Ottawa police intelligence predicted Freedom Convoy could halt movement in capital, docs show


As a whole lot of vans and protesters started to descend on Ottawa final winter, the native police providers’ personal risk evaluation predicted the big, well-funded disruptive crowds could shut down movement to the capital, based on proof offered on the inquiry investigating the federal authorities’s use of the Emergencies Act. 

But the interim chief of the Ottawa Police Service testified Monday they have been below the impression it might be a three-day occasion and solely a small variety of individuals would keep previous the primary weekend. 

According to a risk evaluation written on Jan. 28, the Ottawa police felt that the “the convoy will be capable of cease and successfully shut down movement in the event that they want.”

“Therefore we count on to see an enormous quantity of automobiles and enormous transport vans clogging metropolis roads and the flexibility to speak and transfer the truckers on could also be hampered by the cell saturation,” mentioned the report, which was ready forward of the primary weekend of protests.

“Convoy members look like stocking up on meals and provides, which might point out that they’ve long-term plans to remain in Ottawa.”

The report mentioned the protests will seemingly be marked by “passionate grounds” and that contributors had already amassed tens of millions of {dollars} by means of a GoFundMe web page. 

“The conclusion right here is that giant numbers could attend the town and we accepted that,” mentioned Steve Bell Monday below questioning earlier than the Public Order Emergency Commission. 

“That there could be site visitors disruptions, completely, and it could be feelings related to it. But not something that might relate to the exercise that we finally noticed on our streets.”

WATCH | ‘We accepted that’: Interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell on the normalcy of enormous protests in the town:

‘We accepted that’: Interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell on the normalcy of enormous protests in the town

Bell says that whereas Ottawa police have an understanding that the town attracts massive protests yearly, nobody was prepared for what was introduced on by the truck convoy in phrases of dimension and size of time.

In January, Bell served as a deputy chief and oversaw intelligence, info, and investigations. He was named interim head of the Ottawa Police Service after Peter Sloly resigned on Feb. 15.

As the fee has beforehand heard, the Ottawa Police believed the protests would solely final three days and deliberate accordingly.

Instead, protesters entrenched themselves in the town’s core for almost a month, blocking entry to essential streets and idling automobiles. The begin of a protests was marked by incessant honking, earlier than a personal citizen sought an injunction to silence the horns. 

“The actual impression of this protest was the group hurt that was created,” mentioned Bell Monday.

“There wasn’t any info that recognized that.”

Report flagged issues about firearms 

The risk evaluation mentioned there was no vital intelligence that “defines a particular plan to violence.” 

“However, social media reveals that individuals with extremist views are more and more posting in help of the convoy,” it reads. 

One bolded bullet level mentioned “enhance in social media posts from consumer suggesting that violence must be used if the federal government doesn’t acknowledge the convy. No threats or credible plans have been recognized.” 

The report additionally famous some “individuals of curiosity” have been brazenly speaking about bringing firearms. 

The late January risk evaluation urged that staffing issues inside the Ottawa Police Service must be addressed instantly.

Ottawa Police Service interim Police Chief Steve Bell reads over paperwork submitted as proof throughout testimony on the Public Order Emergency Commission, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

On Feb. 14 the federal authorities invoked the Emergencies Act, giving authorities new powers permitting them to freeze the funds of these linked to blockades and protests, ban journey to protest zones, prohibit individuals from bringing minors to illegal assemblies and commandeer tow vans.

The fee has been directed to look at the circumstances that led to the declaration of a public emergency, together with the actions of police previous to and after the declaration. 

Bell advised the fee that these powers helped the Ottawa police cease and clear the demonstrations. 

In an interview with the fee’s lawyer this summer season, Bell mentioned he didn’t have an opinion on whether or not it was essential.

Bell added that as interim chief, he solely led the Ottawa police in a world after the act was used. 


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