A Winnipeg woman is filing a complaint with an agency that investigates police misconduct after a video circulating online shows an unmasked Winnipeg police officer threatening a couple with a ticket after he’s asked why he isn’t wearing a mask.
The 52-second undated video, which appears to have been shot on a cell phone from the passenger’s seat of a pulled-over vehicle, was posted to Twitter Tuesday night.
It shows a male driver sitting in the parked vehicle while a uniformed Winnipeg police officer speaks to him through the driver’s side window.
The driver is wearing a mask, the officer is not.
The officer can be seen handing the driver papers through the window, when a female voice coming from the passenger’s side can be heard asking the officer why he isn’t wearing a mask.
“Sir, I just have a question,” the female voice asks.
“Why are you not wearing your mask, and you’re yelling? That’s not good, that’s not safe.”
The officer, who is facing the camera, appears to lean toward the driver’s side window to hear the passenger.
During the brief back-and-forth he tells the passenger he doesn’t have to wear a mask when he’s outside before threatening to give them a ticket.
“I’m not within six-feet of you, and you know what? If you want to do (it) that way, I’ll just write a ticket, is that the way you want to do this?” he’s heard asking.
“Just give me your stuff back … you were going to get a warning, I was being polite, you’re not being polite, so …”
The video ends as the female voice can be heard continuing to question why the officer isn’t wearing a mask.
“I’m going to ask you once more and then I’m going to take it from you, so license and registration,” the officer is heard saying as the video cuts off.
The video had been viewed more than 25,000 times by Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday police sent a statement to media acknowledging the video. Police didn’t say when the incident happened, or whether or not the driver ended up receiving a ticket.
They say the driver was pulled over for allegedly “not moving to a farther lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle using emergency lamps or equipment.”
In the statement police say the officer involved has been spoken to “about his conduct” by his commanding officer and “the matter has been dealt with.”
“The officer is not wearing a face mask during his interactions with the occupants of the vehicle. Winnipeg police officers are expected to wear face masks during interactions with members of the public unless social distancing is being practiced,” the emailed statement from police reads.
“Pursuant to the current Provincial Health orders, employees are expected to wear masks within indoor facilities accessible to the public or in private residences, where possible.”
Global News has reached out to police for more information about what disciplinary measures the officer faces, if any.
In the statement, police say they’ve flagged the traffic stop to Manitoba Prosecutions and “attempts are being made to speak with the driver in question.”
The woman who recorded the video spoke with 680 CJOB and said she plans on filing a complaint with the Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA) over the incident.
“I know my rights, I know that I can speak up to what was happening and the right process to deal with this matter is by going directly to LERA to take care of this,” she said.
She was surprised by the tone of the officer.
“I’ve never had a bad experience with a police officer before. We never really thought it would happen to us, we only see it on social media and on TV.”
The woman did not want to provide her name, saying it’s because of negative comments and threats she’s been receiving online over the incident.
Under current COVID-19 public health orders, masks must be worn in indoor, public spaces, and those caught breaking the rules can face a $298 fine.