Surrey Mounties are investigating a death threat made against a city councillor.
“On Monday morning I received a threat on messenger that basically said to put a bullet in me,” said Councillor Jack Hundial, a former Surrey RCMP officer. “There was a few other things in there which really I won’t disclose because it’s an ongoing investigation.”
Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko said police are “working with councillor Hundial to ensure his safety through our investigation” and “ff there’s any updates we’ll bring them forward to the public when we’re able.”
Sturko said she’s not aware of any complaints of threats being lodged by other Surrey council members.
Hundial told the Now-Leader that he thinks the threat is “absolutely” related to his position as a city councillor.
“You’ve got someone who is very anti-RCMP,” he said. “Looking at the person’s social media, right.”
Hundial is recently the target of a Safe Surrey Coalition attack ad on social media that shows his face, half in colour and half in black-and-white, divided down the middle, under the caption “The two faces of councillor Jack Hundial.”
He did not make a connection between the ad and the threat, but stressed that such ads create a “bad environment.”
“I think it just creates that environment though,” Hundial said of the attack ad. “It permits people to sort-of take the gloves off and say now this is now permitable, to treat people like this.”
“It doesn’t bode well with Surrey residents,” Hundial said. “I found it kind of offensive.
“It’s racially charged,” he said of the ad. “You start altering people’s skin tone and colors, it’s a black-and-white picture, it will send a message to some people.”
An elected official should never put their political ambitions ahead of the commitments they made to get elected
— Safe Surrey Coalition (@safesurrey2018) November 20, 2020
“I have no problem with the political engagement and talking about issues and we can agree to disagree, but when it’s such a direct threat, first thing in the morning – it looks like a real person on a real account, Facebook Messenger, and you do sort of the risk assessment and you think, well, does the person have the ability and the means, and when those are satisfied it sort of elevates the level of threat.”
Hundial said the threat “could be” related to his stance on the city’s policing transition, which he argues hasn’t been a tranparent process, but added “that’s really ultimately up to the investigators to locate and find out the reason being. It’s not an individual that I believe I’ve ever met before.”
At Surrey council’s regular meeting Monday, Nov. 9, both councillors Laurie Guerra and Brenda Locke indicated they’ve been subject to harassment at home on account of their roles on council, during bitter debate related to the policing transition and Freedom of Information requests.
Guerra, of the Safe Surrey Coalition and a proponent of the policing transition, told council that residents wanting the Surrey RCMP to remain as their police force “have even shown up to my home, where the RCMP had to be called.”
Locke, of the Surrey Connect slate as is Hundial, and who opposes the policing transition, replied with a story of her own.
“I too have been challenged, I have been followed, I have been told by the police – and I do have them now – security cameras at my house. I’ve had my fence broken into, I’ve had my space interrupted on more than one occasion,” Locke said. “But I will carry on. That’s just part of what we do. When you’re in public life you’re in a glass bowl, and that’s part of it, it’s unfortunate but it is what it is.”
Guerra told the Now-Leader on Wednesday that the incident she was referring to at the council meeting happened this past summer and says she has it on video.
“It was two of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey women that I knew their names because they verbally assaulted me on a number of diffent occasions at different, at different events in Surrey,” she said. “They came to my home, they pulled up right in front of my home, it’s on my video cameras, they took pictures or video of the home and then they got out and proceeded to come to the door. They said somebody had called them to put Keep the RCMP signs in Surrey on our lawn. On my lawn.”
“One of them knew very well whose house it was,” Guerra said. “The RCMP officer said it’s funny that with over 550,000 people in Surrey you happen to know that it was councillor Guerra’s home. They gave them a strict warning to stand down.”
Hundial, in response, told the Now-Leader, “I’m not going to minimize what she felt threatened with, but I think there’s a vast difference,” he said, between his situation and Guerra’s. “I know in Brenda (Locke’s) case, I know that she has been followed at home, that people have vandalized her property.”
Ivan Scott, organizer of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign, disputes Guerra’s account. “Of course we didn’t know whose place it was,” he said, adding that the two lawn signs were being delivered “in good faith” after receiving a telephone call from someone who requested them for that address.
“At that stage we were making up to 30 deliveries per day around Surrey and we were trying to expedite requests for signs as soon as possible,” Scott said.
Guerra said she’s “sad to hear” about the threat made against Hundial.
“That shouldn’t happen anywhere,” she said. “That’s not OK, as far as I’m concerned, and I know councillor Locke said in the council meeting it just is what it is, and I don’t agree with that at all. That’s where the line should be drawn – you don’t go into people’s personal lives, and their families, or show up at their home.”