The Winnipeg Police Service says it’s "reviewing the situation" in the wake of social media posts appearing to suggest officers call in fake orders to a local restaurant, after it displayed signage critical of police.
A Facebook post from the personal account of WPS Det. Sgt. Susan Desjardine was first shared Sunday by local police abolitionist advocacy group Winnipeg Police Cause Harm.
In it, Desjardine said a "fellow officer" had warned her West Broadway eatery Tallest Poppy was displaying signage from the group, and she would be boycotting the restaurant.
The post quotes the anonymous officer as calling Winnipeg Police Cause Harm a "hate group" and "lunatics."
A later message, attributed to the account of WPS Const. Pat Chabidon, suggests officers call in orders to the restaurant and not pick them up.
The advocacy group's stated goal is to defund the WPS and reallocate its resources to "life-sustaining services."
Signage taped to the cash register in the restaurant is critical of City of Winnipeg spending on policing and a painted sign on the front door reads, "When the leadership failed, community prevailed!"
On Monday, public information officer Const. Rob Carver would not confirm the position title held by either officer.
Desjardine has been referenced as the WPS domestic violence intervention co-ordinator in media articles as recently as March 2020; Chabidon has previously acted as a WPS spokesman.
Carver declined interview requests on Desjardine's and Chabidon’s behalf, and said the WPS was aware of the social media posts and is "reviewing the situation."
The posts drew criticism online, and statements of support for the restaurant.
NDP MLA Lisa Naylor, who represents the constituency the Tallest Poppy is located in, tweeted Sunday night: "I'm encouraging everyone to support our local Wolseley constituency (and West Broadway) restaurants... Tallest Poppy might need some extra love this week."
The Tallest Poppy issued a brief message thanking Winnipeggers for their support, and a reminder the restaurant would be closed Monday. The owner of the restaurant said she had no further comment.
Carver said the WPS has social media policies in place, but did not expand on what those policies were or if Desjardine or Chabidon’s comments were a breach of those policies.
"We expect our employees to exercise good judgment and professionalism," he said.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.