About 100 people turned out to a protest at Lethbridge’s police headquarters on Sunday afternoon to make their frustrations heard after Global News obtained video of an officer repeatedly running over an injured deer last week.
On Jan. 5, an unidentified officer was shown running over the animal with his truck multiple times as it shrieked in a horrific 15-minute video.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has since launched an investigation into the officer’s actions, while Lethbridge police Chief Robert Davis has welcomed the ASIRT investigation to identify any gaps in police policy when it comes to euthanizing injured animals.
Lethbridge police have said the officer involved in the incident will remain on active duty throughout the investigation.
Put pressure on police
Laura Johnson, one of the organizers of the protest, hopes the rally puts pressure on police to act in the aftermath of the video.
“This was a very serious incident, and we want the police officer to be punished for what he did, and most importantly, I want all the police officers across Canada to be properly trained on how to deal with injured wildlife,” she said.
Using a vehicle to kill an animal is unacceptable, Johnson said.
“This was not euthanasia,” she added. “Euthanasia is quick and supposed to be painless, but this was a long, drawn-out death. I can appreciate that, maybe at first, the officer thought he was doing the right thing, but after the first time, when it didn’t work and the deer was screaming, he should’ve called for help, called Fish and Wildlife, called RCMP.”
Protester David Vair wants to see the cop fired and jailed.
“It’s no different from a regular person being cruel to an animal — they get thrown in jail and get fined,” he said. “He should be accountable for his actions.”
As of Sunday at 2 p.m., an online petition demanding the firing of the officer had more than 66,000 signatures.