A Canadian police sergeant refused to close down a small business in Mississauga, Ontario this week, and offered hugs to supporters and staff, appearing to enrage a corporate journalist who hovered around the anti-lockdown rally with a video camera.
The sergeant was later suspended for not wearing a face mask, and will be subjected to an Internal Affairs investigation.
The city of Mississauga has repeatedly tried to force the ownership of HUF Boxing Gym to cease operations due to COVID lockdown rules, but the gym has defied local politicians’ demands and held an anti-lockdown rally this week.
Global News reporter Sean O’Shea appeared on the scene and began taping the supporters with a video camera, drawing the ire of several protesters.
“Is that okay with you Sergeant, do you condone that Sergeant,” O’Shea demanded of an officer after being criticized by a female protester.
“I don’t condone it and that’s why I’m coming over,” the officer replied. “You’re standing here videotaping and obviously you’re agitating this group… they obviously have a problem with you, I don’t know if you have a problem with them.”
The reporter then loudly read the officer’s badge number aloud and insisted, “I’m doing my job.”
O’Shea then began walking around the parking lot attempting to videotape everyone present, while seeming to become increasingly upset that no one was wearing a face mask.
After the sergeant offered hugs to attendees, O’Shea appeared to become even more agitated.
“I haven’t kissed anybody and I gave a hug, I’ll give you a hug if you want,” the sergeant offered.
“I don’t want a hug, pandemic,” the journalist snapped. “I’m okay with a mask on, I’m okay with abiding by all the protocols, as you should be.”
On Friday, Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah announced that the sergeant has been suspended and placed under an Internal Affairs investigation for not wearing a mask:
“Upon learning of the incident, I immediately directed that the Sergeant be suspended and commenced an Internal Affairs investigation,” the police chief boasted. “Peel Regional Police are committed to ensuring the safety of our members and the public. Our officers will enforce municipal and provincial regulations as required.”