Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are confirming that they have charged two people after an incident in downtown Perth on Friday, December 4, 2020.
In social media posts protesting the incident, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier has disclosed that two of the individuals involved in the altercation were his sons.
OPP say that they were dispatched to a bar on Foster Street, now known to be the Golden Arrow Pub, shortly before 10:30 p.m. According to OPP, the owner had requested that police remove several individuals, as a result of a dispute over a failure to wear face masks, which are required under provincial health regulations.
Business owners may request that patrons leave their premises, and can request police assistance if patrons fail to do so, under the Trespass to Property Act, say OPP.
While one individual left voluntarily, others, including Hillier’s sons, were escorted from the location. Once outside, the individuals refused to leave the area and OPP say they became assaultive with officers. A Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW), commonly known as a Taser, was deployed and OPP arrested two males at the scene.
Hillier took to social media later that night to protest the officers’ actions. “OPP tasered my son in the back tonight in Perth,” wrote Hillier. “The crime, my sons friend went to the bar to order a beer wasn’t wearing a mask. the owner of the Arrow pub called the cops. My sons stood up & explained their friend is exempt from mask wearing, they’re both in jail”
The males have been charged with Public Intoxication under the Liquor Licensing Act and were released in the morning the following day.
Hillier, an independent MPP since he was removed from Conservative Caucus last year, has become a vocal opponent of laws intended to curtail the spread of COVID-19, and has held or attended several maskless rallies against such measures over the past few months, including one for which he has been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act.
Hillier appeared to suggest that the OPP’s actions may have been related to his activism. “Is it a coincidence this week I complained to @OPP_ER of them entering businesses and threatening 100k fines to store owners who are exempt from wearing masks,” asked Hillier on social media.
More to come.