Rally organizers, attendees arrested, accused of health-order violations
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/05/2021 (616 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Court documents confirm the identities of four people arrested over the weekend for repeated violations of pandemic public health orders.
Retiree and lockdown opponent Gerry Bohemier, 71, Hugs over Masks organizer Sharon Vickner, 53, and anti-lockdown rally organizers Todd McDougall, 36, and Patrick Allard, 39, were all taken into custody and quickly released on bail.
Arrest warrants remain outstanding for high-profile lockdown opponent Chris Saccoccia of Ontario, who cancelled an appearance at a rally Friday at The Forks after learning of his arrest warrant, and Church of God (Restoration) pastor Tobias Tissen.
Court documents reviewed for Bohemier, Vickner, McDougall and Allard indicate their charges are in relation to an outdoor gathering May 15 in Winnipeg. The warrants don’t specify where the gathering occurred, but an anti-mask/anti-lockdown rally took place that day outside the Manitoba Legislative Building, where Tissen was a featured speaker.
Saccoccia’s arrest warrant is in connection to an April 27 anti-lockdown rally at The Forks that attracted several hundred people.
By mid-afternoon Monday, Tissen had not yet been arrested and did not appear ready to turn himself in to police.
“RCMP currently has a lookout stationed in the proximity of my home, they already attempted to do the arrest at my home,” he wrote in a Twitter post Monday afternoon. “But no one is home.”
Bohemier, Vickner, McDougall and Allard were all released on condition they have no contact with each other, Saccoccia and Tissen.
“Social media is also a form of contact,” a judicial justice of the peace told McDougall. “You can’t use social media and you can’t ask individuals to contact these individuals on your behalf.”
All four were ordered to follow any public health order “that applies to you,” not attend any indoor or outdoor gathering with people outside their household, and to not organize or promote any gatherings prohibited by public health orders.
Vickner was combative during her bail hearing and questioned why she was arrested.
“Why am I sitting before you today?” she asked the justice of the peace. “I have never seen the warrant, the original copy, to even prove there is a warrant for my arrest.”
Later, Vickner struck an indignant stance when told about the release condition prohibiting her from attending gatherings outside her home.
“People gather at grocery stores,” she said. “Do I have to shop online now? Are you telling me I might not be able to buy groceries?”
Reassured the restriction would not prevent her from buying groceries, Vickner said she just wanted to “cover my ass.”
“I’m co-operative,” she said. “I just want to make sure you aren’t trying to starve me here.”
Vickner agreed to the release conditions, but was brought back before the justice of the peace after she wrote on her bail papers that she was signing them “under duress.”
“I feel like I really don’t have a choice, I really have to sign it because there is no hope in hell I want to stay in this place,” she said.
“I’m agreeing to all these conditions and will speak to a lawyer once I am exited from here and will make sure I can still go grocery shopping,” she said.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.
Updated on Monday, May 31, 2021 6:56 PM CDT: Clarified chiropractor is retired, tweaks headline
Updated on Monday, May 31, 2021 9:36 PM CDT: Corrects spelling of Saccoccia
Updated on Monday, May 31, 2021 9:49 PM CDT: Updates headline
Updated on Monday, May 31, 2021 10:50 PM CDT: Fixes typo.