A prominent anti-racism activist from Calgary has been charged with assault with a weapon in connection with an incident at a demonstration in Red Deer last month.
In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Red Deer RCMP said 29-year-old Taylor Michelle McNallie was charged in connection with an incident that unfolded on Sept. 20, 2020 but declined to provide further details about the nature of the alleged assault.
“The Alberta RCMP would like to remind citizens that they are afforded the right to peacefully demonstrate, however, this does not mean unlawful behaviour will be tolerated,” police said.
“The role of police is to ensure those who unlawfully interfere with or threaten the safety of any person or property will be held accountable in accordance with the laws of Canada.”
“This charge is a joke and I look forward to taking it to court,” McNallie told Global News in an email after learning of the charges. “This matter will take months in court, and it’s honestly a huge waste of time and tax dollars.
She added that she plans to plead not guilty.
“It’s also good to make clear that this ‘weapon’ was a camera, and the camera hit his arm.”
“This one case is going to be one that opens up a much larger matter for us in regards to how the RCMP acted that day and continue to treat racialized folx in Canada,” McNallie said.
The RCMP has come under scrutiny for how it handled the events that unfolded that day.
“They just stood idly by,” rally organizer Cheryl Jaime Baptiste told Global News last month. “They made no effort to step in at all and it’s inexcusable.”
“Being an Indigenous woman and having 20 people with the intention of violence and hate approaching you – it’s horrifying.”
On Friday, the RCMP said McNallie was being charged in connection with one of two incidents that occurred in Red Deer that day but declined to provide additional details.
McNallie said she first learned of the charges through the social media channels of people who came to protest against the anti-racists. She alleged that the RCMP unlawfully gave them information because they knew of the charges prior to her being served the summons.
“I will be filing a complaint against Red Deer RCMP for their actions on the matter,” she said.
Global News has reached out to RCMP for comment on McNallie’s allegations.
Previously, Red Deer RCMP Supt. Gerald Grobmeier said that an initial investigation was opened following a confrontation between both groups on Sept. 20, but a larger investigation was opened once videos surfaced online.
“There was an initial investigation for one particular event — not what we saw on the video,” he said at the time. “As soon as we became aware of the video and learned there was more to it prior to our arrival, we opened up a larger investigation.”
The violence that broke out last month gained widespread attention and Justice Minister Kaycee Madu urged the RCMP to get to bottom of who was behind it.
“All Albertans, regardless of race, religion or creed, have the right to live their lives peacefully, and I denounce any instance of bigotry and intolerance,” Madu said.
“Disagreeing does not entitle one to use violence. We can and should disagree on public policy and discuss issues without resorting to violence.”
Madu said that at the time, RCMP told him they weren’t there for the initial confrontation because protest organizers changed the location of the rally at the last minute.
In Friday’s news release, RCMP said they are still hoping for more witnesses to come forward with regard to the Sept. 20 incidents.
McNallie is scheduled to attend Red Deer Provincial Court on Nov. 10.
Earlier this month, Trevor Lyle Roy, 42, of Penhold, Alta., was charged with assault in connection with an incident at the demonstration. Roy is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 17, 2020.
–With files from Global News’ Jill Croteau and Adam MacVicar
Watch below: (From September 2020) A video of two groups at a rally in Red Deer confronting each other is getting a lot of reaction.