This is the site of an incident on Oct. 19 about 8:20 a.m. where a police officer was attempting to remove two people who were allegedly refusing to move from a bank foyer. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

This is the site of an incident on Oct. 19 about 8:20 a.m. where a police officer was attempting to remove two people who were allegedly refusing to move from a bank foyer. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Video shows altercation between Salmon Arm police officer and homeless couple

RCMP Staff Sergeant said officers have had ongoing dealings with the two individuals

A video capturing an altercation between a Salmon Arm RCMP officer and two people who are experiencing homelessness shows how frustrating such issues can be for police and the community, concluded the head of the RCMP detachment.

The video was taken about 8:20 a.m. on Oct. 19 by an Observer staff member from a car parked in front of the post office on Hudson Avenue. The footage shows part of a heated exchange that took place in front of the Scotiabank across the street.

The officer ordered the couple to leave. He responded to one inaudible comment from the man involved by saying, “Do you know what a crime is? You’re a crime, pal.”

The officer again told the couple they had to leave. “You were asked to leave at 3 a.m.”

At one point the man said, “I’m cold.” The officer responded: “Go get a job, go get an apartment and then you won’t be cold… go. I’ve asked you to leave.”

After an inaudible comment from the man, the officer said: “Maybe she wants to go back (inaudible) and earn some more drugs.”

The next few comments from the man and woman were peppered with the f-word. The man accused the officer of being “a dirty cop.”

As the pair moved away, the officer remarked, “Have a good day,” as he also left.

Read more: 2017 – A population in crisis – homelessness in the Shuswap

Read more: Five years ago, homeless man ‘had everything’

Read more: Panhandling bylaw – Homeless man thinks it should target only aggressive panhandlers

Read more: City review concludes Salmon Arm panhandling bylaw warranted

Staff Sgt. Scott West responded to the video by stating that police had been dealing with the two individuals involved “numerous times” around town.

“I can say that on three occasions we have dealt with the couple at this location and told them not to return.

“On the occasion seen in the video, officers were responding to a complaint that two individuals were inside the business vestibule and were interrupting the business. When officers arrived they determined these were the same two individuals who had been asked to leave earlier the same day,” he wrote in an email on Oct. 20.

“We have dealt with the couple in the business areas around Salmon Arm numerous times over the course of the last couple of weeks, increasingly more so in the last couple of days. They have been offered services, including a place to eat and sleep; however, it is our understanding that these community services are no longer available to the couple.

“These issues are frustrating for our community and police officers. I have spoken to the officer about some comments made in this interaction, however he is correct in saying, they are not welcome in the bank vestibules and this has been conveyed to the couple on a number of occasions by business staff and the police.”

Local Scotiabank employees were not permitted to speak to the Observer about the incident, but a Toronto Scotiabank communications person provided an email statement on Oct. 20.

“While we cannot comment on individual branch matters regarding customers or non-customers due to privacy reasons, rest assured that the safety and security of our employees and customers are our top priority and our primary focus at this time.”

Read more: B.C. Housing to open spaces in Salmon Arm for people homeless during pandemic

Read more: Need for housing in Salmon Arm climbs while units being constructed

Manager of Downtown Salmon Arm (DSA), Lindsay Wong, wrote to city council on Sept. 18 on behalf of the association. At that time she said its members have concerns about people loitering around the Ross Street Plaza and adjacent streets.

“Their actions and behaviour have been observed as abrasive, erratic, extremely loud and at times, frightening and unnerving.”

The letter acknowledged some behaviors are rooted in deeper issues such as mental illness, trauma or substance abuse, and said the DSA’s participation on the city’s social impact advisory committee will continue and it is open to working with other groups to find long-term solutions. The letter also asked that the city continue to advocate for more supports for mental illness treatment and care. It also requested enforcement of the parks regulation bylaw that prohibits camping in parks and on public lands.

In an interview Oct. 22, Wong said members of the DSA have seen issues that range from garbage and clothing left in shopping carts in alleys that can attract rodents, to remnants of fires being set and people looking for outdoor outlets for charging phones.

She said the association’s main wish is to be able to communicate with and support the agencies doing the work of coming up with solutions regarding homelessness.

Early in October, BC Housing announced that funding had been approved for Salmon Arm for a homelessness outreach worker for a year. The hiring process is underway.

Read more: People who are homeless in Salmon Arm provide consultants with key information

Read more: Salmon Arm approved for worker based in Vernon to support homeless

Read more: Funding approved for Salmon ARm homelessness outreach worker

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond, chair of the city’s social impact advisory committee, did not want to comment regarding a matter involving police but said a coalition of social development services has been on regular calls since the pandemic struck and the priorities have been shelter, food security, service delivery (including mental health, substance use, domestic violence intervention), training for technology and communications.

She said the group has also had regular calls with B.C. Housing, the Salvation Army, Interior Health, Canadian Mental Health Association, the Sorrento Centre (food services) and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (community integration).

“It’s been the busiest and most productive efforts in social development in my time at these tables,” she wrote in an email.

Mayor Alan Harrison declined comment and referred questions to Staff Sgt. West.

Asked what resources would be helpful for police in general in dealing with homelessness, addictions, mental health issues, etc., West replied: outreach workers for 1) the homeless and 2) mental health and addictions.

“In B.C. every community is challenged with supplying enough counselling services to meet the current demand. Counselling services for youth and adults with mental health issues and drug and alcohol counselling could all use more resources to help the affected person and the family of that person,” West wrote in an email.

“Our Southeast District management has been engaging with the support agencies, and local social agencies have been doing the same.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomelessSalmon Arm

 

In a photo taken from a video that was shot through the open door of a vehicle, a police officer has been called to move two people out of the foyer of the Scotiabank on Hudson Avenue NE in Salmon Arm about 8:20 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19. The video was shot from a parking space outside the post office. (Contributed video)

In a photo taken from a video that was shot through the open door of a vehicle, a police officer has been called to move two people out of the foyer of the Scotiabank on Hudson Avenue NE in Salmon Arm about 8:20 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19. The video was shot from a parking space outside the post office. (Contributed video)

Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read