City officials are refusing to discuss any details about an incident at the Santa Claus Parade Saturday night after a resident claimed she was mistreated by a bylaw officer in front of her 10-year-old daughter as she tried to drive away from the parade route.
That includes whether there is a video or audio recording of the confrontation.
The incident follows another at the same parade in 2012 when a bylaw officer was accused of assaulting a 55-year-old grandmother as she tried to turn around near the parade route while her grandchildren were in the vehicle. A witness said the officer twice tried to grab the woman’s cellphone and attempted to drag her from the vehicle while she was still wearing her seatbelt. It all happened in front of her grandchildren who were crying inside the car.
It was learned after the incident that neither the dashboard camera nor the body audio recorder worn by the bylaw officer were activated at the time.
RCMP decided against laying a charge against the officer – even though one of the witnesses told Yellowknifer at the time police never contacted him to ask what he had seen.
The incident did prompt a change in policy stipulating that all Municipal Enforcement Division (MED) officers must activate their dashboard cameras and body audio recorders if they find themselves involved in a “volatile” situation.
“This way, we don’t get the, ‘he said, she said’ because no one likes that. And in the end, we’re here to serve all the residents, all 20,000, as equally and fairly as possible,” said Dennis Marchiori at the time, who is director of public safety for the city.
Neither device was activated in the 2012 incident. The officer involved no longer works for the city.
Meanwhile, city officials refuse to discuss any of the issues surrounding the latest incident. That includes identifying the officer, saying whether his dash cam video recorder and body audio recorder were working and activated at the time and whether the officer remains on active duty.
“The incident regarding a complaint involving a resident and a municipal enforcement officer during the Santa Claus Parade is under investigation. No further comments are available during this process,” stated Richard McIntosh, a spokesperson for the city an an e-mail.
He did not say exactly who is conducting the investigation.
Krista Boizard shared her version of Saturday night’s events in a Facebook message to Yellowknifer, including her official complaint to the city.
Boizard, who wrote that she is relatively new to the city, stated she was in her vehicle with her daughter after the parade. While stopped on 52 Avenue near 49 Street, trying to figure out where she could go – she stated an MED officer approached her vehicle and according to Boizard yelled “Move!” I was immediately shocked and felt instant anxiety and fear for I had said or done absolutely nothing to warrant such a hostile and aggressive response,” her complaint reads.
“I didn’t even say one word before he yelled at me. I then simply said in a worried, scared tone, ‘I don’t know where to go. I’m trying to get home.’ He came right up into my face and screamed with extreme rage – ‘Now!’”
Boizard stated the officer terrified her daughter and the youngster remained distraught for the rest of the night. Boizard stated she drove a couple of blocks toward home, trying to put the incident behind her but then changed her mind.
“I decided to turn around and get his badge number because his treatment of me was absolutely not acceptable or justified,” she stated in her complaint.
“I walked up to his vehicle and spoke to him through the passenger window while he sat in the driver’s seat. He admitted that it was him who had yelled at me. I than asked him for his badge number repeatedly to which he refused and rolled up his window on me,” Boizard wrote.
She took down his licence plate number but the officer eventually exited his vehicle and gave her his badge number – 1014, she wrote.
“So now my daughter will forever have this … memory of going to see the Santa parade for the first time in our new home and having this psychopath on a power trip verbally abuse her mother in front of her,” Boizard stated.
She described the city’s response given to another media outlet as false. It stated that a municipal enforcement officer had arrived to assist and requested that an individual change their route in order to make way for the parade.
Boizard stated on Tuesday that she has received an e-mail from Doug Gillard, manager of MED, who acknowledged he had received her complaint but has not heard back from him since.