Here’s what I can tell you.
On Friday, Oct. 14 upon arriving at my office by bicycle at around 9 am I was arrested by Const. Freddie Challenger of the Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit for mischief. He was accompanied by at least three other officers and there were at least two police vehicles there. I was handcuffed, placed in an unmarked police vehicle and taken to the downtown division. There I was interrogated by a fifth officer for about a half an hour where, on the advice of my lawyer, I refused to answer any questions.
I was arrested for mischief with regards to the vandalism of the statue of Roman Shukhevych outside of the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in North Edmonton in August of 2021. You can read my story about it here.
I was released on an undertaking to appear with my first court date at the Case Management Office taking place on Nov. 10. This is a purely administrative event. The case will be adjourned until my lawyer obtains and reviews full disclosure.
I will be pleading not guilty and defending this charge. As many have pointed out this appears to be an attempt by the EPS to silence and discredit a critic.
However, the advice from my lawyer on this is clear. I can not talk about the substance of the case. But I can promise you that I will mount a vigorous defence, if it comes to that.
Unfortunately while I can’t publicly defend myself, the void has been filled by media outlets making cartoonishly basic mistakes about the facts of the matter and the usual far-right, pro-police voices on social media saying things that are untrue
But that’s not to say that you can’t reach out and say hi and ask me how I’m doing. To everyone who checked in, thank you. If you were thinking about sending me a text or a DM or a phone call to say hey and let me know that you support me, please do so, that would rule.
And if you would like to support me in person there is going to be a screening of the movie No Visible Trauma on November 9 at the Metro Cinema. This is an amazing documentary from two Calgary based filmmakers that examines a deeply troubled police service and reveals the devastating consequences of unchecked police brutality.
I will be part of a panel discussion afterwards that will feature:
- Temitope Oriola - Professor of criminology and sociology at the U of A
- Courtney Walcott - Calgary city councillor (Ward 8)
- Det. Dan Behiels - Police whistleblower
The doors open and the reception starts at 6pm. The screening starts at 7pm and the panel discussion and Q&A will follow.
The event is free and you can reserve a spot here.
The Edmonton Police Service is not going to scare us away from continuing to produce investigative journalism that holds the police accountable. In fact, we’re working on two stories involving EPS right now that I don’t think anyone else in Alberta media would or could write.
EPS hasn’t been able to stop our work by revoking our media credentials or by tying us up in an interminable “media accreditation process,” and they won’t stop us with these charges either.
If you’d like to offer more than just moral support we are always grateful for new recurring donors. The pandemic put the squeeze on our organization too, and not having much to pay writers has really diminished what we’re getting out there. If you’re able to pitch in to fund the work that Jim, our freelancers and I do, that’s the thing we need the most.
You can donate online here—if you have any trouble with that just email me directly.
Editors note: Danielle Paradis of APTN has dropped out of the event.