RED DEER, Alb. (CityNews) – Alberta RCMP are investigating an assault that occurred at an anti-racism demonstration over the weekend.
In a press conference Red Deer RCMP Superintendent Gerald Grobmeier confirmed that RCMP were aware of the planned demonstration and had prepared to have adequate resources and specially equipped officers at the event to handle any potential risks to public safety.
“As demonstrators were setting up for the event, and prior to the RCMP arriving, with their planned attendance, a disturbance occurred between two separate demonstration groups resulting in one male allegedly assaulting another.”
He said organizers had informed police that the demonstration was going to be moved from its initial location, but officers had not arrived at the scene when the alleged assault happened.
RCMP were not aware of the assault until they arrived at Rotary Recreation Park. They were able to de-escalate the situation between the two groups and spoke with the victim. But since the victim did not provide a formal statement and no suspects have been identified, they have not been able to lay charges.
A video of the incident has been widely shared across social media since the weekend. Alberta’s Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said he was deeply disturbed by what he saw in the video.
“The RCMP always respects citizens rights to peaceful demonstration,” said Grobmeier. “However, we share the community’s concerns and are extremely disturbed by the behaviour depicted in the video, and we never condone acts of violence.”
WATCH: Red Deer anti-racism demonstration update
Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer backed Grobmeier’s statement and said “the city recognizes that social tensions are extremely high across our country as a result of many factors, the pandemic, the economy, and political polarity. However as a community it is imperative that we pull together rather then pull apart.”
Witnesses are being asked to come forward with any tips.
“Anyone with information including identifying those who were being violent, are encouraged to contact the Red Deer RCMP, to support local law enforcement and assist in the investigation,” added Veer.
Grobmeier said Red Deer is a very tolerant community and they did not expect for this demonstration to get violent. Moving forward, they will have additional resources on hand to make sure nothing like this happens again.