Informal complaint filed over councillor’s comments to the Winnipeg Police Board

An informal complaint has been filed against a city councillor in response to comments she made to the Winnipeg Police Board over the police service’s handling of the convoy protests that occupied downtown.

Councillor Sherri Rollins told CTV News she was notified by Winnipeg’s integrity commissioner that an informal complaint had been launched against her. Rollins said the complaint stems from her comments she made to the Winnipeg Police Board on March 4.

“My ward residents in the downtown had questions and concerns about the convoy and how it was dealt with by Winnipeg Police Services, and so I raised the concerns with that oversight body,” Rollins told CTV News.

Rollins said in her delegation, she referenced a report from Murray Sinclair on the Thunder Bay Police Board, which was done in response to a series of deaths and race-based violence against Indigenous peoples in Thunder Bay.

In the report, Sinclair said the board failed to recognize and address the pattern of violence and systemic racism against Indigenous people, and its failure to act was indicative of willful blindness. He recommended the board be temporarily replaced by an administrator.

Rollins said she brought up the report as an example of an identifiable work plan including transparent policies and communications on issues of concern.

“Thematically, the Thunder Bay report is a report that’s recommendations do form a path on having identifiable work in answering questions, in formulating policies that respond a city’s concern,” she said.

“That’s why I used the Thunder Bay report. It’s a report, I think, that has applicability to all boards.”

She said she lastly told the board if members were not up to the job of asking questions, she asked them to resign.

The informal complaint, which was obtained by CTV News, alleges Rollins’ comments were unfair and breached the code of conduct, and her reference to the Thunder Bay report amounted to abuse and harassment.

Rollins told CTV News she is concerned the informal complaint is, ‘an attempt to silence questions.’

Winnipeg Police Board Chair Markus Chambers told CTV News he is aware of the complaint but is not savvy to its contents. He said the police board felt comfortable with the Winnipeg police’s response to the protest which he said was based on an established plan.

He said he is concerned by Rollins’ reference to the Thunder Bay report, saying Winnipeg is not in the same situation.

“There should be no comparison made to the City of Thunder Bay in terms of the police boards that govern the police services,” Chambers told CTV News.

While Bowman would not comment on the compliant, he told reporters on Thursday that he himself has voiced concerns about the protests and their disruption to residents in the downtown area.

“Obviously, I think the scrutiny and the debate about whether the needs, values and expectations of our residents was met by our police service is one that should happen,” Bowman said. 

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