Winnipeg police officer tickets couple after they question why he isn’t wearing a mask
WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg police say an officer's conduct has been 'dealt with' after he handed a ticket to a pair of Winnipeggers after they questioned why he was not wearing a mask.
The video of the incident, obtained by CTV News, has been shared widely across social media platforms, showing the officer's interaction with the two people who were pulled over Tuesday evening.
CTV News has agreed not to name the woman who recorded the video, due to concerns for her safety following backlash on social media.
She told CTV News she had been in the car with her boyfriend when the officer pulled them over for failing to change lanes when passing a police car.
She said the officer who walked up was not wearing a mask.
"I don't need to wear a mask when I'm outside," the officer says in the video, who goes on to tell them he is going to ticket them.
"You were going to get a warning, I was being polite. You're not being polite," the officer said.
In a second video of the incident, the officer returns to the vehicle wearing a mask.
"Since it bothers you, I put one on," he says in the video, and hands them a $298 ticket.
The woman said the whole interaction with the officer lasted about a half hour. She said both she and her boyfriend are health-care workers and were concerned the officer could spread the COVID-19 virus to them, which is why she questioned him about it.
"He didn't make a logical point, he was just using his emotions to give us a ticket," she told CTV News. "Personally, I don't think police officers should act that way."
In a statement, Winnipeg police said it is aware of the video.
"Winnipeg police officers are expected to wear face masks during interactions with members of the public unless social distancing is being practiced," the statement said.
"Pursuant to the current Provincial Health orders, employees are expected to wear masks within indoor facilities accessible to the public or in private residences, where possible."
Police said this officer has been spoken to by his commanding officer about his conduct and said the matter has been dealt with. Police did not provide any details on how the matter was dealt with, or if the officer was disciplined.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman told reporters on Wednesday that he had watched the video and was "disappointed" by what he saw.
"If any resident of the City of Winnipeg wants to ask any member of our public service questions about public health orders, they should be dealt with in a respectful way," he said.
Bowman said he wants Winnipeg residents to feel comfortable asking those questions.
Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Winnipeg, said police officers are granted the power to act in ways they judge to be appropriate - and sometimes they can act defensively.
"Supposed oversight bodies like the (Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba) being unable to hold officers accountable for much more serious harms than this communicate to officers and creates a context in which they know they likely won't be held accountable for their actions," Dobchuk-Land said.
Police said they are not able to cancel the ticket, as that decision is up to Manitoba Prosecutions. The traffic stop has been flagged to the attention of Manitoba Prosecutions and police said officers are attempting to speak with the driver in the video.
The woman said she plans to file a complaint with the Law Enforcement Review Agency.
-with files from CTV's Mike Arsenault and Touria Izri