A Winnipeg man has been charged after a truck was driven up the front steps of the Manitoba Legislature Wednesday.
Police were called to the provincial capitol building in Winnipeg after a black Dodge pickup truck with a dirt bike in the back ended up near the top of the front steps of the building, near the front entrance, around 6:30 p.m.
Police said Thursday the vehicle drove through several traffic cones set up for roadwork happening in front of the legislature, before speeding up and ramming its way up the limestone steps. Police say no one was injured.
A 33-year-old man from Winnipeg has been charged with dangerous operation of a conveyance and mischief under $5,000.
Winnipeg police spokesperson Const. Jay Murray said investigators have not been able to determine what motivated the incident.
Police have previously the man was “in an agitated state” when he got out of the truck and was approached by officers, but Murray wouldn’t elaborate at a Thursday press conference, citing the personal health information act.
Murray said the man was admitted to hospital for what he called a medical assessment after being released from police custody on a promise to appear in court.
“And I can also, again, acknowledge that we don’t believe there was any physical injuries,” Murray said.
“So unfortunately, you’ll have to really read between the line there. But I’m hoping that provides some clarity or context as to what may have unfolded here.”
Witnesses told Global News they heard tires screeching and yelling from a man and a woman inside the truck.
“Someone was yelling that they found more children, that Ontario was falling, and that there was bodies,” witness Shawna Peloquin said shortly after the incident Wednesday. “Then we heard the truck driving really fast.
“Then we saw the police showing up immediately, immediately actually, and arresting the man and we saw him drive away in a police car and there was an ambulance, firefighter and there was another woman with him.”
Police say a woman arrested at the scene was later released without charges.
Not related to toppling of statues, police say
On Canada Day, two statues were toppled on the legislative grounds.
Ropes were tied around the statues and were used to haul them to the ground during a demonstration over the deaths of Indigenous children at residential schools.
The statue of Queen Victoria had its head removed. The head was recovered the next day from the nearby Assiniboine River.
A smaller statue of the current Queen, located close to the lieutenant-governor’s residence, was knocked over but left largely intact.
Murray said there is no indication the vandalism and the truck on the stairs were related.
He says there have been heightened tensions around the legislature in the last week.
“Our goal is ultimately to keep the peace,” he said.
Finance Minister Scott Fielding said he was there when the truck drove up the stairs. He said there are conversations within government about increased security on the grounds.
“We do need to make sure they do have the proper resources to make sure that public spaces like the legislature are secure,” he said.
–With files from Marney Blunt, Joe Scarpelli, and The Canadian Press