(File photo: Amy Reid)

(File photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says an “unauthorized person” was to blame for the Safe Surrey Coalition’s posting and subsequent deleting of social media posts that accused RCMP officers of murdering a man and cover it up by destroying evidence.

The tweet and Facebook post were posted Friday (May 29) on the Safe Surrey Coalition’s social media accounts.

The posts stated, “Poorly trained RCMP murder a defenceless man and then delete video evidence to cover up their crime.”

The comment included a link to a news story about the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. recommending charges against five officers in the death of a Prince George man in 2017.

READ ALSO: Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death, May 30, 2020

McCallum said on Saturday that he “wasn’t aware of it at all, and actually had no knowledge and I hadn’t even seen it until somebody phoned me about an hour ago.”

“I actually don’t agree with it and I looked into it and can say that it won’t ever happen again. It was sent out by an unauthorized person. They recognized immediately that it was a mistake and they took it off within 15 minutes,” he said.

Asked if the social media accounts would be acknowledging what happened, McCallum said, “I’m not going to put out any, but I have talked to a couple (of) press on it. I’ve also talked to the RCMP on it and they’re going to let their internal communications say exactly basically what I said to you.”

He said that he’d previously said that social media posts “would have to run by myself” in order to be posted.

“But in this case, it didn’t go past me,” McCallum explained. “We’ve corrected that and it won’t happen again. I have, and certainly Safe Surrey Coalition, have tremendous respect for the RCMP.”

Safe Surrey Coalition Councillor Laurie Guerra, who said she doesn’t use Twitter anymore, said she didn’t see the posts before they were taken down, but was made aware through text and speaking with fellow Councillor Doug Elford.

She said that Elford “talked to the powers that be at the Safe Surrey Coalition and that the tweet was taken down.”

“If I had seen it, I would have done the same thing that Councillor Elford had done and I totally agree with him. It was an unacceptable comment and I think that I would have advised to take it down immediately and I think that’s what they did.”

When asked if she knew who had access to the account and could have posted it, she said, “There’s a team of people and I don’t know who, which person or whatever, so no, I don’t know. Individually, I don’t know.”

Going forward, Guerra said she would “absolutely” want to have more control and understanding on who’s posting. She said that while she “can’t really apologize on behalf of somebody else,” she wouldn’t have put that up online.

“People make mistakes, and I’m one of them. I’m a human being and I’ve made mistakes, and I think the only thing we can do as humans is own the mistake and deal with it and move on. I think that’s what they did,” Guerra said.

“I would be very sorry to have been a part of anything that would have caused any hurt or any disrespect to anybody. That is not what I stand on, so I would be very apologetic for those comments. I wouldn’t have said those comments, and If I’d ever done any comment on any Twitter or any Facebook post that would have hurt somebody, I would have owned it and apologized for it and moved on.”

Meantime, Councillor Jack Hundial, who initially ran and was elected with Safe Surrey Coalition, said the post was “upsetting” and “beyond sickening and shameful.”

As of Saturday afternoon, Hundial hadn’t spoken with anyone on the Safe Surrey slate about the posts.

“It’s not up to me to police them as politicians… Their own moral compass should direct them in the right way.”

As for repercussions for the posts, Hundial said, you can’t accuse the officers of murder, “who, really, are through the normal course of their duty and process where there’s proposed charges — recommended through the IIO — but not even convicted or charged yet. They’re just proposed. The charges have been forwarded and we’ll see what happens.”

It could also affect those who may want to apply for the Surrey Police Department, Hundial said.

“How do you even recruit police officers, it doesn’t matter if they’re RCMP or they’re from another organization, to come forth and work in the City of Surrey when, really, the mayor, who’s also going to be the chair of the police board, will call you out potentially as a murderer when you get entwined in an investigation. how much confidence does that instill for anyone to come here to work?”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

RCMPSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Kitimat RCMP were requesting assistance locating 24-year-old Teah Wilken, who was last seen getting on a bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23). Kitimat RCMP Facebook photo.
UPDATE: missing woman found safe at residence

Wilken last seen getting on bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23)

Black Press file photo
Moose hit on Hwy 37 S

The collision happened Saturday (Nov. 21) and three people were taken to hospital

<em>Pixabay</em>
All I want for Christmas is…food!

The Kitimat Northern Sentinel wants to publish your holiday recipes

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Pamela Wright, a UNBC professor in the department of ecosystem science and management, is presented with the Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership - Professor, at a virtual ceremony today (Nov. 24) in recognition of her collaborative work with community partners and students to conserve Canada’s northern lands. (Photo submitted by Mitacs)
UNBC professor recieves prestigeous conservation award

Pamela Wright recognized for leadership in ‘breakthrough’ work on northern issues

Pamela Wright, a UNBC professor in the department of ecosystem science and management, is presented with the Mitacs Award for Exceptional Leadership - Professor, at a virtual ceremony today (Nov. 24) in recognition of her collaborative work with community partners and students to conserve Canada’s northern lands. (Photo submitted by Mitacs)
UNBC professor receives prestigious conservation award

Pamela Wright recognized for leadership in ‘breakthrough’ work on northern issues

Most Read