'Freedom convoy': Ottawa police knew what was coming but didn't believe it

“Freedom Convoy”: Ottawa Police Knew What Happened was coming but didn't believe it

MISE À DAY

OTTAWA | The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) warned the Ottawa Municipal Police (OPS) that participants in the “freedom convoy” were being organized to stay long and that multiple groups, including “right-wing extremists” calling for “major disruption,” would swoop down on the city.

A chain of emails exchanged between OPP and OPS officers in the days leading up to the arrival of the first trucks was entered into evidence this morning at the Commission of Inquiry into Emergency Measures.

Yesterday, Pat Morris, who heads the OPP's Provincial Operations Intelligence Office, told the commission that his office had submitted a report to that effect to the OPS on January 20, more than a week before the arrival of the convoy.

The report had been requested by the former Ottawa Police Chief himself, Peter Sloly. It indicated that the protesters intended to stay until the sanitary measures were lifted, however long it might take.

Yet the OPS continued to plan its actions as if it were just a weekend protest and assured city officials there was nothing to worry about and the protesters would be gone. after two or three days at most,” said Diane Deans, former chair of the City of Ottawa Police Services Board, yesterday.

Peter Sloly will be interviewed in the coming days. This morning, the acting deputy chief of the municipal police, Patricia Ferguson, is on the grill. She explains that her services doubted the OPP warnings because of the misinformation and online propaganda that surrounds conspiracy groups.

Police mutiny

As early as Monday, when Mr. Sloly saw that the demonstrators were not leaving after the first weekend of chaos as the OPP had planned, he demanded that his deputies draw up a new action plan to restore order, according to an exchange of emails filed in evidence this morning before the commission.

This not coming, he himself proposed a plan, but Ms. Ferguson explains to the Commission that the chief's requests came up against the lack of personnel. She adds that a fringe of the police, including herself, wanted to negotiate with the demonstrators even if it took more time to resolve the crisis.

Ms Deans declared on Wednesday that Mr. Sloly, Ottawa's first black police chief, was the target of racism within his ranks and faced “some kind of insurrection.” She said a conflict even erupted between him and the deputy chief, Ms. Ferguson, during the busy occupation.