(File photo: Amy Reid)

Safe Surrey under fire for ‘sickening’ social media posts accusing 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 covering 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?”

The Now-Leader has reached out to the RCMP for comment.



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

Thomas Dawson Peacock
Surrey man, 32, charged with sexual interference

Incidents alleged to have happened in Surrey and Abbotsford

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case double in Fraser North health area, up 50% in Vancouver

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Three more Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Elections BC has received a little more than 42,000 vote-by-mail packages from Surrey voters. . (Black Press Media File)
Elections BC has received about 56,000 mail-in ballots from Surrey voters

Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’: Animal activists set to enter not guilty plea in Abbotsford hog farm case

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Dennis Cholowski shows off a Jordan 2 Retro Just Don Blue sneaker, the type of shoe only a true sneakerhead would appreciate. (Facebook photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack Chiefs alum Dennis Cholowski shows off ‘sneakerhead’ collection

The Detroit Red Wing has been spending his NHL paycheques building up an impressive closet of shoes

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

Most Read