EDITORIAL – Questions in need of answers about alleged police violence

Mounted police ride in front of protesters. (Image: Screen grab)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I’VE GOT A FEW ‘WHAT IF’s’ for those who are alleging police violence during the clearing of the truckers’ protest in front of Parliament Hill.

Yes, there were incidents in which people were pepper sprayed. Unfortunately, a woman was injured when mounted police rode in front of a line of protesters. And police smashed the window of a truck to get the driver to come out.

So what if:

The protesters had paid attention to the many, many notifications of the fact their protest was illegal and they must leave the area, and had left as instructed?

The protesters, instead of making a show of bravado by standing right in front of the advancing police lines and yelling “hold the line!” had simply done what they were told to do and moved back?

Had resisted the urge to physically push back on the police as the area was being cleared?

Had, instead of continuing to honk their horns and taunting police with vulgarities, obeyed lawful orders, fired up their rigs and driven away as they were warned to do?

I pause here to observe that those who support the truckers also tend to support the narrative of police brutality against “peaceful protesters.” Cellphone videos of confrontations with police, by the way, make good posting on Facebook to “prove” police brutality and validate the cause.

Certainly, as I wrote on the weekend, there have been a lot of absolutely brutal police actions against protests in other parts of the world but comparing our Canadian example to those requires that one more question be answered: Is there any proof there was widespread pro-active violence on the part of police, or did they react to what the protesters were doing in the moment?

Maybe everything will become clearer when investigations are done into how this sad event happened, and why.

So many questions in need of answers. And so many what if’s.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9378 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Questions in need of answers about alleged police violence

  1. Ya, pretty much.

    I remember over the weekend I saw a clip of a slowly moving line; police inching forward, protesters slowly backwards. A backing up protester backed himself into an ice berm a foot tall and kinda tripped, sat down on it.

    His ‘attending officer’ instantly took a small step back, raised both hands with palms towards the fallen protester in an act of saying ‘no problem’, offered a hand, the protester took the help to stand back up and they continued slowly on their way.

    To me … thats the ultimate Canadian protest procedure.

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