Port Alberni RCMP Inspector Brian Hunter is asking the public for patience as his department continues to investigate both a child luring case and now an incident of forcible confinement that was widely broadcast on social media last week.
On Thursday, April 12 at 12:23 pm, Port Alberni RCMP responded to a call of disturbance at a residence in the 3600 block of Bruce St.
Upon arrival, police found a 28-year-old injured man secured with restraints inside the residence. The man was released from his restraints and was subsequently taken to hospital for medical attention. As a result police have launched a criminal investigation into circumstances that led to the alleged assault and forcible confinement.
“We are aware and can appreciate the discussion this incident, which was captured on video, has generated in the community and on social media,” says Insp. Hunter, officer in charge of the Port Alberni detachment.
“While the investigation remains active and ongoing, we are mindful that the inability to release all of the information known to date has likely contributed to concerns. We can confirm that our investigation includes that the male was allegedly lured to the home and was met by three adults. There were no children there when he arrived. We can also confirm that the male suspect is connected to a child luring investigation that began approximately five weeks ago.”
No charges have yet been laid in either investigation, according to RCMP Cpl. Amelia Hayden. The adults involved in the incident caught on video could potentially be charged with forcible confinement and assault causing bodily harm, she said Friday.
Hayden cautioned members of the public from taking the law into their own hands.
“These are serious matters and the police are investigating and taking appropriate steps to address the original complaint filed in March. Vigilante actions like these are not only illegal and put people in danger, but they also have the potential to compromise the original ongoing investigation,” she said.
“Contacting the RCMP was the right thing to do, right from the onset,” Hayden said. “Once that’s done and some direction is given as to what’s required for the investigation, you need to leave it to the investigators to do their job. Unfortunately, when people intervene it doesn’t always help.”
Hayden said the child luring case could be in jeopardy as a result of the vigilante actions taken by the people involved in the video.
“Anytime the public takes the law into their own hands, it can potentially jeopardize an investigation,” she added.
Sissy Lindsey Scott, a family friend of the mother in the video, has created a gofundme account called “Children’s rights before predators” to help the “vigilante mom” with legal costs, should she be charged over the incident. Anything not needed for legal fees “will be donated to a cause that is appropriate to the wish, dream, goal of children having more rights than their predators,” according to the campaign’s description.
The gofundme campaign is hoping to raise $5,000. It had raised about $300 on Monday, April 16, one day after it was first created.
There is also a Facebook page by the same name, also created on the weekend. The mother from the video posted on this page that she is “very touched by all the kind words and people who have defended my daughter and I to some very mean people. I can’t express how much that has helped me through the embarrassment of this all.”