread. https://twitter.com/Tommy_Slick/status/1308486961586266112
Supt. Gerald Grobmeier and Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer will be speaking. Grobmeier starts by reading off the statement shared above.
Mayor Veer stepping up for her statement. She says they stand in solidarity with RCMP to denounce violence and racism. Share strong concerns with what happened on the weekend. "Unequivocally denounce violence...and racism in our community"
Veer specifically denounces the behaviour from the hate groups shown in the videos. Says there may be some growing frustrations in the community, but this is not acceptable.
Since it now under formal investigation, Veer says it is crucial for the public to provide any info and is confident that the RCMP will uphold the law.
Questions now. When did RCMP start investigating. Grobmeier says that sort of began once they arrived at the scene. But yesterday they said there was no investigation. Grobmeier says the larger investigation was launched later last night.
Why no charges? Grobmeier says they need victims to come forward, need statements from witnesses, and need to identify the perpetrator. Investigation has to be done first before any charges can be considered.
Grobmeier says this is what happens in any other type of assault investigation. But reporter asks about why nothing was done when a victim spoke to police at the scene.
Grobmeier says that victim did not go to the detachment afterwards though, so they haven't been able to get a formal statement.
Why wasn't a violent man shown in the video removed from the scene? Grobmeier cannot say specifically, but believes officers had to balance what could be logically done at that time, and ensure everyone's safety
He says there is a potential for an assault charge, but doesn't know if others may apply, such as threats or weapon charges.
Any restraining orders against anyone at the event? Yes there was one (it was Pat King). But Grobmeier won't say the name specifically.
What do you say to racialized people who don't feel safe. Grobmeier says it is disappointing to hear that, wants people to have faith in the police force and that RCMP believe in bias-free policing. It looks bad for them here, but asserts officers were not on scene at the time.
Why was the RCMP unaware of the change in venue? Grobmeier says they were, and organizers told police exactly where they were going. But they somehow arrived much later.
Says police will be more present during these future rallies. Haven't seen any issues in the past, this was not expected by any means. "This escalated very quickly...clearly the tone has changed."
Adds that many people in the protest were not from Red Deer. Why does that matter, asks reporter. Grobmeier says the city is tolerant and welcoming, but seems to be blaming a lot of the violence on people that do not live in Red Deer.
What about a prior video from someone showing they planned to get violent? Grobmeier says officers had been monitoring social media and had been prepared for the possibility of violence.
But again, why no preventative action? Grobmeier says they just did not expect this kind of violence. "I don't think anyone did."
Press conference now over.
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