Police make arrests in East St. Paul party mayhem RCMP hunting for others involved in attempted sex assault, property damage, officer abuse
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Manitoba RCMP has charged four teens and vows to arrest every suspect from a raucous East St. Paul house party where officers were attacked, including having fireworks launched at them.
Investigators on Thursday announced mischief charges against three males, age 16, 17 and 18, and a 17-year-old girl — all from Winnipeg — who allegedly caused damage to two police vehicles when officers responded to a chaotic situation on the night of Oct. 29.
More arrests are anticipated; RCMP officers are in the process of locating additional suspects who’ve been identified and are trying to find out the names of others.
“We are quite confident that we will be finding every single person involved,” said spokeswoman Cpl. Julie Courchaine. “We are encouraging anyone who was involved to turn themselves in.”
“We are quite confident that we will be finding every single person involved… We are encouraging anyone who was involved to turn themselves in.”–Cpl. Julie Courchaine
In some instances, she said, suspects have been turned in by their parents or they surrendered to police on their own.
The four teens who were charged with mischief have been released from custody. They’re scheduled to appear in court March 7.
In addition to announcing the charges, police released photos of a male and female they’re trying to identify.
The pair was at the party, which was attended by hundreds of young people, and may have information that could be helpful to investigators, said RCMP.
Police are asking anyone who knows the male and female in the photos to call Red River North RCMP at 204-482-1222 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
Tips can also be submitted on Crime Stoppers’ website.
In the party’s aftermath, footage and pictures posted on social media showed people jumping on police vehicles on Saddleridge Lane, just inside the north Perimeter Highway.
The windshield of one cruiser was kicked in, and the other car had major damage to the roof and hood.
While being swarmed by dozens of intoxicated teens, officers were spat on, subjected to racial slurs and had fireworks launched at them, said RCMP.
Excessive drug use was apparent, according to police.
Officers intervened as two male teens dragged a girl into a bush in an attempt to sexually assault her, RCMP reported.
She was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The suspects ran off.
RCMP said the investigation into that incident is ongoing and is being treated as a priority.
“It was a traumatic incident and something very terrible that could have been worse if we hadn’t intervened,” said Courchaine.
The party was held shortly before new owners moved into the house, which is located in an upscale neighbourhood. The residence sustained “significant” damage, police said.
As video clips went viral, police began scanning social media websites and interviewing people in a bid to identify anyone involved in wrongdoing that night.
People who were at the party have provided footage and useful information to investigators.
“There were a lot of people that were there who did come forward to assist in the investigation,” said Courchaine. “There was a lot of work on this file due to the amount of people (present).”
Officers have more video to go through and more people to speak to.
“We made it very clear that the behaviour exhibited that evening was unacceptable. We anticipate that every individual who took part in damaging police vehicles will be arrested and charged,” said Supt. John Duff, commander of the RCMP’s East District in Manitoba, in a news release.
“I have also reviewed video where a vile racial slur is directed at a RCMP officer. I have spoken with the officer and expressed my dismay that he had to endure such hateful language from those in attendance.”
Some posts containing videos have been deleted since police announced earlier this month they were reviewing footage.
The RCMP’s use of social media to collect evidence sends a message to the suspects and the witnesses who cheered on unlawful behaviour, according to Brandon University sociology Prof. Christopher Schneider.
“It shows when there are groups of people and the perception is there is safety in numbers, in terms of people conducting unlawful activities, the evidence here is that’s not the case,” he said of the arrests.
The situation also shows the pursuit of social media likes, creating viral videos or simply “living in the moment” can have serious consequences, said Schneider.
“The moment at that time is, ‘Oh, there’s a police car being attacked and I’m going to record this,’” he said.
As a general assignment reporter, Chris covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.
Updated on Thursday, November 24, 2022 11:26 AM CST: Adds tags