REGINA – Allegations against two city officers travelled from the online world to the front steps of the Regina Police Service headquarters Wednesday.
Supporters of a woman who alleged police abuse gathered to protest how police handled the accusations, but officers say their response was necessary after the claims were widely shared through social media.
Lisa Dustyhorn posted the accusations against police on Facebook and said the alleged incident has left her 25-year-old daughter Brooke Watson traumatized.
“They took her and they terrorized her,” she explained to reporters. “She told them my address, and asked why can’t you take me to my mom’s, and they said four words to her; ‘Shut the ‘F’ up’.”
Dustyhorn claimed two officers drove her intoxicated daughter away from the city Sunday morning, removed her boots and coat, and threatened to leave her outside.
“We have to have bigger minds, bigger leadership, bigger vision, than just protecting a couple bullies within their police department,” said protester Connie Deiter.
The police service called for an independent investigation and the chief responded to the accusations Tuesday, citing GPS data showing the officer’s vehicle remained within city limits.
The allegations echo the so called, “starlight tours” that rocked Saskatoon police in 1990 when young First Nations men were dropped off out-of-town.
However, David Gerhard, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Regina said recent events in North America may also play a role.
“This particular issue is, I think, relevant today because of the interactions with police having stories all over the world,” he added. “Like in New York and other places, so the timing is more relevant in this one.”
Deputy Chief Dean Rae said the social media post was public and widely spread, so in a rare move police responded publicly in an effort to alleviate any fear within the community.
“If they had brought the complaint to the Public Complaints Commission or to another police service, we wouldn’t be having this discussion today, the process would be undertaken and we wouldn’t have divulged any of our information.”
Rae adds the two officers accused are not facing a suspension as the investigation continues.